Not without our daughter

Not without our daughter

. . . so we took her with us.  To Iran in 1976.  I know – what were we thinking?

With these fresh-from-BYU faces

don-passport . . . . . . . . lynn-passport

mounted inside these official documents

passports-3jpg

we began our 10 year Middle East adventure on January 27, 1976 .

We said good bye in Pueblo.

grandparents-butler

We said good bye in Greeley.

grandma-joyce

We were off to make a home in a country that I had only been able to locate on a Bible map.

Denver Stapleton Airport departure
Denver Stapleton Airport departure

Yes, that’s a leisure suit Don is wearing.  What else would match my faux fur collar?  It was 1976, and we were at the height of fashion.

Don had accepted a job teaching English to Iranian Army helicopter pilots and mechanics in training in Isfahan, Iran.  The salary was $1000 a month plus a 40% cost of living allowance – an incomprehensible amount of money to these married college students who had been living on about $270 a month in a basement apartment in Provo, Utah.

We landed in Tehran and spent a few days in the capital before traveling to Isfahan – the city that would be our home for the next three years.  The first day in Tehran, I forced us to be up and awake in an attempt to win the battle against jet-lag.  When I pulled back the drapes in our hotel room and was greeted by this sight, I wondered if lack of sleep had caused me to hallucinate.  Was that really the hotel laundry drying on the roof?

Sina Hotel Laundry Facilities
Sina Hotel Laundry Facilities

Upon our arrival in Isfahan, we worked with a real estate agent and located a brand new building with apartments to rent.  We rented the upstairs flat (3 bedrooms) for 28,000 rials or $400/month. The Iranians take the term “unfurnished” very literally – the only appliances included were a water heater and a swamp cooler.  No heat, no stove, no refrigerator. . .

1st-house-in-iranEmily and I posing in our living room window

Shortly after moving in to our house, we rented a car from some fellow Americans.  At 6,000 rials or $85/month it was a real bargain and renting would give us the chance to see if we wanted to depend on taxis or have the luxury of our own transportation.  A couple of months later, we purchased the car , a 1961 Volkswagen Beetle, for $1000 – no extra charge for rust or dents.

1959 Beetle
unsafe at any speed

The first few months (actually about a year!) were rough for me, as I was desperately homesick and realizing that $1000/month didn’t make anybody rich, regardless of location.  However, eventually I came to appreciate the adventure and life experience this move allowed.  Some of the friendships we nurtured in that very foreign country have continued over the last 3+ decades, and we have some very happy memories of our years in Iran.

And if these pictures don’t make you laugh, I’ve got more to come.

My happy place

My happy place

Before:

Functional - but lacking
Functional – but lacking

Okay – and not really inviting at all.  But it worked, and I was quite productive in there.  Just think about all those great Halloween costumes that came from this factory.

Hole in the ceiling
Hole in the ceiling

The first step in the repair required by the failure of the upstairs shower drain and resulting flood.  Not just unsightly, but a little unsettling to have a gaping hole in the ceiling.  What creatures might be lurking there?

Work in progress
Work in progress

This was as much an adventure as it looks!  Don was a great sport about using the highly pressurized can of “popcorn.”

After:

Closet organization
Closet organization

Fabric Stash
Fabric Stash

Closet organizers (that we had purchased about 7 years ago) created a great space for all my supplies – and the required stash of fabric.  The room was really starting to feel like a creative space.

Pegboard creation
Ribbon, anyone?

Emily’s pegboard inspired me to have one of my own.

Ribbon, anyone?
Sewing Central

What  a fun place to work!