Bahareh was born in Manchester, England. Her father, Mehdi, and mother, Farideh, were born and raised in Iran. As a youth, Mehdi moved to Tehran and taught secondary school. This is where he met Farideh, whose father ran the school. They married in 1971 inviting all of their family and friends, and hiring the famed Persian singer Googosh to sing at their reception. In the 1970’s religious and economic discontent spurred change in Iran, which was ruled by a monarch called the Shah since 1941. The Shah became repressive, using a secret police force to suppress opposition. Both Mehdi and Farideh were vocal critics of the Shah, which led to Mehdi’s arrest. After his release, he and Farideh left Iran to study in England, where they earned graduate degrees in computer science and business, and welcomed their daughter, Bahareh, into the world.
When Bahareh was two years old, she and her parents visited Tehran. It would be Bahareh’s first and only time in Iran. In 1979, the Iranian Revolution forced the Shah from power and replaced him with exiled Shia cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, who quickly turned the country into an Islamic republic. When Farideh’s father died, she could not attend his funeral because her family warned her it was not safe to return to Iran. They left England for the United States, where Mehdi accepted a professorship at The University of Illinois. Bahareh grew up in Champaign, Illinois, where her father taught computer science and her mother juggled work and raising a daughter in a new country. Since leaving Iran, both Medhi and Farideh returned only a handful of times, but never together. They did this as a precaution: if something were to happen to one of them upon their return to Iran, then the other would be able to care for Bahareh. Before he retired, Mehdi became Dean of Graduate Studies. Farideh received her law degree and is a practicing attorney. Bahareh moved to Chicago, where she married and had a daughter named Cecily (4).
The Patchwork Cat
Cecily's Traditional Clothing
Painted Boxes, Necklaces, & Shawl
1) What would you ask the owners of these objects, if you could speak to them today?
2) What lessons or ideas do these objects communicate that you hope your children will carry through their lives?