1 - "SHUG"
Part 2 - "SHE MADE HER BED - LET HER SLEEP IN IT"
Part 3 - "TOO WET TO PLOW"
Part 4 - "A HARD ROW TO HOE"
Part 5 - ALL DRESSED UP - FINALLY!
Back to What SDAs NEED to Know
The boys had new shirts and I had made Patti a cute pink nylon dress with a big bow in back which she wore over a full petticoat. Their daddy was going to be ordained! I wore a dress of my own design, a black sheath with flared lower skirt, and a black and white straw hat. Bryan had wanted this a long time. Now he would be Elder Dulane.
Ordination brought more confidence. Bryan asked me to correct his grammar, and I encouraged him to be more graceful with his gestures, as he came across somewhat stiff.
Sometimes he would tell me what he wanted to preach about and I would research his subject and type up his outline for him. It's interesting that a woman could do all that, but at that time was not permitted to give that sermon herself! As of 1990, the church which was founded by a woman, and who, with a number of female assistants, collected and compiled the material for 80 books, 200 tracts and pamphlets, and some 4600 articles for church paper,1 has refused to permit the ordination of women. They decided to arrange for women to be associate pastors with authorization to perform all the duties of a pastor, including license to marry and baptize, but no actual ordination. The "powers-that-be" decided that would be the "least disruptive"2 course of action for the world church.
Since Martin and Barnhouse had brought Adventists "out of the closet," so to speak, some of the preachers were getting involved with local ministerial associations. Bryan thought this a good idea, and happily took his turn on a fifteen-minute television segment for a week. He chose health as his theme, the "right arm"3 of the Adventist message; the "entering wedge"4 of their gospel.
Bryan spoke of the physical need for pure water, then of the spiritual need of Jesus, the Water of Life; of the nourishment of whole-grain bread and the Bread of Life, and other like subjects. I had to go across the street to the neighbor's house to watch him, of course, as in the entire time of our marriage we were not permitted to own a TV.
Bryan received several positive letters as a result of his talks, and that pleased him. There was some dissatisfaction in the churches, however. After all, we had made it there twenty months - the longest we had been anywhere. Fruit-basket-turn-over is a game the Conferences seem to enjoy playing, and the younger ministers rarely stay very long anywhere.
Our next stop was the Sumter-Florence-Myrtle Beach district in South Carolina. Florence was a typical small Seventh-day Adventist church. Sumter, forty miles southwest, was a rather upper-class group. The two leading ladies had non-Adventist husbands, which often makes for a better lifestyle. The church and its grounds were well-kept, and the people appeared smooth and well-heeled. Several ladies were into flowers, and there were always beautiful fresh flowers on the table in front of the pulpit. Myrtle Beach, ninety some miles due East on the Atlantic, was just a company, and met in the fellowship hall of another church.
Our first home was in Florence. Mother wrote that she was coming out to see us when school was out. A couple of weeks after Daddy died, the Hot Springs Church School lost a teacher, and Mother was pressured into the job. That was both good and bad. It kept her from drowning in her sorrow and loneliness, but it was a physical drain on her after the long months of interrupted sleep, worry and grief. However, she did well, and decided to attend the Adventist College at Lincoln, Nebraska, where she would continue studies toward her degree. Between her school closing and the beginning of the Union College summer session she planned to visit us.
We had rented a new three bedroom house, very nice. Mother drove out bringing Barclay's wife to help drive. A day or so after she arrived, realizing I was having a lot of pain, she said,
"Let's get you to a doctor while I'm here to help with the boys and Patti." One of our church members, an anesthetist, recommended a doctor, "the only one I'd let touch my wife with a knife," he said. Doctor S. was amazed that I was still able to carry on a normal days work. I needed major surgery immediately.
Mother said, "That's not what I came out here for, but let's do it while I'm here to help." So I had a hysterectomy and two other operations at one time. I did quite well, except for the allergies. Dr. S. had not used morphine, since I had reacted to it before. But the day before surgery we had taken Mother to the beach where I had used some sun-screen which had, we discovered later, benzocaine in it. So I started out with a rash all over me. They shot me full of antihistamine the night before the surgery, and again before I went in. I still reacted to the transfused blood and the merthiolate. A helpful post-op nurse came in and sprayed me well with something to stop the itching, and it contained benzocaine! Story of my life!
Mother saw me through the worst of it. She was always good to me when I was sick. But she had to get on down the road. By the end of the week I was up visiting the other women on my floor, and Dr. S. thought I was doing exceptionally well. Bryan had scheduled a series of evangelistic meetings at Sumter, and very much wanted me at the piano. I was released from the hospital eleven days after my operation, and I loaded up my kiddies and drove the forty miles to Sumter. I played that night, but when Bryan got home - he had gone over earlier in the day in his car -I told him that I just couldn't go back. Sitting on the piano bench was just too painful.
"There's no one else to play!" he complained. "Just a little old lady who can't keep up!"
"I'm sorry, dear, I just can't do it." I was suddenly very tired.
* * * * * *
I missed Mother. We had enjoyed her, though I'm not sure she enjoyed that particular visit. She was lonely, and I thought being with her grandchildren more often might help. For Mother's Day after Daddy died I had sent money and a card to the florist who had made Jerry's flower arrangement for the funeral, and on the card I wrote:
He called you "Mother", too, and many times
He placed in childish hands the quarters, dimes,
That bought a simple, oft ill-chosen gift for you,
Once again the day has come. This year
You are alone - and sad - but let the tear
Be turned to hope, for once again he'll call you
These flowers ere-long fade, but let them be
While fresh, a pleasant page in memory;
And let them tell you o're and o'er
How much I love you,
* * * * * *
One day Bryan came in and said, "I need you to make me some additional visual aids for my black-light display." He had display boards, two 4 x 8 foot plywood sheets covered with black flannel on which those frightful beasts of Daniel and Revelation; the time charts which "prove" the year 1844 to be the beginning of the "Investigative Judgment"; the woman sitting on the scarlet beast of Revelation seventeen, and many other colorful subjects, paraded as he spoke.
"I want a picture of Adam and Eve clothed in fig leaves, and another of long white robes which can be placed over the fig leaves."
I told him what I would need, and he brought the supplies from town. I never considered myself an artist outside the field of music, so I set up the slide projector, focussed an appropriate slide from his religious slides file onto the double length of poster board, and outlined Adam and Eve in fig leaves." Then I took the black-light paint and finished them out. The white poster board, unpainted, comes out blue under the black-light, so even the white for the robes had to be painted. The figures looked pretty good, and were nearly life-sized.
The topic which necessitated these helps was "Righteousness by faith." The denomination had been struggling with this subject since 1888 when they heard their first sermon stating that Jesus had done it all for us; We can't do anything at all toward our own salvation. Many accepted the joyful news of the Gospel, but those who did either left the church or were gradually sucked back into the old way of trying to get themselves ready for Jesus. What is "grace"? What is "justification"? "Sanctification"?
Justification, according to the Adventists, is forgiveness for past sins only, at conversion, and "In order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience," Ellen White states.5 "It is by continual surrender of the will, by continual obedience that the blessing of justification is retained."6 So, using my art, Bryan explained how we, like Adam and Eve, are clothed in the fig leaves of our own making. So far, so good. But then, Bryan continued, we begin to weave our own righteousness underneath that robe of Jesus', until one day we don't need His covering! Sister White agreed:
"By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God's commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is submerged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought in captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah."7
Perfection is required. While most Christians understand that Jesus is their substitute, that His perfect life substitutes for our imperfect lives, Ellen White tells her followers that "God requires perfection of His children."8 And "when the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own."9 It's a "Yes, but..." situation. Yes, Jesus is our substitute, yes we are Justified by Faith, but we conform to the image of Christ until in spiritual growth we attain unto the full stature in Christ. This is the way Christ ends the curse of sin! Only by continual obedience is our justification retained.10 Discouraging, isn't it? I know the harder I tried, the more I messed up my life, and the less likely it seemed that I'd ever make Heaven. And guess what! In the hundred and fifty years or so since the "Investigative Judgment" began, they haven't produced one perfect person yet! At least, if they have, they've kept it quiet. As kids we used to look around and try to spot some perfect ones, but then those persons would end up saying or doing something which we would decide a perfect person wouldn't do!
There is an interesting passage of scripture in Isaiah 28. God has said "this is the resting place, let the weary rest, but they would not listen. So then, the word of the Lord to them will become: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here and a little there, so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured."(NIV) I didn't know that it is a lot easier to "Come unto me and I will give you rest."11
One day we were discussing - briefly - (we didn't do much doctrinal discussing) the Gift of God in Jesus. I said,
"I don't know how He could do it. I could never give my son for a friend. Much less for an enemy."
"I would," he responded.
So much for natural affection.
* * * * * *
My six year old Jerry fell out of a tree while the men were putting up the tent for another series of meetings, and landed with one knee on a rough glob of dumped concrete. The ligament was exposed and stretched, and he had to go into a cast. He really hated it! Less than two weeks later I found him out in the fish pond where he had soaked the cast off! A real man of action!
One weekend we had a lot of company from our former church in north Carolina. They brought their four kids, and altogether we had a mob! In the course of the day Laurie tossed a claw hammer across the yard and it hit Patti in the head. We rushed her to the doctor for stitches. Fortunately it was not too serious. A couple of hours later, Jerry went topsy-turvy into a six foot drainage ditch, bike and all. We rushed back in with him, but the damage was superficial, just several bad bruises. Instead of thinking how good God had been to us that day, we were berating ourselves because, in all the hubbub, we had forgotten our morning devotions, and Ellen White had specifically instructed us not to neglect family worship, even though there were guests.12 We learned a lesson!
There was a huge, old sawdust pile behind this house. I was not happy to learn that my little sons were walking around on it. Kids have sometimes fallen into hollow places and suffocated, or worse, burned to death where there was smoldering inside for long periods of time.
While we were in town one day I spotted a record of Irving Berlin favorites, and Bryan let me buy it. There was "What'll I do when you are far away, and I'm alone, what'll I do?" and "All Alone, I'm So All Alone... wondering where you are.." I did wonder where Daddy was. I hoped that he really was in Heaven, and not where I had been taught he was. I could hardly listen to those lovely old songs my daddy used to sing, it still hurt so bad. But sometimes, once in a great while when Bryan was away and the children outside playing, I would put that record on and cry so hard the tears should have filled that big dark hole his death left inside me.
One day, listening to a Christian music program on the radio, I heard "Sweeter As the Years Go By" played on the organ, but never had I heard such an organ, or such an arrangement! It took me a while to find out who was playing, but eventually I discovered it was Paul Mickelson! Wow! I bought his first two hymn arrangement books and not only began to play them but used them for study in doing my own arrangements. It's so much fun to take a hymn and rearrange all the harmony. The tune, the message, is still present, but dressed in a new package. Reaction from those listeners with a musical ear is exciting, too.
One day after church a little lady came up to me and said, "Pat, I love your playing. You are the only pianist I have ever known who plays the words." I've considered that one of the finest compliments I ever received, and have encouraged my students to learn to "play the words."
* * * * * *
Bryan wanted to go camping in the lakes region of Canada, so he bought a tent and camping equipment: cookware, lanterns, camp stove, ice chest, sleeping bags; life vests for the children and ski belts for ourselves. We had a Volkswagon beetle and Bryan had an aluminum luggage frame specially built which went all the way back, then down to the bumper. It seemed like a good idea. However, as the trip progressed we had to watch it carefully, as it began to lean. Several times Bryan had to adjust a reinforcement. I doubt the little "bug" was ever the same afterward after hauling the five of us plus all the camping equipment, clothes, and food!
But we made it! Daddy, Mommie, two sons, six and eight years of age, and eighteen month old Patti.
It was a scenic trip, the Virginias and the Appalachian Mountains, through Pennsylvania to Buffalo, and across to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. We were enthralled at the power of the water rushing over the precipice. The spotlessly clean and groomed highways in Canada impressed me tremendously.
Algonquin Provincial Park was wonderful. The boys and their daddy were hand feeding the deer when Laurie was kicked by a buck. I guess he was jealous because Laurie was feeding the other deer. The lake water was much too cold for me, but the boys loved it. They even went back in after we picked leeches off them! But I didn't like to see them on my kids! Ugh!
Bryan wanted to portage up inside the park in the hope of seeing more wildlife, so we rented several backpacks and a canoe, packed our stuff up and started out. The map was several years old, and didn't indicate that some of the lakes were only bogs, and some of the streams were too low to navigate, even in a canoe. As we crossed our first big lake we enjoyed watching the loons and other water birds. We began to notice movement in the water near the shore, and as we watched, two little heads bobbed up near us, checking us out. Otters! I had always thought they were so cute, and it was a treat to see them in the natural.
When we came to the portage, I got out and picked up Patti (she was my pack), and walked about ten feet over to the trail, or what looked like a trail, and dropped instantly up to my thighs in quicksand! It scared me to death! What if it had been six feet deep instead of three?
We found a small lake that was so clear you could see the bottom, where there were fresh water clams aplenty. A rock in the middle of the lake, big as a small house, looked like a safe place to camp. We had seen eyes at night, both orange and red, and not knowing what was out there the rock looked good. We had seen some large gray wolves in cages at the park infirmary, recuperating from injuries or ailments. They were big dudes, without a spark of warmth in their shifty eyes. So we felt safe on our rock. Patti, at only eighteen months, was tied by a nice long rope around her waist to a tree so she wouldn't fall down that twelve foot rock cliff into the water. She still loves to tell people that I "tied her up" when she was a baby.
It was an educational vacation, but I was glad to be home. It was a little soon after my surgery to be carrying an eighteen month baby over rises and across streams and into quicksand!
Shortly after we came home, Bryan thought it would be better to live in Sumter, as he was working there most of the time, so we made another move. For a while we lived in a wonderful old colonial farm home. The boys loved playing in the old out-buildings that housed rusting tools and farm machinery from a time past. Bryan's younger brother, Sonny, had experienced a problem similar to Bryan's San Antonio escapade, with an older preacher's wife, no less, so their parents were relieved to have Sonny come out east with us for a while. It was a peaceful time, and fun, with a teenager, two sons and a beautiful, fair-skinned baby girl with light brown curls falling to her shoulders. She was so pretty, and I kept her dressed so beautifully, that she attracted attention everywhere we went. Bryan was gone most of the time, Sonny found a job, and I cooked and sewed, laughed and played and danced (when Bryan wasn't at home) to Mantovani with all of the kids. Good times don't last long. Sonny fell in love with the church school teacher, then out of love. Then he left, leaving the school teacher devastated.
We had a fire in one of the out-buildings which killed some thoroughbred puppies Bryan was trying to raise, and that dampened our love for the place, especially when one of the men on the fire department said the wiring in the old house wasn't trustworthy. Bryan thought the best idea was a mobile home, so we traded in our furniture for a 10 x 60 home on wheels, a far cry from the spacious old house. Our "upper-class" constituency was not happy for their preacher to live in a "trailer", but when our broken-hearted school teacher called on a Thursday night to say she just couldn't go back and I was in the schoolroom Monday morning, they forgot the mobile home in gratitude that their little church school would not be forced to close. I had eight students in seven grades! We made it, though. I found a system. Every day that all the work was finished we would read from the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder which Mother had sent the boys. They loved the stories, finished their school year, and had the added benefit of the rich American history as portrayed in the Laura books.
When school was out Bryan decided to evangelize Myrtle Beach. He found a lot at the edge of town with a small trailer already on it, asked the Conference for a tent and a helper, and paid down on an 8 x 48 foot trailer for our family to stay in.
His assistant arrived, a college boy whose father was an undersecretary at the General Conference, and who was hoping his baby boy would get some experience which might mature him.
They set up the trailer and brought in the electricity and water, then the Conference van arrived with the tent which had to be erected in the heat of a south Carolina July. Don was a pretty boy, blond, with blue eyes which could look straight into yours while telling a yarn so sincerely! He played well with the boys. Sometimes I would hear them singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" and looking out, could see the three of them marching around and around the chairs in the tent, carrying makeshift flags, and wearing paper hats on their heads.
Bryan said that Don should use my car for visiting and inviting folks to the meetings, so he left every morning with his briefcase and returned in time to prepare for the evening service. Watching him go to my car each morning I wondered, now just what does he have in so large a briefcase? He didn't need a thing but himself to visit people.
One late afternoon I had to run down to the store to pick up a couple of items for supper and I noticed he had left his briefcase in the car. I couldn't resist a look. You guessed it! A beach towel, a swimsuit, a bottle of suntan lotion, and a bar of soap! So much for evangelizing Myrtle Beach!
* * * * * *
I was terribly tired. Bryan would always say I needed more exercise and sun. Back then not even the doctors were aware of lupus, sun allergies, and related illnesses. My family always had three good meals, a clean house, clean clothes; Bryan had me at the organ every night for his meetings; the children had their story time - all this every day without fail. I needed exercise?
One night I was trying to finish reading a library book. The children were in bed, I had done all my duties, and I needed some time to myself. The book was Out of the Night by Jan Valtin, a true story (fiction was forbidden) of a Communist Agent who got caught between the Russians and the Nazis during the World War II. He was one of the comrades sent to incite riots, especially longshoreman strikes in the United States. I always had interest in happenings other than just those involving the church, but Sister White was so negative about her people reading anything other than her writings and the Bible, that I had to choose carefully and read discreetly around Bryan.
The author of my book lost his wife at the hands of the Commies, his baby son was taken from them, and he had no idea what had happened to him. He was beaten with chains by the Nazis until his kidneys bled, and later, when he called from his dark cell for a drink, they made him urinate in a cup and drink it. I have always remembered what he said:
"A man can do worse than drink his own urine."
Well, Bryan wanted me in his bed right now, same as every other night of the world. This time I said no.
"Go on to sleep. I just want to finish my book. He got up another time or two to rail at me, but I just couldn't put the book down. I paid for it for several days with his anger.
I talked to the doctor who had done my surgery. He wasn't much comfort.
"Your problem is not your nerves. You know what your problem is, and I can give you some tranquilizers, but you are the one only one who can get rid of him." He couldn't stand Bryan.
Fatigue and pain were both unknown to Bryan. I was always tired, but since I just "needed exercise", I kept pushing every day of my life. That, I thought, would help keep my weight down, too, as I had to meet a standard on that score with my perfectionist husband, also. Sometimes my legs would hurt from the inside of the bone out, it seemed, but since "everybody hurts", I had to keep that to myself. In spite of recurring kidney and bladder infections, erratic heart action and other strange symptoms, my husband never suspected I could have a problem. He was the son of a doctor, so he knew!
* * * * * *
Word from the General Conference came down. We would be going to Iran. Our family was to be a missionary family! Never mind all the unknown between now and the time we would become "returned missionaries!" I think we were like the little Adventist boy who, noting that the returned missionaries were held in such high esteem by the denomination - wined and dined, so to speak ,said he was going to be a returned missionary when he grew up!
There were many things yet to be done at the General Conference: passports, visas, transportation, packing and crating. We were told to go ahead and take our vacation time. We had bought a camping trailer just before we found out we were leaving, so the only thing to do was get the full benefit from it. We left for the Smokey Mountains, and spent a lovely few days there, enjoying the cold mountain water, the mountains, the black bears digging through the garbage.
One morning Patti said she didn't feel good. She had been sick off and on a lot with fever of unknown origin, and several times with strep throat. I watched her through that day, and her temperature held pretty steady. Next morning, bathing her, I found some blister-like spots on her neck. We had an Adventist doctor friend near the Park, so we decided to drive down to see him. He took a look at Patti and said she had chicken pox. However, since we were planning to leave the country, he wanted to run some tests to discover, perhaps, the reason for her repeated illnesses. I asked him what were my chances of having chicken pox, since I had never had it.
"Nil," he replied. "Adults don't get it." He told me to keep Patti out of the cold mountain water and as quiet as possible, and come back the next day to see the results of her tests.
Next day I had three little blisters behind my ear. Dr. Gardner said,
"No problem. You may have two or three, but not to worry." I forgot that I was known as a "medical freak" as I listened to the results of Patti's tests.
"The urinalysis shows red blood cells on a high level field," he said. "I want to check her in another several days, and then we'll see where to go from there."
The following morning I felt terrible. It was so hard trying to care for Patti while wanting to do nothing but lie down. The men of the family were doing ok with the cooking and cleaning up, and hiking and swimming. I hoped it would pass, but the next day I could not drag myself up. Bryan packed us all up, and down out of the beautiful Smokies we went once more, this time to meet Dr. Gardner at the little Adventist sanitarium where he was on staff. I dragged myself to a chair on the patio and collapsed. The doctor had the nurse come to me to draw blood. In a little bit he came out and said my white blood cell count was extremely high, and he was putting me in the hospital right now!
"What will the kids do with me in the hospital?" I moaned.
"I reckon your husband will just have to find a way to care for them," he replied. So into an isolation room I went. Dr. Gardner would come to the door twice a day and peek in.
"I haven't had chicken pox, either!" he explained. So much for his theory concerning adults and chicken pox!
The second day I was in there, he came in gowned and masked to double-check the nurse's report. He said the virus was moving into my chest, and that could mean several kinds of trouble, since, according to him chicken pox could move into pneumonia, polio, encephalitis, and other problems. So he started me on a tetracycline-based antibiotic since I couldn't take penicillin.
Finally, after five long itching and scratching days Bryan picked me up, and we went home. By then the boys were breaking out with the pox, but they had no complications. Three days after our return I awoke with a lump the size of my thumb in my left breast. Terrified, I was standing outside my physician's door when his nurse opened the office. His conclusion was that the inflammation resulting from the chicken pox had somehow settled in a duct. He said not to worry, just watch it, and he thought it would go away. Doctors were still watching it in Iran two years later, but finally it did go away. Troublesome.
We took Patti to the urologist recommended by Dr. Garldner. He recommended a cystoscopy, so the poor baby was put through the general anesthesia and painful discomfort of that procedure. He came in to talk to us, and said they really didn't find anything positive. One of the ureters seemed to be twisted, "but," he said, "no way would I take my child out of the country where there might not be good medical care. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I feel sure it will either improve or deteriorate when she reaches puberty." He may have been wiser than we knew.
Bryan, however, was absolutely determined to be a missionary. He demanded that I not discuss either Patti's physical problems or mine with any of the General Conference men. We went to the denominationally-owned Washington Sanitarium and Hospital for our physicals. I had read somewhere that a series of long, slow breaths could slow the pulse. Bryan instructed me to lower my pulse as much as I could when I was having my physical. We were pleasantly surprised to discover an old school chum was going to be our physician. I took slow, deep breaths before he listened to my heart. No dummy, he told me to jump for a while so he could check my heart a second time. I got a look from Bryan which said "Keep it slow!" as they left the room. Years later Dr. Clapp told me that he had not recommended us for overseas duty because of both Patti's and my problems. Interesting. Especially so when I discovered that two of the ministers Bryan gave as references also did not recommend us, one of whom told me later that he did not consider our marriage stable enough to take the stress. He had known about our separation as well as the other crises we had been through. So who sent us to Iran?
* * * * * *
Vacation and physicals behind us, Bryan was to "carry on" in his district or as instructed until they were ready for us. The local Conference was exchanging ministers throughout the districts for evangelistic meetings. Bryan was sent to the district of a friend, Bert Barry, a college classmate. He had played first chair trumpet at Southern Missionary, and Bryan had complained because he didn't have that position, himself.
The children and I drove up the first Sabbath to be with him. I'll never forget my three little ones standing up in front of the church, the boys in their blue cord suits and Patti in a dark blue organdy over white petticoats, singing Allitsen's "The Lord Is My Light", every note, beat and nuance accurate against the powerful accompaniment I played for them. The people were amazed. They had never heard young children singing such heavy music. Patti was three and a half.
We went back to Sumter the next day. Later in the week Bryan and Bert drove down. I wondered why Bert sat in the car. I had gone to school with him at Madison, and his father had baptized me.
"Why didn't Bert come in?" I asked. But Bryan's answer was to grab me by the hand and pull me to the bedroom.
"What on earth?" I demanded. "What's wrong?" So I got the story. Seems that Bert and his family always held hands around the table as they offered thanks, and Bryan had been seated by Bert's lovely , petite wife.
"And every time she touches my hand I can hardly stand it, I get so excited."
"So you have run down here to use me while Bert is sitting out there in the car, knowing why you're here?"
"What's wrong with that?" Bryan looked at me defiantly.
"Forget it. Just forget it. If you think I'm going to help you out with the children in and out and Bert sitting out there in that car, just forget it!" I was outraged and embarrassed, but Bryan couldn't understand why.
"We'll talk about this when I get back," he said as he left.
One day after Bryan returned from his meetings he called me back to the bedroom. He was holding a shiny magazine in his hands.
"Look at this!" His eyes were glittering. I looked. Briefly. I didn't know there were women who permitted pictures of themselves in those positions and with that lack of clothes. Boy, was I naive.
"Where did you get that thing?"
"Oh, I found it out in back of the trailer when I was cleaning up." We got into quite a row about what was right and what was wrong sexually. I thought the pictures would appeal to only the sick, sick, sick. It ended with Bryan looking at me coldly and saying, very deliberately,
"The Bible says you are supposed to submit to me. That means your body belongs to me. I can do what I want to with it." I can't believe that I agreed to go so far away from home under those circumstances. The battle lines were drawn. There are some things no one would ever do to my body!
Someone asked me not long ago what I thought about the falling televangelists.
"What I think," I replied, "is that there's nothing wrong with a minister being faithful to, and considerate of, his wife!"
There are more than 125 references in the New Testament to sexual purity, self-control, unnatural relations, fornication - from which comes our word pornography - and lust. God's forgiveness covers any and all sins - thank Goodness! And when any minister falls all his peers rush to remind us of that forgiveness. Well and good. But what of the loyal, suffering wife who has to get back in the bed with that tumbled minister? Doesn't anyone care about her? She is the recipient of my sympathies. And fellows, is God's hand so short that He cannot lift lust in response to the sincere request made in faith?
* * * * * *
We were moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to hold a series of meetings which should about fill up the rest of our time before we were to leave. We pulled our mobile home up there and lived in it while Bryan and his helper set up a bubble tent. A fan, blowing constantly, held the tent up. A revolving door had to be used so that air would be forced into the bubble as it was let out. There was very little interest in the town.
We were called back to Myrtle Beach for a funeral one day. Hurricane Donna was blowing in, growing stronger by the minute. As we were returning after the service we watched a Volkswagon beetle with two people in it literally picked up by the wind, then set down some twenty feet away, perpendicular to the highway! We were worried about the "Bubble", but the assistant had known to let the air out, so it had survived.
Two weeks before we left Fayetteville we sold the mobile home and moved into the tiny camping trailer. It was incredibly cramped. In nice weather the kids were outside most of the day, but when it rained it was awful. During this time we were taking our immunization shots. I had some problems with the everlasting allergies. A spot had to be removed from my foot, and the novocaine used for deadening caused a hot rash which climbed up to my knee. I sat, sewing, with an ice pack on my leg. Knowing that I was allergic to both bovine and horse serum, and the tetanus shots being imperative, Dr. L. drew out 2 cc of Benadryl and injected it with the tetanus. We both laughed at the bulbous lump on my arm. It looked funny, but it worked. We had small pox, tetanus, polio, typhoid and para-typhoid. We were ready for anything!
The meetings came to an end, and the furniture that was going to Iran with us had gone on to Long Island to be crated for the journey. We were told we would be going on a freighter of the Norwegian Concordia line. A freighter took twelve passengers in first class accommodations. More than twelve would have required having a doctor aboard. The Concordia Taleb would be taking us all the way through the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and up the Persian Gulf to Khorramshar, Iran. It was beginning to feel exciting. There was to be a North American Youth Congress in Atlantic City - they were calling it "Festival of the Holy Scriptures" - and two of the pastors' sons in our conference wanted to ride their bicycles there. The parents refused until Bryan got the idea of joining them. Other bikers were coming into Atlantic City for the fun and the publicity. Bryan said I should pull the little travel trailer along with them, so we packed in plenty of Adventist foods and our clothes for the meetings, and started out. I would pull the trailer up to them, follow a little while, then move ahead until I found a park or place I could pull over and prepare a meal for them. We went from High Point, North Carolina 600 miles north to Atlantic City through Durham, Rocky Mount, Elizabeth City; Norfolk, Virginia; across the mouth of Chesapeake Bay into Maryland; Delaware; and to Atlantic City. The long trek accomplished, the newspaper came out and took pictures of all the bikers. Lots of miles for so small a reward, I thought!
