National Geographic : 1953 Nov
709 Wide world A Stick-brandishing Mob Rips Down a Political Sign in Tehran Rioting last August that swept Premier Mossadegh from power and returned Mohammed Riza Shah Pahlevi to his throne is here directed against headquarters of the Iran Party, which supported Mossadegh. As for me, I hurried across the compound each morning to tend library and serve as substitute teacher if necessary, after dealing with the problems that beset a housekeeper in Iran. The school provided us with a large and comfortable house so that we might harbor two boarding students from provincial mis sion stations. The extra room came in handy, for we soon had a houseful of pets. These included two ducks, auburn Sobh and black Shab (Morning and Night), and a dog named for Iran's highest peak, although he had no shred of the dignity of Demavend, the 18,934 foot snow-capped cone of the Elburz Moun tains north of Tehran. American Refinements Added Our rooms, filled with furniture inherited from departing missionaries, seemed very American in spite of mud walls a yard thick, high ceilings, tiled floors, and such decora tions as hubble-bubbles (water-cooled tobacco pipes) converted into lamps. Like our furnishings, the plumbing was not strictly Iranian. We had semi-American toilets in separate rooms just outside the main part of the house. They flushed when you threw a pitcherful of water down them, pro vided you learned the correct angle and speed. Each bedroom had its own washstand and towel rack, and we boasted a bathroom with a tin tub shaped like a mummy case. A kero sene heater at one end provided hot water. When the tub's plug was pulled, water emptied into an open trough below. Sometimes, when I thought wistfully of gleaming American plumbing, I remembered that Persia had known a highly developed culture when much of Europe was still in a primitive stage, and that some of Iran's artistic products are still the envy of the indus trialized part of the world. The kitchen's kerosene stove was a great improvement over the charcoal stove of Afghanistan, although at first it smoked furiously in spite of my best efforts. The houseboy next door taught me to wrap wet rags around the burners to cool them in summer, but I kept my distance from the stove after we acquired our Iranian servants Yaksabet as cook and Batul as waitress. Yaksabet, a woman of Armenian extrac tion, was about 48. Both of her children had been educated in an American mission school.