Twenty-five years ago an expatriate from Iran moved with his family into a California community, a community named Lake Forest, CA. Not long after that his children began attending classes at one of the public schools in the City of Lake Forest, CA. No one made note of how the experience was affecting the young children until one of the teachers happened to speak with the wife of that expatriate.
One day the man's daughter, a girl in the second grade, had shown her teacher a certificate she had brought with her from Iran. The teacher, knowing that the girl came from a family with a Jewish background, had then asked, "What language is that, is it Hebrew?" The answer given to that Lake Forest teacher had revealed a great deal about how the drastic changes in her young student's life had affected her perceptive seven-year old mind.
Although only seven years old, that little girl could still realize that the people of the United States did not have a good opinion of Iran. Iran had held one group of Americans hostage for more than a year. The little girl in Lake Forest did not want her friends and teachers to know that she was from Iran. So, when asked about the language on the certificate, that little girl lied. She nodded in agreement to the suggestion that it represented Hebrew writing.
Not until the little girls' teacher had a chance to talk with her student's mother did the truth come out. Then both the mother and the teacher came face to face with the challenge that was before them. It was not a challenge that was commonly encountered by the parents in the City of Lake Forest, CA. It demonstrated, however, the first hint that history - making events would cause such challenges to become increasingly frequent in a number of Orange County schools.
The tactic pursued by the teacher who faced this challenge remains unknown. The tactic taken by the mother, however, provides a glimpse at the nature of life in Lake Forest, CA. The mother relied on the services of a young couple that soon came to stay briefly at the Lake Forest home. This young couple had come together as a result of the same events that had brought the expatriate out of Iran and into California. A young American woman had dared to marry an Iranian student.
Wisely the young girl's mother placed the little girl in close contact with this newly-married couple. In this way the little girl could see first-hand the respect and love that an American could have for someone from Iran. This tactic also helped the young wife to discover aspects of Lake Forest that she might otherwise have missed.
For example, the entire family set out late one afternoon for a small field in Lake Forest, CA. Growing in that field was a number of wild tomato plants. The visiting couple joined the young girl and her family as they gathered wild tomatoes to use for that night's dinner. This put the young girl in close contact with the visiting couple. It also allowed the female visitor to do in California something very much like what she had earlier done in Pennsylvania - to gather wild treats from a field.