A childhood Memento2- A Memoir of Houshang Golshiri

Date: September 1996
I grew up in a working class family who lived in two or sometimes three rooms. On the way to school we were usually bare footed. When we got older we wore wooden shoes called Karcup. We used to play mostly around our house. When we were about fifteen, we had three soccer fields. We spent most of our time playing there. What was special about working class houses was that they were all identical. There was no class difference between the people and everyone had similar living standards. 
People wore similar clothes and no one had a car to compare it to the neighbor's car. We lived through that period in complete unawareness. Perhaps, because, we were not the type who would cycle all the way to posh neighborhoods of Abadan, see the gardens in front of houses and the British life style of rich employees of National Oil Company. We were completely unaware of such lives. There was a movie theater close to our house. We used to go to movies every week with five Rials. That is of course only if my father gave us five Rials. And if he didn't, we would stand behind the gate; one would stand on the floor and the other would stand on his shoulders and tell the story of the movie from up there. Then, after the first half of the movie, we would switch positions. Our main hobby was soccer. Books were also available when we were at high school. I don't know why but, my mother used to borrow magazines from our neighbors who could afford them. We used to read those at nights.
Those were strange times. For example, when we washed our hands in the morning, my mother used to scrub our hands with hot water. This made our skin thinner than it already was. On the way to school, we had no gloves and our skin cracked. Then we went home mother used to beat us because of our dirty hands whereas, in the morning we were spick and span because of my mother's OCD. Anyways, we lived an isolated life in complete unawareness, as if it was the lost heaven. We never noticed how the time passed by or, what kind of food we were having. We were utmost happy with a new pair of shoes, because it was honest, humble and no humiliation was involved. All the doors of houses in the neighbors were open to everyone. This is how I remember my childhood, as the lost heaven. I see it as the ideal world where people did not dominate one another and they shared things, as much as possible.

Translated by: Jairan Gahan

Seda (Voice), Oral History News Bulletin
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