By: Layla Tarullo  Centennial 7th Grader

Non-staff Contributor

I look down at my feet as I walk through the streets of white stone. My white shoes are dusty. I hear birds chirping and cars moving with an occasional honk. There are people walking around on the streets. The people wear long robes and some women’s heads are covered in a scarf. I live in Tehran, Iran it is 1952.

Tehran is the largest city in the country of Iran. It is in the Middle East. Women don’t have many rights here. They are not allowed to drive. I am an American and I can’t drive anyways. So I have to walk through the streets. But I don’t have to cover my hair. The streets are clean but it is crowded. Some people would be afraid to move here. But I don’t think there is much violence. 

My family moved here, three months ago. We moved here because my Dad was asked by the government to go teach people in Iran about how to farm better. My Dad is a well known farming teacher from Utah. He even developed his own type of corn. My family consists of my mom Mildred, my dad LeRoy, my brother Duane, and my sister Liane. But Liane did not come to Iran because she is already married.

My whole family is tall. My mom is 5 feet and 8 inches. Dad is nearly 6 feet tall. Duane is already 6 feet tall and shooting up like a weed. Liane is the same height as mom. I am the runt. I am only 5 feet tall. My dad has said that my grandpa would whack me over the head with a shovel and I did not grow. I think this is a story but I am not sure. I am small in other ways too. Like I am only 100 pounds. I also have short brown hair and wear glasses.

Another thing that is different about me compared to my family is bravery. For example my mom was the first person in my family to ride a camel in Iran. My dad brought us to Iran in the first place, this was a pretty adventurous move. On the boat ride to Iran Duane tried all the gross food. Liane has always been brave. She sang and danced in front of audiences. I have not done anything.

I am shy. I think I am shy because in 3rd grade all my friends got invited to one of my friends birthday parties. I watched all my friends walk down the street with shiny presents and I was not invited. This made me lose all my confidence and bravery. So now I am mostly only friends with cats. I love cats. One good thing about me is that I have really keen hearing, I pride myself with having good ears. 

I look up. I was momentarily blinded from the sun. As I walked through the streets I noticed a man. I am not sure why, but something about him set me off, he was young maybe twenty. He looked like a tribe’s man. My mom told me about them. There were the first people to live in Iran. He was dressed in dirty, baggy pants and no shirt. He had messy hair and was tall. The man also had a henna in his hair, and in between his fingernails. Again he made me nervous, still not sure why.

 I kept my head down as I passed him and walked down the street to my house. The houses in my street, and mostly anywhere in Iran have arches, and intricate designs. I love the architecture here. 

As I arrived at my house I walked through the living room and walked to the kitchen where my mom was washing the vegetables. I should not say washing, she was washing the vegetables with chlorine, instead of water. My mom looked up and smiled at me. I was reminded again of how tall and brave she looked, all ways confident. She gestured to the vegetables that she already washed and said “Oneta, will you cut the vegetables for me,” I nodded and grabbed one of our kitchen knives, from a cabinet and a cutting board, from the other room. I quickly started cutting the vegetables and started thinking about what I wanted to do tomore, when I heard a creek from the front room. I froze listening to see if there was going to be another sound. There was not and a quickly started to cut the vegetables again, a few minutes later a heard quiet footsteps. Again a froze, listening intently. When I heard more footsteps and decided to see what was up. Part of me wanted it to just be my brother or my dad playing a trick on me, but I knew that was not likely. I quietly picked up my cutting knife and held it out in front of me. I timidly walked into the family room and got a nasty surprise.

The Iran guy I saw earlier was standing in the front room with a giant knife and a creepy grin on his face. He smelled of cigarettes and sweat. He looked like he was going to walk down the hallway to get at my mother. I became angry, yes I was terrified, I was5’ 2, against a 6 foot crazy guy but I needed to protect my mother, and anyone else he might hurt.

I stepped out and ran in front of the guy, with my knife pointing right above his chest. I was fast enough that he barely reacted. He looked startled then again smiled at me. I shuddered, but remained where I was. I said “Get out,” in a quiet voice. When he did not react and kept staring, I said “Get out!” louder. The guy started to move his knife, but I pressed my knife a little harder into his chest. Again the guy started to move his knife towards me. I pressed a little harder. I drew a little blood. He finally started to back up towards the door. I steered him out the front door and a few feet out of my house. He was still grinning at me. Then he turned around and ran to an alley 30 ft away. I took a shuddering breath, and closed the door. 

I walked down the hallway towards my mother. She looked up and said “Oneta! You look as white as a ghost,”

‘’Do I?’’ I replied

“Yes, what happened?”

“Well, you see…” I faltered

She looked concerned, “Oneta… what happened?’’

“There was this guy… he had a knife. He was in our house, he was going to use the knife,”

My mother paled, ”What… why did you not call for help?”

“Because, if I would of called out he, would of ran down the hallway to get at you and then me,”

She was speechless then said in a shaky voice, “Well, I am very glad that you are okay,” She rushed over, gave me a big hug and stood there hugging me for a good 15 seconds. I broke down and started shaking. She finally pulled away and knelt down and said “You were very brave, and I can’t wait to tell the rest of the family how proud I am of you,” I smiled a bit and nodded. 

Then I realized something, even if I was scared or timid most of the time I could still be brave and have courage to help my family. 


This story is true and about my great-grandma that lived in Iran from 1952 to 1953.