Tuesdays With Moisi

This is a post from the past that I’m adding to my Tuesdays With Moisi for cataloging purposes.

The following story was transcribed by my sister-in-law Kelly as she listened to my parents tell some of their story on immigrating to the U.S.A. in September of 1947. My parents were visiting my brother Steve and SIL Kelly on Labor Day September 5, 2011. I believe the anniversary of them coming to the USA was September 6, 1947.

“Spent the afternoon with  Mom and Pop and wanted to share some of what they had to say.  This is the unedited copy filled in as Pop was talking…so excuse the grammatical errors, if I wait to edit you may never see it.”

(This photo is taken after my parents and sister Kathy settled in Los Angeles. This was sometime in late 1947 or early 1948. My mom is pregnant with my sister Vera in this photo and Vera was born in February of 1948.)

“Pop said he’s never shared all these details because…no one asked.  What started the retelling is that tomorrow marks the anniversary of their first arriving in NewYork…Sept. 6, 1947.  They arrived in Los Angeles on the 12th.

When Mom and Pop left Iran they got a flight on a Red Cross cargo plane..the propeller variety, that had dropped off supplies and was heading back to New York.   It was very loud he said…no seats, just benches along the sides.  Due to refueling and frequent stops it took 4 days to fly from Tehran to New York.  At  most of the stops they got out and ate…and in four places spent the night. He said they had 27 people on the plane and it was full.”

“This is the basic itinerary.  (Pop had made a detailed journal of the trip, but lost it in the last few moves.)  From Tehran to Cairo…spent the night.  From Cairo to Rome..spent the night, got to drive by St. Peters.  From Rome to England, where they were not allowed off the plane so they had to head to Ireland to a US military base.  They spent the night there.  From Ireland they went to Iceland, then to Greenland…where they again spent the night.  From Greenland they went to New York.

Upon arrival in New York they were taken directly to the train station.  Unfortunately, the ‘coupons’ that one of pop’s brother’s, my Uncle John, secured for them weren’t signed, so they couldn’t be used. They were suppose to be vouchers for travel purchased in Iran from an agent.  So since the coupons didn’t work they were stuck in the train station with no money, no food, with a one year old. Mom and Pop were 23 and 24 at this time.

Some nice people helped them and Pop had a card with the name of a Russian church on it.  They took them on the subway to the church and arrived in the evening just as the minister was locking up.  There was no time to find a home for them to spend the night so they took them to a hotel.  Mom said, ‘They put us on the 9th floor, I was so scared..”  And the other couple they were with were on the 14th floor.  The next morning was a Sunday so the streets were empty and Mom said she looked out the window and down and there was trash blowing along the street.  Very frightening to look that far down.

The minister showed up with milk and bread, they hadn’t eaten the day before, and they remember that delivery making them feel like orphans.  They had no money, no food, and Pop only spoke a little English.  (Which he had learned working on an American Military Base in Tehran…I’ll get to that.)

The pastor took them to church and that night they stayed with a family.  On Monday they put them on a train to Chicago.

Two vivid memories of their time in New York…  It was the first time Mom had seen toast, and she couldn’t figure out how they got it perfect on both sides.  She also got stuck in a revolving door and couldn’t get out.  She said, they weren’t educated enough to be in New York.

In Chicago another group from a church met them, fed them, gave them a place to stay, and then put them on a train to Los Angeles.  It should be noted that Kathy was very good during all of this, only cried a little.  At some point in this US leg of the journey they were able to contact people in LA to wire them money for the train tickets.  Pop figured it took them about 2 years to pay back all of the costs of their trip to the States.”

(This is a photo of my sister Kathy in a park in Los Angeles, California. Love how the older folk sitting on the benches in the background all have hats on.)

My parents were the first of their families to arrive in the U.S.A.

“In the course of telling this story Pop mentioned other jobs he’d had so I made him list them in order…here is roughly the job history.

His first job was driving horses plowing the fields in Russia.  There were four horses hooked to the plow.  He worked plowning.  (Think clowning)  He also worked threshing the wheat.

Then he worked as a shepherd.  A group of families had cows, sheep, and goats and it sounds like the kids from each family took turns watching the animals.

When they moved to Tehran he worked as a babysitter/houseboy doing whatever the woman of the house wanted him to do.

Later, in Iran he had a job feeding cows.  Then after they were milked he would walk around town to the customers they had and sell milk from a bucket by the cup.

After that he went to work on some of the Shah’s land doing farming.  When it wasn’t farming season he would deliver sand and bricks to road crews.

Then he had jobs on Military bases…he worked on the American base in the kitchens washing out the pans. They would feed him while he was there, and give him food to hide on his body to take out to his family.  (Not technically allowed to take the food, but the cook was nice.)  It’s also where he learned to speak some English.

