=“Sholuq” in Persian can refer to a traffic jam or any other confused mess
Marty and Sam at the Shaking Minarets (Monar Jomban) of
The guides enjoy getting in one of two 14th century minarets and shaking, which makes the opposite one shake. This has been a major
tourist attraction since the 19th
A note to readers: When you see when some of the things I write about took place, you may say to yourself, “Gosh, that’s ancient history! I wasn’t even born then!” Let me put you at ease. I try to show you the world we lived in, but even after all these years, many of the most colorful things in
changed! Iranian people are still very
gentle, intelligent and friendly people.
Most of them. Iran
Getting Settled. We found our house in Sahebgraniyeh, in the northern part of the city. It was a very upscale part of the city—every home was enclosed by high walls, and within the walls were very pleasant gardens and tall trees. About three blocks away was
the palace where the Shah usually lived. He had several all over town from
which to choose. Niavaran Palace
Our landlord was a wealthy Persian engineer. In our garden lived a little family. Hossein Massoumi, with one eye that looked askew, was our gardener. His wife, a teenager, was Keshvar, and they had two small children-- Nassir, a boy, about 5, and Batul, a girl, about 2. We lived in a nice house with glass all along the south wall, which was our living room and hall, looking down over the whole city of
. We had a beautiful swimming pool,
filled with ice-cold spring water, and on the hottest days, that water was
still frigid. Tehran
Our house in
with son Mark and Tehran
German Shepherd Schatzi in foreground.
We were at 5200 ft. of altitude, and the city slopes down to the center, at about 3750 ft. above sea level. Windows along our back upper floor allowed beautiful views of the Alborz mountains, which border
on the north. It was October, 1970. Tehran
Our "Bomb" of a car. It took quite a while for our car to arrive from the
, so we
rented a car from PKEOM (Persian Knights Enlisted Officers’ Mess), an American
servicemen's club that traces its roots back to the lend-lease days of World
War II. These cars were
known as “PKEOM Bombs.” We
had this car until our 1966 Ford Falcon station wagon could arrive. We thought we’d get out and see some
of this beautiful country, so we drove up to U.S. dam in the mountains. The scenery was magnificent, but we
soon found out that the brakes on our “Bomb” were imaginary. While
we were up there the car started to spout steam, and we drove downhill as fast
as we could, to find help for our problem. We finally reached a village where
there was a filling station and drove in, with steam coming from all
over. I had never opened
the hood, and then found out that I couldn’t. Karaj
Anytime Americans showed up somewhere, a crowd of curious Iranians would gather. They are a very helpful people, even if they haven’t a clue what they are doing. Several men tried to help open the hood, and finally a mechanic did it with a big crowbar. The water pump was “tamum shod”—finished, he declared, and so this looked like it was going to take several hours. A cab came by that already had an Iranian family in it, but the driver and the family were glad to have us, so our family of five jammed in, and off we raced to
with about 11 people including the driver. Tehran
Iranian taxi drivers always go as if they were on fire, so fast that you know you are in grave danger. You learn early on to say, “Yavash!” (Slow!!) and this might make the American feel better, but it has absolutely no effect.
“Sholuq” or “Shalook” is a beautiful, uniquely Persian word that is made for the Iranians. They use it to refer to any scene of confusion, and through our American eyes, we saw a lot of sights in that happy, casual country in the days before the traveling religious police, ordering women to put the chadors back on their heads.
Iranian traffic in 1970-72 reflected that Iranians were just getting used to the idea of having cars, and in
they had a lot of them. And they drove them in the middle of the
street, on the left, and on the right, and on sidewalks. Tehran
From what I hear about
today, not much has changed,
except there are many more cars. Iran
In that environment, traffic jams, or shalooks, happened all the time. And it seemed that the Ministry of Police, as soon as they detected such a situation, dispatched a more senior police officer to correct the situation. We often laughed to see that when traffic was really screwed up, you’d see a General in the police ministry, uprooted from his comfortable desk, directing traffic, and screwing it up even more.
Photo of Marty and me on the road in the desert south of
Trip to Astara. It was springtime, and I wanted to drive up the western shore of the Caspian toward the Iranian Border with Soviet Azerbaijan. This was a very green, colorful part of
and here, too, the people dressed as they had for centuries. I was driving my
Ford Falcon station wagon, and the road was more a muddy wallow. We bounced and sloshed all the way, an all-day
drive to arrive at Astara, right on the frontier. Iran
The car was completely covered with mud—you couldn’t tell it had been yellow before.
There were large rice paddies here, and on the hills they were growing tea.
When we returned to
two days later I had to have all four shock absorbers replaced. Tehran
When we arrived in Astara, we had no idea where we would stay for the night, but we found a tiny, very elegant hostel that had been recently built for the Chairman of the Presidium of the Soviet Union, Nikolai Podgorny, for his October 1970 visit to inaugurate a 40-inch gas pipeline from Iran to the USSR, passing through Astara.
The Shah had been there, and there had been a big celebration and ribbon cutting and so forth, but now, it was just an unused, but very excellent hotel with four empty suites, and all the staff to look after them.
So we stayed there.
[Note: After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Iranians cut off the supply. In 2006,
Iran and Azerbaijan,
the country adjacent to Astara, signed an agreement for the gas to come the
other way, to supply .]
Rice Paddies in Gilan, near the Caspian Sea, in
In background are tea groves.
We got to visit with a lot of plain, everyday Persian people during our two years in
and found them to be wonderfully friendly and helpful. Where they might
differ from Westerners in their familiarity with technology, they were
generous, intelligent and fun to be around. Iran
Western coverage of
and Iranians, or Persians, in recent
years may have painted them as America-hating, single-minded Islamic
fanatics. However, I think you will find that those people are in the
Many, many Iranians want the same things that we want. They definitely do NOT want to return to the seventh century, the time the Islamists think that things were better for them.
