They got out in time

| Sunday, March 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Charlotte Observer story “‘Argo' revives memories of Carolina workers who escaped chaos in Iran” in the print edition of the Feb. 24 Trib brought back memories to my husband and me.

In 1977, we were living in Ahwaz, Iran. My husband, a chemical engineer, was employed by the Oil Service Co. of Iran. Living there was not an easy situation, but life was quite pleasant at that time under the Shah, especially for Iranian women, who had no restrictions such as wearing the burka or bans on driving or working.

The Shah's wife, Empress Farah, founded many welfare organizations, including girls' orphanages. At the time I lived there, I was on the welfare board for the American Women's Association; I visited an orphanage each month to celebrate girls' birthdays and get to know them. They appeared to be very happy and healthy children. My family was also fortunate to visit the historic sites in a beautiful country.

Prior to the overthrow of the Shah, life in the area became very unsettled, so we decided to leave. There were no arrangements made for our safety. Shortly before leaving, I met the wife of Paul Grimm, a Texas executive. Mrs. Grimm told me that an overseas tour would be her husband's last before retiring to their horse ranch. Sadly, a month later, he was killed on the street that we lived on.

In 1978, we departed the country right before many of the expatriates' homes were burned to the ground.

Margaret D. Ackerman


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