Letters Home: Magic Carpet and More

Magic Carpet and More

Letters Home: Magic Carpet and More

As I worked on this quilt I thought about how our parents settled into a new life with many joys and a few challenges. I thought about how our mother always made a house a home, and their ability to make any circumstance into an adventure. Enjoy this part of the journey of our childhood!

Magic Carpet
Magic Carpet and More
Letters Home Series, hand painted fabrics, commercial fabrics, beading, hand embroidery, machine appliqué and fused.
Barbara Gideon (c) 2020

I began by  recreating one of our parents’ first purchases – a Persian carpet that now lives by my bedside. The carpet on the quilt is a separate piece that was later stitched to the background. Drawing on symbols from the two letters, the quilt includes:

  • A tall tree with trumpet shaped red flowers 
  • A pool of sparkling turquoise water
  • A light bulb – hard to come by in 1959 Abadan!
  • Almonds found in the bazaar- skinned and roasted at home
  • Two scotch and waters- if you look closely you can find the sought after ice cubes!  
  • Our mother’s flowers- white oleanders and assorted other flowers 
  • Signed with an X and O. 
Actual carpet our parents purchased in 1959
The actual Persian carpet our parents purchased in 1959

It’s HOT! Flowers, veggies and new routines! 

April 26th 1959

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Hi you all,

Boy, all the Texas people around here, you hear this a lot. Bobbie has a message, she is learning to write and when we get some lined paper she will write you a letter. Last night was open house at the school and Miss Brolly is pleased with her work. She told me that her reading was very good and so was the spelling, like her mother. She needs a little more work in math, but is progressing well. Starting the 16th of May for school hours will be 7:30 until noon.

We have made one major purchase. We bought a Persian carpet. It is 46 in by 58 in and very pretty. The price was pretty too, but we like it and it is a good size. The center part is white with this Persian design in it and the border is red and black, also small designs. Herb knows the name of it, so when he comes in for lunch I will ask him. Glad we bought it here and not in Paris. The paper is full of the Persian rug stink from there.

Magic Carpet and More, Carpet Detail
Magic Carpet and More, Carpet Detail, Letters Home Series, hand painted fabrics, commercial fabrics, beading, hand embroidery, machine appliqué and fused. Barbara Gideon (c) 2020

Last Monday night we went to a cocktail party at the General Manager’s home. He has an open house once a month – you attend by invitation, which you do not decline. Wonder why it was called an open house? It was lovely and we did enjoy ourselves. Herb and I had the waiters jumping. They serve Scotch & Soda, no ice. Herb asked if he could have plain water and some ice and after that they were very nice about having our special drinks for us. We came home to a miserable dinner Weezie cooked. Not too many drinks, just didn’t feel like eating.

Magic Carpet and More, Scotch and Water Detail
Magic Carpet and More, Scotch and Water details Letters Home Series, hand painted fabrics, commercial fabrics, beading, hand embroidery, machine appliqué and fused. Barbara Gideon (c) 2020

Just found out the other day that our ship, The Elin Horn, will be due in the next week instead of the 13th of May. Oh, joy! A few more toys for the kids and some lamps to really read by. Right now we are trying to get light bulbs that screw in, they keep bringing me the ones that they use here.

We’ve tried to get a nanny. Had one hired who does have good “chits” but she failed a physical, positive blood, 2 months ago. She is now going through the examination again and we should know about Wednesday if she passes or not. If no, our gardener said that he had a good nanny, I think it is his brother’s wife, that was looking for work. He doesn’t have her, just knows of her. She is young and looks clean.

One thing you all should know, I have grown nice long fingernails and naturally they are bright red. Also Herb has taken his belt in a notch and I have to, I’ve lost 10 lb. We are healthy and eat well, but watch what we eat, so don’t worry that it is sickness. We are both pleased and now want to keep our “girlish” figures.

Bought a real nice beef tenderloin the other day and we had it cut into steaks for three meals. Had some night before last and it was nice and tender. Not red in the middle, but good. Also we have gotten some real good pork chops. These are flown in from Tehran. If we could only get some ground beef, we’d be in business. Any good ways to cook chicken or beef are most welcome. Party ways, too. Thank you.

Magic Carpet and More Tree Detail
Magic Carpet, Tree Detail and Signed with an XO, Letters Home Series, hand painted fabrics, commercial fabrics, beading, hand embroidery, machineappliqué and fused. Barbara Gideon (c) 2020

It has been hot but nice in the house. The air coolers are turned on. In fact it has been chilly in here at times. Outside it was 107 degrees with 38% humidity on the 23rd and 105 with 47% humidity on the 24th. Hot in the sun but nice in the shade. These are high shade temperatures. The lows were 70 and 72 .

