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How that's all changed

By J.
October 24, 2001
The Iranian

I can't believe my luck finding your web site!

I was born in 1962 in the UK and my family, English mom and Iranian dad, moved to Abadan shortly after. We lived in this paradise before moving to Tehran in 1972.

My father worked or the oil company and we had a bungalow at 456 Braim. I have great memories of Roya School - last week I even found a school report card of mine from 1968.

The Segoosh swimming pool was the centre of our social lives in the hot afternoons and the Thursday afternoon matinee at the Golestan Club were the week's highlight. I had so many friends there and we all roamed around on our bicycles inventing games or going to each other's houses. Braim was so safe. There was no question of us not being allowed out or being supervised by adults.

Traffic was non existent and every one knew each other. On some days would walk back from Roya school and a taxi driver friend, in his 1960's Mercedes (the black ones with the white roof) would stop and give me a lift home for free and we'd chat about the topic of the day. What a safe and wonderful world it was back then, free of the concerns we have nowadays.

For some reason unknown to me now, after Roya I went to Pars school instead of Babak like the rest of my friends. Maybe it was because my English reading and writing was so bad? Mrs Jahanbani was the head mistress.

Politics never entered our heads. We revered the Shah and all stood up when the "Shahanshaheh ma zendebad" national anthem was played before the matinee started at Golestan. I, like the rest of us, really felt that Iran was on the wave of the future, moving fast to find its glorious place in the world. There was a buzz in the air that centuries of neglect and backwardness were being swept away. Iran was going places and family and friends in the UK treated me with respect that I firmly stated that I was Iranian. How that's all changed!

I loved Abadan. But I didn't know just how much until we moved to Tehran, an awful place. My last visit to this paradise was in the summer of 1976. During my years at boarding school in England I kept company only with Iranians and dreamed of finishing my studies and going back to Braim to start my life as an adult. The revolution turned my life upside down.

I've lived as a nomad living and working in England, France, Spain and Portugal, travelling everywhere in Europe before finally settling down in Spain and becoming a father. We live in a quiet suburb of Madrid where summers, swimming pools, kids playing have a feel of my childhood in Braim.

My son will never experience Abadan but where we live is the closest I've found to the good old day so many of us were privileged to enjoy. I've been back to Iran many times these last 6 years but I refuse to travel to Abadan and see it as it is now. It would break my heart.

Golestan 1975

From Armen Khachaturian
October 24, 2001
The Iranian

Here are some pictures taken in 1975 at Golestan Club before a musical performance (same people, different angles): Click to see larger photos:

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