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Where Did You Live?
<Marilyn Sarchet '65>
Originally posted by Chris White '60:
This is an interesting section......What I also find interesting is where folks live now or have lived........

Our paths seem to cross throughout our lives...
Since Turkey I've lived in Fairfax, Va., D.C., Gainesville, Fla., Merritt Island Fla., Friendswood, Tx., Rosharon, Tx. and now Washington, Tx.

Anyone else?

Other places I lived with my family were:
Clark Field, Phil
Hamilton AFB San Fran CA
Kindley AFB Bermuda
Randolph AFB TX
Grand Forks N.Dak.
Malmstrom AFB Great Falls, Mont
Ent AFB Colorado Springs CO
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<George Summers '57>
I won't list them all here, but I went to 23 different schools, worldwide, from the first through the twelfth grades. I was in Ankara for sophmore and junior years but then went to two different schools for my senior year. I am in the annual of the one I didn't graduate from and graduated from the one who's annual I'm not in. I guess that one of the most exciting ones was Nanking, China in '48. We were evacuated under fire as the ChiCom came into the city.

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you sure beat my 10 schools. My most exciting is when my stepfather enrolled me in the wrong school in San Antonio when we moved there for the second half of my 7th grade. It was only a 7th and 8th grade. The art teacher and myself were the only "Anglos" at the school. Many of them drove cars to school. I learned how to survive as a minority. It sure honed those skills. Isn't it amazing that in Ankara, 40 plus high school students treated the whole country as a minority.
Posts: 49 | Location: Prestonsburg, KY | Registered: September 14, 2004Reply With Quote
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Pat--what a really good point about our treating the whole country as a minority. I was there in the mid sixties, and while prejudice against African Americans, for example, was very "uncool", and no one I was friends with would have wanted to be called "prejudiced", very few American kids I knew had Turkish friends. Remember how the Turkish men would hold hands when they walked down the street? We thought that was hilarious. A little "cultural awareness training" in school couldn't have hurt. I can't imagine what that must feel like, to have people from another country camping out in your own, feeling superior...
Posts: 29 | Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan | Registered: August 31, 2004Reply With Quote
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Wow, I get such a charge out of this thread! To Eric at the Buyuk Ankara - the story when we wer there was that the Buyuk Ankara was supposed to have been a Hilton hotel - but that the top floors did not meet the agreed upon construction standards. Apparently the whole building was supposed to use I-beam construction, but when they got to the top 3-4 floors the I-beams had disappeared so they switched to reinforced concrete - and Hilton refused to accept it. Maybe you would know whether that's a true story or not.
To Harry Harper - yeah I was wondering about that - I arrived in Ankara in May 1969 - didn't recognize your name. I was just there for 69-70. It was our first venture overseas - I've always been a bit jealous of some of you who managed to live in so many different countries!
Most of the kids I knew didn't seem to like Turkey or Turks much. I never really understood that - I spent most of my time with Turkish people I met. I used to hang out at the Union at METU - nearly all the students there spoke pretty good English, and my Turkish was passable. Guess I figured I could hang out with Americans anywhere - why waste an opportunity to meet some other folks. I'm a sociologist now - and I think the experience in Ankara helped shape me in that direction.
To Mr. Weigler - I wonder if you remember the great sit-down in the school lobby in 1970 - when we wanted a half-day off to go see the parade honoring the Astronauts that landed on the moon. We sat through the afternoon while you and Mr. Cook took turns scolding us and warning us of dire consequences for our actions. Eventually the busses rolled up and took us all our to the hotel where Armstrong et al. were staying. It was quite an experience - both the protest and meeting the astronauts!
Posts: 21 | Registered: September 02, 2004Reply With Quote
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Hi Brad, I can't verify with 100% certitude the Hilton detail you describe, it could very well be true. I'll try to find out from my dad-he's 77 years old this year, was 39 when he took on the Buyuk job in '66 -he might know.

Here's a bit of trivia and anecdotes on the old Büyuk Ankara Oteli;

1. It's construction was funded by the Emekli Sandra (phonetic spelling here), which was Turkey's social security fund.

2. The hotel, for various reasons, took a full ten years to build, so it was actually a decade old when it finally opened.

3. The major architect was a fairly reknown Swiss out of Geneva, named Songy.

4. The Büyuk had its own huge, German built emergency generators to cope with Ankara's frequent power outages.

5. In the finishing stages of construction, my dad had to order all the toilet seats to be removed and stored until the last minute because the Turkish construction workers were breaking them with their shoes...if you know what I mean.

6. Virtually none of the staff, i.e., maids, waiters, switchboard operators, bartenders, bellboys, front desk, etc. had any experience whatsoever, and had to be trained from scratch- which made for some interesting service in the first months of operation.