There is a marvelous pipe organ in the huge auditorium where the Youth Congress was held. I thoroughly enjoyed the music, and would have been even more impressed had a master of the instrument performed on it.
But the most important thing that happened to us there was meeting the Blendens. Elder Blenden was raised in Iran where his parents had been the first Adventist missionaries to that country, and he and his wife and children had been there many years already. They were home on furlough. They had invaluable advice for us. Such as, have the the folks at the shipping service to pack toilet tissue in and around everything - washing machine, piano, and every little nook and cranny.
"It's good packing material, it's lightweight, and," Mrs. Blenden said with a grin, "It's very necessary. They don't have toilet tissue in Iran."
We would need transformers for all our electric appliances and equipment, as the electricity was 50 cycle instead of our 60 cycle. I had thought we should go as light as possible, but she advised us to take everything we could "as you will need to make your life as normal as possible."
I have sat in Assembly of God and Christian Church services, listening to their missionaries raising funds so they could take their family into mission service. I felt so sorry for him. If those churches have faith in the man, why don't they get behind him? That's one thing you can say for the Adventists. Since they believe they have the only truth, they pay all the expenses of their missionaries, and support them in a way to make their life as comfortable as possible as they spread their gospel.
We left Atlantic City for a visit with both our families before sailing. The children and I went on ahead on the train to Little Rock where Mother was living with her new husband, while Bryan did a couple more weeks work for the Conference. Mother had a nice home with a huge yard the children enjoyed. She was happy in her teaching and in her marriage. I had never seen her so content. The place was hers, bought with the money from the properties Daddy had left. Her husband, Leo, was fishing in the pond on Mother's old place when she found him. She rescued him from alcoholism, rehabilitated him, and he was grateful. He seemed to be devoting his life to making her happy. He was easy-going, and simply would not be frustrated or angry when she became nervous or upset.
I decided since we were starting a new era of our lives, I should put the past completely behind. I looked through Mother's attic for a certain box I had left with her, and burned all the letters in it - letters from the heads of Southern Missionary College when Bryan and I were separated, letters concerning other incidents, including those from Nita and her husband. If I had known what was ahead, I wouldn't nave been in such a hurry to build that fire. I had to burn the letters I was receiving from Bryan at that time, too, as they were always x-rated.
* * * * * *
Mother had bought a Norman Luboff record entitled "Moments to Remember" and I put it on the turntable out of curiosity. I had never heard the Norman Luboff group before. Wow! I fell in love with it. Mother noticed that I listened to it several times a day and said,
"I only bought that for one song. The rest are too worldly for me. I really feel guilty listening to them. You may have the record if you like it. Go ahead. Take it."
Ah, those wonderful Latin beats of "Tangerine", "Flamingo", "South of the Border"; the gentle "Sleepy Lagoon", "Time Was", and "I Don't Want To Walk Without You"; the upbeat "Paper Doll", and "Taking a Chance on Love" - I never tired of that record. In fact, I still have it, as well as several other Norman Luboff recordings.
Bryan arrived and we left for South Texas to visit his folks. The children always enjoyed the big old house and farm on the flat, flat land of the "Valley", especially with their cousins there. Then we returned to Little Rock for a few more days. Bryan had the service in Little Rock that Sabbath and someone had chosen "O Zion Haste" for the closing hymn. When the stanza came around - Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious, Mother broke down, and others of her friends around the congregation joined in. Bryan's sister and her husband had brought his mother up to see us off. Mother said Mrs. Dulane cried uncontrollably after we left. It was harder for all of them, staying behind, than for us with the excitement of the unknown before us, and especially for Bryan's mother, losing her favorite child.
Everything was sold except the car and the 8 x 48 mobile home we had lived in at Myrtle Beach. It was rented, and the rent payments would be sent back to an account we were keeping in Little Rock. Bryan had Mother's name put on it so she could do any business he might need. His folk were planning to move to Honduras in Central America, where his sister and brother-in-law were feeding hungry children and starting a school, so they wouldn't be able to care for his business. It would be a year before they had everything worked out for Dr. Dulane to retire to Honduras, but they were looking forward to it. Little did Bryan know that he would never see his dad again.
Dr. Oldstream, now living in Pennsylvania, was going to buy our car. We had stayed the last night of our trip with him and his wife, and he went with us on to New York City, where he unloaded us at the Piccadilly Hotel, and left us there. It was a lovely hotel in those days, "Home of the famous Piccadilly Circus Lounge", it said on its postcards (I wouldn't, of course, have a chance to see the lounge"); in the center of everything". Ben Hur was playing on Times Square and the billing was in great flashing letters. I desperately wanted to see it, but it was forbidden for us to go to movies. I always had a problem with that. The colleges of the Church would show The Sound of Music, but it was wrong for those of us living away from the college to take our kids to see it in the theater? It was November the first, and we were sailing on the fourth. The boys were sick with something, probably the water - so we stayed in the room while Bryan went to the shipping service where our things were being crated. He returned with bad news. The Hammond Organ couldn't go with us. Its motor wouldn't work on 50 cycles, even with the transformer. So we had to trade organs, and fast! Bryan went out and found a couple of organs for me to look at, but in the end he had to choose one which I would not see until it was uncrated in Iran. I feared, even after he described it to me, that I might not like it. However, I was to be pleasantly surprised. That little Conn Caprice had more true organ sound in it than any other spinet organ I have ever played. Even at its tiny size, the coupled sounds on the upper manual began to approach what I had loved on the Mickelson records.
We had a day left. The boys were better, so we rushed out to do our clothes shopping. We had done a lot of it, but there was still some money left for the purpose, and expecting to be gone at least five years, maybe even seven, we couldn't take too many clothes. Shoes in Iran were all of a wide width, and since we all had narrow feet, we couldn't take too many shoes. We took underwear in increasing sizes for the boys and Patti, as well as socks for everyone and hose for myself.
Finally the day arrived and we climbed the gangplank of the Concordia Taleb. The captain greeted us and the steward showed us to our cabins. There were two doubles and a single, truly first class. It was only the second run for the Taleb, and the highly polished wood of the beds and closet doors, tables and chairs, looked brand new. There were thick, dark green carpets on the floors. Our room contained, in addition to the bunks, a small couch and coffee table and one chair. There were two portholes we could look out. The ship was completely air conditioned and ultra modern.
It was election day 1960 when we boarded our ship, preparatory to sailing the next day. There was no problem about our voting. No, we had not done it absentee, as we didn't vote! Sister White had said that we cannot vote with safety, as we don't really know the candidates, and once in they might "set in operation oppressive measures to lead or compel their fellow men to keep Sunday as the Sabbath."13 A Catholic man, John F. Kennedy, was running for President.
We settled in our cabins, and looked around the ship. The boys were having a ball exploring. The crew was in for a treat. I doubt they had ever had such lively young passengers for so long a cruise.
Next morning we were stunned to learn that Mr. Kennedy had won the election. The trauma of leaving home for five years was greatly increased, for we knew we would never see the lovely Lady in the Harbor again. All of the predictions the church had made about the Mark of the Beast were coming to pass! The Catholics were suddenly at the head of our country, and the upcoming National Sunday laws and the death sentence to be carried out against all who did not keep Sunday holy would surely transpire before we could return. We thought maybe our move was in God's plan to keep us safe from the atrocities which Sister White said the Catholic Church would commit against her enemies - Sabbathkeepers - in America!
* * * * * *
Eating on the ship was like attending a formal banquet three times a day. The chef was French, as was the cuisine. Breakfast was whatever you wanted, and lunch was a buffet - man! In the center was a huge cow's tongue which really intrigued me. As vegetarians we had never even seen one. In fact, we didn't know people ate cow's tongues! There were olives and radishes and lemon slices on toothpicks decorating the tongue. Funny thing, no one ever touched that tongue. It sat on that buffet for ten days, and not a soul sliced a piece off it. There were gourmet salads, sometimes made with beets and other vegetables I had never used in a salad. And the thinnest little pancakes, with jelly rolled up inside of them and a dollop of cream on top. I learned they were called French crepes. After we had been on the ship awhile, we requested some American-style ice cream, and they came up with a fair substitute.
Dinner was in courses. There were three glasses at each plate; for water, beer and wine. They had prepared well for vegetarians, as the General Conference had let them know about us. It was good food, though not exactly what we were used to.
We had not needed the Dramamine the doctor had sent with us, and I was proud of us. The Captain's table, where everyone except our family sat, was crosswise the ship. But they had placed us together as a family at a table that was lengthwise the ship, and we looked out the window at the horizon. The third or fourth day out, we were experiencing more rise and fall than we had so far in the Atlantic. As I watched that horizon ascend, then descend lower than I could see, I suddenly had the feeling that if I took one more bite I would be in trouble! Several days of Dramamine grew me some sea legs, and soon I quit the medication. Then all I had to worry about was not eating too much of that fine French food!
Our captain had a little girl at home, so it was natural that he fell in love with our Patti. Jerry sat and watched a lady passenger playing chess until she invited him to learn, and soon he was spending a lot of time with her and her chess board. I wasn't comfortable with the situation, since Sister White had condemned chess along with other games, but Bryan said since there was so little to do on the ship, it would be okay. I had brought my sewing machine aboard to help me stay busy, but since the ship had direct current, the stewardess lent me the ship's machine to use, and I made several little dresses for Patti.
We enjoyed watching the porpoises and other fish jumping in the ocean, and every day we walked the decks for exercise. Time got a bit heavy on our hands in the Atlantic. I worked two 500-piece jigsaw puzzles and one with 1000 pieces. The officers came in daily to check my progress. They said no one had finished the big one before. The lounge was like a very nice living room, and most of us spent a lot of time there. I read all the books on board which included "An American in Rome" and "Soroya", the story of the well-loved, deposed queen of Iran. A sad story. There was also a book about the nomadic peoples of the country. I memorized Wilt Carleton's "First Settler's Story", a story-length poem, while Bryan was trying to memorize an entire book of the Bible, and the boys had schoolwork to keep up with.
One morning in the Atlantic we woke up to the sound of dozens of voices which we thought at first were speaking another language. We discovered that we had anchored off the Azores during the night. We had cargo for the US Military Base there - cargo like dump trucks, bulldozers, and other equipment needed for building a dock there, and it was being unloaded onto barges.
We listened with concentration, trying to decipher what we heard, and I began to understand some of what they were saying and discovered they were our own servicemen - speaking Brooklynese!
The next stop was Tenerife in the Canary Islands. It was like stepping off into the pictures you've seen of old Spain. There are those who believe the Azores and Canaries are the tips of the mountains left sticking out of the water when the continent of Atlantis sank. I surely can't vouch for it, but a study of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge leaves room for some conjecture on the matter. Vendors came out to the ship in boats. Bryan, unusually generous, permitted me to buy a black lace scarf and some "TABU". We had time to take a quick walk down the main street of Tenerife while the ship unloaded cargo.
Several days out from the Canaries someone yelled, "Gibraltar ahead!" Bryan grabbed the camera and we all ran to the side of the ship. It was a bit hazy, but even at a distance we could make out "The Rock!" Then we had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. One of the ships heading out of the Mediterranean passed between us and Gibraltar, and its name was - guess! PRUDENTIAL, can you believe that? Bryan rushed to get a picture which included the ship and The Rock. He got it, but alas, it was the last shot on the roll, and a bit of the stern is chopped off. The proof survived, however, and the ship's name is clearly seen.
Our first stop in the Mediterranean was at Marseilles, the third largest city in France. It was strange to see the Hammer and Sickle flag flying over some of the ships in the harbor.
We were allowed to go ashore and spent the whole day delighting in the new sights and sounds. We could see the ruins left by the German bombings of World War II off to the left as we went into the city from the dock. I remembered all the horrors of the war about which I had read, and was thankful I had not experienced it. We walked through the markets and saw all the things the French people eat; slipping, sliding, wiggling and crawling in their various bins. A little much for a vegetarian! We strolled through dark, narrow streets and looked at the tiny shops, bought some Dutch chocolate bars, and Bryan was accosted by a lady of the streets - in the presence of his family! I never decided if that was an accepted practice or if she was giving an obviously American couple something to write home about! Great for the male ego, at any rate!
We took a cab up to Marseille's landmark, Notre-Dame de la Garde, with its gilded statue of the Virgin. Built high upon a hill, the cathedral looks out over a stunning scene: port, city, hills and sea. I did not enjoy the great church as I should have. Always afraid of the Catholics, I could not see the sacrifice all the little everyday people had made in order to erect a monument to their God, and the gentle woman who bore His Son.
Our very worst seas of the entire trip occurred in the middle of a Wednesday night in the Mediterranean out of Genoa, more accurately, the Ligurian Sea. I slept right through it! Good sailor by now, huh? The pilot had come out to bring the Taleb into harbor, and due to the roughness of the sea he banged our ship up when docking it. Our Captain was really unhappy about his new vessel having a big dent in it. He announced Thursday morning that we would be in port over the weekend so that he could contact Concordia's insurance company and have someone come and assess the damage. We were wishing we were not so far from Rome. Bryan asked a few questions and discovered that we could take the train to Rome and have Friday and Sabbath to see Rome! Not very long, but absolutely worth it! The steward helped Bryan locate the proper person and have our passports stamped so we could go.
Seating in the train was different from our trains in the United States. We were in a little compartment which our family almost filled by itself! We rode through the night so missed the scenery. On arrival in Rome Bryan called the headquarters of the Church and a nice young man came out and took us to a hotel "for one night", he said, "and a better room will be available tomorrow." He left us and we prepared to rest. There was no tub, just a sink, basin and bidet. The kids didn't care - they seldom minded missing a bath. The hotel was not bad, but it wasn't heated well enough for me. Next morning we discovered the "Continental Breakfast." Hard rolls and coffee. The poor servers had five non-coffee drinkers on their hands, so they very graciously heated milk for us, and brought out some butter for the rolls. I bet they never had folks consume as many rolls with hot milk as my little family did! We were used to a large breakfast. Sister White had said that breakfast should be the largest meal of the day,14 and I tried hard to follow her counsel.
The Communist headquarters in Rome was in the same block as the hotel. It didn't feel right to have that sign on out in the open.
The young man from the Conference Office was very kind, and took us around at a fast pace to some of the interesting outlying places: the catacombs, the Appian Way, the Circus Maximus.
The catacombs, originally called "coemeteria" - cemetery - were the original burial places of the early Christians. Burial or burning of a dead body in the city of Rome was strictly forbidden, so subterranean tunnels at several levels were cut into the tufa stone outside the old circle of walls. It is estimated that the fifty-two known catacombs in Rome, if laid end to end, would total at least 360 miles in length!
Although some recent statements deny that the early Christians hid in the Catacombs to escape persecution, our guide not only said that they hid there, he showed us the symbols carved into the stone, presumably as a means of signaling the presence or the direction of passage, of other Christians. The first letters of the Greek words, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour, spell the Greek word, fish. That's how the ichthus, the fish, became the primary symbol for the early Christians. Other carvings and symbolic decorations to be seen in the Catacombs are olive trees, doves, palms and vines. Along the network of tunnels and walls of the stairs are rectangular niches for the bodies, which were once closed with marble or other type of tombstone. The larger chambers were used for chapels. During the seventh century many bodies of martyrs were moved to churches, and gradually, as the cemeteries lost their use; even the location of the entrances of most of them were forgotten.
Anyone fleeing there to hide these days would have to carry along a large metal - cutting device, as there are locked iron gates down most of the passages to prevent tourists from entering and becoming lost in the maze of tunnels. As I walked through the labyrinth I tried to imagine myself there with my three precious children, looking for a place to keep them safe, wondering what I was going to feed them, and what the future held. I thought the issue of our life on earth was the Saturday Sabbath. I truly didn't know if I could let us die for that. The question is: Is the Sabbath your Christ? Or is Jesus Christ your Sabbath, in Whom you rest from all those works with which you are trying to make yourself fit for Heaven?
The Via Appia, considered "the queen of roads", built in 312 B.C., is the longest, widest and finest of the Roman roads. Paved with polygonal slabs of basalt brought from the hills, it crossed marshland, valleys, streams and mountains. It was fascinating to stand there, looking at those stones, and imagine the great Apostle Paul walking along those very stones! I didn't appreciate Paul so much then, as I had never seriously studied the powerful message of freedom in Christ which he preached. I took Sister White's word for everything, and she said we must live in harmony with God's law, day by day, hour by hour, with special effort on our part, in perfect obedience to all of God's commandments.15
Looking down the Via Appia, I also wondered why we can't build roads which hold up for 2300 days without repair, much less 2300 years!
Around 26 B.C. Agrippa built a temple to all gods in order to create the ideal center for the new area of the city in the Campus Martius. Completely rebuilt between 120 and 125 by the Emperor Hadrian, the Pantheon consists of two distinct parts, a portico with columns, and a gigantic circular chamber with a cupola, which is all I was aware of when I first walked in. It is the largest existing cupola built in brickwork up to our time, two feet and six inches wider than St. Peter's. More than any other building, it represents the genius of the Roman architects and builders. It is perfectly equal in diameter and height (141 feet, 9 inches). The cupola is supported by a massive wall, which is lightened by eight large openings, two with arches for the entrance and the apse, and six with architraves. Columns supporting the architraves all over the huge chamber, as well as the floor and other portions are of old gold and pavonazzo marble - a veined marble of red, violet, or purple. That was a surprise to me, as the only marble I had ever seen was in courthouses and bathrooms!
I'm no architect, and I cannot competently describe the Pantheon to you. You'll just have to go see it! And when the light comes down through the 30-foot wide eye in the summit of the cupola, you will understand, as you watch the shadows and light on all the gold marble and bronze, why I can't put in mere words the beauty of this almost 2000 year-old monument of which the great Michelangelo said it was not of human, but angelic design!
The only equestrian monument of an emperor which has come down to our time is the majestic likeness of Marcus Aurelius in the Campidoglio. We were told that legend has it when the gold is completely gone from the 1800 year-old statue, the world will end. I walked around and around it, to see how much is left. Not much, but I don't know how fast it wears away!
* * * * * *
Our Adventist preacher-guide took us to the Lateran church to see "Pilate's Staircase," which was believed to have been miraculously transported from Jerusalem to Rome. Martin Luther, the great reformer, wishing to obtain an indulgence promised by the pope to all who should ascend on their knees, was humbly creeping up those steps when the statement from Scripture burst into his memory - again. Twice before he had been impressed with
"The just shall live by faith!'
The implication of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ alone finally jolted him away from the superstitions of a religion of works.16 I could easily envision Luther on those stairs, but I really had no idea what "faith" implied.
The Triumphal Arches were erected to be harmonious additions to the city by serving as entrances to monumental zones. We saw the arches of Titus (A.D. 81-86), Constantine (A.D. 316) and on the Forum, that of Septimius Severus (A.D. 203). We didn't have time to really get involved with either the Arches or the Forum. I simply must return someday with a portable stool and a change of ragged, comfortable old shoes!
The Forum, or Square, built in a small, drained valley, was the political, religious and commercial nerve center of Republican Rome. Triumphal ceremonies, processions, trials, and political elections were held there involving such historical greats as Cicero, Caesar Augustus, Cato, Silla, Tiberius, and many others. I stood looking at the ruins of the Curia, the Senate, and tried to imagine the world-changing decisions made right there. Did Diocletian stand right over there when he announced his determination to revive the old religion and do away with the Christians? What fear and horror, living with, working for, serving, the madman Caligula up there on the Paladin? And what a waste of human lifetimes in the worship at the temples of Vesta and Dioscuri, I thought.
The Mamertine Prison, twelve feet underground, lightless, clammy, traditionally held both Paul and Peter during Nero's persecution of the Christians. Since Paul was under house arrest in Rome, it is not certain that he was ever in the prison. There is no factual evidence that Peter ever got to Rome, although it is likely. If so, he was surely in prison at some point in time.
As we went down the steps to the prison, the guide pointed to an indentation in the stone wall" where St. Peter's head hit the wall when he was pushed by one of the guards." I jerked around to face him, and he gave me a look which said, Dare to contradict me. I was the only one asking a lot of questions, so I guess that was the reason I got the look! Poor Peter. What was his attitude? His first letter is largely concerned with the undeserved suffering of the Christians, probably because of persecution. Resist the devil, he admonished the young church, "standing firm in your faith, remembering that the strain is the same for all your fellow-Christians in other parts of the world. And after you have borne these sufferings a very little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to share his eternal splendor through Christ, will himself make you whole and secure and strong. All power is his forever and ever, amen!"17
And Paul - how did he react? In a letter to Timothy, he wrote, "As for me, I feel that the last drops of my life are being poured out for God. The time for my departure has arrived. The glorious fight that God gave me I have fought, the course that I was set I have finished, and I have kept the faith. The future for me holds the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the true judge, will give to me in that day."18
Yet, Paul was human. "Do your best to come to me as soon as you can." He got lonely, too.
We had a quick look at the Circus Maximus, estimated seating capacity: 250,000! That is where those thrilling horse races a la Ben Hur were held, as well as marvelous spectacles involving elephants. Horses, however, were the big deals. It is said that the Circus was in use 240 days every year, as the Romans invented any kind of festivity as an excuse for horse racing in every conceivable shape and form.
Not far from the Circus was a cage with a live wolf, as a monument to Romulus and Remus, motherless twin boy babies who were suckled and nurtured by a female wolf. Tradition, legend and truth are so mixed into the history of Rome that I took some things with the proverbial "grain of salt".
Our brother from the Conference headquarters could not take us around on that Sabbath, so after attending the service in the little Adventist church Bryan absolved us of Sabbath-breaking, and since one of the young men of the church offered to show us around, we had a fleeting view of several other places. I got pinched on the backside as we were riding the bus to the Coliseum. Bryan was upset about it, but I had read in some of my travel books that it was considered a compliment and should be laughed off. Our meager knowledge of Spanish was of some value in Italy, as it is so nearly like Italian that we could communicate after a fashion.
The real name of the Coliseum is the Flavian Amphitheater. Begun in the year A.D.72 under Vespasian, the inauguration under Emperor Titus in the year 80 was marked by 100 days of festivities, during which 9000 wild beasts were killed and some 2000 gladiators lost their lives! I could see the crowds in their colorful flowing robes; the Emperor and important dignitaries and Vestal Virgins on their podiums, laughing and talking along with the 50,000 other spectators, all waiting for the show to begin. The gladiators, usually slaves specially trained for this purpose, enter and parade to the Emperor's podium where they bow and shout,
"Caesar, those about to die salute you!" Suddenly, as the ferocious beasts enter the arena, semi-starved to produce hunger, an earthshaking roar arises from the monstrous circular structure. The animals rush their opponents. The bloody fight is on. Leaping, clawing, and biting - will the beast kill the gladiator? Or will the man win? It is a fight to the finish. One or the other must die. The yells of the crowd are heard for miles as some of the beasts lie bleeding on the arena floor; some of the gladiators are being torn apart, their still warm flesh quivering under the onslaught of the steely jaws.
Then another scenario comes to my mind. I see being dragged into the arena a group of gentle-appearing people of all ages, including little children. Again the screams of the massive audience fill the city as the hungry brutes are released from the cages, and lunge at the unarmed people on the floor. What have they done to deserve to die in this cruel fashion? They have only refused to do homage to the Roman Gods. So Peter wrote: "Dear friends, don't be surprised at the trials you are suffering, wondering why some strange thing is happening to you. Rather, rejoice that you are worthy to have a part in the sufferings of Christ. If you suffer as a Christian, don't be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name."19 Could I handle that? Could you?
* * * * * *
One thing that really upset me about Rome was all those little brass plaques. Kiss this plaque and receive forgiveness for fourteen sins. Or nine. Or twelve. I didn't yet realize that my religion of works-righteousness was not different from kissing a plaque, counting beads, or any other type of penance. Martin Luther, in his De servo arbitrio, stated, "The righteousness of faith...does not consist in any works, but in the favorableness of God, and in God's imputation through grace." And the Apostle Paul in Romans one calls the Gospel "the power for the salvation of everyone who believes. For in the Gospel a righteousness is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last!"
My problem was that I had lived always in an environment where the members preferred the simplistic writings of Ellen White to the sturdy, virile depths of the Scripture. The Bible is heavy, man! I think that believing, merely having faith in the free salvation offered by Jesus seems just too simple for do-it-yourselfers!
We just had to pack in a visit to the Castel Sant' Angelo. I had always wanted to see inside one. In fact, the way I love big, old houses, I really think I should own a castle! Originally, around A.D.130, the structure was erected as the Mausoleum of Hadrian. The monument was transformed into a fortress from as early as the third century, and became the keystone defensive system on the right bank of the Tiber. After we entered, we started climbing the ramp which is wide enough for a good-sized chariot. We walked and walked around and around, and once the guide said, "Look up." As we looked we could see all the way to the top of the castle, where a window-like hole opened into the side of the wall. After we arrived at the top-most room, we understood what we had seen. In the small room was a vat in which oil could be brought to a high heat. As invaders rushed up the ramp, boiling oil, raining down from the opening, would give them pause! Also in the tower room was a slab four or so feet long, the head of which ended at a window that looked out over the mote. That was for the really bad guys to lie on while being decapitated! You might say they "lost their heads", right down into the mote!
Partway back down, by the stairs, we reached the living quarters, many rooms and halls, all of which opened into a large courtyard, almost like a park, with small trees in large containers, and benches against the walls. One could imagine the young mothers and nannies sitting in the shade while the toddlers ran and played on the stone floor.
When Pope Nicholas III undertook the rebuilding of the Vatican Palace and gardens, he also built a protected secret passageway between the castle and the Vatican, which was used frequently by popes in time of danger.
We would have time to visit St. Peter's Basilica Sunday morning before we were due to meet our train back to Genoa, so we hobbled back to the hotel on our sore feet, and gladly "hit the sack" for a night's rest.
Next morning, as we were standing on the curb waiting for a traffic light a lady moved closer to me and pointing to Patti asked, in English,
"Your daughter?" I smiled at her and replied,
"Yes, she is."
"She is very beautiful!"
"Thank you. Thank you very much!" I gave her a bigger smile. "I think so, too!"
She wished us a good day and went on. I had dressed Patti in pink dress and tights, over which she wore a brown and pink coat with pink pom-poms on the ends of the tie. A pink knitted hat was over her golden-brown hair. I thought my sons attractive, too. All three children were well-behaved and obedient, as well as beautiful, and everyone noticed.
The Pope was to appear in a window overlooking the piazza that morning, to address and bless the crowd. We were in plenty of time for the event. I was not prepared for the reaction of the hundreds of people packed into the Piazza. I was standing close beside the splendid fountain, admiring, when suddenly there was a hush and a kind of soft "whoosh" as all the people fell to their knees right there on the pavement. There were only two or three other than ourselves who remained standing. I looked up in the direction everyone was bowing and could see that a banner had been dropped out of the window, and the Pope was standing there, pronouncing a blessing on us! If Peter was the first pope, there have really been some changes. Remember when he went to minister to Cornelius? Cornelius met him and fell at his feet with reverence, and Peter chided him.
"Stand up. I'm just a man, myself."20
* * * * * *
It is said that Michelangelo was the greatest artistic genius of all time. His mastery of sculpture and painting are unrivaled. He was also a poet. Although he did not consider himself an architect, much of what you see at St. Peter's Basilica, and especially the magnificent dome attests otherwise. A book you may borrow from the library and which includes many color plates is about the best I can offer you on the subject of St. Peter's Basilica. If I regaled you with descriptions of all the monuments, sculptures, altars, tombs, frescoes, apses, columns and cornices, you still would not comprehend the flood of emotion which overtakes one upon entering the stupendous structure. The portico, or vestibule, and the nave were constructed after the death of Michelangelo by Maderno, who considered the portico his most impressive creation. The ribs and relief-work of the great tunnel vault with its plethora of gold detail, the antique pillars, Ionic columns, huge bronze door, and the end vistas of Constantine's and Charlemagne's equestrian statues, certainly substantiate Maderno's pride in his work.