They do not want to take orders from
or do our bidding, and that’s fair. America
I hope that one day soon Americans and Iranians can sit down and work out our differences, because I think we have much more in common than some may imagine.
All the talk about the Iranians building a nuclear weapon, and wiping
off the map strikes me as unproductive rodomontade, or vain bragging and
The Israelis talk about launching air strikes to wipe out Iran’s nuclear manufacturing sites, and we know enough about the Israelis to know that is not idle bluster.
However, the net result is that the
United States, no matter what we think or want,
will find ourselves sucked into another war in the Middle
Such a waste of blood and treasure, and for what?
I look for the day when
Iran and the can be friends again. Both nations
have much to gain! U.S.A.
Here are some books and papers the Personal Navigator is offering:
Rawleigh's 1917 Almanac
Rawleigh's 1917 Almanac, Cookbook and Medical Guide, 28th Year: A Valuable Hand Book 1916
The W.T. Rawleigh Co.Marvelous
book, loaded with advice and information. 140 products for 1917, including
toilet articles, spices, medicines, cleaning products, poultry and stock
products. Design for an iceless refrigerator using Canton flannel. Recipes for
candies. Canning. Rawleigh's
Dip for Cattle, Horses, Sheep and Hogs. Louse powder. How soap is made at Rawleigh's.
Photos show gathering of raw drugs in faraway Freeport, IL and other spots. 104 pp. 14.7 x 22.4
cm. Paper booklet, full color, very good condition. (6561) $29.00. Advertising India
Baby Doll Poster
Baby Doll: Warner Bros. Picture, an Elia Kazan Production of Tennessee Williams' screen play, starring Karl Malden and Carroll Baker; Advertising-Publicity Campaign Packet 1956 Warner Brothers. Advance Publicity campaign and advertising campaign samples for film"Baby Doll", has been called “notorious, salacious, revolting, dirty, steamy, lewd, suggestive, morally repellent and provocative.” This was 25-year-old Carroll Baker's second film, and she received an Oscar nomination for her part in the film. Its advertisements and posters featured a sultry young "Baby Doll" curled up in a crib in a suggestive pose, sucking her thumb. 21 x 28 cm. Paper folder contains Samples of Ad Campaign and Big Ad-Pub Campaign. Very good. (7092) $29.00. Advertising/Cinema
Little Men, First Edition
Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys, First Edition by Alcott, Louisa M. 1871
, MA: Roberts Brothers. 376 pp. 11 x 17
cm. Louisa May Alcott's classic about
playful, mischievous, energetic boys. With 4 pp. of publisher's
advertisements inserted between the
front end papers. Brown cloth on board
with gilt lettering on spine and cover;
cover faded and water stained, heel and toe of spine frayed, bottom of front
cover frayed, corner bumped. Binding
tight. Text block very good. Tissue
guard for frontispiece is wrinkled. Overall good. (1363) $125.00. Literature/Fiction Boston
Burdock's Blood Bitters 1892 Almanac and Key to Health 1892 Buffalo, NY: Foster, Milburn & Co. Josiah Lewis of Sing Sing, NY had dyspepsia for years with no cure until he took Burdock Blood Bitters. Hettie McCourtney of Remus, MI had a pain in her back, head, heart, poor appetite, constipation and more until she took BBB. Mrs. Samuel Rieder's little boy (of
had sores all over his body and legs, couldn't stand on his feet. " I gave him two bottles of BBB,
and now he looks like another boy altogether." Almanac offers many testimonials
and health advice, cures for Dyspepsia, dizziness, headache, variable appetite,
souring of food, heart palpitation, constipation, biliousness, scrofula,
rheumatism, pain in loins, dropsy, female complaints. Just take Burdock
sugar-coated pills, Burdock's Blood Bitters, Dr. Wood's Norway Pine Syrup and Dr. Thomas' Eclectric Oil. Mrs.
Wm. F. Babcock of Summit Hill, OH was "run
over by a team of horses and a lumber wagon, and not expected to live, but my
friends bathed me in Eclectric Oil..." 32 pp. 14.5 x 20 cm. Paper booklet,
good. (7024) $24.00. Advertising/Medical Norvell, MI
Wright's Pictorial Family Almanac 1865 Philadelphia, PA: Dr. Wm. Wright, NW Corner Fifty and Race Sts. Civil War edition of Almanac, which advertises Wright's Indian Vegetable Pills, which cleanse the bowels and purify the blood, with good effect upon asthma, acidity of the stomach, biles, dropsy, dysentery, erysipelas, female irregularities, foulness of the complexion, fever and ague, jaundice, scrofula, ulcers, worms, yellowness of the skin, Yellow fever and much more. Humorous cartoons. Testimonials from men in Yankee camps. Man from
volunteers at Brandy Station, VA
writes that Indian pills cured bad colds he and comrades had while they were at
Culpepper. Man from Eighth Pennsylvania cavalry, near Pennsylvania writes
about good effect of Indian Vegetable pills on disordered stomach and diseases
of the digestive organs. QM Sgt. Hughes of Penna. Militia writes from Warrenton, VA ordering one-third gross of Indian
Vegetable Pills. John Portney in Yorktown, VA Camp Convalescent,
writes asking for Indian Vegetable pills. Also music, "The Picket's Last Watch" by David A.
pp. 12.5 x 21 cm. Paper booklet, worn, fair. (7728) $24.00. Advertising/Civil
War Alexandria, VA
Contact me at email@example.com