He also worked on the Russian military base as a mechanic.  He said he ‘fix em’ Chevy’s and Studebaker’s, when they had been in accidents, we fix em up.

His last job in Tehran was in a brick factory.  It was far away so he needed to have transportation.  He said, he and Mom lived in an apartment with 4 other families above a sauna house owned by a Turkish man.  He sold Pop a bike that he had stolen…  When I asked, ‘he stole the bike?”  He said,’Yes, but he sold it to me real cheap, and nobody would recognize it because they changed the color.”  He rode the bike to work every day.”

Ellen’s thoughts…

When I think of what my parents went through to get to the United States I’m so grateful. Grateful to God for giving them the courage and faith to face the unknown. Just the language barrier had to be scary. They had a little toddler and my mom was pregnant with my sister Vera during this journey. Sitting on a bench in a loud cargo plane with 24 other people with a little one in diapers, amazing. They had no idea what kind of life they were going to have in the United States. They had only lived in villages where maybe there were a few 2 story structures and here they were in New York City with tall buildings. When they arrived in Los Angeles my dad worked odd jobs in carpentry and construction. They helped the rest of their extended family immigrate to the U.S. over a number of years. Each of these family units lived with my parents until they could get into a place of their own. My mother’s father was killed in Iran after my parents came to the U.S. My mother’s mom immigrated to the U.S.A. with my Uncle and Aunt as a widow. So much hardship endured and they persevered over the years and have always expressed their thankfulness to God for bringing them to the U.S.A. They had 9 children total. Their first daughter died in Iran when she was a toddler. Here are the 8 of us in age order…this is an old photo taken in 2003 at the 40th birthday party of Leonard and Lana, our youngest siblings (twins).

Kathy, Vera, Fred, Ellen, Tim, Steve, Lana, Leonard

My mom and pop in 2006 in Dallas, Texas.

IMGP9771

My mom and pop at my niece’s wedding in April of 2013.

We had a 90th birthday party and early 70th wedding anniversary party for my parents at the end of April in 2013. We were so happy to have had this celebration as my mom took ill later that summer and never recovered. My mom went to be with her Savior on September 13, 2013 on my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary. Our pop joined our mom in heaven in June of 2018.

Happy Reformation Day!

Martin Luther’s nailing of his ninety-five theses to the church door on October 31, 1517, provoked a debate that culminated finally in what we now call the Protestant Reformation. An important day in history.

“We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone” ~Martin Luther

Halloween happens to be on October 31st, also. For us Halloween is all about handing out candy to any little trick or treater who comes to our door.

Now that we live in the country the only little ones who come to our door are driven here by their parents. Addy and JJ will come by tonight to get a treat. They carved pumpkins last night and I borrowed this collage from Addy and JJ’s parents. Thank you!

It’s going to be a cold night to be out. Our Trick or Treeters better dress warmly.

I’ve got my red cape to keep me warm.

In other news we are very excited that on November 10th the MLS Cup final is going to be played on our home field for the first time! Our kids have traveled to Toronto in the past for other finals. Our kids get 4 tickets for the game and they have offered their soccer loving mother one of those tickets. Now I just have to figure out whether to drive (dependent on pass conditions) or fly to Seattle. Thanks for indulging me in my excitement and enjoyment of the game of soccer. Hmm, indulgences were a big part of the conversation in the talks that led to the Reformation so maybe my post is more cohesive than I thought.

Ice on my windshield on Wednesday morning. It will be nice when Dear’s shop has a roof on it so we can get my car back in the garage. The materials for building the shop are being stored in the garage where my car usually rests. We are still waiting on the company on some materials so that Dear can move ahead and raise the trusses and clear enough stuff out of the garage for my car to fit.

I’ll leave this random hodgepodge of a post with good true words from Martin Luther:

“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God–
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”
― Martin Luther

George Washington’s Prayer Journal

“O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul.

Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the ever lasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life.

Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the Gospel. Give me repentance from dead works. Pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation. Teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments. Make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber. But daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life. Bless my family, friends & kindred unite us all in praising & glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before thee blessed Saviour, who hath taught us thus to pray, our Father.”

I’m humbled by this prayer from the first president of the United States. I pray along with it as I ready this post.

The stained glass window with the sun streaming through casting it’s light and color onto the statue of George Washington was taken at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. in May of 2011. Dear had a conference in D.C. and I was able to tag along. The National Cathedral is a must see if you ever travel to D.C.

It is folly to say our nation was not founded on Christian principles. Some would like to blot out this part of our history and remove all evidence of our Founding Father’s faith in the one true God.