Magic Carpet and More, Oleander Detail
Magic Carpet and More, Oleander detail, Letters Home Series, hand painted fabrics, commercial fabrics, beading, hand embroidery, machine appliqué and fused. Barbara Gideon (c) 2020

The front yard is starting to look very nice. We have a small white oleander in full bloom and three small trees that have red trumpet like flowers on. The petunias and Sweet William are both blooming nicely and the carnations have just started to open. All around are Zinnia and Zinnia seedlings, the only flower that can survive the heat. We pulled a few radishes this morning with lots more to come. Boy are they hot! Hussen planted corn and beans on Wednesday and they both popped through the ground yesterday. We also have beets, parsley, red pepper, cucumber, celery and lady finger. We’re anxious to find out what lady finger is, all we know is that some of the English like it. Don’t even know an English man that knows what it is. I bet the Persians like it and want it for their own cooking. Eshajh made bread this morning and I made a cherry pie with his help.

Lynn and Bobbie are both confused with bread making and sock darning. They have never seen me do either of these before. Also a cake not out of a box. This Modern Generation! 

Love from us all Weezie

Salted almonds, swimming and flies

May 2, 1959

Letter number 8 

Dear Mom and Dad,

Do you rest and have a little fun in Shoreham or is it all work? From your letters it sounds like mostly work. Hope not. I’ll be mean and say that I hope Wally cannot rent the house, you get so much pleasure in going there weekends. But, take it easy on the work, remember it does not all have to be done today. As they say here, next week or maybe next month. OK.

As for the Easter cards from Grammy, we didn’t get them either, but next time I write I’ll thank her for them. It is a shame that when she goes to that much trouble the mail does not go through. We had trouble with Easter cards from my mother. Bobbie got one, but not Lynn. I’m sure she sent one to Lynn, but it never got here, wouldn’t want to tell her outright but did thank her for just Bobbie’s.

Bell moving into an apartment. She just bought new furniture for the house. I hope it will do in an apartment. Know that she will be better off without a lawn and gardens to worry about. They are a lot of work, as you know, and it is hard to get someone to do it for you. I know mother is having some trouble. Glad that you were keeping the cedar chest in the family. Those things mean so much. They are made more with love then materials and should be passed on for the future of loved ones. Tell Deb the story of it when she’s big enough to remember. It will always mean a lot to her if she knows the background.

You’ll be interested to know, we tried to buy some 100 watt light bulbs the other day. I’ll read by candlelight first. This was too high to even try to bargain with them for a lower price. We will try to get a few through the company or maybe a local store will have them a little cheaper. We did buy a dozen glasses for about $2.30. Not too bad. And we can’t go to the bazaar without buying salted almonds. They are wonderful and cost about $0.60 a pound.

Magic Carpet and More, Lightbulb Detail
Magic Carpet and More, Lightbulb & Almonds Detail, Letters Home Series, hand painted fabrics, commercial fabrics, beading, hand embroidery, machine appliqué and fused. Barbara Gideon (c) 2020

Our first shipment is due any day. So I will want some fabric very soon. Boy do I need sundresses and sleeveless blouses. The girls also need sleeveless blouses and a couple of summer skirts. I will be sewing a lot this summer. We went into the Singer store when we were in the bazaar and they really have a lot. I can get the needles, grease and oil for my machine and also they have scissors and thread. The thread looks pretty good. That is a hard item to purchase, most of it is made in England and is like a piece of thin wire. You can sew with it, but it is a very poor quality. They also have the new two needle fancy Stitch machines. They are electric but mounted in the old treadle cabinet. Looks very strange.

Thursday morning I took the girls to the pool. It was our first trip there and very nice. They have a large pool for the adults and then a nice small children’s pool. Both girls went in the smaller one and did have a good time. The flies were terrible so we did not stay too long. These darn flies here stick to you, when you try to swat them away they just seem to hang on.

Tonight we will go to a Farsi class. That’s Persian. We started last Tuesday and have classes Tuesday and Saturday from 6 to 7:30 pm. After school tonight we’re going to the Golestan club for dinner and then on to the movies. We’re going to see “St. Louis Blues”. We have not seen it and would like to, hope it is good. Maybe that’s a good thing that we saw so few movies in the past 4 years. They will catch up with us here.

The social life is growing. Both evening and daytime. I have joined a bridge club that meets on Wednesday morning and have two coffees to go to this week. We have been out to dinner several times. Pretty soon I’m going to have to have people in. Hope to have a few things from home so we have more to eat with and from. It will be easier with more than six forks and plates.

Bobbie just went out the door for the afternoon of school so Herb will be in in a few minutes. Boy, two lunches, one at noon and the other at 1. She likes school more each day. And asked today if it was okay to join the Brownies. When I said yes, she was elated. The poor child was afraid that I might say no, I don’t know why.

About to run down for now so we’ll send along our love. 

Love from all,


P.S. We got your letter, but here is the correct address:

Iranian Oil Refining Company
South Iran
Easier to type and takes a little less space.

Magic Carpet and More
Magic Carpet and More, Letters Home Series, hand painted fabrics, commercial fabrics, beading, hand embroidery, machine appliqué and fused. Barbara Gideon (c) 2020

Letters Home is a collection of letters written by our Mother (mostly) and our Father ( sometimes), that chronicles their life overseas, with two, then three, then four young girls.  The letters were written to their mothers and are full of daily life, unique challenges, and humor. As we live in uncertain and challenging times, it seems fitting to share.

Browse through more Letters Home and the art quilts inspired by our parents adventures.


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