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TWO STORIES:  Dalene's original story is first, below;
and following it, a very interesting follow-up as they
return to Turkey 46 years later!

My Life as a Military Wife
Izmir, Turkey 1962-1963

© 2009-2011 by Author

Click on any image to enlarge.

After marrying Lt. Sam Horton in Athens, Greece, on March 7, 1962, I arrived in Izmir, Turkey, three days later. Sam was stationed at Tuslog Det 36 as a Sanitary and Industrial Hygiene Engineer, and had rented a penthouse apartment for us close to the AFEX and Culture Park. I was greeted with open arms by all the military wives and given a bridal shower by Kay Robinson, wife of Captain Joe Robinson. The shower gifts provided our much needed kitchen supplies.

Trying to furnish an apartment with purchases made at the AFEX was a lengthy process. We ended up finding some furniture on the local market. Our dining room table was a slab of plywood attached to four wrought-iron legs; four fold-up chairs completed the ensemble. The previous occupants of the apartment sold Sam their stove as well as a 220v to 110v transformer for the apartment power to handle the U.S. appliances. We had to scrounge for a refrigerator. Fortunately one of the ladies invited to my shower was the wife of the officer in charge of Materials and Supplies and her husband was able to locate a refrigerator for our use for three months, giving us time to find one to buy.

Everything we had was tacky, so that severely limited our interest in doing any at-home entertaining. The Izmir Officer's Club was lovely and fortunately served good food.

I do remember that Turkey had wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables, so much so, that dessert was often a navel orange rather than something prepared like the heavenly baklava. We would go the market to buy fruits and vegetables and the merchants would immediately offer us samples knowing we would leave with at least a dozen paper sacks of tree ripened fruits and vegetables. An Iki-Buçuk Turkish note (2 1/2 Lira), equivalent to about a US quarter, would buy 5 kilo of cherries or a bottle of their finest wine. We entertained ourselves by eating a kilo of cherries while we sat on our apartment balcony and watched the dancing bear in the street below. His owner was usually paid for the performance with a couple of American cigarettes. We also observed the local feral cats sizing up and backing away from an occasional, huge harbor rodent.

Tumpane and Carol at
John Tumpane & Carol - Playboy Party:  John Tumpane at an Officer's Club party, dressed as a playboy and showing his Playboy Centerfold to another Tumpane employee, Carol Tomlinson.


John Tumpane and Carol's husband, Capt. Al Tomlinson, who was the Staff Judge Advocate, are seated at either end of the third picture, below, with a Tumpane company couple between them.
 
 
John Tumpane and Carol dancing at Playboy Party

I was very fortunate when hired for a secretarial job with the civilian contractor, Tumpane Engineers, where I met and worked for the well known author of "Scotch and Holy Water", Mr. John Tumpane. He was a joy to be around; he was extremely intelligent and recognized the humor of Americans adjusting to life in a foreign country as exemplified in his book. (See bottom of page for more information).John Tumpane and Carol's husband, Capt. Al Tomlinson, who was the Staff Judge Advocate, are seated at either end of the third picture, below, with a Tumpane company couple between them.

Sam's duties took him to most of the military sites in Turkey including the Black Sea sites at Samsum, Sinop, and Trabzon to inspect the facilities. He also inspected the water supply in Izmir, which used the Roman aqueducts to distribute water around the city. His Det 36 reconnaissance trips inland from Izmir to the surrounding villages revealed evidence of American Aid such as dry milk reconstituting plants and the grateful village mayor would always require a formal visit where chi tea was served.

Sam and I spent weekends making trips to see as many as possible of the ancient ruins in Turkey including 5 of the first biblical church sites. The funniest trip we ever made was to Bursa to snow ski at Uludag, staying in the Kuçuk (small) Hotel on the mountain. Being from Texas, neither of us knew much about snow skiing other than it wasn't much like water skiing. After seeing the mountain, I decided it wasn't for me but Sam decided he wanted to try. We had made the trip with several other couples and one male had done some snow skiing in the States. He and Sam went up the lift approximately the same time. I had stationed myself on a rock at the end of the run holding our movie camera. Time passed…the other male skier glided past me and asked if Sam had made it down. "Not yet," I replied. More time passed. Off the ski slope and behind the hotel in the woods I could hear something barking… was it a dog or a wolf? The barking grew closer; I was watching up the mountain. Suddenly a figure, completely covered in the soft snow from the wooded area appeared, with this huge dog wearing a collar of spikes chasing him. The figure actually skied over the roof of our hotel which had the back half covered up with snow. When the figure glided off the roof, he was shaking one of his ski poles at the dog. The figure skied to my feet and fell, then looked up at me and said, "Did you get that on the movie camera?" Regretfully I was in a state of shock and did not get any of that on tape. I'm sure I could sell it to American's Funniest Videos!