As we entered the great nave, I stopped in my tracks, overawed. I didn't realize that I wasn't even breathing. Space, vastness, was the first fact I had to comprehend. Then, color. 273 columns, 180 statues, in all shades of color. I didn't know marble came in so many varieties. Pure white, white with veins; many shades of red, purple, gold, blue-gray, green; many of them veined and variegated; black.
A lot of gold overlay added highlights. I needed months to assimilate what I was seeing, and would need months to describe it. Several things which stood out as I started down the nave were the Holy Water Stoups, the Baptistry, the Baldacchino, and St. Peter, himself!
The Holy Water Stoups are mounted on the first two piers facing one another across the nave. A couple of darling, chubby, winged putti (often called cherubs), carved of white marble, hold up a shell of yellow marble. The entire piece is swathed in blue-gray drapery, also marble, but you almost have to touch it to be sure it's not slipper satin! How did they get that marble so smooth? An American couple had flown to Rome with their new baby explicitly for his baptism in St. Peter's and the ceremony was in progress as we were there. The first chapel of the south aisle had been converted into the baptistry about 1694. Its walls are lined with polychrome (multi-colored) marbles against which are set little side tables of porphyry - purple stone with crystals, and rich bronze. The center of interest is , of course, the rose-violet porphyry font, and the beautiful gilded bronze cover of cherubs, swirls, and vines, crowned with a gold lamb representing the Lamb of God. Breathtaking!
Looking straight down the nave I could see through the baldacchino to the cattedra, or main altar. The baldacchino theoretically is a canopy. In fact, however, it is a canopy-like structure as tall as the Farnese Palace, the greatest of Renaissance times. It is built slightly off-center under the gigantic dome, so as to be exactly over the "Apostle's tomb". The canopy and four supporting spiral columns are of bronze, opulent with olive foliage, naked children and bees, Pope Urban's insignia. Pagan and Christian motifs intermingle strangely all over the masterpiece of baroque art, from the rich altar below, up the Bronze pillars, across the canopy with its sun heads, the Holy Dove, the crown with a ball with bees on it, and topped with a cross!
For centuries a chair believed to have been sat in by the Apostle Peter had been on view. It has four legs of yellow oak to which iron rings were once attached. Solid panels between the legs and the arcaded back with pointed crest are of acacia wood, inlaid with ivory. Because the years, as well as relic hunters, were taking their toll on it, Bernini, creator of the Baldacchino, schemed to enshrine it. Hence, when I looked at the Cattedra Petri - the Throne of Peter - I did not see the worn old chair. I saw a bronze throne overlaid with gold, seemingly floating in the clouds high above the altar, surrounded by two of the Church fathers and two Saints of the Greek Church. The papal tiara crowns the throne, and two cherubs hold the golden keys. The old chair is ensconced in the back of the grand golden throne. Behind and above the throne rise golden clouds, and above the clouds in an explosion of rays cherubs and angels point to a central vision in brown and yellow glass of the Holy Dove with out spread wings.
* * * * * *
It must be remembered that when I was in Rome, I had this overwhelming fear of Catholicism and a tremendous lack of appreciation for the arts. I knew I was seeing marvelous things, and fantastic history, but I knew so little of art and literature, thanks to the negative attitude of Ellen White regarding art, music, and literature and the dinky little unqualified schools I attended. Even the music I had studied was promoted by my mother and not Ellen White, who said that baking bread was much more important to a girl than music. While I realize that many of the marvelous objects I saw in Rome were paid for by taxing and the sale of indulgences, much of it was given out of a sincere desire in the hearts of the contributors as well as the builders to present to God a beautiful offering. Have you ever read about Solomon's temple?21
There is a shocking contrast in the lives of the men represented by the bronze statue of St. Peter and the intricately carved pure white marble monument on the tomb of Pope Gregory XIII. The Apostle says in his letter to God's scattered elect that they should "suffer grief with rejoicing, love one another deeply, be not greedy for money, clothe themselves with humility."22 And Peter himself lived a life without riches, better to spread the good news of the Gospel to the world. Pope Gregory XIII, on the other hand, upon hearing of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew in which some 60,000 Protestants were martyred, celebrated the event with great rejoicing, and a medal was struck to commemorate this "victory of the faith. The pope and his cardinals went in solemn procession to the church of St. Mark, to give thanks to God. A jubilee was also published, and the ordnance fired from the castle of St. Angelo. To the person who brought the news, the Cardinal of Lorraine gave 1,000 crowns."23
The famous statue of St. Peter, with curly hair and beard, holding his keys, is now thought to have been cast in the thirteenth century. Once said to have originated in the fifth or sixth century, we can see with our bare eyes that it is at least old enough that the bronze toes on the right foot, which protrude over the base of the marble throne, are worn almost completely off from caresses by reverent hands and foreheads.
We went into a museum off the nave, where we saw many, many precious stones, priceless pieces of jewelry, cherished icons, relics and other treasures. Because I had always believed the wearing of jewelry to be a sin, and could think of no other purpose for precious stones, even the world's largest emerald did not impress me greatly! The Swiss Guards made their trek, so many steps one way, so many steps the other way. Bryan very much wanted a color slide of the Papal triple crown. Picture taking was strictly forbidden in the area, but Bryan put the camera around my neck so that my coat would cover it. He quietly instructed me when the Guard turned South to brace the camera on the pedestal in the center of the room so that I could get more exposure time without jarring the camera, and get that picture, So, following my husband's orders, I got a prize picture.
The importance of this slide to Bryan's evangelistic efforts was in the belief of Adventists that the pope represents the beast of Revelation 13:18, whose number is 666. They claim the letters of the words "Vicarius Filii Dei" found in the papal mitre (they say) which translate "Vicar of the Son of God", total, in Roman Numerals, 666. Let's have a look-see. First problem is that the Adventists always place the letters perpendicular and treat them as a simple problem in addition, adding each single number. However, any educated person is aware that a smaller number placed before a larger number decreases the larger number by that amount. V equals five, as you know, but IV equals five less one, or four. IC equals 99, IV equals 4, and IL 49. So using the seven numerals of the Roman number system: I, V, X, L, C, D and M, with U the same as V, the equation would look like this:
V - I - C - A - R - I - U - S . . F - I - L - I - I . . D - E -I
5. . .99. . . . . . . . . . 4. . . . . . . . .... 49. . .1. 1. . .500. . .1
giving us a total of 660.
George Lamsa says this number represents the Aramaic letters which spell Nero Caesar. Robert Faid states that the full name of Gorbachev equals 666 in three different languages! Ellen Gould White, with its "W" - double "V" - gives us 666! Imagine! The Satanists say it represents the number of Satan. They may be closer to the truth. At any rate, Bryan had his exciting point-making visual aid.
* * * * * *
Time was going so fast, and we had to catch that train. I didn't get to spend the hours I would have liked in the Sistine Chapel. Back on our train, tired, but happy for our visit, be it ever so short, to the "Eternal City", we situated ourselves for our trip back. Watching the people on the platform, I noticed a lot of soldier boys boarding the trains. The fathers were giving their sons a big hug and kissing them on both cheeks. I liked that. I hate to see a father and son, or two brothers, do our cold American handshaking greeting. That is for strangers and not-very-close friends!
* * * * * *
Underway again, we moved down the "boot" of Italy, past Elba and other islands.
"Look! A castle!" the boys shouted. Along the skyline there surely was a castle - home of the legendary Count of Monte Cristo. Unfortunately, we were too far away to make out much detail. We sailed on down the Tyrrhenian Sea and into the main channel of the Mediterranean again.
One night the boys came running.
"Mommie, come look!" Along the dark horizon to our left was a fire. We could tell it was a big one! Its name is Etna! I had read about it all my life; the highest volcano in Europe, over 10,700 feet high, and covering 460 square miles. Its fire-light carried a long way over the water. We watched it out of sight.
The Mediterranean Sea is a big sea! And our trip had lost a lot of the initial excitement now, nearly a month after we left New York. I was back to the sewing machine part time, and reading to the children a lot. Bryan was restless. When he first started helping the tall blonde stewardesses wash dishes after meals I didn't worry. I was glad he was occupied, but when he started going up to their private sun deck, I was annoyed.
Then one of the little sons came and told me the stewardesses sunbathed topless. But before we had the usual big row, the steward requested that Bryan stay out of the kitchen, and informed him that that particular deck was for the stewardesses only. I was embarrassed before them for him. They must have wondered about a preacher.
One morning we woke up and the ship was still and quiet. At first glance out the porthole, I thought we were still out in the water, and surrounded by little fishing boats. It was Port Said, and the land was so flat I would not have believed it was there if I hadn't seen several fairly large buildings in the background. Later I learned that the area had been drained and raised to form the low, narrow, treeless strip of land. The floating dock was 295 feet long and 85 feet broad.
The world had changed. Everything felt different. Everything looked different. Everything sounded, and even smelled different. Not a bad smell, just different. A swarthy minor port official was a little too anxious to be on our ship. He kept coming back on board, and began to move through the passenger quarters where he had absolutely no business, making advances toward one of the stewardesses. When it began to appear that I was to be the next on his list, the captain took the appropriate action to have him banned from our ship. He said there had been problems with him on other ships.
Perhaps as early as 2000 B.C. a canal linked a branch of the Nile via a wadi - a seasonal waterway - with the Bitter Lakes, whence a channel was dug to the Red Sea. Allowed to fall into disuse, it was re-excavated several times with the largest renovation attributed to Darius the Great, with other restorations by the Ptolemies, the Romans, and still later by the Arabs. As early as the 17th century Frenchmen were debating the possibility of cutting through the Isthmus of Suez to enhance their political and economic rivalry with England. Well over a hundred years went by while supposed difference in levels between the seas was discussed. Finally a French engineer proved that the level difference was unimportant and in 1854 the first act of concession for digging the Suez Canal was signed. In the summer of 1869, the waters of the Mediterranean mixed with those of the Red Sea in the Bitter Lakes, at long last.
When we went through the canal in early December, 1960, there were still a number of ships sunk during the Suez Conflict which had not been removed. The children were delighted to see their first camel and white-swathed rider moving along the bank of the Canal.
Entering the Red Sea, our thoughts were where did the Israelites cross over? But, unlike Rome, there were no signs to indicate where that might have happened, so we had to just imagine! We had two stops in the 1200 mile long Red Sea: at Jeddah, in Arabia, and at Massawa. Jeddah is the principal landing place for pilgrims to Mecca, 45 miles inland, as well as the chief seaport for the Hejaz area. We moved in between and around the coral reef carefully, a wrecked pilgrim ship sitting on the reef to remind us. Pilgrim ships have priority, so we had to stand off the docks for two or three days, as it was the height of the pilgrim season. It was a great time for the air-conditioning to go out on the ship, so it did! And was it hot! We sweltered, and spent more time in the ship's little pool.
Christians were not permitted to leave the ship. We had to be satisfied with looking out the porthole or hanging over the side. The city is walled, but husbands brought their heavily veiled wives and their children out to the water's edge in the evenings for outings, and we got a glimpse of Moslem family life. The Captain went ashore as the guest of the governor, and he told us of the little shops where gold and precious stones and jewelry sat on tables right out in the open. He said the law imposed a sentence of the cutting off of the left hand if one were caught stealing. A second offense cost him his right hand, and with a third he lost his head! He said one would occasionally - very rarely - see a man with only one hand.
The Red Sea varies from 130 miles in width to 250. We didn't see a lot of land. What we saw of the Arabian side was barren hills and sometimes high mountains behind a strip of low plain.
Massawa (Mitsiwa) was scorching! We had wanted to walk around and see some of the city, which claimed the best harbor of the Red Sea. It would have been neat to see the buildings of coral one hears about. However, immediately off the ship a beggar covered with dirty bandage-looking rags started following us. Not knowing the protocol of the country, and afraid to be part of any incident, however slight, we returned to the ship. The only other passengers disembarked there, and we were left alone. There was unloading to be done, and taking on of fresh produce for the kitchen, then we were off again, down the rest of the length of the Red Sea and around the broad base of Arabia.
Six or seven days later we passed from the Arabian Sea into the Gulf of Oman, through the Strait of Hormuz, and entered the Persian Gulf, areas which have become quite well-known in recent years. The sight of land to our right came and went. Patti came in crying one day.
"Mommie, Jerry said that's Iran over there," she said.
"Yes, Baby, I think it is."
"Well, he said there are little green men there!" Sob.
I laughed, and assured her that her brother was teasing her. She remained afraid, though, and to be honest, so did I. Not of little green men, obviously, but of the unknown.
Bahrain Island, twenty-seven miles long and ten miles wide, was a low, flat, sandy expanse with a number of luxuriant oases. I would love to have seen it, but as in most Moslem countries, we were not permitted to leave the ship. Bahrain was the headquarters of the Gulf pearl trade. Three hundred sailing boats were occupied in the business four months of the year. Dates and citrus were also exported, but all were second fiddle to the crude oil export business.
Bahrain was the destination for the luxurious private train car we had on deck. It was to be the personal car of the Sheik. We hung over the rail when we could stand the heat, or watched what we could from the portholes. The cranes, very, very slowly, even tentatively, lifted the car. Up, up - wait a minute! Raise that other end! Raise it!
Ah! Whew! I was giving them all the help I could! I doubt they either needed or heeded it. They finally managed to get it up and slowly swung it over the dock, and gently set it down, totally unaware of my stress!
Early that morning a long, shiny, black limousine had pulled up on the dock, and a huge, swarthily handsome man unwound from out the back seat. He was swathed in flowing white robes from head to toe. It was our first look at the complete desert garb. But what impressed us most was the monstrous diamond he wore. He moved around, giving orders to everyone, causing the stone to flash blinding lights constantly. I thought how magnificent the women would believe him to be, and how, once married to him, they would all be his servants, hidden away behind veils and walls for the rest of their lives. But, on the other hand, maybe they wouldn't mind. As Daddy would have said, "It's all in what you get used to!"
Many of the Sheik's wives would be in his harem for political purposes. Shortly before we left the United States a certain great Arabian sheik married 100 girls in one ceremony. By having as wives daughters of all the tribal chiefs, he would maintain the power, something like King Solomon. I heard that in cases like this some of the marriages would never be consummated, but of course I have no way of knowing if that's true. If not, he certainly was one busy man! At least I could now understand Solomon's many wives and concubines now!
Kuwait had a fine natural harbor. The Taleb had 200 brand new automobiles to unload there. We were told that because of the rapidly expanding oil production Kuwait was the richest little sheikdom in the world. The captain told us that every single one of the approximately 25,000 inhabitants profited from the oil income. The dock foreman visited with us as we hung over the rail. It was December twenty-four, and Mr. Hamaki said he was going to midnight mass. He invited us to go along. I had always wanted to attend a midnight mass, and a service in little Kuwait would be even more interesting. Since it was to be so late, we left the children with the consent of the stewardesses, who said they would keep an eye on them.
On the way to the church our new friend told us that as in all Moslem countries, the use of alcohol is strictly forbidden.
"But," he continued, "When a person becomes a Christian his baptismal certificate is a permit for the purchasing of wine and liquor." He grinned. "Christianity is popular here. The churches are packed."
People were standing against the walls on both sides and the back, and young people were sitting on the floor up front. I must say, however, that the participants did appear serious about their religion.
Next day, Christmas Day, and my twenty-ninth birthday, we sailed into the Karun River and stopped at Khorramshahr - our destination, and that of the Taleb. For almost eight weeks the ship had been our home, long enough for us to feel uneasy leaving it. We were the first passengers to have gone all the way to the end of the line with the Captain, and I think he was a bit sad to have us leave the ship. I had read every book in the ship's lounge, worked all the puzzles, made Patti three cute dresses and two shirts each for the boys, memorized three classical poems and several Psalms. Looking back, I should have found more books on Iran - history, politics, religion, and above all, language - and learned as much as possible. I should have been speaking a bit of Farsi upon arrival. It's not that difficult.
It had been a tremendously educational trip, the high point being, of course, the unexpected trip to Rome. I would later grieve about the money the General Conference had spent on us, but later yet, I wouldn't worry about it any more. There was one very sweet and precious reason we went to Iran. You'll meet her later.
* * * * * *
As we were preparing to leave the ship, the Captain presented Patti with a beautifully wrapped box from the Christmas tree the stewardesses had erected in the lounge. The Captain, missing his own little daughter, favored Patti. When she opened her present she found a manger scene - delicate and lovely porcelain figures! Even at her tender age - one week away from four - she seemed to realize how special and exquisite the gift was.
We didn't know what to expect, so were relieved when the steward told us there were people to meet us. We really didn't expect anyone to be there on Christmas Day, as we could stay on the ship until they were finished with the unloading and reloading. Imagine our surprise to discover Elder Wilcox, president of the entire Middle Eastern Division, accompanied by Mr. Bergain, the Iran Mission Treasurer, on the dock! Due to the delays in Italy and Jeddah our schedule was running late, and these dear brethren were many miles away from their families at this important time of the Christian year, waiting for us!
Again, the smells were the most difficult adjustments for me. As I've said, they were not bad smells, just entirely different. We were taken to rooms over what proved to be a sort of night club. I was the only one who didn't sleep, I think, and I lay awake on the sagging cot, listening to the unique arrangements of Western pop, Christmas music,and the wailing of the Eastern flutes and strings. Khorramshar and Abadan, nearby, were the hub of the oil area, and those towns catered to the British and Americans there, so everything in the culture, including the music, was a mixture. It was a long night. I had a lot to think about. Here I was, the mother of three young children, and I had brought them almost halfway around the world. The denomination which had sent us had given us absolutely no training, no information concerning the people, customs, or the psychology of the Moslem religion. We couldn't understand the people on the street, and though I've been told that when I get my hand and face going at the same time I don't need to speak a language, I really felt a need to be able to communicate. The music finally quit a little after 3:00 a.m. and I slept fitfully.
Next morning we went out to the dock. There was a lot of unloading going on. The oil companies from the United States were overseeing the drilling of wells, laying of pipelines and pumping of oil through them, so a lot of equipment was being brought into the country. While we were waiting for our stuff to come off, Elder Wilcox hired a cab and took us out to Abadan where the huge pipes were everywhere. The roads were good in that area, and the stores and houses quite Western.
The brethren were anxious to get us settled, for their sake as well as ours, and we went back to the dock to see how things were going. Elder Wilcox instructed Brother Bergain to go talk to the customs officials about hurrying the process a little. He was authorized to "grease the wheels" some, which, I understood, he did. I was told that in Iran you either had to know someone or spread a little money around. Bergain was a national, which made communication much easier for him, but he didn't know anyone in customs.
Bryan and Bergain walked out to the dock to count the crates and make sure everything was there. Bryan returned, looking downcast. They had dropped the organ crate as it was being lowered to the lock! the organ I had not even yet seen! We would have to wait until we got to our destination to see the extent of the damage.
Shiraz, farther south, is where we would be situated for language study for about a year, and then we would probably be sent to Tehran. The two brethren accompanied us to Shiraz. We boarded a small prop plane along with fifteen or twenty other passengers, the steward passed out hard candies for us to suck on, and we started up - and I mean up - over the barren mountains, some of which reached 11,000 feet toward heaven. Again, before we began to drop in altitude, we received hard candies. If Pan-Am had done that on our flight home I might not have had to take Jerry straight to the hospital with excruciating pain in his ears.
By air it wasn't far to the wide green valley lying between those dry mountains. Called the "City of Roses" by those who lived there, Shiraz was a neat, white city built on the right bank of a river, or a stream, depending on whether it is the winter wet season, or summer. Usually the boys would walk in and across it with their friends, but when hard rains came pouring down the mountainside, it could become a rushing muddy river, not without its dangers. Shiraz was an important trade center and point of departure of good roads: north to Esfahan; Qum; and Tehran - 350 miles; northeast to Yazd; east to Kerman and southwest to Bushire on the coast of the Gulf. The road on which our household goods were being delivered wasn't so great, and there were passes up to 7400 feet to climb. It would be nearly a week before they would arrive.
Mr. Bergain took us to a lovely hotel in the city. Our rooms, as with all the better homes and buildings, were lovely, with stone tile floors and french doors all around. I loved the openness of the houses. Every home had its own walled yard, and the french doors made house and garden one huge open area. American homes seemed dark and niggardly after the huge rooms and gardens of Persian houses. I'm constantly adding mirrors and replacing solid doors with glass ones to make my home feel bigger and brighter.
Great emphasis was placed on elegant yards and gardens, and our hotel was no exception. Shrubs and potted plants graced the tiled compound which was built around a lovely pool with lilies. The major-domo took a personal interest in us, and on Patti's birthday brought out a cake on which candles were mounted in three oranges! I was grateful to him, and he smiled with satisfaction as we sang "Happy Birthday" to her on her big number four day. I guess one of the brethren had said she was three, but not that she was turning four.
We didn't say a word about it.
We were feeling a little nausea which seems to be standard adjustment in a new country so we were not starved when we came to the table. The food was not so different form ours, but it was prepared differently. The oranges had never been hybridized, so were nearly as sour as lemons. The bread, however, was wonderful! Or I should say the breads, plural. There was one that was great sheets, paper thin. Another the thickness of one pita layer. One a bit thicker was baked on a little mud mound with a fire built inside. The dough was formed into balls, flattened, then thrown onto the sides of the oven to bake - Mmm-m, delicious!
But the king of all breads in my book is sangyak! Little bakeries every several blocks produced sangyak, or rock bread. A shelf, six or eight feet wide and maybe four feet from front to back, slanting upward to the back, is covered thickly with small rocks the size of your thumbnail. The fire underneath the "shelf" brings the stones to a high heat. A flat, wooden paddle about twelve inches wide by three feet long, mounted on the end of a long handle so the baker doesn't get too close to the heat, is covered thinly with the dough, a whole wheat mixture, and thrown on the heated rocks. It is turned at the proper time, and then removed, any little stones which remain in it knocked off, and one throws the warm bread over one's arm like a towel and joyfully takes it home! I never kept my resolve to get home before I started eating it! It simply cannot be done! I think the word we finally came up with was "supergobolicious!" Goat cheese, sangyak, and a fruit or soda drink was all one ever needed for party refreshments. Bread was considered a gift from Allah, and if it were dropped on the ground, it was picked up, kissed, and taken on home to eat. Most of the poor had known hunger, so it is a sin to waste bread.
Central heat was unheard of, and fireplaces rare, as was the wool to burn them. Little kerosene heaters, unvented, were the norm in the better homes. The poor, always the majority, used a charcoal burner, a round brass dish-like container with three or four short legs. They put the charcoal in the center of the "pan" to burn, and that was their heater as well as the cook stove. There were many fires, serious burns and even deaths due to the practice of setting a low table over the burner, covering it with quilts, and the family members sleeping with their feet toward the burner, under the quilts. In theory it's great. In practice, there are too many slip-ups.
Mr. Bergain located a house for us. It was a fine, big house, but the garden (yard) area was postage-stamp sized, and I was concerned because the children wouldn't have much room to play. The Elder told us that we could move later, when we found a more suitable place. But we needed to get our stuff somewhere, and soon. Since the house was huge, we could dedicate one of the rooms to play and school.
There were only two classes of people: rich and poor. The middle class was practically nonexistent. It was believed by the Adventist organization that it was better for their teachers and workers to live in the upper-class areas from where they could work with both classes. Better, but expensive. Over fifteen thousand 1960 dollars were spent to put us in Iran, and the expenses of keeping us there were not negligible. I willingly take the blame for a lot of the mistakes and mess-ups of my life, but the mistake of sending unprepared and unqualified couples to the mission field is on the shoulders of the Church.
* * * * * *
Adjusting to the country was fun. The people were friendly, and were anxious to help me learn the language. The boys picked it up quickly, though it was sometimes a little too "street" and I would have to clean it up. We soon learned the words for walnuts, almonds, carrots, and other items sold by the street vendors with their little donkeys carrying their wares in a double bag across their backs. The city water through the pipes was clean. The concrete-lined ditches, called jubes, which ran alongside the streets, delivered water for the yards, gardens and pools. It was not pure. Nor were there curbs by those ditches, so one had to drive and park cars and ride bicycles very carefully! When it was your day to have water for your garden and pool, the gardener would put a board across the jube and channel the water into your garden. Some of the public potties, a concrete slab with a hole in it over which one squatted, drained into the jubes, and other refuse off the streets fell into them. The poorer class washed their babies' hineys as well as their dishes , in the jube, and even in the upper-class homes the servants washed everything in the pool, which water came also from the jube.
Dry yogurt-balls were a staple food found in all the little shops. One needed to watch the quality, however, as some of them had goat hairs in them, but the hair was easy to spot. Boiled eggs, distinguished from raw eggs by purple food coloring, and pickled boiled eggs were always available for a snack. The people loved immature fruit and nuts. It was difficult to get fruit to a ripened state since they didn't hesitate to climb over orchard walls to pick almonds, peaches and other fruit while it was still green.
The Iranian diet was a healthy one, on the whole. I never saw an obese person. Of course, there was a lot of malnutrition, but the foods obtainable were natural and healthful for the most part. One of my nurse friends said the doctors found it remarkable that the most malnourished children had the longest, most gorgeous eyelashes. Probably the body's effort to protect eyes already endangered by the sun and sand of the desert.
One mid-morning there was a loud banging on the gate. The truck with our goods had finally arrived! The men brought the crates into the house, where Bryan began - very carefully - to take them apart. We had brought, in addition to twin sized mattresses for the children to sleep on, two extra ones, and the plan was that from the crates Bryan would fashion bed frames for the children's mattresses, and a couple of wood couches on which the other two mattresses would go. So the crates were gently dismantled and we started unloading. Things are not so important in this life, we usually learn, but in an isolated situation, your own towels, sheets, dishes, books and family pictures are comforting. Bryan had found and bought, before we left Carolina, fourteen U. S. Army trunks, thick and solid. I had packed all our things myself except for the items we bought in New York City, and only one Pyrex bowl was broken in all of our stuff. I was rather proud of that, but I guess twenty-plus moves in twelve years had prepared me!
The organ was unpacked with fear and trembling, and Bryan went over it with a fine-tooth comb. There were two broken tubes that we could see. He replaced them, turned it on, and voila! -it played! It and my piano were to fill a lot of hours with music, challenge, and performance.
Our lovely neighbors sent us a china soup-dish full of an Iranian soup. We were not yet prepared to appreciate the taste of it, and didn't eat it, but I kept the dish about the right amount of time, and returned it with a cake made from a cake mix I had brought along.
One day Bryan went to buy some cooking oil. He asked the neighbor for the correct word for oil, and came home with something we could not stand even to smell, much less cook with! We later discovered it was sheep's oil.
The boys met two Dutch brothers near their ages whose father was supervising the building of the airport at Shiraz, and soon the four of them were all over those dry, dusty hills around the city. The boys were not Christians of any kind, and I didn't like some of the language they used, but Laurie and Jerry knew right from wrong, and four together were safer than two.
Elder Wilcox had advised us to get involved with the other Americans in the community as we had the time from language study, to go to the weekly movie at the Iran-America Society and - horrors! - attend the cocktail parties as we wished. The oil company parties were said to get rough at times, and I never attended one, but the people who were with the Bureau of Public Roads, the Smithsonian Satellite Tracking station, and certain others, always had a plain fruit punch for those who didn't drink, and I never saw anyone drunk.
We became acquainted with two lovely Christian couples quite soon after our arrival, and we would rotate between our respective houses for worship, always aware that we were spiritually superior to them because we had the Sabbath and the Spirit of Prophecy! I could never get it worked out in my mind how they could be so wrong, and yet be so unselfish and kind to me, offering to order things for us from the States through their privileged channels, and sharing their "commissary" foods from back home.
And something else really started me thinking. One of those gentlemen, Mr. Vore, when he prayed, actually talked to God. I could tell. We ate together and visited together a lot, and we would join in prayer when the evening was over. He was the only person I had ever known beside my father, who, when he was on his knees, "got through". Most other prayers sounded like meaningless attempts to impress the congregation. I guess my belief in my "Only True Church" was shaken a little right at that point. It took a lot of years for it to become a complete break.
