Bahman Nekoie was 43 years old when interviewed by Rhonda Bialorucki in 1999.
From birth until age of twelve, it is major traveling happening from cities to cities because of my father’s job. He was a general contractor under a corporation, which built major projects like air bases. He would subcontract part of that job. So, that was the major, major up to age of twelve I would say. From twelve until his death, I would be nineteen, it’s been a typical growth and pretty nice life by financial, emotional, all supports of life. From death of my father, I end up doing overnight growth. Until I became a husband to Catherine, it was a very strong aim to become a man. Since marriage it has been a commitment to the life of the family and it has been very sweet.
In 1956 [when I was bom], Iran was coming out of almost like a recession time. It was a post‑war type of feeling in Iran. Things were just picldng up again. My father, at that point, he was just establishing a strength to his work again. It had been down. At that point, we were traveling because of his job and we were basically in the middle of the country in Iran in a city called Kehrman. Birth of mine was there, but because we immediately moved to Tehran, my birth certificate be issued in Tehran.
She [my mother] will be considered half‑Russian, half‑Pmian. My father is 100%
Persian. My mother brought up mainly in north, west of Iran. My father is from a city called Nehavan, which is in the central, west of Iran. g grew up] basically in the north, central of Iran.
I was very, very big kid by the reason my mom was sick with the pregnancy. [The
doctor] had given her a lot of calcium shots. So, unusually I was bigger by the construction of the bone of my body. So, my mom says when I was bom the whole town basically was talidng to each other [saying], “Have you seen the Nekoic child is bom. He is almost the size of a lamb.” I was a big boy almost ten pounds. I was just big not major monstrous big, but ten pounds is a big boy. In Iran, not now as much because different society forty‑three years later, the impression of a boy carries in the name of the father. In fact this was basically attached to a boy be born in Iran. So, I was automatically been favoritely looked at because I was a male.
[I was] being number six for my mother and being number third for my father [and first son]. Actually prior to my birth, my mom got pregnant with another one and it was a boy also who passed away for other reason of the pregnancy so she did not carry it to term. My birth was very caring to the family for the fact of being a boy, biggest concern for especial my father. So, being the third one being a boy after the death of another boy was a big, big mark in the family. I know that I have special place because of being a male. Being a favorite that wasn’t the truth, but as far as the birth, it put a big mark on the family line.
I know much less about my half‑brother and [two] half‑sisters [who still live in Iran] than my immediate, own blood I am very, very close to my immediate family. Is a part of any relationship when you are too involved, you also have too many raises as well with it. You expectation rises when you too close with anyone. At the same time, have all love and heart for them, too. Goes with the territory. You have so much love for each other sometime reaches us to hate for each other. I believe this any relations not just us. We are close family I have to say. I won’t ever, ever be without them, no matter what.
Major, major role model is my father. If you’ were to say role model one name I would call it my father. If I was going to be good man, I would try to fill my father’s shoes. For man of his time, he was most liberated person, real understanding, incredibly dedicated man to his family. He had minor faults perhaps to which I cannot disclose because I was a child. He was the best father I can describe. Perfect, perfect support system of a family can have. He was a very well understanding man. For his time, he was a very open‑minded person. He was very emotional person. But because of the error he was brought up men don’t cry mentality. He would back hold a lot of moments of it. But he never, ever stopped saying that he loved us. But if he were in the verge of a cry, he would have stopped that. He had been taught that men don’t cry. He did cry, for other reasons perhaps, but most time he end up controlling.
[I inherited from him] a strong, strong drawn to the family. He was not a man of a million words. He wasn’t a talkative person but he said a few times a words that have had a great impact forever and forever in my mind. Practically daily I live by it. Once I recall he said, “If I could give half of my life to have my mom back, I will do it.” Those of the conditions I have always remembered. How you have to respect of and take care of your mom. That is the deepest value you can give to a mother. That is one of them. He said a momentary things like that, which have been always, always with me. He left a legacy with me that family is whatever life can be about. I have seen myself standing like him physically. I see sometimes my fathers impression my looks as well. I know I do look like him.
She [my mother] remarkable human being I will call her. Beside the motherly love, I have seen her many cases she has stand in what defines a human being. When she talks about somebody or behaves around the other ones, I find her what defines my values of a human being. She has remarkable soft heart. She incredibly sensitive behind, above anybody else I know. She is very emotional, generous as can be, stubborn as know one else, and very, very social. I inherited little bit of her stubbornness. Actually, more than little bit. This is major, major part I have inherited from her. Other pieces, I would say that I am social based on her standards, too. As far as love, I would say I know she loves her family behind her own life. I would say that I have that, too.