Dalene on Balcony

Sam in Izmir

Photos at left and right are of my husband and me, taken while we were standing on the balcony of our penthouse. The people he worked with at TUSLOG Det 36 were Col. Anderson, Major Kirk, Capt. Robinson, Capt. Bridgewater, Capt. Curtin, and M/Sgt Van Fleet. Sam replaced Capt. Dick Stotoff. At Tumpane Engineers, I worked with Mr. John Tumpane, Mr. Tom Curington, Mr. Robert Ely, and Mr. David Woodward. After 43 years, I am still corresponding with a Turkish secretary with whom I worked; I consider her one of my dearest friends.


Sam dancing with Nancy Stotoff
at an Officer's Club party.


Additional Reading on this topic:

  • Colonel John Perez's Story
  • Quotes from John David Tumpane's out-of-print book "Scotch & Holy Water, by Colonel John Perez."
  • Also see some extracts from John Tumpane's "Scotch & Holy Water" here.
  • Ed. Note:  The "Mr. Tumpane" that Dalene referred to originally on her page was John David Tumpane (I changed "Mr. Tumpane" to "John Tumpane".)  He was the brother of the founder and owner of the TUMPANE Company.  I have never seen the name of the "brother" -- even John, in his book, always refers to him as "my brother".  Does anyone know the first name of John's brother?  If so, please contact me here.)
  • Another note from the editor.  Even though John Tumpane's book, "Scotch and Holy Water", is out of print, there are quite a few copies available at Amazon.com.  Just go to Amazon.com and search for "Scotch and Holy Water".  For all you "Turkophiles", I heartily recommend this book.  It's something that MUST read!  John captures the "essence" of Turkey in the book.

THE NEW STORY

Returning to Turkey after 46 years
May 3-24, 2009


Izmir For the benefit of those who have read my previous Merhaba Turkey article on being a military wife in Izmir during 1962-63, I’ll give my impression of the changes that have taken place in my 46 year absence before highlighting our 3 week excursion through Western and Central Turkey.

When we lived in Izmir in 1962-63, we had a 1956 Chevrolet which we parked on the street in front of our penthouse apartment near Kultur Park and I drove to work. As you can see in the photo which was taken during mid-morning at our former apartment building, there are now no available parking spaces. There are no dancing bears in the street, no vendors with their carts, and no horse-drawn buggies. (The horse-drawn buggies are on the waterfront for the tourists). The area around the building where I worked for the Tumpane Co. is now completely filled with office buildings with no available parking.



The waterfront is no longer crowded with small fishing boats; now it is filled with international shipping vessels. It has modern business buildings, department stores, and excellent outside dining areas with very friendly waiters who quickly recognize “et siz”(no meat) and suggest a suitable vegetarian menu item. The previous congested shopping areas with narrow streets are now primarily in Konak’s Bazaar.



In the bazaar, a kilo of cherries now sells for three Lira, and on Mother’s Day, my son paid 35 American Dollars for a bottle of “the finest” Turkish wine. No longer in use are the knotted string shopping bags which were reusable and enabled us to carry home all the beautiful fruits and vegetables from the outside markets. In their place are the ubiquitous plastic bags and, unfortunately, many end up scattered across the Turkish countryside. Gone are the very serious stares of the adults and children. Everywhere we travelled, children greeted us with big smiles similar to the children on Teletubbies, “Hello, hello”, with waving hands. When we responded similarly, we were told “Barack Obama, Cok Guzel”! (Barack Obama, Very Good!) On one occasion, a young man who had said “Barack Obama, Cok Guzel” then asked what I thought about Abdullah Gul. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know the name of the Turkish President whoM Obama visited in April 2009.