* * * * * *
Bryan never did well in close personal relationships. The Vore's understood this and especially since the two of us ladies hit it off so well, we maintained a strong friendship the entire time we were there. Mrs. Vore took me under her wing. This was not their first overseas duty, and they were comfortable by now. Also, they were Nazarene and conservative, so we had more in common with them than with the other Americans. It was Mrs. Vore who convinced me, after several other Americans had scolded me for venturing out alone, as I often did, that I should wear a wedding band. I had noticed the European Adventists wore rings, and Mrs. Blenden had told me of three missionary wives, who, with their children, decided to return early to the States on furlough ahead of their husbands, and planned their trip so they could see Rome. When they went in to get rooms in the hotel, they were turned away, the assumption being that they were three unwed mothers! She said they were laughing when they told of their embarrassment as they marched into the jewelry store with a total of five children trotting behind, and bought themselves wedding bands!
I soon became accustomed to shopping on my own, although I always took one or both of my sons with me. So one day I went to town and bought a nice eighteen carat plain gold band for ten tomans - about twelve dollars at that time.
Mr. Bergain had located an interpreter and language teacher for us - for Bryan, really. He was the one was going to have to teach and preach in Farsi. Mr. Abadi was a delightful little man, and had been working for the Americans and British for so long that he was quite Westernized in his thinking, and understood that American women had equality, at least a lot more than the Iranian women. Though always respectful, and never out of his place as a gentleman, he understood and enjoyed our humor, and shared our laughs with us. He assisted us in innumerable ways. He helped us find a maid, Nannie, who was not too brilliant, but she was sweet. She helped me learn to communicate by teaching me the names of articles around the house, food and clothing items, and other activities. I was soon rattling it off, using only nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives. Most of my tenses were wrong! But with a lot of waving of hands I got my point across. The people were so gracious.
"You speak such good Farsi," they would say. Americans so often make fun of the guy with an accent, who is learning one of the hardest languages in the world. But the Iranians never laughed at us. I knew that I sounded like I was talking baby-talk. But I was communicating, not using an interpreter as did most of the Americans, and they appreciated it. They felt my desire to be a part of them.
Our language doesn't follow the rules, but Farsi follows the rules: the vowels are the same pronunciations as in Spanish, except for "a", which has two sounds, scarcely distinguishable to us. There are two consonants which we don't have, and with which we struggle. One is the "kh" sound, neither an "h" nor a "k"sound, but as if you were clearing your throat, in the back of your mouth, and very lightly. Most people try too hard. The letter "gheh", usually transliterated "q", is hard to do. I never did conquer it. You can get by with using a hard "g", but if you can make that hard "g" click off the back of your soft palate, you've got it!
The bazaar was fun. Everything imaginable was for sale in those little stalls. A woman without an escort didn't go down those dark covered walkways, but a woman with two sons could! I was surprised to see a few western items here and there. Our interpreter said sometimes they were given to maids or gardeners, and sometimes they were stolen. There were colorful Persian carpets, brocades, tablecloths of cut work and embroidery , and vases with marvelous inlay called Khatam-Kari.
I splurged one day on some American-made mascara, risking the wrath of my spouse. I had used very pale lipstick and nail polish cautiously for years, but had used no eye make-up. Many Adventist preacher's wives use make-up but so lightly their husbands don't notice. "It makes me feel better, anyway," one lady said. "After all, one doesn't have to look sick to be a Christian, does one?"
The Point Four school for American and British kids would surely beat schooling them at home, I thought. So we enrolled the boys there, even though they would have to miss one day a week, every week. The Moslem holy day is Friday, so school was Monday through Thursday, and Saturday. There were a lot of adjustments for the boys, as they had always been in church school and had been using different books. A little animosity began to build over the lost Saturday each week, mainly due to the fact they didn't always get the work made up. They just weren't doing well, so we finally took them out and set up a little schoolroom at home. I taught most of their subjects, and Bryan taught them Math and Bible.
Shiraz had the biggest, blackest scorpions I've ever seen in my life! The first time I saw one on the concrete patio, not far from the children playing, I nearly jumped out of my skin! He was a good five inches long, with tail curled!
* * * * * *
One of the ladies asked me to help out at the Red Lion and Sun, the Iranian equivalent of our Red Cross. There had been an earthquake in late 1960 which had destroyed a little village not far from Shiraz, and the Red Lion and Sun orphanage was full of babies and toddlers, most of whom were left without parents due to the earthquake. I went to a meeting with other foreign ladies who wanted to become involved with up-grading the facility for the children. We went over to the nursery to see the babies. They were getting only the most basic of care. I walked around and looked at the little ones lying on uncovered rubber sheets, with only a rough unbleached muslin triangle tied around them as a diaper. The infants could not see out the sides of their box-like cribs, and were only occasionally picked up. Dysentery was rampant at the time, and the babies were succumbing to it. Two had died the day before.
They were pretty babies. I went back several times. There was one tiny thing with the biggest, roundest, darkest brown eyes I had ever seen. I was sure she was recognizing me each time I returned. I asked Bryan what he thought about adopting a little girl. I had always hoped for two boys and two girls, and only I knew that all those lovely baby clothes had been packed into the trunks with the rest of our things. He thought whatever I wanted to do about it was okay. I kept going back to see the little doll, holding her and talking to her. There had been no bonding, and perhaps trauma we will never know, but I knew she would learn to love us.
I contacted the proper authorities, and although no papers were drawn up, I was told I could pick up my baby the next day! I went home and fixed a temporary crib in one of our big trunks, got the babyclothes and blankets out, and began a search for diapers. Bryan had seen the baby a time or two, and went with me to pick her up. She was sitting in a pan of water getting a bath, Iranian style, the water being poured right over her head, running down her little face while she blinked and sputtered! I handed them the clothes I had brought for her, and the ladies oo-ed and aah-ed over the beautiful pink handmade dress with its soft lace at the neck and around the hemline, the delicate embroidery and tiny raised rosebuds. Bryan put me in a cab, and he went on somewhere else. Laurie was at the gate when I returned, wanting to see his new sister. The other two came running when they heard the bell. It was the second day of April, 1961. She was suffering with the dysentery that had taken the lives of other babies in the orphanage, so I took her to a pediatrician, a Dutch doctor. Her physical exam showed her to be a perfect five-month-old baby, though small for her age, weighing only nine pounds. Her birth certificate showed her birth date to be November 7, 1960. Remember that date. It would become important for more than the baby's birthday.
The doctor told me to give her weak tea - no milk - until she straightened out. The Iranian women had told me this, but I couldn't imagine taking a baby off milk, as I had not faced this particular problem before.
The doctor asked if I had other children.
"Well," he declared, "you now have one pure Caucasian child!" Interesting. I looked up the word in the dictionary. I thought it simply meant of the white race, and some of the smaller dictionaries put it so. But Webster's Third New International Dictionary reads;
"Specifically, a descendant of European, North African, or southwest Asian immigrants."
Actually, the name Iran has come from Eran, which came from Aryan. Sorry, Hitler. The originals didn't all have blue eyes and blond hair!
Tammi was some darker than we are. One day, years later, when she was in Junior High School, one of my fine black students came in and said,
"Mrs. Darnell, what color was Jesus?" There was a lot of stress in his face, and I knew someone must have been giving him a hard time.
"Hold on a minute, Honey, " I said, as I turned toward the other room.
"Tam! Tammi, come here!" I called. As Tammi came into the room I drew her to me.
"Look!" I said to Greg, "Her color is right between yours and mine. Jesus was a Middle Easterner. I'm sure His color bridged the black people and the white people just as Tammi's does." His face lighted up.
"Thanks, Mrs. Darnell," he said, and went on into the studio for his lesson.
The women on the street stopped me to remark that I would take a baby not of my nationality, especially a girl! They wanted to know if I breast-fed her. I didn't know that a woman who had once nursed a baby could do so again without giving birth. They were wiser than I. I wish I had known.
Rocking chairs and babies go together in my book, so we went to a carpenter shop to order one. The carpenter had never heard of such a thing, but we drew him a picture. He built us a chair, much too straight up, but we could rock our baby now.
Bonding was slow. My little doll was sick, not sleeping at night,and I became exhausted with her crying. But gradually parents and three siblings became important to her, and she enjoyed the role of being "the baby".
The name on her birth certificate was Susan - pronounced Soo-ssan, accent on the last syllable. Mother suggested that we call her Tamara Suzanne. Everyone concurred, and baby sister had a name! I called her my "little Sam". It wasn't long until she was crawling and romping with her sister and brothers, her black eyes sparkling, her rosy valentine mouth laughing.
By now a more suitable house had become available. It had a large back yard with garage and shop, and a fair sized front yard, with well-tended rose bushes all against the wall. It was a larger house, too, with rooms for everyone, a small room for Bryan's study, and a double-sized living room in which we could hold worship services. It faced the sometimes river and the mountains beyond, a wonderful view. A real plus - there were none of those huge cats which ran and fought along the tops of the walls.
My new friends from the Smithsonian Satellite Tracking Station began to tell me I should meet their boss, Dick, who "plays the piano like you do."
"Introduce me," and they would say,
"Wait until he's in a good mood."
Meanwhile, I was asked to play the organ for the Anglican Church. At my first rehearsal I was really bothered by a cipher in the string section. Asking around, I discovered there was no one to repair it. One of the ladies, Iva, had begun piano studies with me, and she said,
"Dick could fix it. I know he could. But he's got to be in the right mood."
Well, I was not in the right mood to listen to that cipher as long as there was anyone close by who knew how to fix it. I called him. I gave him my hard luck story, and he said,
"Yeah. I'll have a look at it." We set a time. I assured him the church would be open, and told him I would drop by if he didn't mind.
"Come on," he responded.
Next day I went to church and saw a tall, red-haired man with shy blue eyes bending over the organ insides which were all over the floor.
"How's it going?" I asked.
"I found the problem. Be through pretty soon." That was great!
We visited while he worked, gingerly inquiring into each other's musical background. When he finished re-assembling the organ I asked him what the charges were, and he said, "Nothing. I rather enjoyed it. Something different to do." As we walked out he asked,
"Would you be interested in doing some two-piano work?" Would I!
"I'll drop some music off for you to take a look at." I said that would be great.
Never, in the year we played together, did I ever see the difficult personality his people talked about. He was a perfectionist at the keyboard, as was I, and maybe his perfectionism at work offended some.
Next day the maid went to answer the gate bell, and Dick came into the yard with copies of the Bach Fourth and Fifth Sonatas and the Schumann Piano Concerto In A Minor. He explained that the Sonatas were originally written for clavicembalo, with two keyboards and pedals,which would limit their performance to organ nowadays. Victor Babin had arranged them for two pianos so that pianists, as well, could enjoy them.
Dick had already learned the Schumann Concerto, and would love to perform it with the second piano part.
"It isn't written for piano, you know. It's written for the orchestra, and will be harder to play than piano music. See what you think."
I took the music from him and watched him go out the gate. Then I flew up the stairs, two at a time, to my piano. What a challenge! But I had a wonderful new maid and time to practice. The Bach wasn't that difficult, but, as Dick had said, the piano/orchestra part for the Schumann was rough.
* * * * * *
Since Bryan was the only American minister, and I had a spinet organ which could be easily moved, we were asked to help with the Easter celebration in the American community. Chairs were set up on the roof of the satellite tracking station (all roofs were of the same stone tile as the floors of the homes and were suitable for almost anything) and we took the little Conn organ over for the sunrise service.
Of all things, it decided to rain! I guess that could be considered an Easter blessing, as rain was so scarce. First a few sprinkles, slowly increasing. We got through the special music, and a couple of fellows rushed the organ inside under cover, and the rest of us sat through a shortened sermon in light rain. Then we all went back to our big house where I had tables set up and the ladies had prepared breakfast - fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, hot rolls, coffee and orange juice. It was a good time.
I had always enjoyed participating in Easter Sunrise services. It was frowned on by many Adventists ministers, who considered it pagan, but a few others, eager to try to impress non-Adventists that we were truly Christian, jumped at an opportunity to assist in the program. The word Easter is not used in the writings of Ellen White. The resurrection of Jesus is mentioned some 80 times, mostly as simply a part of the life-story of Jesus. Compare that with over 1800 Sabbath-related references. She said that Satan decided to make the crucifixion and resurrection work to his advantage by causing believers to think that the ten commandment law was nailed to the cross along with the ceremonial law, thereby doing away with the Sabbath commandment:
"Satan presented before them the glorious resurrection of Jesus, and told them that by His rising on the first day of the week, He changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week."24 Pertaining to the resurrection, she also says the angels unwrapped the body of Christ, but "it was the Saviour's hand that folded each [grave cloth], and laid it in its place." The lesson is Christ's "attention to little things", and to remind us that "Habits of negligence should be resolutely overcome.25 What king makes his own bed? Is neatness the significance of the of the resurrection?
Any Seventh-day Adventist will be quick to tell you that Easter, along with Christmas, was a pagan holiday. Actually, the pagans over the centuries have had so many deities that I doubt there is a day in the year without some connotation of paganism, even the Saturday Sabbath. In fact, Saturday was the day of the Roman god, Saturn, the god of sowing.
If Jesus had not risen, His death would have been for nothing. In 1961 I did not realize that our entire salvation is centered in the resurrection. I had no joy in my religion, and didn't know that our joy, our future, our eternal life, and our blessed hope - the resurrection - is the source, the dynamo, for our entire Christian life! I had never noticed how the centrality of the New Testament is not the Sabbath or the gift of prophecy, nor yet speaking in tongues. It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Paul mentions more than once that he was in chains, beaten, persecuted - for his belief in Jesus' resurrection! I had not yet realized why I loved Easter-time - the lilies, daffodils, cantatas and sunrise services!
* * * * * *
Our new maid lived right across the street from us in a little mud hut. She came with excellent recommendations, and she was fantastic. I could trust her to watch the children, stay with the house, even have a gate key. Thin, brown and wrinkled, looking older that her age as did most of the poor, she had a smile that would knock your eye out! Parveneh thought I was wonderful to take an Iranian child, and we really came to love each other. She kept things so neat for me that I had time to practice, and I started putting in four hours every day at the piano. I loved it! On Sabbath I would play a lot of sacred music to keep the hands moving, since, even though we listened to carefully - selected classical music on the Sabbath, practice fell under the heading of work.
One day Parvaneh and I were discussing my little Tammi, and she told me that her daughter had lost a baby several months back and her periods had not returned. She felt bad all the time. I had some pre-natal vitamin tablets in my "pharmacy," and I gave her a bottle and lent her the hot water bag.
"Put this on her tummy two or three times a day," and I showed her how to put hot water in it. "And have her take two of these tablets every day." There was no AMA to get after me over there! By the end of the week she had her period, and when the Brannons, who replaced us in Shiraz, came to Tehran to visit us the following year brought Parvaneh along, she told me that her daughter had delivered a fine healthy baby boy after we left. They had given him a name that would remind them that he was my baby!
"You work miracles!" Parvaneh exclaimed. What can I say?
Iva and her husband had a new baby while in Shiraz. When he was a week or so old she wanted to have him baptized. She and her husband were Mennonites, but since it would be a while until they were back with their own church, she arranged with the Anglican minister for the ceremony. I left early to run through the music before the service. As I entered the church the priest informed me that the electricity was off and the service had been set up in the back of the church near the doors for light. A pump organ had been pulled out into the area. I had played pump organs before. No problem. But my legs changed my mind before I finished both hymns - did we have to do all five stanzas? Just another day in the life of a musician!
Bryan had brought a pair of public address speakers with us from the States. I decided I could use them. We lived upstairs in the living room almost as much as downstairs. How could I have music both places? I had already run a wire from the stereo to the organ for the second stereo speaker. There was a lot of electrical cord in the garage, I knew, so I proceeded to run wire from the stereo to a speaker at the top of the stairs and another at the bottom. I knew absolutely nothing about sound systems other than that the sound traveled through the wire. I had plenty of wire, and by George, by the time I was through, I had plenty of sound! Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tennessee Ernie, George Beverly Shea - they never traveled on cheaper wire, and were certainly never more appreciated than when they boomed throughout my house! Now I had huge orchestras to conduct! I could conduct with the wooden spoon as I was cooking, with my pen as I was writing home, or with no baton at all. Or I could grab little Tammi up and dance with her. Or perform my own interpretive ballet to Swan Lake!
I had discovered that Mendelssohn wrote a symphony around the great hymn "A Mighty fortress Is Our God." What a work! I enjoy worshipping with my charismatic friends, and recognize a place for choruses in worship, but I really miss the great hymns. Strong words and strong music!
Crown Him with many crowns, the lamb upon the throne;
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him Who died for thee;
And hail Him as your matchless King
For all eternity!
All hail the power of Jesus name, let angels prostrate fail!
Bring forth the royal diadem and crown him Lord of all!
Only the totally ignorant and uneducated could resist the thrill of singing those powerful praises! The latter hymn has three fine tunes. I had made my own arrangement using all three before I knew that Paul Michelson had done so. And how many religious cults would there be if every believer took to his own heart that The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord?
* * * * * *
Bryan thought it would be a good idea to start meetings on Fridays, the Moslem rest day, at our home. Several couples joined us, as well as some of the young men who attached themselves to Americans out of friendship, a desire to improve their English, or the hope that a chance to go to America might materialize. As one American laughingly said, "They don't want to go to heaven, they want to go to America." He was pretty close to accurate!
After services I always had to sweep, as everyone carried seeds, - pumpkin, squash, sunflower - in their coat pockets, and snacked on them all the time. And, they dropped the hulls on my floor!
Dick and I were preparing for our first concert. We would be performing the first movement of the Bach Fifth Sonata as well as the Rachmaninof C# minor prelude in unison. One of the school teachers, wife of an oil company foreman, was going to play a number on my little organ. An Iranian doctor would perform a Vivaldi number on the violin. Dick's solo would be a Scriabin, and my solo was vocal, "Londonderry Air." Then to top off the evening, after the intermission, we would perform the Schumann Concerto. It looked like a great show. How we worked! The doctor who built the modern hospital there wanted to bring culture to the community. In fact, I was teaching his daughters piano. He brought a Mason and Hamlin grand piano over to Dick's and Mary's house, and on our practice days together we would take turns playing the grand and Dick's older upright. It was a wonderful time. Parvaneh made it possible for me to leave the children once a week for a long Friday afternoon practice for with Dick, as well as giving me practice time at home. Only those who have experienced it will understand the fun of sitting down and working a two-piano number until you can play it as one person, one piano. I made the mistake of saying in Bryan's hearing that it was the most fun I had ever had in my life. It was, but he didn't understand, and I couldn't make him understand. He was not a musician, and I finally had to decide that it was his problem, not mine.
Dick's wife Mary was the sweetest lady I had ever known. She trusted her husband, and was 100% for us, keeping their three little boys quiet while we worked. One day we got so involved we both lost track of time. We had been all afternoon practicing, and both had a start when Mary entered the room with a tray of sandwiches and two tall glasses of milk! When their new baby came, I was the one she asked to go with her to his christening. Dick was an agnostic, and some of her other friends were antagonistic toward Catholics. The priest was only in Shiraz monthly; the Catholic Church had not been permitted by the government to do much more than care for existing members. So I went with her and brought the baby home after the baptism so that she could stay for mass.
Bryan resented the time I was enjoying, and acted as if he suspected I was having something with Dick. He even accused me of it later. I told him he was judging me by himself.
"By the way, what do you and your tennis partner do when you're away with her?" I asked. I didn't really care. I just wanted the subject closed.
It was the closest I had ever come to having my own "career" since we had been together, and I guess he couldn't handle the fact that I was doing something on my own. Also, he was not preaching on a full time basis, and was spending a lot of hours in language study, so things were not "normal" for him. He golfed and played tennis regularly, but was still restless.
* * * * * *
Iranian friends told us that the Baha'i World Faith had its origins on the street we lived on. I have not been able to verify whether the "Bab" was born there, or whether, perhaps, the first meetings began there. The first I ever heard of Baha'i was as a kid out on the big farm. Our neighbor, a beautiful older lady who had once danced with the Ziegfeld Follies, and in fact was the original dancer of the "Shimmy", was a believer in the Baha'i Movement. Since we were ignorant of everything except Adventism, we couldn't understand either her profession or her religion. Actually, she was a lovely and caring person. I always wondered at all the non-Adventists who were so nice, and a bunch of Adventist I knew who were not so nice. The "pat" answer I was always given was
"The devil is very devious. Be careful that he doesn't deceive you!" We made no effort to learn what Avonelle believed.
In the mid-1800's a young Iranian businessman, Mirza' Ali Muhammad, came to believe himself a "Bab", or "Gate", into a new era for mankind, divinely manifested, of course. Particularly nettlesome to the Moslems, he was put before a 450-man firing squad which he survived, so the story goes, miraculously. He was executed by Islam fanatics in 1850 at age thirty-one. The purpose of the Baha'i World Faith is unity of all faiths into one universal brotherhood with a right to disagree on peripheral issues, but agreeing on all great central truths of the world religions, with Baha' u 'llah as the messiah for this age. They hold the number nine as a sacred number, as there are, according to their position, nine equal "manifestations of the divine mind": Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Confucius, Christ, Mohammed, Krishna, Lowe, and Baha'u 'llah. They now have a temple in Wilmette, Illinois, with nine sides, nine concrete piers, nine pillars, and nine arches. It sits in a nine-sided park with nine avenues and gateways and nine fountains. Jesus, you noticed, is only one of nine great manifestations. They do not believe there is a need for substitutionary atonement.
"By the practice of principles laid down by Baha'u 'llah and by making every effort through prayer and personal sacrifice to live in accord with the character of the divine being revealed in him, we can arrive at eventual salvation..."26 Another religion of works, a do-it-yourself salvation. Only there just ain't no such thing!
Under the Shah Reza Pahlahvi there was considerable religious freedom in Iran, as he was a well-educated man with compassion for all his people. So although the Baha'i were not encouraged, they were being tolerated when we were there.
* * * * * *
After we had been in Shiraz about 8 months, Pastor Wilcox and Mr. Bergain came down for a visit. We enjoyed them and had some good visits. Somehow Pastor Wilcox sensed - or did he somehow know our past? - that all was not well between Bryan and me. Maybe Bryan even did some complaining. A letter to his son years later would indicate that he had some story for "the brethren". Elder Wilcox found a few minutes alone with me. In the course of the conversation I told him that the General Conference should screen their workers better.
"If a couple had a problem, it will be exaggerated when they are isolated." I didn't go into any detail. When all you have is each other, if you don't have that something special between you, "life gets teedjus, don't it?" Many, many women do a trade-off in order to keep things level. By nature mothers, they often become "mother" to their men as well, pacifying them to keep the peace.
Elder Wilcox said our situation had already brought new and tougher screening into practice at headquarters.
Early next day some friends from the Satellite Tracking Station came in their covered truck, and we all piled in and took off for Persepolis, sixty-four kilometers to the northeast, about forty miles. We stopped at a little hotel nearby for some cool lemonade, then went on to visit the ruins. It is quite a feeling to stand on the very steps where the greats of history stood! Our religious lives had been built around the prophecies of Daniel. Looking at the tombs of the three Artaxerxes, a Xerxes, and Darius; knowing that the tomb of the great Cyrus was close by; sure that both Daniel and Queen Esther must have visited this summer palace of those kings, I let my imagination transport me back in time to the dream of the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar as recorded in the second book of Daniel.
There was quite a hubbub around the palace that morning.
"The King had a dream last night and he can't remember it! He wants all the soothsayers, astrologers, and palm readers in his room right now! Hurry! Hurry!" The messengers were running down the halls of the palace.
The King's room quickly fills with men of all ages, but mostly older ones.
"I had a dream last night. I've forgotten it, so tell me what it was. I know it was very important."
"Gosh, dear King! Who do you think we are? We could tell you what it means, but we can't read minds!"
"Well, just what do you think I pay you for? You sit here in these plush surroundings, eating my caviar and drinking my wine, you wear the finest in fabrics and have the company of the loveliest of women. Have you just been pulling my leg all this time? Are you just smart enough to dupe the King? is that it? Now you listen to me: You come up with my dream or off go your heads!"
They can't, of course, come up with the King's dream. The Monarch is furious. He commands Arioch, the captain of the guards:
"Round them all up and chop off their heads!" So the guards start collecting the great fakers. They come to Daniel's house.
"Hey, what's the hurry?" Daniel asks. Arioch explains, and Daniel, who hasn't heard about the problem, says,
"Hold it, man! Let me have a word with the King."
So Arioch arranges for Daniel to speak to the King, who is so anxious to remember his dream that he will do anything. He gives Daniel the time he requests. Joined by his three friends, Daniel pleads to God to be merciful to them and reveal the big secret and save their lives. God hears their prayers, and gives Daniel the identical dream as well as the meaning of it. After a praise service, Daniel notifies Arioch.
"Forget the decapitations," he says. "I have what the King wants."
He doesn't tell Arioch that he has even more than the King wants! So Daniel, a Hebrew captive, being trained for the King's service, stands before the mighty King who holds his life in his hands.
"What you want to know dear King, is a secret to all humans, but there is a God in Heaven who knows everything. He is making known to the King not only the dream he had, but also the meaning!" I watch the King's face as Daniel helps him remember.
"You saw this enormous, dazzling image, dear King. It had a magnificent head of pure gold, a chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and its feet were of iron and clay mixed."
"Right. Right!" Nebuchadnezzar's eye are lighting up. Daniel continues.
"Then, dear King, while you were watching, a rock cut from somewhere, with no hands empowering it, comes hurtling through space and smash!" Daniel pounds his right fist into his left palm, "it hits the image right on those mixed-up feet and starts grinding and pulling the image down into it like a food grinder, until the whole thing is just dust. A wind comes along and blows it away, leaving not a trace. Then the rock begins to grow, larger and larger, becoming first a mountain, and then even bigger, filling the whole earth!"
The monarch nods his head excitedly. "Yes! Yes! That's it exactly!"
Then he turns serious. "But you said you knew the meaning." He looks at Daniel dubiously.
"No, I didn't know it, but the God of Heaven, who knows everything, He has shown it to me and I'll tell you now.
"You are the king of kings. The God of heaven gave you dominion over mankind and beasts and birds, wherever they are -you are their ruler. You, dear King, are the head of gold!" The King sits taller on his throne, nodding assent.
"And after you will come a kingdom inferior to you," Daniel says, tactfully withholding the fact that silver, though cheaper, is stronger than gold. "A third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule the earth, and finally a kingdom of iron will crush and break and bruise."
The King frowns in concentration. Daniel continues.
"Now those strange mixed-up feet you saw. Just as iron won't hold together with clay, so this will be a divided kingdom, partly strong, partly brittle. The people of it will be a mixture, un-united. Remember the big rock?"
The King nods his head, suspiciously.
"Well, that big rock is the kingdom to end all kingdoms, which the God of heaven will set up. No human hands involved. It will never be destroyed, ever. See?"
"Brother," the King thinks. "I knew it was going to be heavy!" He is so moved with the dream and Daniel and the meaning of the dream and the future which has been revealed that he falls flat on the floor in front of Daniel, and just can't think of enough good things to do for him. He lavishes him with gifts and honor, incense and offerings and puts him in a high position as ruler over the entire province of Babylon, places him in charge of all the wise men, and gives his three friends fine positions.
* * * * * *
As I stood there, I realized that not only was Persepolis, Capitol of Persia, the fulfillment of King Nebuchadnezzar's image's chest and arms of silver, I knew that in all probability Daniel had stood in the very place I was standing. He was, after all, a high-ranking official under Darius (pronounced Dahr-yoosh in Iran), the very Darius the great who built Persepolis. Xerxes continued the construction.
Between 520 and 515 B.C. a great terrace was constructed on a spur of rock at the valley's edge and encircled by a wall including a ridge of the mountains to its east. Access to this fort was gained by agate building whose front and rear entrances were guarded by pairs of huge bulls. On this great terrace are the ruins of a number of colossal buildings, all constructed of dark-gray marble from the adjacent mountain. The stones were laid without mortar, and many of them are still in their original place - after 2500 years! We just stood and gasped at the huge pillars which were still standing, ruins of the "Sad-Sutun", the 100 columns. Most of the carvings of animals are headless, having been marred by invading Moslems who believed them to be "graven images." On the west side a magnificent double stair of easy steps leads to the top. It is said that Alexander the Great - belly and thighs of bronze - rode his chariot right up those steps when he overtook the Persian Empire. And now, I stood here!