Unfortunate, only one [grandparent] was alive at the time I was born. My mom’s father, my grandfather. He was very, incredibly strong man. Russian background and very, very strong person by all means of oneself. He was a man whom you would never see him cry. He never would be bended. He was as solid as a man can be. He never ever showed that much emotions. He died approximately ten years ago. He lived a long life. He was 84 or 85‑years‑old.
Because my youngest brother being a handicap, I have always struggled with the existence of a God. For the longest time, I denied even of the existence of a God. Because he being a handicap, I seen it for sixteen years straight, this kid gone through hell every day of his life. I couldn’t find a balance for that reason. Wasn’t enough reasoning to satisfy me by his existence and unfortunately the one who were in the religious elite in my life were not enough involved or knowledgeable to answer me and satisfied me. So, I struggled basically all of my young, mature life spiritually with the existence of a God. I just wanted to have something to lean on, could be a tree could be a light. I have done fate in Muslim, too. I couldn’t find myself totally hooked on this either. Wanted it. I have experienced the light of God around me with my own eyes. That was not again enough just sensing that I created it. I didn’t have enough extended attachment to word of God. Inner drawing [to spirituality] has always been there.
I was probably ten‑years‑old [when I first experienced death]. Twenty‑year‑old worked in manufacturing place and he was remarkably nice, kind‑hearted person. This becomes a little bit complicated about the culture. in this country, you hang out with just about your own age. In Iran you hang out with your own age play with. People in the neighborhoods hang out on the comers of the streets perhaps and there always the older ones as well involved with that hanging out, too. He was one of the older ones, but they are almost like an older brother. They look after us underneath the supervision. We couldn’t do any foolish things, per say, in front of them. They be a stopping us. He was very kind one and when he passed away that was the first dramatic death experience I know.
First of all we don’t hold onto a dead body the length of a daylight. If you die during a daylight, you should be buried before sunset. If you die in the evening, you be buried when the sunlight comes up. Before sunset you are definitely buried. Unless for some reason like in police cases. We give a final bath to our death. As a Muslim, you are obligated as part of practice of the faith, you have to be washing seven deaths per person or element of helping that person get buried. We do also have professional people that is what they do as a job. After that, they been wrapped by an unwashed cloth. There body lays right on the dirt facing toward Mitak, if they are Muslim, and immediately pour the dirt over [the body]. That’s where the Muslim face towards from no matter what part of world we pray toward Mitak, a city. We do have third‑day sitting, seven‑day sitting, forty‑day sitting, and a year sitting. Through the first through the forty days, member of immediate family, children especially, they wear black for forty days. After the forty days, usually older person in the family, a good friend, will be bring some tokens, certain tokens, could be as simple as a scarf, or a shirt, a T‑shirt or whatever to take that person away from black, to change their black to their regular coloring. So, we have officially mourned wearing black. But traditionally, wife carries up to a year wears the black. That is pretty much the important tradition.
The weddings are very fun. Prior to the event of the marriage, we don’t usually ask, directly, the future wife for the hand. We usually ask our parents to go to the house of the future wife and to ask daughter’s hand. After the agreement of that, we set a time will be the wedding day and we don’t speak to each other through the ceremony because still up to that moment she is, by law the faith of religion Muslim, a stranger to me. So, I cannot touch her, see her, talk to her. For that reason, we have the religion person who is performing the wedding they are asking the girl to marry us. The actual setting is beautiful. We sit on the floor. Always beautifully decorated. We have fruits, we have marriage candies, honey, some nuts. All these beautifully golden and silver, decorative flowers. When future husband and wife they sit on that wedding day, they look at each other through the mirror because mirror is symbolizes the purity. The most pure element on face of earth is the mirror. So, you look at through the purity at each other. After the ceremony of the wedding is over, usually the first things they do is put a finger through the honey and put into each other’s mouth because honey is the purest food on face of earth. So, this start everything of their lives by purity of their life. From looking at each other to the first food of their mutual life. After that, is usually a routine party time of food and celebration. It is really fun.
My younger sister immigrated to America first. I was second one, then the rest came. [Zeba, my youngest sister, came to the States with her Iranian husband who set up his medical practice in Maine]. It is not a question of liking [it in America] ‑ The facts are again when you live out of country where you are born and you are cultured in this point of our lives, basically, we are like two people living in one body. We do like tremendous amount of things available to us here, culturally, technology, financially. But, at the same token, we are incredibly involved with certain cultural, financial and go on from where we came from. To when you say you like it is comparing to the other one [country] and it is impossible to compare the two. Neither one weighs anymore than the other at this point. There are things we have here that we don’t have in Iran. But same token, Iran we do tremendously ties to family, I don’t see it here. You will say one has, one doesn’t have. Like apple and oranges you cannot measure them with each other. You have to have something to measure your likes and dislikes by it. My judgment would be with the country I grew up. Neither places, at this point, would satisfy me 100%. If I go back, I will be missing things I have here. I don’t go back, I am missing what is out there. I don’t judge it that [by likes and dislikes] anymore.
