Sunday, February 19, 2006
My Persian Heritage

Since I've worked all weekend on revamping my blog to celebrate my Persian heritage I thought my first real post should be about the sad short life of my biological paternal grandfather Abolfazl Mohassel Mofrad. Out of the 4 biological grandparents, he was the only one who I never knew, having died decades before I was born (nevermind the fact that I only found my bio-family at age 20)


Abolfazl was born December 21st, 1925 at Mashhad, Khorasan Province in North East Iran (pictured above in my Banner) to Hamdollah Zanjani Mofrad & his 1st wife Nardaneh Ahmadzadeh. Unfortunately My only photos of grandfather Abolfazl were destroyed in the great flood (when the pipes burst in my old house) But I am fortunate to have a photo of his parents:

(Hamdollah Zanjani Mofrad & his 1st wife Nardaneh Ahmadzadeh)

My Mofrad great-grandfather owned Pistachio processing factories and was quite affluent from what I understand. Their youngest son was an exceptional student and athlete, and as these were the times of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi where Iran was very much our dear Middle Eastern brother, sending him to The United States to study seemed a very wise decision. He was accepted into the Engineering program at Brigham Young University. As part of the Foreign Exchange program he was scheduled to arrive in the early summer and to study English at Springfield College here in Western Massachusetts. He arrived via Steamer June 12th, 1947. He found housing nearby at the home of my Great-Grandparents who owned a small boarding house. This is how he met my grandmother. They fell in love, and she became pregnant. You could sense the depth of this relationship from my grandmother's stories when I first came to know her. I have read his and his parents letters to her and they are so very heartwarming. In August of 1947 my grandfather left Springfield to begin his studies in Utah. At this point his parents began sending money and gifts to my grandmother to provide for her and the unborn child. He was my birthfather, born April 21, 1948.


Tragedy struck hard months later. On December 8th, 1948, while traveling outside Ogden Utah with fellow Middle Eastern students the car my grandfather was riding in veered off an icy road and crashed into a revine. He was killed instantly, at the age of 22. His eyes were never to behold his young sons face. My birth father has some of the many letters which arrived from Iran to his mother during this period, pleading with her to move there and raise their grandson in his native land. She never left Springfield, and my father was raised here, receiving a constant flow of support from overseas. Many years later my grandfather's brother came to live in New Jersey and the family was reunited. His widow embraces me in tears whenever I see her calling me "Abolfaz" evidently I resemble him enough to cause this reaction.

I have one precious possession which was given to me back when I found my birthparents I treasure more than anything

It is a photograph mailed to my grandfather while at Brigham Young, from his father back in Iran. It has been translated several times, but I cannot locate any of those at this point. Essentially it is a father professing his love for a son he misses terribly. The first time I heard the english version


I know it's not Wednesday but I thought this would be an appropriate way to christen my new template. Yesterday was spent with my kids, we hit Bestbuy so that my older son could pick up Mel Brook's The Producers . This kid has some really different tastes in film, and yesterday told me he is becoming fascinated with Ethel Merman (I specifically chose that link because with him it isn't just Ethel, it's everything about Broadway Shows) My dad would be so proud..while I haven't ever been a big fan of Musicals he was a walking encyclopedia, in the early 80's as a kid he took me to see Yul Brynner in The King and I (that show ran 1951-1985!!!) and Annie.


Laters :)
Posted by :: 6:18 AM :: 9 original Comments (a re-post)
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