We spent quite a bit of time walking through the royal buildings: audience halls; treasure; administrative and store houses. Last, but judging by the size, not least, the harem, which belonged to both Darius and Xerxes. Did Queen Esther reside in the magnificent mansion over there? Did she make the trip down from Susa for a while each year?
Darius died in 486 B.C. after a 36 year reign. It is said that he was the greatest ruler the East ever produced.
Shortly after noon we took off for Pasargadae, about twenty-five miles to the Northwest. Some forty to fifty years before Darius started the building of Persepolis, Cyrus (pronounced See-roos) built Pasargadae, the oldest royal city of the Achaemenians (the Persians of the Biblical Medes and Persians.) Little survives of the short-lived Median Empire, which grew up under Assyrian influence in north Persia, though treasures found in Azerbaijan in 1947 either are of Median date or include Median works of art.
In Isaiah Cyrus is called "the Lord's anointed". Read about all the power to conquer which was given him to carry out God's prophetic plan in the 45th chapter. As with all the ancient greats, legends concerning Cyrus the Great became many over the centuries. One has it that he was the son of Mandane, the daughter on one of the Pasargadian kings, Astyages, fathered by a god, suckled by a dog and educated by a shepherd. The second account changes the dog to a shepherd's wife. Heroditus reports both versions. A third account gives us Cyrus as the son of a poor Mardian bandit who later, as a servant, found favor with Astyages. After a Chaldian sage prophesied his future greatness, he fled to Persia and began the rebellion. Parts of this story are recorded in the writings of at least four great historians. A fourth account shows Cyrus to be a shepherd's son who has become king of Babylon and king of the world.
Whatever his beginnings, Cyrus was a great warrior and statesman, humane in his treatment of the vanquished. In Babylonia he behaved like a constitutional monarch. The Persians still cherish his memory as "the father of the people", and in ancient Greek history it is recorded that even his enemies acknowledged his greatness. A man "anointed" by God should have such a reputation, yes?
Of Pasargadae, built by Cyrus in his native district, not much is left. The ruins are a great terrace like that in Persepolis, and the remains of three buildings, on which the inscription "I Cyrus the king the Achaemenid" occurs five times in Persian, Susian and Babylonian. They were built of bricks with a foundation of stones and stone door cases, like the palaces at Persepolis; and on these fragments a procession of tribute bearers and the figure of a winged demon were preserved. Bryan got a picture of the storks who nest on top of one of the columns left in the lonely palace ruins.
Outside the town was found the tomb of Cyrus, a stone house on a high substructure rising in seven great steps, surrounded by a court with columns.
And speaking of tombs; behind Persepolis you can see three sepulchres hewn out of the rock in the hillside, the facades of which are richly ornamented with reliefs. About eight miles away four similar tombs are cut in a perpendicular rock at a tremendous height. One could visit Darius' tomb by climbing long ladders, one to the first level, then another to a much higher level. I just couldn't do it. I kept telling myself that I would always hate me if I didn't take advantage of this opportunity. So with great fear and trembling, I finally went up. Once I got to the top of the second ladder I knew that I had made a bad mistake. I was going to have to walk a ledge about 14 inches wide to get to the sepulchre opening! I kept my eyes focussed on the door to my left, not daring to look down. I finally got inside, and was so fearful of going back down, that I didn't soak up much of what was in the big dark room. There were several "vaults", I suppose you would call them. They looked a lot like concrete septic tanks, but carved from the stone.
Let's just skip any attempt to describe the descent. It was terrifying. I had to sit on the ground and let my pulse return to normal when I got down. My Laurie never got up. He was smarter than his ma!
Another structure, a tower-like stone building, is reached by many steps, again, much too high for me. There is a difference of opinion about this particular structure. We were told it was a fire temple, but others say it is a tomb. At least it was being used by the fire-worshippers when we were there.
I was really learning a lot. Zoroaster has been placed as far back as 2000 B.C., which is probably too early, but as far as we know now, he was teaching some 300 years before the invasion of Alexander the Great, which would place him between the seventh and sixth century B.C. He is suppose to have laughed on the very day he was born, lived in the wilderness on cheese, and retired to live alone on a mountain. The mountain was consumed by fire, but Zoroaster escaped unharmed! Legend presents him as endowed with superhuman powers. At his appearing all nature rejoices; he enters into conflict with the demons and rids the earth of their presence.
The religion of Zoroaster was too abstract for most of the people. He taught one primeval spiritual being: the Ahuro Mazdao, the Wise Lord, the All-father, from whom the world has emanated and is guided by his foreseeing eye. There is a holy spirit and divine fire. And there was a mixing in of many of the old Aryan deities as spirits - mostly evil ones. There were no pompous temples. The center of worship was the holy fire on the altar. There developed a system of minutely elaborate laws for keeping body and soul clean; numerous ablutions, bodily chastisements, beneficial works, support of comrades in the faith, alms, chastity, improvement of the land, aboriculture, breeding of cattle, agriculture, protection of useful animals - all good things to do. Do, do, do. Another religion of works. Check out all nine great prophets of Baha'u'llah, and only one says simply, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!"
* * * * * *
Bryan was approached about performing a wedding for an American serviceman and his Vietnamese bride. We didn't know that they had already been married in Vietnam, and that the U.S. Government didn't recognize the marriage. It wouldn't have mattered, however. We fixed up the living room and I put some flower and candle decorations around. They came with their friends and Bryan married them. I saw the little bride several weeks later. She was bruised in all the places I could see, and I hated to think how she might look under her clothing. A friend said the man had a reputation for violence when he had been drinking. Could the tiny bride have been worse off in Vietnam? I wondered.
I really get tired of the "Wives, submit to your husbands" text. The text just prior to it says, submit to one another. And on back in the chapter, live a life of love, don't have a hint of sexual immorality or of any kind of impurity, or greed, obscenity, coarse joking, don't get drunk. How is it that so many men are hung up on the submission texts? I got so tired of hearing , Your body belongs to me. I changed the channel on a prominent Florida preacher when he said that the husband was the head and the wife the neck, "And you know what's in the head, don't you? he asked. "The brains!" I've never listened to him since. Another well-known minister said he thought it would be a good idea for some husbands to turn their wives across their laps and spank them every now and then. He lost me at that point. And yet another highly visible evangelist recommends that the Christian wife get up two hours before their men and fix their faces, a la Mrs. Ziegfeld whose husband worked with all those beauties in his follies! I once took my two grandchildren by the hand and walked out in the middle of a "wives submit" sermon, and I have told more than one preacher that when I met a man who would love me as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that I would willingly submit. Well, I finally found one who does, and I do. Well, most of the time anyway!
* * * * * *
As Christmas was approaching, several of us decided to see if we could get a choir together and put on a program. One of the girls was an ex-choir director and she agreed to lead us; Dick said he would play, and Mary and others joined in until we had a good-sized chorus. We practiced in our over-sized living room. I sang soprano, alto or tenor as the director needed, and played a couple of the numbers which seemed a bit foreign to Dick. He had never played sacred music or much in the way of sheet music. We worked hard to put on a great show, secular in the first half, and sacred after the intermission.
I made a lot out of holidays for the kids. I always had, but I guess all the more since we were so far away from home. As we were working on our Christmas concert, the American school teachers notified us that the vans would be bringing the kids around for trick-or-treating, by grades, a total of three groups. On this occasion I put the treats on a trunk in the upstairs hall, with one candle throwing a dim light on the walls and ceiling. Then I prepared a recording tape they would never forget. Using diminished chords, up and down the organ keyboard, a la the old radio days, I laid a mysterious background. This I alternated with moans, groans, screams, gunshots (produced by dropping a metal folding chair on the stone floor) and bones rattling, (there are lots of things in the kitchen to rattle!) For the first and second graders I left the lights up a bit, but I made the older children go up the stairs for their treats in flickering candle light with all that ghostly sound coming out of my home-wired speakers all around them! They loved it.
* * * * * *
Not long after Christmas the roses began to bud and I couldn't wait to see them. You would not believe how magnificent they were. There were some huge dark red beauties with pale yellow undersides; solid burgundy velvet ones, and pure snowy whites; pinks; scarlets; and all at least five inches across. But the roses that took the prize were the colors close to those of the Peace rose, and more than six inches across! One of those lovelies got me into trouble.
We were going to hear an Australian concert pianist perform downtown, and I was dressing for the occasion in a black satin and voile dress Mother had given me. As I started out the yard I picked one of those gorgeous flowers, and ran back into the house to pin it in my hair.
The concert was great. Among other favorites, the Australian pianist played Chopin's "Minute" Waltz. He said, as he finished,
"A-ha! I saw you look at those watches! Well, as far as we know there has been only one pianist to perform it in a minute - a lady - and she must have been one hot mama!" The crowd fell apart.
At the intermission several couples of us were standing around chatting when one of the gentlemen, a lanky Oklahoma fellow, drawled,
"Pat, you're sure the sexiest-looking preacher's wife I ever saw!"
"Well, thank you, I guess!" I replied. Everyone laughed - except Bryan, that is. I still don't know why a compliment to me offended him so. Whether it was playing piano, teaching a class, leading the young people's group - he couldn't handle it. And I can't remember him ever complimenting me on my playing until after we were separated and he wanted me back at the piano for his meetings.
* * * * * *
Bryan was ordered to Tehran for a long week-end "Worker's Meeting". I was not anxious to be that far from him in a country known for sudden political upheavals where some of our longtime co-workers had had to pack and leave on an hour's notice more than once, and besides, our passport was a family passport. When he left with it we had no passport! Oh well, just five days. I knew nearly all the American officials in Shiraz, plus a lot of the British and many Iranians. We had a couple of Savak, the Shah's secret police, drop in on our meetings occasionally, and our faithful interpreter and instructor, Mr. Abadi, had promised to make himself available to us if we needed anything.
After arriving in Tehran an opportunity for Bryan to visit the Division headquarters in Beirut opened up and guess what? He went. And we did all right. I was teaching music at the Iran-America Society where the boys were enjoying the paper mache and other art lessons, and Patti was eating up the ballet classes. She never forgave me for discontinuing dance lessons when we left Shiraz, but Bryan could not be a Seventh-day Adventist minister if he had a child studying dance! But I got by with it while we were isolated from other members of the church.
We attended the weekly outdoor movies at the Society, and I enjoyed them. The Society had books we could borrow, too. I experienced some "worldly" reading when I borrowed Marjorie Morningstar.
Patti loved to watch me practice. She especially enjoyed Grieg's "March of the Dwarfs". I told her to listen to the little dwarfs march, coming from 'way off, getting closer and closer, then going past, moving farther and farther away. Then they stop their walk in a cool, green pasture and play leap frog. Listen to them jump over each other's backs! After a bit they tire of playing, and it's time to go home, so they line up and do their little march again, this time going by us the opposite way, until they finally reach their home in the distance. Patti loved it.
Evenings during that long stretch, we had a lot of fun. One night we put on hats of all sorts, Patti put on some heels of mine, we got wooden spoons and pans for drums, plus some old rhythm band instruments I had, and we marched and laughed, me carrying little Sam, to a record of Sousa marches. Then we livened it up more with some Strauss waltzes! Another night we got so high with our fun and games that I opened the door where all that toilet tissue was stored, threw a roll at one of the boys, and the fight was on! Pretty soon toilet tissue rolls were flying all over the house. We laughed until our stomachs hurt! It was worth the clean-up!
I was pretty strict about the children's education, at least the part which I knew to be important to their future. A few simple rules helped them memorize correct grammar,
"Don't say, 'Jerry and me are going to the store.' The way to remember is: drop the other person's name and decide if you would say 'Me is going' or, 'I am going'. Whichever you would say without the other name is the same one you would use with the other name."
"If you say 'Could care less' you are stating that you could care even less than you do. So it is correct to say, 'I couldn't care less'."
"Please tell the dog to 'Lie down,' not 'Lay down'. We say 'Now I lay me down to sleep,' but we tell the dog to 'Lie down' ".
* * * * * *
The "four or five days" of Bryan's trip turned into three weeks. He had called and said he would probably be in late Tuesday night. I decided to take the kids to the movie as usual. Laurie was running a fever and didn't feel liked going, but with Parvaneh to stay with him and little Sam, Jerry and Patti and I walked on over to the Iran-America Society. The movie that night was The Inn Of the Sixth Happiness with Ingrid Bergman, based on the book, The Small Woman. I had read the book, and was looking forward to the show. It was one of the best movies I have seen to this day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was unusually long, however, and I was a little nervous about Bryan's reaction had he returned home. I had watched for him during the movie, but he had not come in. Mr. Abadi insisted on seeing us home.
"Of course, I would never let you and the children walk home alone this late." So we rang our gate bell a bit before 11:00. Bryan opened it. I was glad he was home at last, but he was angry that I had "been out with Mr. Abadi". (With two kids? Seen by everyone at the Society?) He should have been angry if Mr. Abadi had not walked us home at that time of night. Or, he could have come and walked us home. Oh, well. We never could get it right. Maybe he was disappointed that we managed for three weeks without him.
The next day I found out he had done well without us, too.
"The girls from the Mission Office will be here tomorrow," he announced.
"Well, three of the girls that work in the Mission Office will be here tomorrow. I invited them to come down and spend a couple of days with us. I told them we would take them out to Persepolis."
The young Armenian ladies in the Tehran church were all attractive and well-shaped, and shape was always very important to Bryan. The girls stayed in a hotel, so that took off some of the pressure. But the next day it was time to do my duty, so we crowded into the car and went out to the famous ruins again. It was always interesting, so we had a nice time, and I didn't suffer a tremendous lack of self-esteem. Preludin and other amphetamine diet drugs were available across the counter at any drug store, so I was able to keep my weight down with ease, and my energy level high. It was important that I look as good as those women with whom he associated. Mother told me that years before, and she was certainly right - if I wanted any measure of peace in my house.
* * * * * *
Bryan had had an interesting trip down on the bus. Opium bootleggers had been fleeing the authorities, and as part of their get-away they threw out handfuls of four-pointed tacks. However they landed, one "spike" would be up. The bus had two flats along the way!
A rest stop means women off the road to one side and men to the other. The chador, the wrap the Moslem women have to wear, covers like a one-person tent! Women were beginning to come out from under the chador while we were there. They were even permitted to get a divorce. But everything went back to the hard life for women when the Shah was forced to leave. The "new" secret police may stop a lady on the street if her stockings are wrinkled, now! Our language teacher told us that there was no word in Farsi for "sweetheart", only "dear" as for friends. For awhile women almost became human. Now they are just chattel again, poor dears.
The Queen Soroyo had been dearly loved. There were still pictures of her in the little shops. She was "cast away" because she didn't give the king a son. The street gossip, my maid told me when the new queen did give him the son he wanted, was that it had been a girl, really, but they had switched babies in the hospital, so the King could have his son! Anyone can tell by looking at the Shah's son that it was only gossip.
The people were lovely. I really enjoyed them. They were polite, generous and tactful. The mullahs didn't like the Shah at all, mainly because he took some of the wealth of the religious faction and dispensed it among the poor. I met people who had been given their own little piece of land.
Sometimes we watched them thresh their grain on the roofs of their little adobe-like houses. They loved their monarch. He and his queen used to get in a car no one would recognize and go driving, dropping in on a little family here and there and eating with them. Their people adored them. I think most of the people would rally around the Shah's son if he could somehow get back into the country. True, its been some years. But they have to be tired of the oppression.
My closest friend in Shiraz was Mrs. Vore. We had such good times together. One day we were singing "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart!" We had sung two or three verses when I stopped and said,
"We sing one like this, 'I've got the good old SDA religion down in my heart',' and she immediately rebutted,
"Oh,no! It's: 'I've got the Naz-a-rene en-thu-si-asm down in my heart!'" We shared a good laugh.
The Vores asked if we would like to go watch the march dedicated to the mourning for the death of Hossein. Men, bare from the waist up, march down the street, beating themselves with chains, most backs showing blood. We were advised to be as inconspicuous as possible, as sometimes emotions got pretty high, and we wouldn't want to get caught up in some unpleasant or embarrassing incident. Aren't you glad that the blood in Christianity is Jesus' blood, already shed? You don't have to do any penance. He did it all for you!
Norooz, the new year of the old Persian calendar, was a day of great celebration, having religious significance as well, since Moslem tradition says that on this day the prophet conferred the caliphate on Ali, the "patron saint" of the Shi'ites, "the party of Ali". The Shi'ites regard Ali and his descendants as the only rightful caliphs.
Islam, meaning "submission", the name which all Moslems give to their religion, claims to be a divine revelation communicated to the world through Mohammad, who was the last of a succession of inspired prophets, beginning with Adam. Its doctrine and practices are based on the Word of God - the Koran, and the traditions - the sayings and manner of life of Mohammad.
The Moslem creed is "There is no God but Allah: Mohammad is the apostle of God", to which the Shi'ite adds, "and Ali is the vice-regent of God." Basic beliefs are: God; angels - pure, sexless beings, some of whom bear the throne while others sing to God continually, and still others serve as messengers and are sent to help the faithful in their fight with unbelievers; the inspired books; the prophets; the day of judgment and God's predestination of good and evil. We discovered that Moses is held in high esteem, as the law came through him. Twenty-eight other prophets from the Old Testament are recognized, from Adam through Jonah, as well as Zachariah, John the Baptist and Jesus. Mohammad is (they say) the promised Holy Spirit.
The Moslem considers Abraham his father, through Ishmael, whom they contend was offered, not Isaac. In actuality, history shows the Arab nations to have descended from Joktan, a descendant of Shem; from Lot, Abraham's nephew, whose daughters gave birth to the Moabites and Ammonites; and from Keturah, Abraham's third wife, who gave birth to six sons, as well as from Ishmael. An excellent book, Islam Revealed, by Dr. Anis Shorrosh, is available from Thomas Nelson Publishers.
The Moslem food laws are much like those of the Adventist's. I never saw a pig the entire time I was there. If there was any pork around, it came in through the commissary of the foreigners. No whiskey was seen in the shops, and only some occasional low-alcohol-content wine, probably for the Armenian and other non-Islamic peoples.
There were many washings. Friday is bathing day at the public bath houses, separate for men and women. My maid told me that a woman was required by Moslem laws not only to go each Friday for a ritual bath, she must go for douches after her period and after sexual intercourse. This is more believable when you remember that most of them live in a one-room mud home with no facilities other than water drawn in buckets from the jube.
When we were in Iran the Shi'ites were considered to be far less extreme than their Sunnite brothers. There was a lot of theft, but I never saw any one-handed people, and if they missed one of their prayer times it wasn't too big a deal. Every man is required to worship God five times in each day: Just before sunrise, just after noon, before sunset, just after sunset and after the day had closed. After the washing of face, hands and feet in a prescribed manner, the worshipper faces Mecca. Detailed physical positions are defined for each part of worship. Fasts are rigorously observed. During the holy month of Ramadan, Moslems are not permitted food, drink, or sex between sunrise and sunset each day. This fast is associated with the statement that in this month God sent down the Koran from the seventh heaven to Gabriel in the lowest heaven that it might be revealed to the prophet. From my observation, the Moslems "pigged-out" after dark, as far as food was concerned. I can't judge the other!
Alms are required of the Moslem, both voluntary, as alms given to a fellowman, and legal, to be paid once a year after a years' possession. Of grain and fruit one-tenth is required if it were watered by rain. If one had to irrigate, only one-twentieth is required.
The other requirement of most believers is a once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca. The Shi'ites were permitted pilgrimages to nearer places. But if one went to Mecca he must leave his family provided for, as well as afford his journey. Within six miles of the holy city the pilgrim must put off his ordinary dress after washing and prayer, and put on two seamless wrappers, remove head-covering and boots or shoes. He may not shave at all, or trim his nails or anoint his head until the completion of the entire ceremony, which includes visiting the sacred mosque, kissing the black stone, and a number of time-consuming rituals of walking, running, climbing, throwing stones, feasting, and sacrifice. More works!
We did not study the Moslem religion before we arrived there, nor did we, particularly, after we arrived. We were so sure we had truth for everybody in the world, that there was no need to learn anything about the other person's belief, right? Just sock the truth to 'em! Wrong. The Wise Man said in Proverbs "He who answers before listening - that is his folly and his shame." The mind-set of any cult or group must be understood in order to minister wisely.
* * * * * *
We gave our concert on two consecutive nights, since the compound was fairly small where the audience would be sitting. The two pianos were drawn up to the huge french doors, and since the nights were wonderful, chairs were placed around the pool. We dropped an occasional note, but I'm sure we were the only ones aware of it. Dick left out a two-measure phrase in the Prelude, but I had been playing that one regularly since I was thirteen, so I was able to adjust instantly. He did a superb job of the Schumann concerto. We were pleased to receive a standing ovation at the close of the performance both nights, with shouts of "Bravo!"
The only unhappy memory connected with the whole thing is that little Jerry and Laurie were going with us on the second night, but Jerry lost his shoes.
Bryan said,"He can just stay home!" I didn't want to leave him. I looked frantically. Jerry couldn't remember where he had put them. It would have been a breach of etiquette among that elite group for him to attend a concert without shoes, but I should not have put etiquette before my son. I was nervous about the concert anyway, so we finally left him with the maid. I still feel the guilt.
One night Jerry came in from visiting the people who lived in the mud huts across the street. He smelled strongly of smoke. He had been spending some time with a young Iranian who seemed nice enough, and helped us out in a lot of ways, but he had, on one occasion, furnished Jerry with some tobacco, and daddy assumed that he been smoking.
"No, Daddy. I was just standing around the fire at Parveneh's"
"You're lying. I'm going to wear you out!" But Jerry was so insistent that was the smoke from the charcoal fire, that I said,
"Wait a minute. Laurie, you go pay Parvaneh a visit. Stay for ten or fifteen minutes." So Laurie took off for a visit with our neighbors.
A while later he returned, and surely enough, he smelled strongly of same smoke odor, and that took care of that!
We enjoyed driving out of town and sight-seeing in the surrounding country. We always took an Iranian friend with us for the protection of his nationality and interpretation provided us, as well as for a guide to interesting spots. The nomadic tribes with their little pack mules, some walking and some on camels, were fantastic in their bright colors. Their women wore many skirts, two or three blouses, and a scarf covering their hair. No chador. We were told that the chador came about during one of the invasions of Persia as a protection for the women. At any rate, most of the Iranian women wore chadors of inexpensive print white fabric, and did not have to keep their faces covered as in Arabia. The upper strata females did not wear it at all except for worship, as it was required at the mosque.
On one of our outings we showed little Tammi the camels.
"Look, Tammi! See the camels? Can you say 'camel'?"
"Dad-dy", she said, pointing to the animals beside the road. We tried again, and again, to no avail. She continued to call the camels "Dad-dy" while we were there. Her brothers and sister thought it was hilarious.
The tribal women had more standing in the family than the women of the settled community. Several years later, when I read Michener's Caravans, I was thoroughly engrossed in it. Although it was Afghanistan of which he wrote, the customs were the same as the nomadic tribes of Iran. In fact, Afghanistan is the only other country which speaks the Farsi language. Afghanistan was once part of the great Persian Empire, along with everything else from Kashmir in Northern India, northwest to the Aral Sea, across the Caspian and along the Caucasus Mountains to the Black Sea, which took in what is now Georgia and Armenia. West of the Black Sea the areas now known as Bulgaria and northern Greece were included. Crossing the Mediterranean Sea, through northeastern Libya and most of Egypt, sharply upward to encompass Palestine, Syria,Mesopotamia, and Babylon, and on down to the Persian Gulf. In modern times, Persia ruled the states which now comprise Afghanistan as late as the 1700's.
Iran was ashamed of its nomadic tribes. They tried to settled them in one of southern areas, but they began to die off like flies from a number of diseases. When they were permitted to return to their own way of life, they once again became healthy, following the greening grass northward in the Spring and back south in the Fall, leaving their waste behind them every several days.
* * * * * *
Some kind of political faction developed in Shiraz. One group was accusing the other of, among other things, selling babies to Americans. We were not the only family who were trying to adopt. One darling baby girl I saw there had a neurological tic, and had been taken home by a doctor of neurology and his wife. They had to take her back to the orphanage before they left for the States, but were eventually permitted to send for her and bring her to them. It was a lifesaver for her.
Anyway, we were told to come to the Courthouse and bring the baby with us. We went, I with fear and trembling, and were taken into a room with two ominous-looking officials. Although I could get by on the street, and shopping, the Farsi these gentlemen were speaking was so fast we couldn't understand it easily. We did, however, understand that they were telling us we had to leave Tammi with them. Bryan and I spoke together low, then he told them that he would like to call our interpreter to come to our assistance. They agreed. As he reached the door I literally flew toward him, and he threw the door back so I could rush out. I remember wishing I could stop long enough to kick off my heels as I ran down the corridor of the building and out into the street with my baby. A policeman took out right behind me, shouting for me to return. Somehow I felt safer just to be on the outside of the building. Instantly a crowd of forty or fifty people gathered around me, and kept growing as the policeman yelled to me in Farsi, and I yelled back in a mixture of Farsi and English.
"You must bring the baby back inside!"
"No! She is my baby! Boro! (Go away!)"
The crowd continued to grow, along with questions and shouts from the bystanders. I was hearing everyone in general, no one in particular. I just held my little Tammi tight so no one could take her, and also to keep my heart in my chest. A neat, professional appearing man pushed his way through the crowd.
"May I help you?" he asked in perfect English. It was obvious that he was Persian. I am Doctor T. I studied in the United States. I will help you if you will permit me. Will you come back into the building and let's work this out?"
"No. No, I will never go back into that building. They tried to take my baby away from me! I won't go back in!"
"Please, lady. Let's get out of the crowd. We'll go see someone else in a different office." He pointed to another wing of the Courthouse. By now Bryan had worked his way to where I was.
"Maybe we'd better go with him," he said. So I gave in, and we were ushered into a neat office. I never understood just who the official at the desk was, but obviously he was higher up than the ones who summoned us in the first place. I thought perhaps he was a judge. I was thinking fast. Dick and I had a concert coming up that week. After explaining how we had chosen Tammi to our daughter, I said,
"I am a musician," I told the men - the doctor had remained with us and was interpreting - "and I have a concert coming up this week. I just can't handle all of this. Can we postpone until next week, and the baby stay with us until then?"
The authority looked at me a moment. "I think that might be alright. You will bring her in at that time, yes?"
"Oh, yes," I replied. "Yes. Just let me play my concert first."
So we were allowed to return home.
The following Monday right after lunch, and less than a week since our "incident", the gate bell rang. It was a policeman.
"You must have the baby at the Courthouse by three o'clock this afternoon," he said, and turned around and left. Bryan was out of pocket. I had to act. I dressed Tammi in the prettiest little pink fluffy nylon dress she had, dressed myself neatly, called around to try to find Bryan, and left word with the boys and Parvaneh where I was going. I flagged a taxi and told the driver to take me to the governor of the Province. I got out quickly at my destination and literally ran up the marble steps. I didn't have to wait more than a few minutes. The whole place was in a tizzy of curiosity over an American woman with an Iranian child, waiting to see the Governor, especially alone. He agreed to see me immediately, and I was ushered into his office, beautiful with marble and mosiac. We had barely started talking when Bryan arrived. I told the official my sad story. He listened, through an interpreter, although I think he understood most of what I was saying.
"Do you have other children?" he asked. "Natural-born?"
"Yes, sir, I have three. Two boys and one little girl. But the doctors tell me I can never have any more babies. I always wanted two boys and two girls. I saved all my baby clothes, hoping I could find a baby girl who needed me. This baby needs me." I hugged my little Sam close.
The Governor reached out and took her onto his lap and gave her a piece of hard candy, which she dribbled down her chin and onto the pink dress. I said not a word, not wanting to break any possible spell!
"Well," he smiled at me and shook his head wonderingly, "I can't imagine why anyone with three children would want more!"
He said something low to his aid, who picked up the phone and dialed. He spoke into the phone and handed it to the Governor. He rattled off a lot of Farsi to whomever, obviously doing most of the talking himself. He put the phone back on its base and nodded at me.