I didn’t feel dramatic, dramatic difference [between living in Iran, France, and America]. I do believe I fit. Find along the line of those extremists are individuals as here, as was in Europe, as was in Iran. Example, there is a Rhonda, John, and Joe and whomever else as individual. Their beliefs, their relations, and their spirituality it is almost similar individuals have line of them same one living in different part of the world with minor, minor differences. Perhaps don’t celebrate the same holidays, but as far as the belief, the way of approaching goals as individuals is very similar. My point is almost like there is 100 souls for sale or 100 patterns it has been repeated over and over. We can take the same setting of the life you have and don’t change it the way you want to live and move to another part of world and another cities and you going to end up finding these similarities friends around you sin3ilar way of life. Almost the pattern is you. You are the center of that attraction of that pattern. If you are into the sport events, you are a runner and we take you from here and put you to the totally opposite direction of the location you live, you are going to continue to be a jogger. You about to bump into another jogger much more likely than you bump into somebody who is body builder. Like you have a magnetic in you to duplicate same pattern no matter where you are. That is my understanding of the world. If you are in the exchange market you going to be surrounded by exchange people. You will seen the world from a financial point of view. If you are in a spirituality, you are not going to be hanging around anybody else except people who are in the same similarity spirituality as you are. So, your world will be. Is it a true world or is it?
To me there is one pattern being repeated all over the globe in different race, different cultures, different religion but there is dramatic similarity to it. That’s the biggest things I can describe the world. We believe we are different that much. We give a much greater dimension to the differences but I personally don’t see it. I do believe simplicities of it but biggest differences is in the wording more than as is. Religious, if you pay attention to all of them, they have similar core. One individual going to be the Messiah of it, dependability of financial to it. Fashion of every religion in every comer have done based on their particular needs and this is true about every religion. There is all similarity in that particular field. Family similarity is not as exact as patterned as religion one, perhaps. But you look at a core of the families, they follow very similar patterns. There is the parents, there are kids achieving to the goals of going somewhere with. This is maybe differences in the way approaching the future part of it, maybe. We take it from the least advanced technology to the most advanced technology there are pretty much a core that follows in the same direction. We try and verbalize it more than is .
Coming from a deep Muslim background and moving to the different countries and seeing the different cultures, different religious. I have drawn that conclusion in me that there is no differences. Almost I can say that it is a human conspiracy in the world. By good fate it is conspiracy not in a negative face, in a very positively because when words come one word we say building. Everyone has their own imagination the height, a low, and west. Different religious are in my mind the same. Everybody has the different dimension, different values, different height and work for everyone differently.
So, personally I don’t have a religion by that standard. By one of our friends describes
that religious is the runway way of life. Once you are secure by those bases you are taking
up now you flying. I have sense I am flying. I don’t have the needs of the runway anymore to take off on. I do trust in God. I have definitely faith in God as sense of higher power, as creator. But I do not believe religious by being in a particular location. I do pray in my own way. Basically I trust my heart, my conscious. I do follow that a lot. I do pray at times even in the bathroom. You been put on the face of this earth for whatever purposes and reasons. I am not always to find those reasons. To me when you create it is your expression and you have to just accept the expressions versus the reasons. Because after all you consume the results of it not the reasons of it. That is basically where I have drawn a conclusion from Muslim to where I am now. The strongest return of this from my not attach, non‑belief was at birth of my firstborn. Have some moments since where I have gone up and down. But that was definitely, definitely the turning point.
The single joy I will call is the peak, peak of my own heart is really birth of Bijan, my
first son. Moment I will call reemerged me from that deep distrust of the faith to the God to a lot of other things. Brought me up to the surface to live a life again. Not really saying a joy, but a reemerging has more impact than the joy. Joy is not a strong word for it.
Most pride piece will again take me back to my family relationship. I have never, with
all the elements of moving out of country, I never lost the good contact and being attached to my family. That would be my biggest achievement. My heart and sole never released them any time. I will say was elements around forced, perhaps, but I never did. I would say the family part was very tempting being young out of country. Could have gone any direction anywhere but never ever got to the moment where I felt didn’t want it. I put great effort in my heart to never do it. [Another major accomplishment) I will say that when I quit smoking [fifteen years ago]. That was one of the hardest I ever did.
Oh yay, [I have] doubts [about achieving my goals]. In the social part, yes [I have doubts] ‑ Family part no. I knew who I would be. I knew where I was going. My family descriptions have never changed since age of maybe seventeen, eighteen. I knew I would be husband. I knew I would not be a wrong husband. I knew I would be a father. I knew I would be a good father. I knew this. I didn’t need to be married to be a good husband. I knew I would be. I didn’t need to be a father to be a good father. I knew I would be. I know those were committed before actually committed.
