Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It was early WWII period in Istanbul

They were two small girls. Time was early WWII period in Istanbul. Seaside district Caddebostan was getting very popular at summer time. Two girls were in an old Ottoman mansion at the seaside, where the Ministry of Education used this mansion as summer camp for successful schoolgirls, as reward for their hardwork. Poor but successful girls of elementary schools were invited based on their accomplishments.

"Hadiye" was also one of those chosen successful few. Her mother was the only surveyor of the wealthy family of Bosnia in WWI, who were forced to leave their estates in one day with limited belongings. She arrived to Istanbul after a long and dangereous walk for more than 3000 miles. She had only her old aunt with her. In Istanbul, she got married with Abdulkadir bey, Istanbul Fatih court staff. They had one daughter, Hadiye. Abdulkadir Bey passed away shortly due to early hearth attack. Mother Fatma Muzeyyen Hanim earned life as tailor for housewifes of the district. Her only daughter Hadiye was a shy, thin girl and very successful in the school.

The other girl was from rich strata of the other Istanbul. "Gönül" was attending to a private expensive reputable elementary school in rich Nisantasi district. Her father Abdurrahman Bey was a rich successful businessman. He had a textile plant in Yesildirek to produce underwares and its marketing organisation. Her mother was an educated housewife with some rheumatismatic health problems. That year parents decided to go to a health clinic in one of Romanian hot springs. They decided to send Gonul to the same summer camp provided that they pay some contribution for general expenses.

Two girls become friends shortly. Their beds were next to each other. That summer was extraordinary time for them. They swam at the sea, played together. They dreamed future, getting education, visiting foreign lands, getting married, having children. Every morning they looked at each others eyes in order to have a good day ahead.

At the end of the summer camp, they exchanged their postal addresses, promising to write a letter each week, and they kept that promise. One day, Gonul took the public tramway and she visited her friend in their small house at the other end of the city. Mother Fatma Muzeyyen hanim prepared a vageterian lunch for them since it was only available with their budget. Later the day, they talked, played, and walked at the nearby Zeytinburnu seaside.

The next week, the first time in her life, Hadiye took the tramway, and came to the other end of the city, Harbiye ValiKonagi Street, very popular rich section of the city. Gonul lived with her family in a new apartment flat, next to Govener's mansion. Housemaids, cook, and driver served them. They invited Hadiye to their weekend lunch. Hadiye answered their questions in short and smart responses. Family has happy for that friendship, and they encouraged for their weekend meetings. In the afternoon, they walked down to the main street and watched a new foreign film.

The following 4-years, they exchanged reciprocal monthly visits and weekly letters to each other. One day Gonul stopped sending letters. Hadiye was so worried that she took public tramway and went to their house. Door was openned by the elder sister. Ayse said the bad news with pale white face. Hadiye left apartment and cried nonstop on the way back, and more on the days after.

That springtime, parents decide to start cleanup and maintenance in their summer house in the Prince Islands, on the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul. Gonul joins the helpers that weekend. Weather is relatively hot. She decides to swim at the seafront. However on the same day, the nearby senatorium disposes the dangereous winter refuses into the sea. She gets infected, although immediately hospitalised, but cannot be saved.

Hadiye never forgot her childhood girl friend. She prayed for her all her life. She attended to schools and became a teacher on Turkish Literature. She got married and had children.

On a hot summer night, on the same seashore of Istanbul, where that big old Ottoman mansion was at the back, full moon raised between the Prince Islands on the front, she told this story to her elder son.

Caddebostan, August 2005

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.


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