Letters (Nov 5)

Dudster,
can you imagine we had no drinking water at that time in that house.The city had not connected that area until a few years later.
I do not know how my mother managed with a baby and me. No washing machine, but cloth diapers. It could not have been fun. I had seen her bent over the bathtub doing laundry many times.

As I said, we lived on the second floor. If you continued up the stairs you would reach a loft area with a door on the right that went out onto the flat roof. In this loft area on the left there was a big square water tank, filled to the brim, no lid that I can remember, a floating device bobbing on the surface. The good thing is, the tank was pretty large and high, so I could not reach the ledge and bend over to peep inside. So no danger there, I guess, as I used to walk up to the roof almost every day to play up there. I had a little bike and a small red pedal car that I would drive all afternoon on the roof without supervision.
Speaking of danger, the roof did not have a banister or guardrail, just an elevated, maybe 2 foot high broad stone ledge. Perfect for leaning over to look down into the landlords backyard or to draw on it with chalk. Yeah, I get dizzy just thinking about it now.

So I think the water in the tank was the water that came out of the faucets. For drinking water, we had to get that elsewhere. No bottled water at that time. We had two large plastic canisters and twice a week my dad would take me along n the 1951 Oldsmobile, downhill to the main road (Pahlavi Avenue) and stop at a public manual water pump to fill the canisters.
My fondest memory of those rides was sitting in front next to my dad (no seatbelts) and using the round lid of the canister (one was red and one was blue) as a steering wheel and driving along with him, making engine sounds. It must have annoyed him, but he never said anything.

But my water story is not done yet. (This could take a while).
On cross street of our lane, there was a square one-story brick building with a large water tower on top of it. I guess water from this tower got pumped into our water tank.
Now you would think the brick construction was just the base for the water tower. But no, the waterman lived there with his family.
A couple with three small children, two girls and a little boy. Maybe another baby, I don't know. My mother used to give the woman clothes and stuff and that's how we saw the inside of their home, because they invited us in for tea. And what can I say, I loved their home. It could not have been larger than  my dining room today, because it was situated on the middle median of the road. The floor was covered with carpets. The bedding was neatly folded, stacked and covered in a black and white checkered sheet in one corner.

source

The mother had a portable kerosene oven called "Aladdin" positioned in the middle of the room which was used for heating and cooking. She always had a tea kettle simmering on the top surface and sometimes I would stop by just in time  to taste some of her great stews.This place was so clean and it felt so homey, I just loved it. I played with the eldest daughter, her name was 'Mahin".







Here is a picture of us cuddling some puppies, probably from a stray dog in the neighborhood.
To the far left, that is me, then Heidi, a neighbor, next to her is Mahin, but she is covered by my little sister who is leaning over her. You can see the youngest daughter peeking out from behind her shy brother, who is covering his smile with his hands. I am sure that my sister was not trying to pet a dog, because these three kids were not holding a puppy. Probably because they were not allowed to, as dogs were considered 'unclean/impure'. My baby sister was trying to talk to the youngest girl in some baby gibberish, she would talk non-stop all day. That's how I see it.



One more interesting fact about the water situation at that time. Our playground as kids was the undeveloped land around us. We would wander off into the dry desert-like areas, with tumbleweeds, rocks and stones, sand and dirt. And not far from our house was a "qanat", a water well, many, many feet deep. No warning sign, no railing, the opening flush with the ground.

My heart stops now when I think that we would walk right up to the edge and throw stones down to see how long it would take until we hear them hit the bottom. These "qanats" were spread all over the area. It was an underground water collection system used in Iran. I am sure that water was pumped from these wells into the water tower, which provided water to the houses around it. I found this video about the 'technology' behind the qanat. It is worth watching. A few years later the city connected our area and the water tower was demolished. I can't remember when this happened. When I look at that picture, I wonder what has become of the little boy and his sisters.


NaBloPoMo November 2015

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