"You won't have any more trouble now," he said, handing me my sticky baby. "Good luck with all your family!"
I thanked him profusely, and so did Bryan, who had let me do most of the talking, and we left. We didn't have any more trouble.
* * * * * *
The middle East Division decided it was time for us to move on, now, and there was another couple ready for language study in Shiraz,so we were told we were moving to Tehran. The "h"s in Farsi are pronounced. That is why you will see Tehran transliterated as "Teheran" in many cases. But it is not Te-he-ran, it is Teh (blow a little breath for the "h") ran (don't forget to roll you "r"!). And remember, the "a"s are pronounced "ah", not "ay".
Parvaneh's son-in-law had a friend with a truck, and Bryan worked out a deal with them to move our furniture for us. I wanted Parvaneh to go with us so much, but Bryan wouldn't raise her pittance of a salary enough to entice her up there with us. I was sick at heart when the folks who replaced us in Shiraz, when moved to Tehran later, brought Parvaneh with them. Bryan seldom bought or paid for anything which could not be re-sold to get the money back! I guess it depends on one's priorities. We had some valuables stolen in Tehran, and never had the loyalty and dependability that Parvaneh had given us.
One of the Armenian church members was a Realtor, and he found us a lovely house up in the mountains about twelve miles above Tehran. The summer embassies were all in Shimran, as was the Seventh-day Adventist Mission school, a boys' academy. It was beautiful up there. We looked out to the big barren mountain behind our house, and in the distance, the perpetually snow-capped Mount Damavand, almost 19,000 feet high. When the sun hit it every morning it was a brilliant red light in the sky; bright white during the day, and a rosey glow in the evening.
* * * * * *
When we drove through the gate I knew it was the house I wanted. The drive ran alongside the wall to the right, and to the left was a low flower-covered retaining wall which paralleled the driveway up to the steps of the porch. Below the wall was a huge expanse of marvelous green well-manicured lawn. Closer to the house was a fine swimming pool, larger than most, and more yard beyond the pool, with a huge weeping willow right in the middle of it. Another level to the left of the yard and pool was garden - a big garden, with room for the boys to eventually build for themselves a brick playhouse which the gardener would loathe! Behind the pool and above the garden were the most magnificent cherry trees you have ever even heard of! Red cherries, deep burgundy cherries sweet pink-kissed yellow cherries - ahhh!
Landlords always painted the homes to suit the tenants. The painters mixed the paint colors right there where they worked, a not-very-expensive paint. We walked in the front door and in one quick look I saw it as it would be! The living-dining area was in an "L" shape. As we entered, plank and wrought-iron stairs went up next to the right-hand wall to a sort of mezzanine which I would give to the boys. To the left of the door was the fireplace, with a hood that sloped out and down from the ceiling. In the center of the room was a ceiling-high gray stone wall which gave a divided effect, and left just enough room for the piano and the little organ. The large space to the left would be a nice big living room, and beyond that was the formal dining area. There was a breakfast room where we would eat family meals, to the left, and beyond that the kitchen.
A hall went from the dining area to three bedrooms. Bryan was getting the money for a Ham radio from his dad, and the smaller bedroom would have to go for that. Our bedroom and the girl's were on the opposite side of the hall.
I had three living room walls painted pale mint green. The fireplace hood was flat black against a royal blue wall. The gray stones were dull, so we put a special varnish on them, which put some life in the wall, making it easier to dust as well. I had four lovely 12 x 16 flower prints which I put in the dining area. We bought an enormous table with huge leaves which, opened up, would seat fourteen people comfortably, and more if necessary. Elder Wilcox had requested that I be his official hostess, so that he would have a place to entertain when he was in Tehran. I was happy to that part. I loved to entertain. Bryan painted the table a high-gloss black. He really worked at it, yelling at anyone who might cause a little dust to settle on it. It was beautiful when he finished with it and I placed a full-length white lace tablecloth on it which I had made. Classy!
We had not had dressers or drawer since we had been in Iran, make-shifting with the trunks for the bathrooms. People were constantly coming and going to and from all the many foreign projects, and furniture was sold, bought and re-sold, constantly. I wanted some chests of drawers, so with much complaining, Bryan found us some.
I could get Armed Forces Radio Service in Tehran. It was fun listening to Lucille Ball's wackiness and the Rosemary Clooney/Bing Crosby duo.
My radio was coming through my "sound system" loud and clear! One whole side of the living room had french doors opening onto a lovely big porch, which overlooked the spacious yard, pool, cherry trees and garden. I had placed the speakers so that when we had a church dinner or social I could just swing them around and the sound would float out over the area. I decided a little solder dribbled on the joints of the wires would keep them from pulling loose all the time. I was right. Necessity necessitates invention.
One day when I had the radio on I got in on the last part of what I thought was a science fiction show. Some man was pretending to be up in space, circling the earth. He was talking back to "us" as if he were looking down on the world. I was busy with the kids and didn't really hear the program close out. A day or two later our "U. S. News and World Report" arrived and was I surprised to read that John Glenn had really orbited the earth three times! Wow! I never dreamed it would really happen.
The Mission church which Bryan would be pastoring was a sweet church. There were Sabbath School classes in four languages: Farsi, Arabic, English and Russian. The Arabic and Russian accommodated some of the older members, mostly women of Armenian and Syrian decent. As in America, there were many more women in the church than men. A man will often lose his job if he refuses to work on Saturday and most men feel responsible enough for their families' welfare that they will not risk that. When they join the church after retirement, the little wife rejoices that the Lord has finally answered her prayers, while undoubtedly glad she enjoyed all that security all those years!
We had a U.S. Army Major in our church, with his wife and three children, and an American woman who was unhappily married to an Iranian man. I never knew of a case where marriage between American women and Moslem men worked out. No matter how much in love they may be, "love" means different things to each of them. The husband always expects the wife to stay in the compound with the other women, in-laws, who invariably resent her. He can never understand why she is not satisfied to stay behind the walls and bear his children, hiding behind the chador when out. And on her part, antagonism mounts exponentially.
I had a lovely student once, who, while working as an airline hostess became enamored with a handsome (they usually are) middle-Eastern man, and eventually married him. Once they were married he forgot every promise he had made her. He took her home to his mother and sisters and aunts, and there she sat, behind those walls. She had to put on the hated chador every time she went out, and the more restless she became, the closer watch they kept over her. The only child she bore was a daughter, which didn't do a thing for her standing in the family. She was able to get word to the senator back in her home state, who was able to pull all the right strings and get her and the little girl home. She was a lucky one. Others have not fared so well. Have you read "Not Without My Daughter" or seen the movie?
The other Americans were the Byrds, a couple who were involved at the Mission Office, and Pastor Coldheart, the Mission President, his wife and two sons. The Blendens, who had been back in the country after their furlough now for some time, were involved at the boy's school up in Shemran, so were not always at the church service. About the only thing I remember about the Byrds is the way Mrs. Byrd preserved grape, tomato and other juices. She simply poured the boiled juice into sterile bottles and poked sterile cotton into the necks of the bottles. It stayed fresh for months! I thought that was unusual.
The Coldhearts were strong traditional Adventists. Not one bite of meat, one touch of makeup. I had a tough time with them. I had a black dress with sheer sleeves which I wore occasionally. No one seemed to think anything of it, as the other ladies in the church dressed in a similar way, especially the younger ones. No one seemed to think anything about it except Mrs. Coldheart, that is. She accused me of dressing immodestly. She didn't work very hard on her own personal appearance. Maybe that accounted for some of her resentment. I pondered these things later when I overheard my sons using a certain four-letter word that I had never even heard before myself.
"What does it mean?" I demanded. When I had been educated on the matter, my next question was,
"Where did you hear such a word?"
"From the Coldheart boys," I was informed. My, my! How we do strain at gnats and swallow camels!
I hate personality conflicts, so I stayed more to myself, which wasn't difficult, as we lived nearly thirteen miles from the Mission. I was already playing organ for early service at the Interdenominational Church in downtown Tehran, on the Presbyterian compound, as well as driving across the city to play piano for a later service at the Community Church every Sunday, so I had other interests.
That came about because we attended the Fourth of July celebration at the Embassy, that same Embassy which would later be seen around the world when our hostages were held there. I had dressed the kids in their summer best. I wore a whispery green dress with big white circles in it, and Patti and I had straw hats. She was so proud of her hat - like Mommie's! The beautifully kept grounds, acres and acres of them, were a wonderful setting for the little food stands, the band, families picnicking on quilts and blankets all over the grass. While talking with people here and there, someone from Shiraz introduced me to a tall fellow - I can't even remember his name - and said,
"This is the girl I told you about, the one who plays the piano." he was looking for someone to play organ at one church and piano at another. We talked a while and he introduced me to the right people from each church, then I went on meeting new friends. I loved it.
Finally, as daylight faded, we gathered the kids to our blanket for the closing ceremonies and the fireworks. There were several short speeches before the Marine Color Guard marched up to lower the flag. Some lady from among the three to four thousand in attendance from all around the country sang the "Star-spangled Banner." Unless you have been in another country, no matter how pleasant, for several years, you cannot know the emotion which hits when that Anthem is sung while Old Glory drops slowly down the pole. No other song will do, no matter how lovely! Mine were not the only damp eyes that day.
For the children the best was just ahead. The fireworks! Never had we seen such fireworks! It started like any fireworks display, growing more exciting as it went along. A man came onto the display area with several metal rings encircling his body. The rings were held together with vertical metal rods. Somebody "lit" him , and sparkling fire shot from holes in all those rings at all angles. He walked around for all of us to see while adults held our breath and the children oh-ed and ah-ed. Then, the last two displays; a giant peacock, coming to life in all its proper colors, the tail gradually spreading open behind him, flashing blue and green sparkling fire, followed by a giant Stars and Stripes, which lit up and waved in red, white and blue! The Peacock Throne of the Shah, and our United States flag. Gorgeous! It had been a wondered day!
I was stopped the very first Sunday on the way to church for driving too fast. I wasn't sure where I was going, and have always been terrified of being late for service, even though in all these many years I have never had that happen. I explained to the officer where I was headed, and how worried I was. He pointed out the church - I was almost there - and let me go with a warning. He may have stopped me more out of curiosity than anything else. As far as I know, I was the only woman driving myself in the entire country. Surely there were others, but I never saw or even heard of anyone the whole time I was there. For one thing, the street people had a habit of hitting a car hard as it went by, then swearing they were hit, and trying to sue. That in itself kept many foreigners from driving themselves. I wasn't afraid of that for some reason, and had no problems other than attracting a lot of attention.
At any rate, I got to the church on time, and did my best to make the vintage Baldwin organ sound like a pipe organ - vain hope.
* * * * * *
I had several piano and accordion students, and was involved with the young people of the church. "Young people" in Iran had a different meaning than here. A man didn't marry until he was at least thirty years old. Among Armenians and other Christians the girls might be early or even mid-twenties, although the Moslems married much younger girls. In our Mission Church everyone seemed to be waiting around for a dreamboat to appear, instead of being aware of the qualities of each other.
They were really a talented bunch. We put on skits for the congregation. I would assign parts, tell them the story, and they could put it together with all the expression any Broadway director could want. They were just born actors. They would come up with little skits for our Saturday night parties at which we would split our sides with laughter.
The Eastern music is built on a minor scale - you've heard it on TV often. They loved our minor music. They requested the tangos and Latin songs over and over: "Besame Mucho", "El Choclo", "Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise", and one of my own Latin compositions. And for Sabbath they wanted "Were You There?", "I Wonder As I Wander", and others.
The women on the street were just as talented. I would spot several mothers visiting animatedly and enjoying each other. Then they would spot me. One of them would immediately change her personality and approach me, whining about how poor she was, how sick her baby was, and would I give her some "baksheesh" - alms.
A really interesting and unusual incident happened when we first arrived in Tehran. I had always had the knack for "making a silk purse out of a sow's ear", so to speak. Bryan hated to spend money on anything he couldn't sell and get a return on his investment, so clothes had always been low priority. The one Christmas he had gone all out for me was the year I was teaching and had a salary, and had bought me one of the first fake fur coats out. It was two or three years old already, and still looked great. Mother had given me a brown suit with a mink collar which she had worn for several years, and those two garments were my winter mainstays. Brown was Mother's color, not mine, but since she could spend more on clothes that I could, and since she took such good care of her things, I happily wore a lot of brown!
One Sabbath I wore the brown suit. I had noticed that the beautiful young blonde wife of the richest man in the congregation treated me rather coolly, but one sees a bit of this among women, so I didn't think much about it until later someone pointed out several little incidents. The next Sabbath she had on a black wool suit with white mink collar and cuffs. It was beautiful and she looked great in it. A couple of weeks later, after a snow, I wore my fake fur coat. The following week she came in with a wonderful full length, flared back, real mink coat with a big hood/collar which framed her wavy blond hair sensuously. Even then that coat must have cost over a thousand dollars.
Several weeks later, Bryan moved our organ down to the church for a series of meetings. I was the only one in the Mission Church who could play it. The following Sabbath the lovely lady was not at church. Not the next, not the next. Finally she returned when she was voted in as Superintendent. She was beautiful, talented, married to a rich man and had a lovely home, of which the latter two I didn't expect ever to possess. Why had she such a lack of self-esteem?
I was as bad for years, until I finally realized that the price paid for my everlasting life was the life of the Son of God, no less, and I began to see myself as of great worth to Jesus. You, too, are a pretty expensive package. So act like it! Walk like it! Talk like it! Whatever we look like, however few or many our talents, we were "bought with a price", and what a price! So rejoice and leap for joy!27 (Does that mean dance?)
* * * * * *
Mrs. Blenden said she would like to do the Bach piano Concerto in D minor. She said she could do the solo part on the organ. It would have been a great performance, and I started working on the Piano II part, which was actually for string orchestra. When Dick had been called back to the States to take a higher position in the organization for which he worked, the bottom fell out of my life. The daily practice toward the goal of performance had filled my life, week by week, and then suddenly there was nothing to work for, musically. Now maybe we could get something together, but even though I was soon ready for rehearsal, Mrs. Blenden never got around to it.
I had some Mantovani and Melachrino Strings Albums. I loved listening to the harmony. I didn't yet know that all those marvelous sounds had names, but I listened and wrote, listened and wrote, until I had made me a fake book full of music, and that was before I ever even knew there was such a thing as a fake book! I jotted down the melody lines and wrote what chord symbols I knew. Those I didn't know I just wrote out in full. It was fun, and I enjoyed playing the music when Bryan wasn't home. He approved of only selected secular music, and he was the selector.
An Armenian minister in the employ of the Iran Mission was going to be married and wanted me to play the organ for the wedding. I rehearsed with the vocalist, who would be singing Malotte's "The Lord's Prayer" in Armenian. It is interesting to follow another language when you don't understand a word of it, and even the alphabet is different. I still have the words which the soloist had written out. I still can't read them, too, but it's a unique keepsake!
The wedding was an awful experience. The church was packed, I mean, packed. It got warmer and warmer in the building. I started playing at exactly the pre-arranged time, and played until time for the Wedding March to begin. I looked around and there was no sign of the wedding party. Bryan, who was sitting on the front row, went to find out what was going on. The Armenian pastor in charge of the wedding said the bride was still at the beauty parlor. I took the books I had with me, and started playing through them, everything which could be considered appropriate to the occasion. I guess I could have just stopped playing, but we expected to begin at any moment. Someone else came by and whispered that the bride was running a fever. I was really in the dark about what was going on. Later I was told that this was common in the Middle East. Maybe the bride was supposed to appear reluctant?
Finally, after I had played for one hour and twenty-three minutes, and was positive that my back would never again function properly, someone signaled me to start the Processional. It was a lovely wedding after all. The petite bride was beautiful in white silk and lace, her deep ivory complexion framed by coal-black hair piled high under her veil. It was a ring ceremony, and there was wine at the reception, "for our non-Adventist family and friends." We found that unusual , for though Adventists in most other countries do wear rings, we were not aware that they would serve wine. Bryan decided that we should not attend the reception, which didn't surprise me. Years ago he had insisted that we drive across town to grocery-shop, because he wouldn't hear to us shopping at the nearby store which stocked wine and beer. I was far too satisfied with belonging to the Only True Church to research and discover whether or not wine was actually used in the Bible.
* * * * * *
Moving to Tehran had not helped our situation. We just learned to hide our problems with more expertise. We quarreled all the time - all the way to church on Sabbath, where we got out of the car and greeted everyone with smiles and pats and hugs, acting as if we were already perfected saints. Bryan got angry when I told him we were the "whited sepulchres" of the Bible - white on the outside and full of dead bones on the inside!
* * * * * *
One day my pretty watch was missing. I mentioned it to our real estate agent friend, and he said,
"Tell your gardener your watch is missing. Say you think it was stolen. One day when he is working in the yard he will come in and say, 'I found your watch. Your baby must have thrown it in the pool.' If you don't make a fuss about it being gone, it will be sold after a while."
So I made a fuss, and surely enough, one day Sabs'ali, the gardener, came in and said,
"I found your watch."
"Where did you find it?"
"It was in the pool. Your baby threw it in the pool. I know she did," he emphasized.
"But Sabs'ali, the baby couldn't have reached it. I always kept it in my dresser drawer when I don't have it on."
"She threw it in the pool. I know she did!" Seeing the pressure rising in his eyes I backed off. The watch, not being waterproof, was ruined anyway. No need pressing the matter. It was the prettiest watch I ever had.
My daughters, however, were waterproof, thank goodness! There was a twelve-inch-wide ledge around the pool about three inches down, a couple of inches below the water level. Little Sam would be out there walking around the pool on that ledge before anyone even noticed she was out of the house. I really had to watch her! And when we were in the pool, she would walk right off into the deep, whether we were expecting her or not!
One day I was on the roof of the house feeding the dog we kept up there to prevent fights with a new dog Bryan had brought home. The roofs were tiled with the same tile as the floors, and it was like a house-size open air room. I happened to look down into the yard and with a shock realized it was Patti's hair I saw floating in the pool! I can't remember running down the stairs, but I'm sure I didn't fly off the roof. I jumped into the pool without a thought except my daughter's life. I guess I would have jumped even if it had been bottomless, even though I am not a good swimmer. It was only a little over four feet deep, however, and we both got out safely.
The climate was arid. Every piano in the country had a cracked soundboard. I kept two plastic gallon buckets of water inside the lower part of my piano trying to protect it from the dryness. It still developed a small crack.
Mrs. Coldheart asked me how I kept my skin so smooth. After a while in that extreme dryness, one's feet, knees, elbows and hands become thick and flaky.
"I buy Vaseline by the kilo and rub it into my skin twice a day," I replied..
* * * * * *
One Sabbath after church we had taken chairs out into the compound behind the church for a "sing". As the people were coming in, two of the young men entered, spotted me, and came over to where I was helping place the piano. After the usual greetings, one of the fellows said to me, very seriously, "Pat, Andrew (not his name, of course), was out till three o'clock this morning, and came home drunk. That's why he wasn't at church this morning. I had a hard time getting him here this afternoon."
"Really?" I asked. "Why would you do something like that?" I looked at Andrew.
"Just a bad habit I got into," he replied. They continued the conversation for a minute or so more, until they had me completely snookered. Then they burst out in a gale of laughter.
"Dama sukhteh! Dama sukhteh!" ("a" pronounced "ah", remember). They now had me puzzled. When they could control themselves, they explained that "dama sukhteh", translated "Your nose is burnt", is an idiom corresponding to our "you got your leg pulled!"
So I got my nose burnt. They were great young people.
* * * * * *
After thirty years I still miss the foods. Especially those marvelous breads. And the rice! Rice must have been prepared a hundred different ways. I still love rice, and because of my many allergies, it is my staple food. (For once what I can eat is something I want to eat!) When the Iranians finish preparing rice, it doesn't look like ours. First, it was soaked in salt water for a given length of time, then rinsed in plain water and placed in cool water and slow - cooked over the little charcoal burners for a while. The water was then poured off, the rice rinsed and started again in cool water. The procedure would be repeated if the water was still starchy. After the last cooking, the water was once again drained, some sesame oil was poured into the bottom of the pot, and the rice returned to the pot. Several clean, folded towels were placed on top of the pot, the lid placed over it all, and the pot again placed over a very low heat. It is left this way for quite a long time (sometimes replacing the clean cloths,) in its curved-bottomed copper pot - the bottom is much wider than the top to allow maximum bottom surface - until every last bit of moisture is absorbed into the towels. Heavenly! Each grain, about three-fifths of an inch long, stands alone without any stickiness whatever. Piled high on a huge platter, it is ready for any number of fancy finishes. Sometimes several cups are withheld and mixed with saffron until a bright yellow-gold, and the platter is topped off with it. It might be tossed with currants, walnut pieces, or both. It may be mixed with any number of things, but when it comes to toppings, they are endless. One of our favorites was rice with eggplant. Prepared in the usual way, the rice was placed center-table on a platter. The topping was served by the maid or hostess after the guest took the amount of rice he desired. The eggplants are the long, slender variety. Peeled, sliced lengthwise, they are browned in a little sesame oil along with plenty of sliced onion. Tomatoes are then sliced over the whole quite thickly, salted and peppered to taste, along with a sprinkle of sweet basil, then covered and allowed to simmer until tender and the flavors blended. Ooo-la-la! A big plate of this is a meal requiring only a bit of light dessert.
As the rice is cooking atop the oil in the last segment of preparation, a marvelous thing is happening on the big pot bottom. Tadeek! I had read in the many adventure books which I had loved since my youth of the fried rice of the East. Now I can make it! After the fluffy white rice is all lifted carefully out of the pot so as not to pick up any of the tadeek, the tadeek is lifted out with an egg turner and stacked on a small plate. The pieces are about three inches square, difficult to chew, and wonderful! Once we were having Sabbath dinner with one of our members and her family, and Bryan, with his usual tact and grace said, "Eating this stuff is just like eating ground glass, isn't it?" I tried to cover by murmuring something about the best-tasting glass I ever ate.
The persimmons in Iran were as big as oranges, and when allowed to ripen to a pulp they were dee-licious! Strawberries were the size of large lemons, and sweet. And dates! Some of the Americans didn't like the icky, gooey globs of very dark dates, but we loved them.
A lot of cleaning was involved in food preparation. We would go to the market, one or both of the boys and I, and shop for all sorts of things. No prepackaging there! We bought beans, rice, garbanzos, lentils; and when we were ready to use them, we had to sit for hours picking out weed seeds, stones and other foreign objects.
I have tried, ever since I've been back in the States, to find seed from the enormous, sweet beets we bought in Tehran. Vendors with their little carts, reminiscent of our tamale carts, had the cooked, hot beets, which you could buy by quarter, halves, or the entire thing. High in carbohydrates, it was a delicious, filling main dish.
I became adept at bargaining with the vendors. My maid had helped me learn the language and art of bargaining, and I could soon go without an interpreter. It didn't take me long to have the feel of a kilo, and the vendors loved an honest and pleasant haggle. Many Westerners bargained as if those little guys were stupid, but believe me, they aren't! They'll get to you in the long run. But they began to recognize me, and we had a lot of laughs as I returned to the same little stalls time and time again. One of the fellows made a game of shorting my bag of produce each time. I would raise a fuss and demand to see the scales, and he would laugh and give me my proper amount.
We missed bananas and pecans, but there was plenty of pineapple and walnuts. A walnut pie isn't quite a pecan pie, but not bad either.Walnuts had to substitute for pecans in everything. An interesting drink was dookh-ab-ali. Yogurt mixed with soda water. Not bad once you acquire a taste for it. That, pomegranate and lemon drink were the main drinks, although Fanta bottled drinks were becoming quite popular.
* * * * * *
One Saturday night we had enjoyed the movie, "Swiss Family Robinson", which the Major had borrowed from the Base for our young people to view. Bryan was unhappy, and privately told me there would be no more films, as he felt it didn't meet the standards of the church. The main complaint was that it would give the folks an appetite for movies, and they would start attending public theaters. He never got close enough to people (excluding the occasional woman) for them to confide in him, or he would have known those kids were attending movies regularly. Better to have selected movies in our own circle, yes? I think the Major was offended, but he remained our friend, which he would prove later on.
We always ended up taking some of the young people down to Tehran after the socials. We felt it was important enough to have them in a church group on Saturday night to merit a trip down to take them home. My girls were already asleep, and I sent the boys to bed. The gardener and his family were in their little home back of the house. He was told where we were going, and we felt secure in leaving the children with him (even if he did take my watch!).
As we entered the city, we noticed people standing out in the street in their nightclothes. One of the young men in the car said, "Pull over and let me ask them what's going on. I bet there's been an earthquake." Surely enough, that is what had happened.
"Why didn't we know? Why didn't we feel anything?" I demanded. They told us that you seldom feel it if you're riding in a car. Suddenly I was terrified for my children.
"The kids!" I yelled. "Take me home! I've got to get to the children. They'll be scared to death!"
"We've got to take these people home first," Bryan said. One of the fellows in the car heard my fear.
"Just let us out near the Mission an I will see that the girls get home all right." So we got started back up into the mountains. I kept urging Bryan to hurry, but he didn't want to risk a ticket. After what seemed like forever we arrived home. The house was standing, the lights were on, and Sabs'ali was waiting for us at the gate. He talked so excitedly I couldn't understand him, and I rushed into the house. Our Jerry was the only one who had awakened. Terrified, he had jumped out of bed, and by the time he ran the ten feet to the stairs they were moving like a funhouse at the fair. Downstairs, the rock wall in the living room was swaying as if it had come to life, and the floor was rocking and rolling like ocean waves. He was trying to get to Sabs'ali in the back, but he couldn't navigate the floor. Finally Sabs'ali got to him. I hope I remembered to thank him for running to the kids rather than running away. Once again I had goofed. I left my children so rarely, but now I swore I would never leave them again.
The earthquake had done only minor damage in our area. The wall around our compound had a number of cracks in it. The people, though not at all comfortable with quakes, were familiar with them. One of the young church members, a Barbara Streisand look-alike, was in the bathtub when a trembler hit. She said it was a weird feeling as she, the tub, and the water all sank through the floor and into a drainage ditch which ran under the house!
However, there were some rural areas badly hurt by this earthquake. Bryan got the idea that if he could build one of the destroyed villages back, it would be good Public Relations for the denomination, as well as for himself.
The little village of Rovan seemed to have sustained the worse damage. Looking down from the naked mountains into the valley, it would seem at first that there was nothing but rough piles of dirt and stone, and going down into that valley, that is exactly what you saw. Not a home was left untouched. Flimsy houses were now piles of rubble. Bryan began to inquire into the ramifications of rebuilding the village, and started soliciting funds over the ham radio his Daddy had financed for him. Fellows aboard ships, answering Bryan's calls, were highly responsive, sent money, and passed the word along. It supplied him with a temporary relief from his boredom, as well as helping out the villagers. He had been restless, well, always, as far as I knew, but especially the past two years, and bored with our personal lives. He expected his wife to accede to him in every respect, and I wouldn't so our home life continued on a downward slide. No, I guess I would have to say a downward rush, now. Several times in the past months he had mourned that one of us would have to die so the other could be happy. Divorce, in our church, was forbidden. So, although the "calling C.Q." across the hall from the bedroom at 2:00 a.m. was disturbing and frustrating for me, at least he was occupied.
The money began coming in, and the Mission as well as the Middle Eastern Division backed him in his plan, as not only would it bless the people in dire need, it would boost the Adventist work in the country. I was busy with my teaching and playing downtown on Sabbath and Sundays, and Bryan was more and more at the village building site. A young woman who worked at the Mission Office, whom I will call Beth, was doing some secretarial work for Bryan off and on, and they had become quite chummy. Beth expressed a desire to accompany him to the building site. Jerry along with two other young men in the back, and one of the church men went along in the Mission van. I went on with some sewing I was doing, and didn't give it much thought until around midnight when they had not returned. We were not in our own country. What could have happened? Opium dealers? Car wreck? I finally slept, though fitfully, around 2:00 a.m. I was more worried about my child than anyone else in the van. At six o'clock the phone awakened me. Mrs. Byrd from the Mission said that Beth's mother didn't know where she was. Did I know?
"No. I've not heard a thing. I can't imagine. But," I assured her, "there are four other people in the car, including our son." She said she would report to Beth's mother.