7. The modern elevators were imported from Switzerland, and when the Swiss mechanics showed up to install them the first thing they noticed was that the guide rails were not aligned. Great and colorful cursing lessons in Swiss-German were taught, free of charge, in Ankara for a whole month.

8. The hotel was plagued by a semi-resident crazy man; a dapper, middle aged Turk, totally loco, who would regularly visit the hotel and loudly claim to all employees and guests within earshot that he was the real manager of the Buyuk Ankara Oteli and that my father was an imposter. He even had his own business cards made up, with the title "Müder Bey" (general manager in Turkish). He sumarily fired my Dad, the assistant manager, the concierge, and even the chef on many occasions.

9. The very top floor was a night club/restaurant and offered a panoramic view of the city. It quickly became one of Ankara's top night spots.

10. In '67 or '68, they made a movie called "The Charge of The Light Brigade. The famous charge was filmed outside of Ankara and used the Turkish army cavalry for the action scene. Anyhow, all the actors, mainly British, stayed at the Buyuk during the filming. They were a pretty rowdy lot and used to get good and hammered down by the pool. I got into the hotel elevator one night with my brother and there was a short guy with a red face and white hair. I said "hi mister, are you in the movie?". He said "yes", and that was it. When we reached his floor he staggered out. When the door closed my brother told me that was a pretty dumb question to ask (the late, and drunk) Trevor Howard. I guess it was.

11. At least one GC Marshall senior prom was held in the Buyuk's main ballroom. I don't remember what year but likely it was 1968 or 1969. The prom commitee made the mistake of hiring, amongst other acts, a Turkish belly dancer who used a genuine live snake that night in a fashion so obscene that the girls were fainting and the guys just sitting there with our mouths agape, speechless, not believing our eyes.

12. One night an annual banquet was held by the Turkish parliament in the hotel's main ballroom...the same one as hosted the belly dancer. Being politicians and representing many different parties, they did what all self-respecting politicians do when assembled in the same room and offered free booze. First they got drunk, then they started insulting each other, and then they had a proper brawl, with chairs and fists flying and teeth being re-arranged, or even removed, free of charge. This august event ended with Ankara's famous white helmeted riot police (frukos) breaking up the donnybrook and escorting the elected officials back to their cars...or to the hospital for stitches.
Posts: 6 | Location: Switzerland | Registered: October 03, 2004Reply With Quote
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Lived in a penthouse at 15/15 (onbesh/onbesh)
Attar Sok Gazi across from Dr. Eflatun Gokshin who deliverd Mrs. Ulku's baby in "74 under extreme circumstances, my father stayed in contact with the DR. and visited for many years after. Dr. Goksin was head of the OBGYN and taught at the university until he passed in the late '80's-early '90's his teachings reduced neo-natal mortality in Turkey
by immesurable numbers.
Posts: 7 | Registered: November 22, 2004Reply With Quote
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It was great reading about where everyone lived in Ankara. It's awesome to read about folks having the same experiences. Don't feel so alone!!.

My dad worked for the Corps of Engineers - TUSEG and we lived in Ankara from 1959 - 1979. I was born in Istanbul and knew only Ankara, then left in 1975 to go to college in Ohio. Talk about reverse culture shock!! Here I was used to guys and the girls holding hands walking down the street chewing on sunflower seeds - no big deal. And BOOM!! That's a big no no in US of A.

We lived in the Star Apts Blok 1, Apt 41. I remember the last two buildings were left empty for a long time, until another builder finished it. For several years there were fields across the streets, watching the flocks of sheep, the weekly farmers market, the highway next to us was the Istanbul Highway. My dad explained the hill across the highway was built as a lookout post for one of the conquerers. Many years later houses were built behind it and a French teacher lived there.

One summer to celebrate one of the many Turkish Holidays - the Turkish military flew their jets VERY low through the valley past the apt. We went to the roof and watched them. There is one picture my Dad took- they were so low as they went past the building that it looked like they could nipped the top of the building.

Then one time we were on the balcony and watched a helicopter lower to our floor - 4th floor in Europe - 5th floor in USA and actually saw the pilot and waved to him.

I remember the Turkish Calvery that was next to the base practicing their drills.

Did anyone have someone talk in class with Sparky the fire dog. Then in highschool, I think it was some snoops who came in and gave a long talk about drugs, Turkey, etc.

I remember the local kids playing volleyball on the top of the roof of the room that held the machines for the steam heat and water. (Forgot the name)

Someone mentioned taking horseback riding lessons across the street from where they lived - That was a fun time - then I continued for a short while after they moved to Balgat.

I didn't know anything about TV until I was in 6/7th grade - the Turks had black/white shows for three hours a night to start. All the non-Turkish shows were dubbed in Turkish - so I watched Casper cartoons in Turkish. And of course LOTS of soccer and the local folk singing and dancing shows.

