I felt so Gumpish yesterday.
The Milwaukee Green Sheet “Blasts from the Past” had an item from 1979 about Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini receiving “a tumultuous welcome in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile.” My children and I had just been evacuated from Tehran the month before with what we could carry in a few suitcases as the Islamic Revolution became chaotic in Iran, and my husband was still there with no indication that he was going to get out.
An interview on NPR with TV critic Eric Deggens about “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” miniseries scheduled to debut on FX last night included mention of the Rodney King-beating trial verdicts and resulting L.A. riots threw me back to all of those events.
When Rodney King was stopped by law enforcement for a malfunctioning taillight and beaten, I was city editor at the Pasadena Star News with a coverage area that included King’s hometown of Altadena. I had moved to my position as Los Angeles courts public information officer just three months before four L.A.P.D. officers stood trial for beating King. That trial was a real baptism by fire! But not nearly as hot as the subsequent riots during which I was one of the few people to keep showing up for work every day at the downtown County Courthouse.
And, of course, the accusation and subsequent trial of O.J. Simpson for murdering his ex-wife practically consumed my life for more than a year and a half in 1994 and 1995, which is now the foundation of the TV drama “The People vs. O.J. Simpson.
I have to say the Simpson case practically consumed my life, because sandwiched between court sessions, dealing with related media issues and meeting with the trial judge, Lance Ito, were the Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss case and preparations for the Menendez brothers retrial.
Feeling Gumpish comes over me at other times of the year, too, such as during the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, in which I drove a float one year and… and…
Oh, well, that’s enough for now. Sorry to get carried away.
I would be thrilled if throughout the year you might share more insights about your experiences in Iran; I was unaware that you were there during such a fluid time in the history of that nation.
Thanks, Chi. I kept a journal during that time, some of which was published as the cover story of a magazine. Here’s the link to it. http://www.jerriannehayslett.com/pdf/TehranDiary.pdf I, of course, have followed events in that country since, but have little more or better insight than anyone else who’s a news junkie. I do have knowledge of the Iranians my husband and knew during that time and the few we have become with since, and can say unequivocally that they were and are good people. The regime is a different story.
Thanks Jerrianne!!! I really look forward to reading this!