Within the hour Bryan pulled into the gate. He had "that look". But I was relieved they were home and my son was safe. At least there had been no accident or other evil happening.
Everyone at the Mission was upset. Surely not much could have transpired between them with all those folk around. However, one of the young men who went along had asked if Mr. Dulane and Beth were engaged. They traveled after dark, and the boys slept. I never traversed the road, so I have no idea how much free time Bryan's curious right hand may have had. All I knew for sure was his usual style. When I asked him if something was going on between them his reply stunned me.
"It's none of your business. I don't have to tell you anything." I turned away and looked at the flowers in Sabs'ali's well-kept beds. Then he added, "Your dad told me if this ever happened again I shouldn't tell you about it." He would say no more.
If what happened?
* * * * * *
The couple who replaced us in Shiraz for language study took a Christmas break and came up to Tehran for a visit with their two children. They stayed with us, and I enjoyed them. Jane had been at Keene with us years before. She and I talked long after midnight. Bryan was angry. Not unhappy, angry, if I didn't come to bed the same time he did, every night. But it had been so long since I could really talk to someone, and here was someone who had known us for years. She was completely comfortable asking me how we were getting along. I told her how unhappy I was, and of the problems which existed in our marriage. She had heard him "eat me out" in the presence of others, embarrassing me terribly. But when she found out what our intimate problems were, she said flatly, "Pat, I wouldn't live with him another minute." Maybe nowadays anything goes in marriage, but for some of us, there is a boundary beyond which we cannot go. I had gone as far as I could in making him happy. My body just did not belong to him to the extent that he could do whatever he wanted to it.
It was the beginning of the end. I should have demanded that the kids and I be sent home then. It might have made it easier for us if I had, but I kept hoping things would hold together. Instead, everything started deterioration until it became one nasty, horrible morass.
One Sabbath at church the Ingathering teams were announced. I was surprised to discover that Bryan had teamed me with Andrew for Ingathering. I declined on the basis that I was absolutely overloaded with work, and beside that, was not feeling well. I had not told Bryan of my resolve never to Ingather again.
"Did you set up a date to Ingather with Andrew?" he asked later that week.
"No, I didn't," I stated defiantly. "Exactly when do you think I have time to do it? I have to be the busiest person in the entire church."
"Don't you want to go Ingathering with Andrew?"
"I don't want to go Ingathering with anyone. I just can't add anything to my schedule." I didn't see the devious plan. He had always suspected me of whatever if a guy even opened the car door for me. Now it was getting worse.
* * * * * *
Mrs. Blenden said the house across the kucheh (street) from the back gate of the school was going to be available shortly. She was teaching the American children, which included several grades and I was teaching first and second grade reading which gave her a break. I loved my house, and although the house across from the school was bigger and more modern, there was no garden, no cherry trees, and the pool was tiny. I had canned dozens of jars of cherries which we were enjoying regularly. But Bryan wanted to sell one of the cars, and if we were living right there, our need for two cars would be nil. So we were thinking about it.
Seems like everything started happening at once. Bryan was on the radio one afternoon, and I heard him call me, a strange sound in his voice. I ran into his radio room. There was sweat all over his face, and his shoulders were heaving.
"Daddy's dead" he said between his "over" and the other guys statement.
Bryan's older sister and her doctor husband had moved to a Central American country to start a "work" with the people there, the children in particular. They had solicited help from everywhere, and were taking in children, orphans and underprivileged, trying to find ways to provide for them, not an easy undertaking. Bryan's parents had closed up office and house and were on their way to "retire" with their daughter and assist in the project. In a little motel in Central America they had rested, and the next morning, while Bryan's mother packed up to continue their journey, Daddy Dulane took a load out to the car where he found a flat tire. When he hadn't returned after too long a time, she went out and found him where he had fallen while changing the tire, dead from a heart attack. It must have been unspeakable for her, in a strange country, so far from home and family. It was a blow to their children. I had never noticed much physical, touchy, hugging kind of love for their father, but he was certainly their financial mainstay.
Bryan was always running to him for money for some project, such as the ham radio on which he received the sad news. It's never easy to hear about your father's death, but it must have been worse hearing it relayed through the lips of a stranger over a radio.
I always remember, as Daddy Dulane closed family prayers, he would pray: "Now go with us on this uneven journey of life. . . "
* * * * * *
Bryan decided that we should go ahead and move down by the school, so after our friends returned to Shiraz we used the rest of the holiday moving. A chronic problem with my stomach had become persistent. Once I had fainted and fallen down the front steps. I didn't actually realize how much stress I was under, and the move on top of the regular work load wasn't that easy.
Some of the "singles" of the church came out to see our house.
"What are you going to do for drapes?" Andrew asked.
"I'm going to have to buy some fabric - a lot of fabric!" I replied.
"Will you make them yourself?" Andrew was an interior decorator. His obsidian eyes twinkled.
"Of course. How else?"
The following weekend he approached me at church.
"Pat, would you like for me to help you buy some fabric? Your husband said you might like me to take you to the better shops. I know where they are and can translate for you. I can get you a better price, too, since I know all the guys."
"Thank you. Sure. That would be great." Andrew was a talented, industrious and pleasant man. I enjoyed his company. But only in looking back did I see how we were manipulated.
We went to buy fabric. We had been to only two shops, maybe twenty minutes after we started out when Bryan showed up on the crowded kucheh. Was he surprised? Disappointed? To see us choosing fabric? I showed him my choices for the boys' room and the girls' room, ours, and the living room. It was going to take a lot of fabric to cover the french doors on the South side of the house, both floors. Drapes were necessary for privacy at night, but when opened in the morning, we only needed to use the kerosene heaters early mornings and at night. The sun is at a different angle in summer, and doesn't enter the house. So I needed yards and yards - no, meters and meters - of fabric. Bryan agreed with my choices, and the fabric was purchased.
I set my sewing machine up on the huge dining table and got started. Within a week we had drapes, the children's rooms had both drapes and bedspreads, and with the "new" chairs and couch we had bought from some Americans returning home, our big living room and dining room was ready for living, entertaining, and Saturday night socials.
Looking back, I can't believe so much could happen in three months. Patti Jo had to have her tonsils removed. She had had recurring strep throat, and the doctor thought having her tonsils out would clear it up. She seemed to have a lot more trouble than Laurie had when his were removed. When I had given I.Q. tests to my first and second graders, Mrs. Blenden said she had an extra test and asked if I'd like to give it to Patti. Two months away from her sixth birthday, I had been taking her to school with me, and she had been doing the first grade work. She rated higher than any child in the school on the test. Though I was proud of her, I wondered if I would be able to help her reach her potential. I had seen some with that exceptionally high intelligence who seemed to have a hard time adjusting to the rest of the world.
I told Mrs. Blenden that while Patti was doing the part of the I.Q, test where the child is required to designate left or right hand, she looked at the piano keyboard across the room and back at her paper several times. I said, "I don't know if that is kosher or not."
She smiled and said, "I think that denotes intelligence in itself!" To this day Patti and I both react instantly to "left" and "right" only at the keyboard!
I had started walking a mile a day, usually with one of the children, although once in a while Bryan and all of us walked. Walking, for me, relieves a lot of tension. One day Andrew stopped by the house.
"Can you come with me for an hour? I want to show you something." I hesitated.
"Bring Patti with you," he said. The boys were in school. So we rode a few blocks with him and he took us through one of the summer embassies where he had done the decorating. In summer the foreigners moved everything up to the coolness of Shemran. Andrew knew the guards and we walked the lovely landscaped grounds, discussing the plants and trees, and other trivia.
Bryan didn't appear to grieve for his father, but he did become more demanding of us all. One day he lost his screwdriver. He accused Laurie of taking it, and picked up a one-by-four and whipped him with it. I was furious with him, first for whipping our son in anger and with a board, but even more when he found the screwdriver right where he had put it himself. He kept trying to get into my head, accusing me of thinking all sorts of things I hadn't even thought of. He had stripped me of any privacy from the time he first informed me that I couldn't lock the bathroom door until now, when he tried to get into my mind. I began to try to find reasons to stay up until he had gone to bed at night, but that had never worked. Now my stomach had started giving me fits as bedtime approached. I simply cannot put on paper some of the things we couldn't agree on. Some wives might not object, but I did object, as did my attorney, later. At any rate, a couple should not try to force one another. A little tenderness, a little understanding, a little unselfishness shown, and the marriage might have been saved.
Bryan still tried to pray for an hour every day, sometimes under some pretty weird circumstances. I heard a minister state the other day that many prayers were the mark of a pagan. I thought, Maybe that's what Jesus meant when He said,
"When you pray don't keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they'll be heard because of their many words! Don't be like them - God knows what you need even before you ask!"28
Bryan got word from his mother that the assets of his father's estate were some $160,000.00 above the liabilities. She was having to go through a lot of red tape to get it all straightened out. Most of it was in a Corporation he had founded from which to draw funds for the education of his grandchildren, he had told me earlier, and to help his daughter in Central America with her project.
Bryan was still busy building his village as well as writing articles on the subject for the church papers, dickering with the St. Louis Globe and other newspapers in the states, and staying on his radio raising funds for the village rebuilding.
January 27, 1963
Well, I finally went to the doctor today. It has come to the point where even Jell-O hurts my stomach. He has written a request that I be released from part of my work. He thought it would be best if I dropped both schools, and I do, too, but I guess I'll stay with the Persian school, as I only have to go three times a week for my English classes. I think by dropping the daily school I might be able to pull everything together. The tenth grade class is nice. The boys stand when I enter and are so very polite. The other day when I entered they had written "Vive Mrs. Dulane" across the blackboard in large letters.
I go for X-rays this week to see what's going on inside. Hope it's nothing serious. It has worsened so much recently that it needs to be checked out.
Again to Mother, on February 11:
"Last night it snowed, and is still snowing a little, though not hard enough to accomplish anything. I'm sure the kids are having a bad time in school today, watching and hoping it will snow harder. The ground is not solidly covered, but we know that by getting this much here there will be a lot up in the mountain ski areas. We are planning a snow picnic Thursday with the young people of the church, and I will try my hand (my seat?) at skiing. We haven't taken the children on an outing this year. I've wanted to, but we don't have much fun as a family so it's better to go with someone else. I appreciated your letter, Mother, and I do appreciate your prayers. We badly need a miracle. I have written you a number of letters that I just couldn't send. Perhaps I won't send this one. We surely have problems, and the first one we had is still not the least."
(We had had a number of paychecks which were not in exactly the right amounts, and although I didn't do the family finances, I guessed that part of the problem might have been in the way Bryan filled out his reports. Our February check had been shorted $50.00, and neither of us could decide how the treasurer figured it. There was some mistake between the Mission Office in Tehran and the Division in Beirut, from where all our checks were sent.)
"Well, in his usual "tactful" manner, Bryan told them that he'd had enough and that he was asking to be released as of the first of July. I don't think he can quit that easily. The boys and I don't want to go. Jerry said, "It would be too embarrassing to go home in the middle of the term." Bryan said he was embarrassed and torn up with his announcement.
"He is making all his plans to leave. Has sold the Benz and is sending the money home. At first he was going to go to Germany and get a new one, but now he is waiting to pick one up on the way home. We, the children and I, didn't want to come to Iran in the first place. It was at his insistence - or should I say command? - and now this has become our home and we are ready to stay, and he wants to take us away! As has always been the case, he doesn't find any compatibility with the boys, and there is very little between the two of us.
"Something has just died in me. For years I have tried to back him up in his misunderstandings, and go to bat for him - even with you a time or two, I think, but for the last year he has talked about wishing he could die, and how hopeless our set-up was, etc., until I haven't much feeling left. I guess pity is what I've had, and that's not enough. You know this is not spur-of-the-moment, as I wrote you last December a year ago. I've tried to keep things smooth. But in the event that he persists, and something happens, it will not be a shock to you.
"I told him if he gets a return from here, after all the trouble he had in the States, who will believe that the Division is all at fault? And who will hire him? He has talked of going to Central America with his mother and sister, but I have told him that I will not go there. Isn't it just terrible that a preacher and his wife have such problems? I feel awful about it. I am a physical and emotional mess, the boys could use counseling, and I don't know what will happen to us if something doesn't happen to us! If only Bryan could make a change or two, it would help so much. But I am convinced he never will. And the church, which has brought us so many of our problems, keeps us together!"
* * * * * *
Life was a drag when Bryan was at home. He was mostly miserable, and making us the same. He was out at the village a lot during the week, and Fridays he had to prepare his sermon. As I told Mother, he had nothing going with his sons, Patti was almost non-existent as far as her daddy was concerned. He did seem to love Tammi, but she was a persistent little thing. As soon as he came in, she started following him around, crawled up in his lap every time he sat down, and refused to be ignored! He wrote Mother that "there is one little lady that loves me, and will hardly leave me alone to read." However, after he took her into the bathroom with him several times, even into the bathtub, I felt I should keep an eye on her when he was around.
The snow picnic was really fun. Since we had lived in the South all our lives, we hadn't had the chance to enjoy a lot of snow. I crawled around on the mountainside with my boys and the other young folks, slipping and sliding all the way down and climbing back up again. I even tried skis once, but my right foot went righter, and my left foot went lefter, so when I finally put myself back together I took off the skis and blew them a good-bye kiss!
Bryan was kind enough (I thought) to baby-sit the girls around the fire a lot of the time, which left me free for a change. But when we got home I caught it.
"You made me stay with the girls all the time while you played around with Andrew."
"Bryan, you offered. Besides, I 'played', as you call it, with everyone. I was with our kids more than anyone else. I rode the toboggan down with Andrew one time. One time, Bryan." It made no difference. He had made up his mind, but to what? Had he made up his mind that I wanted someone else, or had he made up his mind that he was going to force me into a situation which would permit him, as he wrote Mother "to just explain to the Division and they will clear me, and it won't be long before I can marry someone who really loves me."
There was nothing I could see that would cause me to suspect Beth. Bryan sat beside her at all our socials, and one of the ladies said he was taking her home after work down at the Mission. No one would think about that in this country. But even though the Armenian women didn't wear the chador or veil, no nice girl would get in the car with a married man at night, I was told. Then two of the young ladies reported that in a discussion about me wearing a wedding band when the other American ladies of the church didn't (though I didn't wear it to church), she is supposed to have said she would be proud to wear Bryan's ring. I guess she didn't know it wasn't Bryan's ring at all, but mine!
On February 18, from Mother to Bryan:
"I feel sure that your recent great loss has discouraged you beyond the power of words to express, but never, never to the point of desertion from your post of duty."
Then she reminded him of Luke 9:63 and other texts, and encouraged him to stick to his job, saying:
"Remember back in 1955 when you left the work under duress, how miserable you were? You could not wait until you could get back. I wondered a bit, when you applied for and accepted mission service, if you were not fleeing the burdens of pastoral work here in the States. I realize you had some very bitter experiences in Florence and Sumter. There were problems also in other places. I know that you understood there were problems everywhere.
"The brethren made another mistake in your check, so what? You are not in need just at this time, for there is the $2,000.00 that you were paid for the Benz. You could have had food, paid the rent and waited patiently until this thing could be cleared up. It might have been different if the rent was in arrears and the cupboard bare of all food. You do not want the unenviable reputation of not being able to get along anywhere. You may be planning to leave the ministry; you surely must be, for I don't think the brethren will use you anywhere else. They have invested thousands of dollars in you. I would feel honor-bound to at least finish my term and so repay them for their investment in a measure.
"In a recent letter you told us that over and above the holdings of (Dr. Dulane's Corporation) your father's assets would total around $160,000.00. I have been asking myself over and over, why would Bryan quit? Has this small fortune anything to do with your sudden decision? I am afraid many will think that your request for release may have stemmed from a desire to come home and share in the fruits of the labors of your father's dedicated hands."
In a letter dated the 24th of February, Bryan wrote to Mother:
"Thank you for your letter. I have a few minutes this afternoon and want to let you know a little about what has happened here the last few days. I think you are well aware of the situation between Pat and I [sic]."
I would never put on paper all that he wrote in that letter. I always had to burn his letters to me because I was afraid someone would see the filth. He didn't use obscenities with Mother, but he insinuated all sorts of things, including some great falsehoods:
Wow! Who was going to commit adultery? Not me! He desperately wanted me to give him "Bible Grounds" to end our marriage, as he wanted to continue preaching. He concluded, to Mother,
"I am ready to walk out on a minutes notice. I can just explain to the Division, and they will clear me, and it won't be long before I can marry someone who really loves me."
I wrote Mother on the 27th, after discussing the children's schoolwork, (she advised me concerning their studies from her vast experience):
"I wish beyond measure that I could visit with you a while. I have begged Bryan to send the kids and me home for a couple of months. We have the money, but it is what he got for the car, and he wants to get another car with it. Dr. E. is putting me in the hospital for a week or ten days Wednesday. I have lost eight pounds in about six days. My stomach is in such a terrible condition. I cannot come home, and I cannot go away anywhere, so the doctor thinks the hospital is the best place for treatment and quiet enough for me to rest.
"I'm glad Mac is back in Little Rock. I was thinking that if I should decide to come home it would be good to have her there.
"Bryan is trying to make right the trouble with the Division, and if we could ever make right our own troubles, maybe things might work out. Things are usually a little better after we have been separated for awhile, so maybe a few days in the hospital will give me the rest I badly need, heal my stomach, and improve the situation.
"Do pray for us. We're going to make a go of it if we at all can. I don't want to hurt the children or the church. So we will have to make some personal sacrifices - continue to, that is. We've just got to make it. Love to all, Pat."
* * * * * *
Well, it's been a long time since I've had a real rest, but here I am in the hospital for a week or so. I have a corner room next to the street, with big corner windows. It's a little noisy around noon and in the evening, but watching the traffic gives me something to do.
Dr. Eslami has me on two kinds of medicine for the stomach, a tranquilizer, and Seconal at night to make me sleep. In addition, they bring me a half pint of room temperature milk and two plain cookies on the hour, every hour.
Then, since I was now alone, I wrote Mother of some of the more intimate problems, adding that I had discussed the matter with a couple of women whom I trusted, as well as with the doctor, and found they too, felt as I did.
"He's had his numerous little affairs - that's ok - but here, because of the dearth of talent, I guess I've outshined him, and he just can't handle it. I have been very careful in everything, the entire tour. But whenever Bryan sees anyone just friendly to me, he blames me with thinking evil thoughts, etc., as though he could read my mind. This had been going on for years. I don't know how many times it has happened. I suppose, psychologically speaking, that because I don't respond to him, every man becomes a threat in his thinking.
Well, he has issued the ultimatum that if I don't feel different when I return from the hospital he is leaving me. If we could do it without hurting the church I surely wouldn't care. So I told him we'll have to go home together and separate in the States. We can't afford to hurt this little church.
I might as well tell you this, too. There has been a girl involved. Bryan said he thought she would be interested enough in him to make him happy.
* * * * * *
I received so many flowers that the nurses called my room the "goleh-khoneh" - the house of flowers. All windows in Iran were set into thick walls in such a way as to leave a wide sill, often large enough to sit on, and the corner windows of my room were loaded with flowers, every color, every type. I was loved, as I had loved all of them. One day two of my "boys" came in with a record player. They had brought some of the latest recordings from the West so I could have some music! One was entitled "Sealed With a Kiss". Knowing we were probably leaving, that song made me really sad. A wave of that nostalgia washes over me every time I hear it till this day.
There was another American lady in the hospital near me. She came down to my room every day for a visit. Every day she had a different peignoir set on. Blue, pink, pale green. Nothing see-through, just pretty. She said she was saving her black one for Sunday, when she would have more company. I laughed, and said I was saving mine for Saturday, as that is when I would have more company. I had brought several nightie sets with me, as I was to have been there up to two weeks, but mostly I wore my checked gingham home-made shortie sets, as they were so comfortable. However, if I should have to be out of the bed while company was there, it would have been awkward, so I wore the negligees when I was expecting anyone but women or family.
Sabbath afternoon I had on my lovely black set, over underwear, completely covered and modest clear up to my neck, ready for company. The first of many that afternoon was a surprise - Andrew. He pulled a chair around backward, straddled it and we were laughing and talking when Elder and Mrs. Coldheart came in. Oh, boy! Was I in trouble! I had on black lace and there was a man in my room! Never mind the door and all the windows were wide open. The Coldhearts stayed awhile, then left to tell everyone what was in their small, dirty minds. She even told me later that never would she have dared to wear black nightclothes in the presence of anyone except her husband, that she had been taught that black was only for the marriage bed. Interesting.
Anyway, in their minds I was the scarlet woman, ready to be branded with a big "A", and their imaginations were open to any insinuations Bryan chose to make against me - which he was doing. To everyone who would listen. He had even, I learned later, told Andrew that I was in love with him!
Andrew read the Coldheart's attitude. He would have been stupid not to sense their condemnation. It hung around them like a miasma. I get so angered when I think about it that I just have to inject this:
So many little ladies, and macho deacons, too, enjoy repeating all those juicy tidbits about their brothers and sisters, whether or not they are true tidbits. I believe with all my heart they will be credited with the identical sin, for doesn't the Good Book say, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he"?29 If you have a suspicion, keep it to yourself. Remember Noah's sons? One gossiped about him, the other two covered him. One can believe a lie and be damned, you know.30 I hope I've learned to keep my thoughts to myself.
Well, Andrew outlasted them. He stayed till the Coldhearts left, and hitched his chair a little closer.
"Pat, I want to ask you something."
"Ask away," I said flippantly.
"Are you and Bryan in trouble? What I mean is, do you - are you - well, what I mean is, do you love him?" I wasn't expecting that. Of course, I didn't know all that was going on behind my back. We talked, and I did relate some of the lesser of our problems. Not much, but enough for him to catch on that I was not happy, and that the family was torn by all the hassle.
"He is a dog!" Andrew was angry. "You can't live with that. What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to ask Elder Wilcox to send the kids and me on home as soon I am out of this hospital."
"No! Pat, everybody loves you. Nobody wants you to leave. You can't go!"
I told him that I didn't want to tear up the church, and asked him not to tell any of them the problems. We would just go home and everyone would believe it was because of my illness. Then we talked of other things, and he left. He said to watch for him on the way to work each morning, he would blow his car horn. And he did - blow and wave every day.
* * * * * *
On Monday the Major and his wife came with yet another pot of flowers. We were in the middle of a jolly conversation when my Jerry walked in the door with a large, deep rose carnation in his hand. One look at his face and I could see that he was in bad trouble. I asked the visitors to excuse us, and they left.
"What's the matter, Honey? What's wrong?"
"Daddy says y'all are going to get a divorce and we've got to choose which one of you we want to go with," and he burst into tears. He had slipped onto the Mission van and ridden down to the city with the other kids after school. He didn't ask his dad's permission. My anger over-rode the sedation and I jumped out of the bed, taking him into my arms.
"Let me tell you one thing, Baby. You don't have to make any such decision. Ever. Because there is just no way anyone will ever take you away from me. Never. Never!"
No sooner had I reassured him than his daddy walked in.
"What's going on here?" he demanded. We didn't answer. "What are you doing down here, Jerry?"
I responded. "He just came down to visit with me. He brought me a flower, see?"
"Well, he had no business coming down here without my permission." I tried to salve the situation, but in my heart I knew the die was cast. And when my older son told me after I got home, that "Daddy said he can't satisfy you sexually and you are going to get a divorce," it was all I could do to keep from picking up something and trying to kill that man. Saying that to a twelve year old child?
* * * * * *
Tuesday morning, March 5
It is 4:30 a.m. and I couldn't sleep any longer, so I thought I'd better write you. The pill for sleeping has mostly worn off.
I hate to make you sad with our troubles, but try to think this way: if we can make a clean break I might get well and happy for the first time in years. Every time I have seen you for I don't know how many times, you've said, "Pattie, you're looking so old - or tired."
Well, things have come to the point where Elder Coldheart thinks we should return home. I do, too, but I want to stay, and so do the children, so badly.
I was so sure that Bryan would at least let me have the 8 X 48 foot mobile home for us to live in, and I asked her if I could park it some place on her acreage.
Perhaps Mac can help me find work.
It's the same story as before, only it grows more complex as time goes on. Now that he realizes I meant what I said (that I was through), he has started buying me flowers and gifts, which as you know, is not his usual habit. But I can't go back for more. While I have been here in the hospital he has upset the children so badly. Before we had reached a decision to separate he was telling them they must decide who they wanted - Mother or Daddy. Jerry came into the hospital crying yesterday. That was the last straw for me and I told Bryan so.
I asked her to take the money out of our joint account in Little Rock, so I would have food money until I could get a job. The $2,000.00 for the sale of the car was supposed to be on the way to our bank, but it had to go through so many channels that he was able to intercept it somewhere. I knew, as I told her, that he would soon give up on trying to get me to change my mind, and then history would repeat itself: "Don't give her a thing till she comes crawling back on her knees."
We got one more letter from Mother.
"I was filled with apprehension at the thought of Pat's marrying so young. I visualized her broken in body with early childbirth, which she was. I can see her now, sitting suffering on the organ bench at Itasca, with Jerry past due. Dr. Oldstream and I both thought then, that even a pregnant cow or dog would be accorded rest and relaxation at that time, but my Pat did not get it. Two babies in two years, and then major surgery. Underneath was always the undercurrent of not enough money to go around, shabby clothes for all of you while the money went on Bryan's projects, such as the radio you have now. Money for cars and trailers, etc., while she was shabby and always afraid that your eyes were hungrily lusting after the figure of some luscious female in the background."
Mother was pretty upset by another family problem at the time, and had just about had all she could take. She was trying to get a young cousin to go visit the pastor with her. The cousin replied, "It won't do me any good to go see an Adventist minister. There is not one out of twenty who is not an adulterer. They all have a woman in the background."
"Where, my son Bryan, did he get such an idea? His little boy years were filled with the amorous escapades of his minister cousin-in-law; all in the interest of the Lord's work, mind you. Running around the camp-grounds with Nita; prayer with her in the wee hours of the night while your own little wife suffered from complications after Jerry's birth. You discounted her sufferings, Bryan, while you whimpered if there was any wool in a garment next to your skin. Heaven takes note of such inconsistencies. Now you 'just explain to the Division' and get them to clear you, and 'it won't be long before I can find someone who really loves me.' Do you have her already chosen? You will not be able to persuade anyone here in the States that you are so lily-innocent. [Or so she thought.]
"We have always been able to talk things out, Bryan, and I truly am not angry at you even though this may sound stern. Eli died because he did not do the duty of a parent by his sons in restraining them from their sins. I intend to tell you what is on my heart. I can get ministerial support for my testimony against you if you destroy my girl over there. She did not want to go there in the first place. That was another of your forceful persuasions. She went against her will. She stayed there at Shiraz while you ran hither and yon. Everywhere you have gone your superiors have had to tell you NOT to neglect your family. You have always run off to your own interests under the guise of serving the Lord and left them to their own devisings. 'If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.' Those are the Lord's words and not mine, but they are good words. You say she wants to come home, but 'I didn't feel that I cared to put out the expense myself.' Now let me say here, that I do not want her home. I want her with you where she belongs, but here is an index to your family administration. 'I do not care to....'It has always been that way. You complained about Pat's wanting chests of drawers to put the clothes in, but YOU wanted a ham radio outfit and a Mercedes Benz, and you got it.
"If my girl is doing the things you say, I am not in favor one bit. But I want the confession from her own lips. It is not yours to confess her sins. Rather confess your own in the spirit of humility. When you were younger you were not satisfied with just Pat. There had to be others. Don't speak to me of my daughter and adultery after your record, my son.
"Take care of her, Bryan. There is much cancer in our family. If you cause worry to kill her from cancer, and you get that someone who will love you, you will still not be happy, for you will have yourself to live with."
Wrong again, Mother. He doesn't care, remember?
Bryan was really put out with Mother's letter. I don't know how he thought he could convince her I had been immoral. He is good at convincing just about anybody of just about anything. I've often said he could sell a silk merchant the dirty shirt off his back. But he couldn't sell Mother that garbage.
* * * * * *
Bryan was talking to Elder Coldheart, the Blendens, the Major - anyone who would listen. Was it Demosthenes who said, "What a man wishes, that he believes to be so"?
