SAN DIEGO — As we see images of Iran, it looks like it's been ravaged by war. It's hard to fathom Iran used to be a country full of culture, freedom, the arts, and women who were allowed to wear their hair or dress however they wanted.
Those memories of Iran are what many Iranian-Americans in San Diego hold near and dear, including the mother of CBS 8's Neda Iranpour.
Farin Iranpour shared her memories of a free Iran in this very personal story written by Neda.
Her pictures may look like fun memories from the 1960's and 70's here in California. Teenagers are seen at the beach, living it up in their shorts and bikinis, sun-kissed and soaking up the good life. Believe it or not, these are images from my own family and their friends in Iran at the Caspian Sea.
One of my favorite things to do is look through my mom‘s old albums. She has photos of her, and her friends, and siblings in beautiful outfits, stylish hairstyles, and high heels.
But it wasn’t always fun. My mom explained, “My 3 siblings and I were raised by a strong, resilient women, a single mother. Unfortunately, my dad passed away at a young age. I think he was 30-something so my mother raised us all. We all went to college, we all graduated, we all had good jobs.”
And there was always a huge emphasis on education, “I was well educated, I had a good job in technology.”
She excelled so much in school that the Prime Minister of Iran, several dignitaries, her classmates, and her female principal are all commending her for her calculus knowledge, when she was 17.
Unfortunately, she only has her memories and a few pictures from those days in Iran because when she fled Iran during the 1979 revolution, she thought it would be temporary. “I packed a suitcase and temporarily decided to leave,” she said.
She was newly married to my dad, Parviz Iranpour. They had their wedding and then, seemingly overnight, freedom was completely stripped away under the government takeover by the Islamic Republic.
I wasn’t born too long after that. My parents spent the first few years raising me and my brother in Spain.
“After a while, we didn’t see hope going back with the vicious regime (in charge in Iran) so we decided to come to U.S. with the new life,” my mom said.
Farin has called the U.S. home for nearly four decades, making sure Iranian traditions are not forgotten. Even with her arthritis she chops organic vegetables and herbs, and makes crispy rice and potatoes known in Farsi as ‘tadigh.’ Iranian gold.
My mom said, “I try to make it to taste good so you guys can enjoy, we can all enjoy.”
From the traditional foods she grew up with to sitting around for hours drinking tea or ‘cha-yee’, my mom makes sure Iranian culture is engrained in us.
Even my little one, Roya is learning Farsi and reads books from Iran, thanks to our family.
My mom also takes the trolley to join other Iranians in weekly rallies in support of the protesters in Iran, “My heart is with them. The only thing I can do is to support them by going to different rallies,” my mom said.
Her wish is for all of us to one day go to a free Iran.
“I hope these brave people in Iran would be able to reclaim the country. After 43 years they deserve a peaceful, happy, free life,” she said.
Similar to a life we get to enjoy here, a life she worked so hard for, and a life she never takes for granted.
WATCH RELATED: Art in the Sand in support of Iranians in Solana Beach (Nov. 2022).
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