Have you ever seen or read the third verse of “The Star Spangled Banner”, our National Anthem?

 O thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, “In God is our trust.”
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Praising God this morning for preserving our nation to this point in history.

Give me this day almighty God the Spirit filled mind to serve thee in the righteousness of your dear Son, Jesus my Lord, who’s sacrifice covers my sin repented of and gives me the strength to live in your holiness.  God bless America and keep our land free to worship you in righteousness and truth.

Wonder

In January of 1958 our little brother Tim was born. I was so excited to have a baby brother. I’m seven in this photo. I was the baby of our family for seven years until Tim was born. We had to put the tree on a table to keep it out of Tim’s reach. That tinsel is so inviting to those little fingers along with everything else that sparkles. It was fun to enjoy Christmas with an 11 month old. I was a sick little girl during this time. The best information I have is that I had some kind of kidney infection that required a hospital stay and then a few months of recovery. I remember having a home teacher and missing Valentine’s Day at school. My home teacher brought me a bag full of Valentines from my classmates. I also remember not being able to have any salt and having to drink a lot of water. After a while a glass of water looked like medicine to me. Hmmm, maybe that’s why I don’t like to be told to drink water to this day. I enjoy it in moderation. 🙂

Bloggers are very busy this week and have little time for visiting so I’m taking the opportunity to put a little Christmas history on my blog that will help my memory now and later.

We’re having a little Christmas Open House on Sunday and I need to come up with a few appetizers and some sweets and we need to decide on some festive drinks. There are so many great choices out there, I just need to choose from among them! Glad our first beyond the family event at our Country Bungalow will be small.

Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 5

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.

Photos are not mine.

My mother had been in the habit of attending a Molokan church service in a neighboring village every Sunday.  She had done this quite a few times and because she always returned, she was able to gain the trust of the Uzbek guard.  The Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles, which Molokans celebrated, was approaching. My mother asked permission of the guard for our whole family to attend this feast at that church in the aforementioned village.  Permission was granted. We started off for the village that Sunday morning, but as the camp receded from view, we totally changed direction. I asked why but was told to keep quiet and keep walking. Our destination was the city of Samarkand, because we had distant relatives there.  We arrived there around midnight. The next day we had one of the relatives buy us train tickets back to Ashkhabad. Before we departed for the station, my brother John surreptitiously scouted it in advance and saw the camp officials there, evidently looking for us. We had to postpone the trip until the following day.  The coast was clear that day and so we left. Our family was scattered throughout the train in various cars. One of the stops the train made was where the camp was. Trains were routinely searched there for escapees from the camp. As we approached that stop, my mother emphatically told us to face away from the aisle and under no circumstances were we to turn toward it.  As the guards came onto the train, my mother fell to her knees in prayer. The guards roamed through the cars more than once but, praise God, none of us were recognized. As the train left the station we all heaved a sigh of relief.

Our troubles, though, were not over.  That evening, the lights in the train suddenly went out.  All hell broke loose in the train as those who were stronger began to forcefully plunder the weaker.  I’ll never forget those moments. Nobody came to anybody’s aid. It was every man for himself. I specifically remember how one man was screaming for help as two others were trying to take his possessions.  He would not let go. They finally dragged him and his possessions into another car. I don’t know what happened to him.

It was terrifying.  All authorities were absent.  No conductors, no militia. Yet, by God’s grace, none of our family was plundered.  Finally, conductors appeared at the next stop.

And so we returned to Ashkhabad.  It was September of 1933. We had nothing-absolutely nothing.  We begged a widow to take us in. She acquiesced. She only had one room for us  and so we had to make do. I remember she was growing onions on the roof so that was all we had to eat for a while.  One day a knock was heard at the door. The widow answered. Some men were at the door requesting able-bodied workers for a roofing job.  The widow relayed their request. We replied that we lacked the necessary ID papers to be able to work. The men at the door replied that papers weren’t necessary.  So my two brothers and mother went to work. This happened more than once and this is how God took care of us.

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

Click over to Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog to see a wonderful tribute posted by Judy.

May the friendship between our two countries last forever.

The plaque says: “What an object lesson of peace is shown today by our two countries to all the world.  No grim-faced fortifications mark our frontiers, no huge battleships patrol our dividing waters, no stealthy spies lurk in our tranquil border hamlets.  Only a scrap of paper, recording hardly more than a simple understanding, safe-guarding lives and properties on the Great Lakes, and only humble mile posts mark the inviolable boundary line for thousands of miles through farm and forest.”

“Our protection is in our fraternity.  Our armour is our faith. The tie that binds more firmly year by year is..

