Our Pop’s story continued…
This is our Pop’s story dictated verbally by him a few years ago. I’ll be sharing excerpts every Tuesday. When I add to his story or explain a photo I will Italicize my words. Our Pop’s words will not be italicized. Our mom does not come into Pop’s story until “Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 9” even though I’ve posted photos of her before #9. I have very few photos from our parents’ life in Russia and Persia. At the end of my Tuesday posts I’ll add links to all the other posts.
The photo above is of our mom and some of her friends in Iran. This is well before my pop met my mom. I chose this photo to show how our Russian friends who immigrated to Persia dressed. Our mom is the girl seated on the left.
At this time in history the Shah issued a decree that Iranian women were no longer forced to wear head coverings. He wanted to Europeanize Iran. This was met with fierce resistance from Muslims to the point of violence. We Europeans began to fear for our lives because we were blamed for the existence of this edict. The Shah also wanted to scatter us Europeans among his people in order to teach them modern farming methods. We resisted this because we realized if we were to acquiesce, we Russians would be picked off one by one, resulting in our eventual extinction. We had to cluster in order to effectively defend ourselves. So when a rich Iranian offered us substantial acreage for farming purposes, our community of about twenty families took him up on it. It was an abandoned village with surrounding farm land. Within the first year, however, some of us began to come down with malaria. It grew to almost plague like proportions among us. Six of our group actually died. We then concluded that this area was not conducive for living, let alone farming, and so eventually we all left.
After this episode our family moved to a village near the Caspian Sea in Iranian territory. We stayed there about two years and moved to another village. We stayed at this village for two years and moved to a town called Rahmanabad. In my first year there, I worked as a driver delivering rocks and sand for the construction of roads and bridges. Then for the next three years I became a tenant farmer. The Shah leased us the land and our payment to him was one-fifth of the harvest.