NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 23, 2012

‘I feel fortunate that we were able to come to this country’

Much Thanksgiving lore is built around stories of newcomers like the Pilgrims, who hundred of years ago were gratified with the opportunity to settle in the “new world.”

Numerous modern-day Newburyport-area residents also left their original homelands and were themselves newcomers to this region.

They have memories of their decision to come to a different country and feelings about making a new life here.

The following area residents agreed to be interviewed about their lives in the U.S. and, during Thanksgiving week, offered their thoughts on settling in a country far away from their original homes.

All have been successful as merchants and businesspeople and have developed active family and community lives here.

NEWBURYPORT - Some families linger over the decision of whether to leave their native land but the parents of Dr. Sam Merabi had to act fast when their time came.

They were natives of Tehran in the late ‘70s, and the revolution in Iran was rapidly changing the face of the nation. Prosperous families relocated if they could.

“I was just a child, 3 or 4, but I remember it was a hard time,” said Merabi, who today is a dentist here. “Visas were hard to get, and some people we know fled (without papers).

“Our family had been doing well in Iran but when we got here, moving to a mixed neighborhood in the Philadelphia area, we struggled. As I was growing up, my parents expected me to excel and create a career with a future.”

While his parents worked and studied to learn usable skills, Sam hit the books and made due with what was offered.

“Later I learned that my parents had to be careful about money and even food,” he recalled. “If we had three apples, there would be a discussion of how to ration them.

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