…ever increasing acquaintance and comradeship through interchange of citizens and the compact is not of perishable parchment, but of fair and honorable dealing, which, god grant, shall continue for all time.”

Erected by Kiwanis, international in memory of a great occasion in the life of two sister nations here on July 26, 1923.  Warren Gamaliel Harding twenty-ninth president of the United States of America, and first president to visit Canada.  Charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Marion, Ohio, spoke words that are worthy of record in lasting granite dedicated September 16, 1925.

I’m headed out for a walk this morning with the Wonder Walkers. It will be a fine distraction from the tedious work to restore many of my posts. Hope you all have a good first day of July.

The College Years

My college years spanned from 1968 to 1973. I had a fifth year for my teaching credential and student teaching.

For my first year of college I went away about 60 miles east of my home to the University of Redlands.

My college roommate was Violet (Violeta). Her major was Spanish. After my first year I decided to move back home and commute to Cal-State Los Angeles to finish my college years.

Back in the Los Angeles area Heidi’s family and mine attended Bethany Baptist Russian Church in L.A. and we became the best of friends. This friendship continues to this day. In fact, all these friendships that I show here are still intact.

We went on an a trip together in the summer of 1970 to Michigan and New Jersey with side trips to Buffalo (Niagara Falls), New York City, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. This was the first time I flew in an airplane.

These are my and Heidi’s Russian friends from Buffalo, New York and San Francisco. None of us went to Stanford although I did apply to go there but was not accepted. The photo above was taken on the day of the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Stanford was playing someone in the Rose Bowl Game. This was either January 1st, 1971 or 1972.

While in college Jeaneen and I met in our Home Economics classes and a new friendship was started. I introduced Jeaneen to my cousin Jim and they ended up getting married. We’ve had many great times together through the years. After marriage the four of us continued our friendship. We both had homes in Huntington Beach and we attended the same church while we lived in H.B.

I met Dear in my college years in 1972. My friend Heidi auditioned for the Christian singing group that Dear was part of and I met him at the concerts that I’d attend with Heidi. After a summer tour in England the group needed an alto so I auditioned for the group. That fall Dear and I started dating and September 6th of 1973 he asked my father for my hand in marriage.

While in college at Cal-State L.A. I had a part-time job at Montgomery Ward in their parts department. I paid my own way through college but I lived at home so my parents fed me and never charged me rent.

I graduated from Cal-State with a degree in Home Economics and earned my teaching certificate. The photo above is myself and Dear and my brother and me. Besides Fred and me graduating at this time my cousin Jim and my friend Jeaneen and another friend from my Russian Baptist church, Alex, graduated with us.

Some significant things that happened while I was in college besides what I shared already:

My sister Vera got married in November of 1969.

During Summer quarter in 1970 I came down with a terrible sore throat one week before finals. Then I broke out in a rash all over my body. When I went to the doctor they had me come in the back door and straight to an examination room. The doctor diagnosed Scarlet Fever and sent me home on bed rest with medications. While in the doctors office the doctor kept bringing in all the nursing staff there to see what Scarlet Fever looked like. OYE. I was flat on my back in bed and very sick for a couple of weeks. My sister Kathy was planning a trip to England with her best friend so the doctor put her on antibiotics (precautionary). My poor sister ended up being allergic to the antibiotic and broke out in hives all over her body on the day of my cousin Alex’s wedding. She was quite upset but went to the wedding anyway. I missed all my finals and had to take them the beginning of Fall quarter. Needless to say that wasn’t a great quarter for my grade average!

My brother Fred got married in April of 1972.

There was a gasoline shortage in 1973 where there was rationing and we could only buy gas on odd or even days depending on our license plate ending number.

Lynden B. Johnson (63-69) and Richard M. Nixon (69-74) were the Presidents of the United States during my college years.

My next post will be about post college years with my engagement and wedding.

My youngest brother and older sister both commented on my Hume Lake post that I forgot to mention another epic thing that happened in 1963, the year I was saved. How could I ever forget the fact that my mother delivered twins at the end of July that summer?  A little girl and a little boy born and my parents now had four boys and four girls under their roof! My father had no idea my mother was having twins and only found out when he got home from work. (no cell phones and my father worked at remote sites with no phones) My little brother Tim ran out to the car to greet him when he pulled into the driveway from work and said, “Pop, not one baby, two babies!” My poor father was in shock!

I leave you with this sweet photo of our little twins Cvetlana (Lana) and Leonard from 1963! They are the icing on the cake for our family.

twins

People! I’m seeing sunshine outside my window and blue skies and very few clouds. This is cause for a celebration here in the Pacific Northwest! We have had rain, rain and more rain for a nice long stretch now and what a welcome sight the blue skies are this morning.