My grandfather Abdullah and I

My grandfather Abdullah and I… There are some people who are wise from birth. They quietly illuminate others. They are like a lighthouse radiating warmth and safety in the middle of wild dark waves.

My grandfather was such a person. There are so many moments relating to him, but no unfinished business. In Maraş he gave the street we lived in its name: Yörükselim neighbourhood, Başkonuş Road. Oh, that street… memories are flooding into my soul at this very moment. I would like to tell you one of these memories: Our street formed the boundary to an Alevi neighbourhood. At one end there was an old Alevi man who was producing and selling a stringed musical instrument called “Saz”. I can still smell the wonderful scent of this shop filled with the summer’s heat and the scent of the newly carved Saz which were like pieces of art. I was eight or nine years old. I was so eager to buy myself a Saz. I don’t remember how much a Saz cost at the time… But I remember well that I only had enough money to buy a cone of ice cream on the street for 25 kuruş (25 Turkish pence). My grandfather was an agricultural technician. He came from the poor forest village Başkonuş and by his own efforts had managed to go to school in Adana. He was a civil servant, but you would never believe how fruitful his money was. Feeding and clothing a crowded family, their outings, the education of my aunts, it was like a miracle what was achieved with that money. My only option was to borrow the money of him. But how was I going to pay it back? I found a solution. Our house, that is my grandfather’s house, was close to a hospital, and it had a small storehouse. With the money I would borrow of my grandfather I was going to buy water melons and store them in the storehouse, and then sell slices of watermelon in front of the hospital. And with the profit I would by the Saz and pay back my debt. To cut a long story short, my dear grandfather liked my plan and supported it with great care. The outcome was a full success. The respect, trust and deep love he felt for me… Right now, with tears in my eyes, I am finding it difficult to control my emotions. My grandfather and I… May he rest in peace… He was totally a child of the Republican – educated, devoted, brave, and full of hope. I wanted to commemorate the values which he imposed on me and share these warm feelings with you. Who knows, perhaps this story will still light the path of someone amongst you.

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