Now for the purpose of our return to Turkey. Our son, Scott, was was raised hearing about the year and a half we lived in Turkey before his birth. He absorbed the excitement we imparted and for several years had plans to visit “this wondrous place”. He is a member of the Episcopal Church, which has a Center for Spiritual Development located in Portland, Oregon, that conducts a yearly pilgrimage to Turkey. It took us two years to finally secure positions for the three of us. The pilgrimage is led by the Rev. Canon Marianne Wells Borg, Dr. Marcus Borg, and Dr. John Dominic Crossan, and is “an exploration of first century Christianity, the life of Paul, the theology of Paul and his legacy”. The Roman influence on Christianity is also a dominant theme.

We arrived in Izmir and then travelled by bus to Kusadasi, located on the shores of the Aegean Sea. Sam assured me that we had previously been to Kusadasi to spend the day on the beach. I did not recognize the area because it now has many grand resort hotels and lots of traffic. The water is beautiful and the hotels are filled with tourist from European and other countries. The wait staff apparently can speak, or understand, many languages. For two weeks, we travelled to the following locations with the tour group. I have included the descriptions from our printed itinerary and from the book, The Lonely Planet, so that any of you considering returning to Turkey will have a present day description.


SelcukSelcuk, to see the ruins of the 6th century Basilica of St. John, which was erected on orders from Emperor Justinian (527-65). “St. John is said to have come to Ephesus at the end of his life and to have written his gospel on Ayasuluk Hill.”





PrienePriene, a former port city on the Aegean Sea. It now has a spectacular view of the valley below which was once the port, and Mt. Mykale above. The Greek Temple of Athena from 400BC has unusually tall, slender columns.







Afrodisias AfrodisiasAphrodisias or Afrodisias, one of Turkey’s finest archaeological sites, named for the goddess of love, Aphrodite. There are marble quarries at nearby Mt. Babadag and the marble carving schools yielded beautiful relief sculptures. The elaborate monumental gateway is in excellent condition. The stadium is one of the biggest and best preserved in the classical world. It is off the beaten track for tourist so it isn’t as crowded as the other sites.



Didyma Didyma Didyma, the ruins of the Temple of Apollo with its column bases carved as a coiled snake, belong to a late 4th century BC temple built to replace the original one destroyed by the Persians in 494 BC. There is a huge sculpture of the head of Medusa.






MiletusMiletus, Paul met with the elders of Ephesus here on his final journey to Jerusalem. The view from the top of the 15,000 seat theatre was one of the loveliest for me. Its beauty and age is second only to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. I could see a great distance in every direction while turning in a circle.





BodrumBodrum, a beautiful city on the Aegean with a growing reputation as the Monte Carlo of the Aegean. The Castle of St. Peter was constructed by the Knights Hospitaller using some of the rocks and marble from the dismantled Mausoleum, an enormous white marble tomb that was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Castle is now the Museum of Underwater Archaeology which contains treasures recovered from ship wrecks in the Aegean.





EphesusEphesus, when Sam and I first visited Ephesus, there were maybe four or five other visitors and a local selling “genuine Roman coins”. We bought one and now I have learned that when coins pass through the digestive tract of a sheep or cow, they emerge looking convincingly aged. So I suspect we have a 47 year old “genuine Roman coin”. The columns for the Celsus Library have been reconstructed to their former grandeur making it the most impressive ruin at the site. Ephesus is by far the most heavily visited site for tours, particularly on weekends.





Mary Magdalene's HouseMary’s House, our son took us to revisit Mary’s House on Mother’s Day. The grounds are beautiful now as flowers and grass surround the area. Inside the house are three glass windows where items given by three popes are on view. Below the chapel is a wall where pilgrims can leave notes to Mary. I enjoyed leaving a note to Mary appropriate for Mother’s Day.




SardisSardis, one of the seven cities of the Book of Revelation. It has a well-preserved Jewish synagogue and beautiful mosaic paving.







BursaBursa, the city with the mountain where in 1963, Sam made his first downhill skiing attempt while being chased by a huge dog with a wolf protective collar covered with spikes. We didn’t see any dogs of comparable size on this trip. The one dog that we did see didn’t have a spiked collar. On this trip, we visited the Green Mosque and were privileged to witness the ‘call to prayer” by the Imam. Hear it by clicking here.




