I was born on ‘68, and I will talk about the 70s.
My mother was born on ’43 and she was from Sarıyer. The 1960s were her years of youth. Looking at her photographs wearing miniskirts, you would see how different the times were then.
I had a taste of Sarıyer and Büyükdere at an early age. My favorite spot to visit when we went to my grandmother and aunt was the ‘Büyükdere Pier Ice Cream Shop.’ Most of the time, there would be a short queue in front of the shop. My grandmother used to say; “This place was exactly the same when I was young. The owner is very meticulous, her ice creams are made of buffalo milk; she prepares the chocolate flavor like this and lemon like that…” This was the ongoing narrative.
I cannot even begin to count the various bits of advice I received from my father. His advice that stuck with me the most is this: “My son, whatever job you take up, don’t stop until you see it through.” I often remember my father and his advice. I can safely say that I take after my dad with regards to how I try to help everyone to the best of my ability and how I try to improve on anything I am entrusted with.
Our neighbor Cengiz bey would take care of the construction of our house in Levent. I can’t even describe the diligence with which he worked. I had watched him place the steps leading up to the upper floor one by one, and thought, when I have my own job one day, I must do it with the same diligence.
We used to go to my grandmother for dinner or she would come to our place. She used to place books under my arms (relentless woman) as we ate. And why… one would ask. So that I would sit properly without spreading my arms about. I still can’t manage to do it.
And from my mother, I learned to ask people how they are, and to make sure to listen and learn how they were really feeling. To be more precise, I had been called on this many times. She made sure that I would stop to say hello, how are you, when we went to her friend Meral’s house, before I rush inside like a headless chicken to play with her son Cem.
When my parents drove their friends to their houses, my father would not leave them, especially the women, on the street outside their houses, but accompany them up to their floors. And I also make it a priority to accompany my guests to the door whether I am at home or in the office. Some try to kindly object, but I don’t budge, and always say, “don’t let my father turn over in his grave.”
My father also taught me that there is no shame in apologizing, and not through his advice but through his actions. Apologizing was not something to reproach, but the virtue of a civilized person.
I often went to my father’s office in Fındıklı; I didn’t quite understand what was going on. The accountant Ahmet Bey, the telex machine, the mechanical calculator and the typewriters were my favorites. My father’s double advice is etched on my mind even today. “Son, when you grow up, don’t get yourself into trouble with two parties, the banks and the tax office.” See, there is also one other thing that he has repeated hundreds of times and that has stayed with me up to this day; our employees are as important as our family.
One day, on our way home after riding horses with my grandmother, we entered the gas station. She used to pick me up and drop me home. The man filled the tank and said “49.5 liras, ma’am.” My grandmother handed me 50 liras, and I gave it to the man. As the guy was taking the banknote, I happened to say, “Keep the change.” My grandmother didn’t say a word. We drove out of the gas station, I think in about 10-15 minutes, she dropped my in front of our house and said “Seeing that you are rich enough to spend others money so easily, you can go to the Maslak Horse Club on your own on the minibus,” and believe me, for months, I walked to Levent from home, took the minibus to Maslak, and came back home using the exact same route. And this was how I learned that “you can’t show off with other people’s money.”
I grew up knowing the value of my household and my own belongings. I was free to use everything at home. All I had to do was ask for permission to take something, say thanks when returning and to take care while using it.
I learned to be clean, or rather what ‘clean’ is from my mother. Today, everyone, especially my wife, ‘unfortunately’ suffer from the consequences of this. Poor souls.
The Maslak Horse Club was my second home, and the people there were my second family. They were the ones that helped me come to my senses when I acted out of bounds, teaching me that my actions would always come back to bite me in the end. And it was always this community that guided, encouraged and showed me that I could succeed if I worked hard enough.
My great grandfather was a Professor Emeritus. See, even the first letters are written in capital letters. I learned to respect education and science from him, the answers he gave me when I asked him questions were not the responses one gives to a child, but the responses one gives to a question. And I learned how to be held in esteem from him, and also observed it in the respect people gave him.
So where did all this come to my mind?
I read a message from my wife last week.
The picture showing five rows of writing on the wall of a school abroad. I guess the parents were sharing it with one another.
The writing says…
– We would like to remind you that expressions such as “Hello”, “Please”, “You’re welcome”, “I’m sorry”, “Thank you” are learned primarily at home.
– Honesty, and respect to friends, elderly and teachers are learned primarily at home.
– Being clean, not talking with food in one’s mouth, and being tidy are learned primarily at home.
– Knowing one’s responsibilities, respecting one’s belongings and one’s values, and not touching other people’s belongings are learned primarily at home.
- We, at school, teach things like foreign languages, math, history, geography, physics, chemistry and biology.
Remember education starts at home!
I had ended last week’s article with a question on my mind.
Let this article be a reference for my previous one…
I think the answer to the question is education. But I guess the task is much lengthier than we thought.
This is from Emre, a beloved friend of mine:
The sultan was getting his daughter married.
The sultan issued his decree, but the task was tricky, his requirement was three university degrees.
As the story goes, one young boy was determined to marry the daughter, so he finished three university degrees and went before the sultan.
– My Sultan, I came to ask your permission to marry your daughter.
– My boy, you’ve got it all wrong; these three should have been your grandfather, your father, and you.