We should write a book!
Posts: 9 | Location: Aurora, Colorado | Registered: November 21, 2004Reply With Quote
<Shiela Weaver '67>
This section has really brought back some memories. Our family lived in apartments right around the corner from the Merhaba Palas, where my mom worked for some time as well. At the corner was the Turkish officers' housing; they were always roaming the street there that went up toward Gazi, pulling kids' ears till they howled. Once I was walking home with a Turkish male friend and singing their national anthem - we were followed home and about five minutes later five guys with brass knuckles showed up threatening Eddie because he had allowed me to "make fun of their national anthem." While mom and I stood at the door, my dad was shoving Eddie out the back window and into our car (yes, we had one there for a short time when we first arrived, a Rambler station wagon of all things) and he rushed Eddie home to avoid a horrible mauling. Ah, Ankara!

Our "front" window, at the back of the building, looked out over a beautiful view of a peasant's house situated squarely in the middle of the block.

Someone mentioned skateboarding on Gazi and Cankaya, and yes I was one of those crazy people - still have a scar where I went a** over teakettle down Gazi one afternoon hitting a rock. And my skateboard was nowhere near as fancy as these giant wide, illustrated-with-day-glo things they ride nowdays - just a home-made oval board and skate-wheels!

We did have the life-changing experience of watching the kapici slaughter a sheep on Ramadan as well - I saw someone mentioned that. What an experience. We also went to court over a young kid about 14 who had been crouching in our skylight area peeping through our kitchen curtains one night when my mom and I returned from the movies. We didn't want him even to go to jail but all the Turkish neighbors were so protective he got arrested anyway - when we went to court, he was dragged in in chains and leg-irons, and his mother, a peasant woman decked out in pantalons, dropped to her knees and was kissing the hem of my mom's dress and crying her eyes out, begging mom to save her son! Just the entry to the courthouse was a shocker, as the cells were just off the entry, with a urine-rut running right toward us in the cement hallway. What a place! Needless to say, I had no trouble whatsoever believing every bit of 'Midnight Express.'

Spent lots of afternoons skipping school and drinking up on the walls at the Citadel - will never forget a mother trying to sell me her baby up there. Man, how did we ever get through it with any mental stability at all?! Sometimes I wonder. Maybe we didn't, eh? Big Grin
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George: From 58 to 62, it was an apartment on Guniz Sokak, a few doors down from the hospital. Tumpanes lived across the street. Jim Wintermeyer lived two blocks to the I think to the west. There was a large empty field next to the apartment used mostly for pick-up soccer games or occasional softball. Linda Fox and family lived downstairs and Mona Sedky (an old flame) lived across from the barracks. I can recall crawling across a wall into what I think was a military college area with Sally Cornwall and others to play tennis, somewhere behind the Russian embassy. After Jim W. moved up the hill, we walked into the Brittish compound to try out their tennis court and were soon politely but firmly asked to leave by the ambassador himself when he came out for a game. Then there was riding every Saturday from the stabbles behind the Presidential Palace, with a young Turkish Lt. After riding we would have lunch and a couple hours of Eng. lessons. He passed the test and came to the states for training. My shepard Fritz and I would walk a couple miles every night in the area.
Posts: 13 | Location: St. Augustine, FL | Registered: September 16, 2004Reply With Quote
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While Eric live in the lap of luxury, my first 8 weeks in Ankara were spent in the Hotel Pinar (across the street from the old PX. The local Turks would not stay at the Pinar, but the US Army thought this was decent enough. You know break the stomach in to the TTs from the start.

From there we moved to the Star Apts, and for some god for saken reason after one year my family moved to Site 23, Manzarilla Station 23 miles from no where, on a hill top. Some of you may know this place from the 4th of July parties, other than that we were just out there.

Myself I ran from there every chance I could spending nights in town like a escaped dormy.

Posts: 15 | Location: Leesburg, VA | Registered: August 31, 2004Reply With Quote
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We lived in Cankaya across from the Russian Embassy.
Posts: 3 | Registered: August 27, 2006Reply With Quote
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i lived in the last apartment building one block from the officer's club and the palace. it was beautiful. nothing but barren hills and roaming gypsies,bears, donkeys and camels on one side and the city of ankara on the other. i remember many a dolmush ride down to the shops at the bottom of the hill.
Posts: 10 | Registered: September 04, 2006Reply With Quote
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Cankaya? that sounds like the area i lived in. come to think of it there were a lot of embassys in our neighborhood. after my husband and i married we lived accross from the palace.
Posts: 10 | Registered: September 04, 2006Reply With Quote
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i almost forgot! we stayed at the hotel merhaba for quite some time while waiting for our furniture. i loved Turkey. it was the one place i lived longer than two years! so i quess it was like home for me. i learned to speak the language and loved the people i met. i have nothing but great memories.
Posts: 10 | Registered: September 04, 2006Reply With Quote
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