IznikIznik, for those of you who enjoy the illusion puzzles, Aya Sofya offers a mural of Jesus with Mary and John the Baptist that is formed into the wall at a low level. If you stare at the mural, you will eventually see the figures appear. You may need to enlarge the photo.







Istanbul IstanbulIstanbul, absolutely beautiful but terribly crowded. If you sit down to rest in the Hippodrome, you will probably be approached by a well-dressed Turk who wishes to practice his English. Be aware that many of these friendly people are carpet salesmen.

When we previously visited Istanbul, we missed seeing the underground cistern built by Justinian in AD 532 (photo at right). The name is Yerebatan Sarnici (Sunken Palace). It is 65m wide and 143m long; its roof is supported by 336 columns arranged in 12 rows. It is an engineering masterpiece and the photo opportunities are fantastic!





KariyeKariye, The Chora Church of the Byzantine and Ottoman times, has the most well preserved and valuable mosaics and frescoes and is now a historic monument. This is Adam & Eve in Ascension.






Cruising the BosphorusA cruise up the Bosphorus to the beginning of the Black Sea is lovely and is a welcomed relief from the crowds at the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. Hopefully, you will have a guide to point out all the points of interest, but be prepared by having a guide book handy. My primary interest was the Dolmabahce Palace where Ataturk died on 10 Nov 1938.

Istanbul was the last site for the pilgrimage, so Sam, Scott, and I ventured forward with an extended tour planned by Sam and Scott. A tour van arrived for us at the hotel and we began our trip to Canakkale. We had lunch at Eceabat Maydos Restaurant on the Dardanelles, where I was the first to see a large porpoise, or dolphin, swimming by with her youngster in tow. My exclamation sent all the camera buffs running outside for a photo.


Ataturk - Father of Modern TurkeyAfter lunch, we joined a Gallipoli tour to see Kabatepe Museum, Brighton Beach, Beach Cemetery, ANZAC cove, Ariburnu Cemetaru, ANZAC Commemoration Site, Lone Pine Australian Memorial, Turkish and Allied trenches and tunnels, The Nek, and Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial. At the Beach Cemetery, I was overwhelmed by the number of markers for men who were 18 years or younger. This is the first trip in Turkey that I recall where the majority of tourists were from Australia or New Zealand. I wondered if many of them were there to see the cemetery marker for an ancestor. Anzac Cove is marked by a Turkish monument which repeats Ataturk’s words of 1934: “To us there is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets… You, the mothers who sent your sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom…. after losing their lives in this land, they have become our sons as well.” The trenches and tunnels on the battle grounds are still visible and at some points, opponents’ trenches are only a few meters apart.

CanakkaleWe returned to Eceabat and took a ferry across the Dardanelles to Canakkale on the Asian side of Turkey. The next day, we toured Troy. 47 years ago, the actual site of Homer’s Troy seemed to be speculation. Today Troy is the site of nine ancient cities built on top of each other and includes Homer’s Troy. We were very fortunate to have as our guide, Mustafa Askin, who is the author of “A Revised Edition of Troy”. He grew up in the area, speaks numerous languages, is a personal friend of the first director of Troy, Hanit Kartal, and a friend of Professor Manfred Korfman, the leader of the excavation team which has been working at Troy since 1988. There is a Trojan horse at the site, and the one from the movie “Troy”, with Brad Pitt, is located close to the waterfront in Canakkale. We spent the afternoon visiting the Army and Navy Museums. The Navy Museum is in the Cimenlik Kalesi which was built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452.

Scott & MusiciansWhile returning to Eceabat on the ferry, Scott had a great time jamming with three musicians who had a gig scheduled for the evening at a local restaurant. (See Scott's Blog.) The tour bus returned us to Istanbul where we arrived after midnight. The bus stopped on a very dark, narrow street with no hotel sign that was noticeable. When we exited, one of us saw a neon hotel sign down another dark, narrow street, so dragging our several suitcases, we headed toward the sign. Fortunately, we were at the correct hotel.