Financially, I was much better when I was home [in Iran]. I had a very, very comfortable life. As far as what is now, what I have is good. There is not a disappointment by any stretch of mind on that. Ninety‑five percent of the time I feel at peace with myself. Five percent I need to search. That is just a part of [life]. Everyone do the same.
[When I turned] thirty, I would say if I were going to choose back sometimes live one more time it would definitely be thirty. I describe thirty as a withdraw time. Up to thirty you collecting. At thirty on you start withdrawing the experiences you have. You have a more sense of secure and direction. Definitely, decision you are making is more enjoyable versus just as is. Life is more definer by age of thirty, I believe. The impact of forties has been so far recognizing the time frame more. Not much different than thirties except this is added to a character there is a time frame to the life now. You calculating your experiences, your withdraws, your goals, your achievement. Having these three kids now, I sense Bijan is almost ten‑years‑old and thinking got a little bit bigger volume of it than before. So, has a dimensions with much more depth, more colorful, more congested.
[The stresses in my life now], I won’t call it stress because personally I have a happy life. I don’t have a stress everyone else can call it stress. I do recognize my responsibility. I act by it whatever it is, financially, emotionally, physically, mentally. Those are my responsibility. I made a choices to be there. This is my choice to be here. I recognize a of this. To me it isn’t a stress. It is a volume but it isn’t a stress. My only be somewhat concerns, at this point, maybe a little bit of stress is my mother’s health because she is not too well. I don’t have a choice. I cannot make any choices on that. It is out of my control. The future is the age question that comes up. The material takes different thoughts for the future now. It is not really that I am looking that much for myself. The family again biggest objective of my future. Planning life more according to their plans and way of life more than what I want at this time. Definitely again, the spirituality becomes a little bit more deeper. My sense of responsibility again toward [my children]. They will need more guidance and little more solid information and answers. It is not a question of my choice, it kind of happen. We already sense a few moment have arise which you can’t just answer them because. You have to tell them as the logical you say to adults. That’s part of the spirituality we aiming for more future.
The center, again, based on the advising of what the family culture should be. They [my children] will have always a refuge, a spot to go to. That will probably be our future role. Safety always been the greatest part of any life I know, That is why we have a savings account and we have houses waterproof and all the personal safeties. Kids need that safetiness as long as the parents are alive. I think that is the demand of any child and it is not related to the age. It is just a demand of anybody. We can be as old as can be. As long as your parents are alive you somewhat rely on them, because this is how you originated.
Know[ing] what I know now, at this point, I would be more concerned about what I have given to my kids, be it tools. Almost like I hear a little bit of that judgement as to how it is going to work that tools I have given them. That is a little bit pierce in my heart. I know what I have done is right. I don’t have any doubts in my soul that what I have done is right or what I think is right. Always that element of exam. I have never been a good examer myself. I have never taken a good test. This is one of the biggest tests possibly anybody can have ‑ the test of life. The test is the only uneasy thoughts I have for the future. I can pretty much draw a picture of what is going to happen and I am quite, quite positive it will happen that way. There is always, always this testing. Time will tell what is going to happen.
Five years [from now] I am still incredibly productive ‑ still full force. I see myself as still energetic five years down road. As far as the life‑style, I don’t think dramatic changes will happen. Financially, I doubt it that much dramatic. Ten years that is where things start taking a little bit more serious changes. Pretty much two oldest kids out and about college level. The third one will be just about wrapping up high school. That’s where more focusing on the helping to support these kids. That will be pretty much fifteen years from now. Best hope is to be healthy, to carry on. My focus is mainly their future in my mind. I think it will be trying all I can put into it to make sure they do have the opportunity fifteen years from now. I think that will be major, major fifteen years. Spirituality, human relationship will be better with the ]ads. I definitely, definitely want them to be a friend, respect, but friends.
I really I have dream to be able to have enormous gathering with my kids and their kids. It will be the most grand of I can see myself with. To be able to be around, to see their shifted way life will be taken them away from us. I will be delighted to be able to see that day.
There is a basic rule of life ‑ always trust. If I was going to give advice to the young to go on with their lives, would be to be truthful to yourself, don’t let anybody else, be truthful to yourself. I do believe you will be achieving much higher goals once you have that in you and remind yourself everyday of it. Definitely trust I won’t compromise on that. There is no other way but one way. Trust that always been my strongest point. I won’t even negotiate that one.
[My feelings about the interview] is a good feeling. A good cleansing sensation to it. You’re a reviewing what you have done and what you have become. I sense some sort of relief certain thoughts, certain words fifted out of my chest. Feels good. Reinforce what is really important for me when it comes to someone else be listening to it is a reassuring it to me. I was believing that. It waswt just a thought, wasn’t pretend. It is the truth because no obligation at this moment for what I did.