Dr. Eslami had told Elder Coldheart that he had never seen such a terrible stomach in all his practice, and also that he didn't know what else to do for us. Little was know about systemic lupus erythematosis at that time, and it must have never crossed his mind. I had never heard of it. That was likely part of my problem, even then, but I've carried some pretty heavy stress and work loads since Bryan and I parted company without becoming as ill as I was then - lupus, allergies and all. Dr. Eslami suggested at first that we live together separately in the home for the sake of the children, and have our own friends and activities on the outside, but that would never work for Seventh-day Adventists. Finally he told me that he had never seen a couple who had absolutely nothing to build on. He admitted that he could see no solution outside of divorce. He didn't know he was not the first physician to advise me so.
Elder Coldheart was a large man with a boyish face that looked ready to smile all the time. He may have been an able financial manager for the Mission, I wouldn't know, but whatever his expertise which got him into "the Work", it was not human relations. He didn't know what to do with us so he sent for Elder Wilcox, who said he would fly over from Beirut to try to help.
Meanwhile, Bryan came to the hospital to collect me upon my release. I was packed and dressed, waiting in my room. The door opened, and Bryan just stood there looking at me.
"I didn't expect to see you here," he said.
"Well, just where on earth do you think I'd be other than right here?" I demanded.
"I figured you would have gone to the Caspian with Andrew," he replied, with an unreadable look on his face. I just stared at him. The man was nuts.
After Elders Wilcox and Coldheart had spent some time counseling with us, so sure in themselves that we would be okay if we went back Stateside, and impressing us with the guilt if we should leave the "Lord's Work", and all the people who would be hurt if I should divorce Bryan, I agreed to try it one more time. The discussions had been superficial, not touching on the heart of all our problems, but in those days problems such as ours were not discussed. Not by me, anyway. It didn't seem to bother Bryan. He would be talking about wife number two just as nastily in a few years.
Elder Lauda, once our conference president, was now in the North Woods country, and he agreed to discuss employment with Bryan. In the presence of the brethren, Bryan promised to let me slow down and stay home more with the children, and we started packing.
I really put Mother on a roller coaster, telling her that we were coming home and going to try again to make it.
"Bryan promises to take good care of me and to learn to enjoy spending time with his children," I wrote.
We were getting right down to line with little Tammi's adoption papers. If it had not been for the terrific Major, we never could have done it. He knew the right people, pulled the right strings, greased the right wheels, and her adoption papers were completed. Now to wait for the visa, which had to come from Greece. I prayed a lot, packed her things separately, and arranged for another family to keep her till the visa came, because chances were slim it would arrive before the date of our flight home.
* * * * * *
When I went back into my classroom - I taught one more week - I couldn't get my boys to behave. They giggled and wiggled until I said, "What is the matter with you guys?" One of them nudged another, who got up and walked up to me.
"Turn around, Mrs. Dulane." I hesitated.
"Please?" I turned around and he reached around my head with both hands and fastened a silver chain around my neck from which hung the loveliest, daintiest little silver filigree pitcher that you can imagine. It had a tiny turquoise attached at the base of its neck. I still treasure it after all these many years. Those kids were swell. I wonder what has happened to them all.
* * * * * *
Last night, as I was going through these old letters and remembering all those awful days, I told my long-suffering Danny,
"I can't go on with this. I've spent all these years forgetting. Since I've discovered the grace of God I've put this all behind me. I just can't dig it up."
"Write it!" he mandated. "There are lots of other people out there who have messed up their lives while trying to adhere to the 'letter of the law'. They need to hear your story."
It's extremely hard to go back through your entire life and see what an idiot you've been from year one. What a waste! I went to bed a little depressed.
This morning as I woke up there was an old hymn rolling around in my head. "What are you singing in bed?" Danny demanded, laughing.
My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device or creed:
I trust the Everliving One -
His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
and that He died for me!
I'm so grateful that Jesus died for this idiot!
So today I am at it again. If you are one of those people stuck in a legalistic environment, if you are trying to obey all the rules, and at the same time you know that you're doing everything wrong, you're quite sure you're lost, yet you wish you could be sure you were saved - hang in with me. The next several years, well. . .
* * * * * *
The days were filled with packing and sorting - sell this, pack that. The brethren wanted us to sell everything we could to save the expense of shipping it home. Evenings were back to the hassle. I agonized over my decision. I knew I had to get out, but I didn't want the guilt of hurting the little church I loved, nor did I relish the thought of the embarrassment in the denomination such an action would bring on me.
I had moved to the couch for sleeping, and that had brought the wrath down. But I not only wouldn't go back to the bedroom, I couldn't. I just could not.
One evening Bryan was leaning back in the recliner and said, again, "It really looks like one of us is going to have to die before the other one can be happy."
"I don't plan to die," I replied. We talked, for once without shouting or anger.
"I believe that Beth would marry me."
"How would you stay in the ministry?"
"Well, I could always preach in Central America. I'm sure I could work there since my sister has been there so long."
"What if Beth doesn't want to go with you?" He sat there thinking, his eyes closed. I went on with the bit of mending I was doing.
Finally he said, "You could always write me a letter saying you had been unfaithful. That would be enough to get me back in."
"Well, I'm not going to give you those grounds, and you know that." He knew very well that I had not, and was afraid that I would not.
"But you could just write one letter saying that you did. That's all I'd need." I was ambivalent about that idea, saying neither yea or nay. But I really wanted out.
Next day we did all the usual morning things, and I got the three children off to school. But instead of starting in with more packing, Bryan informed me that he was going down to the Mission, take Beth to lunch and ask her "if she is interested in me."
My head was spinning. The crunch was on, and I didn't know what to do or think. As I always do when I'm frustrated and don't know which way to go, I got busy. There were grooved concrete tile squares forming a walk and patio all around the house. I took the broom and started sweeping. Tammi was occupied with her toys in the yard where I could see her as I swept and cried, and swept and cried.
I jumped when the gate bell rang. We had not had a maid or gardener at this place, so I went to the gate, myself, red eyes and all. There stood Andrew! I invited him in and he tactfully didn't mention that he could see I had been crying. I pulled up two lawn chairs in the shade of the overhang and in sight of my littlest one. We passed some time with usual chit-chat, then he startled me by asking,
"You wanted to talk to me about something?" I was on medication, but I hadn't lost my mind. I had not sent for Andrew.
"I'm sorry. I don't understand."
"Your husband called and said you wanted to see me." A white-hot anger flashed through my whole body. I hate you, Bryan, I thought. Then I remembered that it was a sin to hate. But I could loathe and abhor him. So I did.
I broke the rules and unloaded a lot of my fifteen-year ordeal. I didn't have to convince Andrew of Bryan's deviousness - he had just been caught up in it. He was very sympathetic, and asked what he could do to help me. I told him there was nothing anyone could do. As I accompanied him to the gate he said,
"When you're out on your walks, come around by the house on Kucheh Blank. I'm working there now."
I said "Good-bye" and he turned again and asked,
"Pat, would you stay if you could?"
"Oh, yes! The children and I love this country!" But I knew there was no way. We were there only by the grace of government, and the church could just ask the government to send me home and they would. So I didn't give it any more thought as I closed the gate behind Andrew. There had been no physical contact between us, not even a handshake.
When Bryan got home I asked him how his luncheon went.
"She wouldn't go with me," he said dully.
"Why did you send Andrew out here telling him I wanted to see him?"
"Well, didn't you really want to? Weren't you just tickled to death to see him?" I left the room before I might do something that would really destroy all our lives. I decided to keep conversation to a minimum.
Next day on our walk Jerry and I stopped by the house where Andrew was working. He was happy to see us, and brought us into the room where he had his cutting table, sewing machine, and other tools of the trade. A man who was sewing away like mad, looked up briefly, smiled and then continued his work. We watched them at their work and visited with Andrew. After a bit he said,
"Come here, let me show you the house. Jerry, you visit with my helper. We won't be long." The house was lovely. Andrew had finished with the drapes and upholstery in the living room. The matching loveseats were intricately tufted in ivory satin, with satin throw pillows in royal blue. He was justly proud of his work. We looked through the downstairs, but didn't go up. I started toward the door to his work room, when he took me by the arm and turned me around to face him.
"Pat, I told my father what your husband is like. He was really mad. He said that you and the children can stay here with us, and our family will take care of you."
I was speechless. My brain was working too fast, and I couldn't think anything through. Finally I told him I didn't think there was any way I could stay.
"Please thank your father for us. I don't know what is going happen. I'm sure I'll have to go home, and in the long run, that will be the best thing for the children." I really didn't want them to be away from a good education much longer, and though I had never said it to any of the Adventist there, nor yet to Bryan, no way was I going to send my children to the Adventist school in northern India, where the other missionaries sent their children to keep them out of "worldly" schools! Those kids were given to me, not to some person who could never love them or have the concern for them which I had.
Andrew and I returned to the work room, visited a few minutes more, and Jerry and I left.
I continued piano lessons with my private students, trying to give them as much as I could before we left. We set aside part of the huge living area - which I had just finished decorating - for the things we were going to sell. Bryan got the word out and people started coming into our home and leaving with all those little things we had collected through the years. I was upset and unwell, and observed our lives happening as if I were watching some other couple. I had, however, made a decision - the last one. I wasn't going to the North country with Bryan. He kept saying not to worry, we would replace what we were selling. I knew, in my "heart of hearts", as one of my friends would say, that I'd never see my things or the money.
March 18, to Mother:
"I think I cannot live with him any longer. I will not live to see my children finish high school if something doesn't change, and it won't be Bryan. I can't subject myself to him for years to come. He thinks he can find someone who will like the lifestyle he does. I think it's better if I just take care of my children and try to show them a good life. It will be very hard, I know , but I just can't see any other way."
I asked her to hang on to Bryan's letter if it accused me of adultery, and told her that Elders Wilcox and Lesher were coming from Beirut on Wednesday, and I was going to sit down and have a long personal and private talk with him, and not take some kind of pseudo-blame so that Bryan could keep his job.
"Bryan has said to the brethren that I'm in love with someone else, but he went off one day to see Beth and told me that he was going to ask her if she was interested in him.
"Please don't worry so about us. If it comes, let it come. I cannot stay by and be ruined, and possibly the children, too. Other women say they would never. . .Laurie is so tired, and Jerry is reacting poorly to our problems.We will all do better if we separate.
"Mother, I have not been immoral, and since everything has come to a head, I think it is time to lance it, right now.
"I'm very, very tired. I've been on this dope for almost two weeks now, which doesn't help matters much, but keeps the pain down. So I shall retire. Goodnight, and I love you a lot."
Dr. Eslami had told Elder Coldheart that he had never seen such a terrible stomach in all of his practice. There are some "fine, upstanding" preachers still in positions of leadership in the denomination, who must one day answer for the way they treated a sick, sedated, distressed mother of four. Life has a way of bringing us full-circle. I don't know what happened to any of those judgmental, finger-pointing "Brethren", but I imagine each of them have had experiences which caused them to remember that woman. One thirty-two year old woman, surrounded by all those self-righteous males, with all those questions and doubts. Only one person, brought into the situation by the deviousness of a "fine, upstanding" preacher - only one person showed sympathetic understanding.
Jerry and I walked toward the little nearby bazaar that afternoon, and I found a place to mail my letter to Mother. That night was bad. Bryan tried again to get me into his bed, and I refused to go. So he sat in the living room and threatened, accused, preached, cried, begged - the whole gamut. I told that him I was going to tell our entire history to Elder Wilcox when he got there in two days. He stood up and shook his finger at me,
"You will be sorry." Glaring, he turned and stormed into the bedroom.
I was so tired.
* * * * * *
To Mother, on the 19th of March:
"Well, Bryan has come out of his sackcloth, which I knew he would, and says that he is going to make things as hard as possible for me. I am going to plead with the brethren to send me on with the children so I can get them protected in Arkansas. It will cost $100.00 more to do so, but I must. If we come together he is going to be rough."
I asked her to withdraw whatever was in our bank account before we got home. I was hoping the money from the sale of the Benz would have arrived. I had no idea how I was going to support the family. How I wished I had done those last couple of years of college! I knew I was a good music teacher, but no matter how good, there are more dollars for those initials at the end of your name. $2000.00 would give me a chance at life. I would be able to move the trailer to Arkansas and provide us a home. I didn't want to be a burden on anyone, but Bryan had promised me the night before that, as I wrote Mother:
"I will not get one cent out of him, even for the children. You know how it was before. This time I want to make a clean break and be done. I realize it will be rough for awhile, but the Lord help me, it can't be worse than it has been. I see only trouble now for some months but please help me to take it. I just can't go on this way. I love you."
That was my last letter to her from Iran.
Bryan had told me several days earlier to pack his things separately from ours. He was staying busy with the selling, which kept contact to a minimum. In search of a friendly face, I walked over to the Summer Embassy where Andrew was redecorating. It was a good long walk so I stayed only a few minutes as he showed me all the changes he was going to make. The main thing I remember about it is that the drapes were to be orange. Neither of us appreciated the Embassy's color choice, but Andrew was making them professionally, even though orange!
Bryan was really uptight, as I had walked alone. That night we were at it again. He accused me of wanting another man so much that "it wouldn't matter if it was a nigger, (his word, not mine), if he could satisfy you", and, "You would really be a juicy dish for some man." I told him he was sick. I certainly was - sick and tired of the whole mess.
The next night "the Brethren" came out. The worst night of my life. Never again, ever, would I permit myself to sit before a bunch of sanctimonious, bigoted men. Never. If it had been one of my daughters who got the treatment I did over the next couple of years, there would have been a world-wide stink. As it was, there was plenty of stink, but they won. No, I got my children, who have been the joys of my life. So I was the winner, after all.
Elder Wilcox had known that we had been separated before, but he did not know that Bryan had become engaged to a girl and that they were planning to try to get my son from me. He didn't know about the other women and their blouses, over and over. That was all past, of course, and best forgotten, but the cards were all stacked against me, and I used the only weapons I could find.
Wilcox didn't know what Bryan was like, privately, either. He was stunned.
"Bryan, you didn't really say your wife would be a juicy dish for another man, did you? I can't believe a Christian man would say such a thing." Bryan made excuses, but didn't deny saying it. Nor did he deny becoming engaged while we were separated. Soon, however, he became defensive, then antagonistic. I made one request, over and over.
"Please let me take the children and go on home." Well, they would think it over and let us know tomorrow.
It was after midnight when "the Brethren" left, and I was "beat", as well as beaten. The Seconal at night and the antacid medication during the day was pulling me down, energy wise, even though it helped me sleep and kept the pain down. I still wasn't eating much more than the room temp milk and plain cookies. Some boiled vegetables as I felt I could.
Elder Wilcox had said,
"Bryan, I have to take the word of a mother." He talked to him about what was right and what was not right in a Christian marriage. At least one partner should not force the other. Bryan was not convinced. He shook with his anger, like a caged animal. As he shut the gate behind them, he came back in and pointed his finger at me,
"I'm going to turn every one of your accusations right back on you. Wait and see!"
Next morning he pushed me around and roughed me up before the children.
Little Patti said, "Mother, don't let Daddy do that again!"
I just didn't have the emotional or physical energy to quarrel with him any more. I was too tired to walk that evening and turned in early, leaving Bryan free to start making good his threat. He had to hold on to his job at any cost - even the cost of his family. He walked over to the Blenden's and filled their ears with all kinds of garbage. Next morning he told me, with a triumphant glitter in his eyes,
"The Blendens know the straight of everything now, and know who's to blame." When I repeated his statement to Mrs. Blenden the following day she said,
"Pat, he did all the talking. The only thing I said was that I was certainly thankful that my husband had been far more considerate of me than Bryan had been of you."
Elder Lesher's ulcer had flared up, we were told, and he had returned to Beirut. It didn't seem to impress anyone of the men that I was just out of the hospital with the same problem, and still on the medication. Wilcox and Coldheart came out to counsel with us again. They asked me to come over to the school compound and join them and Bryan in the Mission Van. Some of the comments are still vivid in my memory.
"What about the children, Bryan? Seems like you would do anything to be with your children."
"She's the one that wanted them in the first place."
"But they are your children, nonetheless. Don't you feel anything about them?"
"God will give me other children."
Elder Wilcox was concerned about me bringing my little olive-skinned baby with me to the South.
"Aren't you afraid someone will think you've been with a colored man?"
"No, not really. Any educated person can see she's Caucasian." And as a matter of fact, when we were waiting for a room in the lobby of the hotel in New York City, a lady came up to me and said,
"Oh you have a little Persian baby! Isn't she a doll!"
* * * * * *
Later, on June 28 of that year, in vain endeavor to get the "Brethren" to send us our clothes and part of the money from the sale of our things, I wrote Elder Wilcox,
"You told us if we couldn't live together, we should at least settle like Christians. When you left, Bryan said he wasn't going to settle peacefully, because to separate wasn't peaceful. I told you that on that last Friday morning. I knew that he would not be peaceful, and that's why I implored you to let me come on home ahead of him. I wanted protection. I knew that I would need it. . .I knew when I was whipped. You didn't hear much argument from me the last two days, you may remember. I was utterly exhausted and fatigued, and terribly sick. I was sure of trouble when you called me in on Saturday night and told me that Bryan was going with me, no matter what I wanted. I look back and wonder how I got through those last few days there."
That afternoon I walked. I wanted to just walk off the face of the earth, but I thought of the children. I walked, instead, over to the Embassy property where Andrew was working. I must have looked bad. He gave some instructions to his helper, and said,
"Come with me." I followed him out to his car, and we drove around and talked. He said that he had wanted to come to America for a long time, anyway, and he would start working on it right away.
"I will marry you, Pat. I will take care of you and your children."
I knew that the chance was slim, and that it probably would not work out, but when he leaned over and kissed me, I wanted to hope that it could. So gently, so tenderly, no clawing or pawing, no grabbing or clutching. Never had I experienced anything like it. Even kisses had always been a world war. I had never known the least excitement from a kiss or anything else. I was skirting the quicksand as I accepted a second kiss. Life seemed a little lighter, but I knew I had to go. I got out of the car and started home, thinking,
Someone actually loves me! Somebody gives a hoot! But as I got closer to home the hopelessness of my entire situation began to settle down on me again. I tried to think of some way to protect myself and the children. I had consistently begged to be sent on home ahead of Bryan. There is no reason in this world why they couldn't have told the curious, "Mrs. Dulane is going on with the children, since she's not well. Elder Dulane is staying behind to finish the selling of their household goods." But they wouldn't. Looking back, I can now see that it was all working out for my littlest one. Her papers were not yet in from Greece, and had I gone earlier I couldn't have taken her along and only God knows what her future would have been.
Preachers stick together, covering for each other. Bryan locked himself in with Coldheart and Wilcox down at the Mission the next day, informing me that I couldn't come in! He told me later that Coldheart advised him not to let me have a thing!
While he was having his "lock-in" with the preachers, the children and I walked down to the shopping area to find some little trinkets as souvenirs. Everyone else returns from those countries with brass, copper, and mosaic items, and always with carpets, but I wasn't allowed to spend money on such things. We had less than $10.00 between us. We got a little velvet Iranian flag and some smaller items. While we were in the shop one of the boys said,
"There goes Daddy. He's looking for us." He was driving up and down the street. We finished our business and went out on the sidewalk, headed back for the Mission. Pretty soon he came tearing down the street again. He saw us this time. We got in the car without comment. We knew what each other was thinking anyway. No need to talk in the presence of the children.
There was a little party for us. After games and refreshments they gave me a gift - a lovely Isfahani tablecloth and eight napkins, the embroidery and cutwork all done by the hardworking fingers of little ladies in Isfahan. Andrew's eyes were following me as I moved around. When I went near him once I said,
"Quit watching me like that!" He just smiled.
I saw him only once more, very briefly. We were not able to talk much. He said,
"I'll see you at the airport." He had given me his address, as had everyone else, and I promised to write.
The day before we left the wife of one of the teachers at the school got me off to the side.
"Pat, try not to feel so bad. You aren't the first family who has had to return because of Beth." Interesting.
Little Sam's visa arrived the day before we were to leave! No one expected it to get there in time, and the officials said there had never been such good service. I understood, through all my sadness, that God wanted her out of Iran. I didn't know the future, but I was confident of that fact.
The morning of our departure was terribly traumatic for us all. Lots of the dear folks came out early to see us off. Andrew was not here. I learned later that Mr. Blenden, in an attempt to play God, reminded Andrew how we were playing with our eternal destiny, as we would both lose our church letters, and one can't be saved outside the Only True Church, you know! I have wondered, when after years of trying to get out of the country, he finally took his own life when the Ayatollah took over the country, if any one of those men knew, or cared.
The distance from the airport to the plane was the longest walk the boys and I had ever taken. I put my face in little Sam's coat and cried uncontrollably. All the hate, the bitterness; all the love of the people I was leaving behind; all the embarrassment of our failures - I couldn't handle it. The boys were angry and hurt and crying, too. Bryan laughed demonically.
The unfamiliar thrust of the jet as it took off frightened the children and me. It seemed the last straw and we cried again. I kept them all as close to me as I could, trying to stay alert through the long eighteen-hour day, as we flew west. Our plane set down in Istanbul and Paris, but we weren't allowed off. We flew over the Alps, but with a thick cloud cover under us we didn't see a thing! The clouds make me feel safer, however, as I'm always quite sure if something should go wrong with the plane all the fluffy cotton under us would cushion our fall!
When we arrived in New York I couldn't get my shoes on. No one had told me that I should keep them on in flight. After all, I am from Arkansas, you know! And it was such a long day! I had to clunk across the landing field to the airport with my feet barely stuck in my shoes. Uncomfortable as well as embarrassing.
Bryan and I were speaking only as necessary as he hailed a cab to take us to the hotel. They had reserved a room for us with two double beds, which meant two had to take to the floor, so I made pallets for the little girls, Laurie slept on the bed with his daddy, and I lay down beside Jerry. Bryan looked daggers at me, but lay quietly for awhile. I dozed right off. I had not heard the term "jet lag", but I was experiencing it, as were we all. I was still on my medication, and emotions had been heavy the past few days. Suddenly I realized that Bryan was up and dressing.
"What are you doing?"
"None of your business." He had been on the phone to some of his ham radio friends in St. Louis after he had seen us to the hotel room. Much earlier he had mentioned that they wanted a baby girl from Iran, but I now had to guess that he had talked to them about Tammi. I remembered he said they had offered him $2000.00 for his trouble if he could help them get a child. I put two and two together quickly. Jumping up, I ran across the room for the small brief case in which he carried his Bible, and right now had all our tickets, plus Tammi's adoption papers and visa. As I grabbed the handle he reached for it with one hand and hit me with the other. I lunged for the case again. He couldn't take my baby and sell her to someone else! He pushed me violently and sent me across the room where I fell and hit the metal bed rail with the back of my head. It really hurt, but I didn't know for quite a while that I had fractured two vertebrae. For years the doctors couldn't figure out why I was having such painful muscle spasms in my back, and at first blamed it on emotions, since it began at the time of our separation. Finally X-rays were taken, and therapy begun. The pain never completely goes away, and rest and therapy must alternate with work.
The boys had awakened and were yelling at their dad.
"Stop! Stop hurting Mother!" Bryan looked defeated, and changed his mind about going wherever. He undressed and returned to his bed. But the boys wouldn't let me go back to bed. They were afraid something else might happen. Jerry turned the TV on, and they sat one on each side of me on the floor, where with our backs against the bed we watched a WW II movie. I didn't know any movie stars, and I can't remember which movie it was, but since television was such a novelty to us, we got involved in it. Bless their hearts! It is incredible what we put our children through. Parents should be protecting and shielding them, but sometimes the poor kids have to grow up fast and protect the parent.
* * * * * *
We went back to the airport next morning and boarded a plane for Memphis. Jerry's ear had begun hurting badly. He suffered with it all through the lay-over in Memphis. It was terribly hot and muggy, the airport was not air-conditioned, and we were not used to the humidity. It was miserable, and I was worried about Jerry.
Finally we boarded our last flight, a "prop" plane, and took off for Little Rock. It was good to see Mother and her husband. They had brought both cars, since hers was a little Bug", and she had no idea how much luggage we would have. I herded the children into her car and the men brought the baggage. She swung by the home of Jack Parnell, a friend whose children she was teaching. She wanted to show off her grandchildren, and ask his advice on my behalf.
Mr. Parnell's partner was an attorney, and he urged me to see him. I told him that I would later, thanked him, and we went on to Mother's house. Jerry was complaining with his ear, and the pain continued to grow worse and worse. Finally, Mother and I took him to the emergency room. The poorly regulated pressure that got to my feet in the plane messed up Jerry's inner ear. They finally got him comfortable. By now it was nearly nine p.m., and I was anxious to get some rest, as was everyone else. Mother's house was small, with only two bedrooms. I took her to the side.
"Mother, I can't sleep with Bryan. What shall I do?" Leo wasn't too happy with her decision that he would sleep with Bryan. The kids were on floors and couches, and I slept with Mother. Or rather, I should say, I died.
Next morning Jerry was feeling better. The children were already running around on Mother's acreage, and sticking poles in the spring-fed pond. They would make it. The country has a way of soothing frayed lives. Bryan realized when I wouldn't sleep with him that the die was cast. He came into the kitchen and asked me if I wanted him to leave. I told him he could do whatever he wanted, but I wouldn't be a part of it. Thirty years later it still pleasures him to tell everyone that Mother and I both asked him to leave.
"Her mother ordered me out of the house." Makes a good story, I suppose. The only thing Mother did was to sit with Tammi in her lap. We were both so afraid he would grab her and run. She was the one he wanted. Was it for himself he wanted her, or for the $2000.00 he could collect from the couple in St. Louis? I had carried the $200.00 expense money Mr. Bergain had given us for the trip and from it had paid the hotel, taxi, and food from it. Now Bryan asked me for $20.00 and went to town with my stepfather. He didn't say good-bye to the children, or even say he was leaving for good, though it was all right with me. That afternoon late I got a call from a lawyer who said he was the attorney for Mr. Dulane, and who was my attorney? I told him that I had no attorney as yet. Bryan had told him, just as he still tells it, that I had hired an attorney before I even arrived at Mother's house from the airport.
The following day I went to see Mother's friend's partner. He thought I should have a peace bond served on Bryan. I paid for the bond, but I didn't know that Bryan was already gone. His attorney had advised him to leave the State so I couldn't get service on him. Otherwise he would have to support the children! Every time I see that particular attorney, who is now Arkansas State Senator, I remember how his advice affected my children's lives.
* * * * * *
Continue to Part 4 - "A HARD ROW TO HOE"
"TOO WET TO PLOW"
1. Seventh-day_Adventists_Believe... (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1988).
2. See Review and Herald, General Conference Session Report Issue, 1990.
3. E. White, Counsels on Health, pages 20,21.
4. Ibid., page 495.
5. E. White, Letter 33, 1889, quoted in Selected Messages, Book 1, page 366.
6. E. White, Bible Students's Library, April 1893, quoted in Selected Messages, Book 1, page 397.
7. E. White, Christ's Object Lessons, Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1900), page 312. 8. Ibid., page 315.
9. Ibid., 69.
10. See Selected Messages, Book 1, pages 389 - 398, "Justification By Faith."
11. Matthew 11:28
12. E. White, Messages to Young People, page 342.
13. E. White, Fundamentals of Christian Education, (Nashville, TN: Southern Publishing Association, 1923), pages 475, 476.
14. E. White, Letter 3, 1884, quoted in Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 173.
15. E. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 73; 153, 154. See over 400 references in the Comprehensive Index to EGW writings: "Obedience", "Perfection".
16. D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation, (New York: American Tract Society, 1847), pages 186-200.
17. 1 Peter 5:8-11.
18. 2 Timothy 4:6-9
19. 1 Peter 4:12-16.
20. Acts 10:26.
21. 1 Kings, chapters 5-8
22. 1 Peter 4:12-19.
23. See Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., (1959), St. Bartholomew Massacre".
24. E. White, Early writings, 216.
25. E. White, The Desire of Ages, 789; Christ's Object Lessons, 358.
26. See Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Baha'u'llah".
27. Luke 6:23.
28. Matthew 6:7,8 (NIV)
29. Proverbs 23:7.
30. 2 Thessalonians 2:11.