The next day, we took a taxi to the Istanbul Airport and flew to Nevsehir. We arrived on Turk Hava Yolari Airlines at the airport for our tour of Cappadocia and points west. For this last week of our visit to Turkey, we had arranged for a rental car, but there were no agents at the small airport. The information desk called to discover that the rental cars were brought from Kayseri and the agent would be standing outside. We found him and the car in the parking lot and between Sam speaking some Turkish and the agent speaking no English, we took possession of the car equipped with a GPS navigator that was in Turkish and German and could not be changed to English. The agent wanted us to take him back to his office in Kayseri which was an hour drive past Urgup, where we were booked in a hotel.
Rental Car in NevsehirHe conceded that would take too long and took us to the center of Urgup where he could get a dolmus back to Kayseri. Fairy ChimneysWe asked him where our hotel was located since we had been given only the hotel name but no address. The agent had Sam stop at the curb where Turkish men were playing backgammon and was told it was around the circle, across the bridge and somewhere down the road. We failed to catch that there was a fork in the road and we naturally took the wrong one and our trusted GPS did not have the small towns in the program data. When we finally arrived at the hotel, we were too late to visit the underground city in Derinkuyu, but chose to see the fairy chimneys in the Red Valley. It looks much like the Badlands in South Dakota, USA.

Goreme Devrent ValleyThe following day, we took a tour to the Goreme Open Air Museum. It is a cluster of cut-in-the-rock Byzantine churches, chapels, and monasteries with fairly good frescoes. The Red Rock Cones in Devrent Valley offer figures that challenge the imagination to define the top shapes formed through millennia of erosion. A side trip to a carpet factory was not on the schedule but never the less we were taken there.



Balloon Tour, CappadociaOn our final day in Cappadocia, we took the balloon tour. It is expensive and crowded, but great fun and offers an excellent view of the entire area valleys with Mother Nature’s formations.

For those of you who want to experience living in a cave, there are many budget pensions including one named Flintstones that have fairy-chimney rooms.






Mevlana MuseumWe left for Konya to visit the Mevlana Museum, the former lodge of the whirling dervishes. As we drove into the city we were surrounded by modern buildings and spacious parking lots. As we drove toward the museum, we were surrounded by apartment buildings typical of those in Izmir in the 60's and with no parking areas. Fortunately, our hotel had underground parking a block from the hotel. We were within a half block of the museum and across the street from a shopping mall. Mevlana’s Tomb is located in the museum. We were disappointed to learn that the Dervishes perform only on Saturday evenings and, therefore, missed one of the main attractions.



Antiocheia-in-PisidiaThe next day we drove through beautiful tree covered mountains to reach Antiocheia-in-Pisidia. Scott had a marvellous time taking pictures because there were very few tourists to intervene in a perfect shot. He had his picture taken by a teacher with a group of school children who greeted us with big smiles, waving hands and “Hello, hello.”




Pamukkale After leaving Antiocheia-in-Pisidia, we drove to Pamukkale. We were disappointed to discover that the hotel where we stayed in 1963 was demolished five years ago. The calcium deposits are still beautiful; from a distance, it looks like a snow covered mountain, with Roman aqueducts on both sides.


We returned to Izmir the next day. I didn’t recognize anything until we reached the waterfront where the statue of Ataturk on his horse, showing the Greeks the way out of Turkey, is located. For some unknown reason, our GPS instructed us to turn right on a one-lane street up a hill which had a dead end. After Sam carefully manoeuvred us around to return to the intersection, we faced a parked fuel gas truck with not enough room to pass. A school close by was dismissed and we were completely surrounded by boys chanting, “Barack Obama, Cok Guzel!” I am very thankful that they like our president! One of the boys started honking the horn of the parked truck and eventually the truck driver appeared, moved his truck and permitted our escape. Leaving our car at the hotel, we walked to Kultur Park and our apartment building which, amazingly, is still there and is in better condition than it was in 1963. (See Scott’s Blog for a video of the boys and another photo of the apartment).


We and Turkish friendsI called my Turkish friend, Jacqueline, with whom I worked at Tumpane Company, and she, along with her son and daughter, took us to lunch. We continue to have many things in common. Her son was born a few months before mine in 1966. We both have daughters born a few years later. All four children have engineering degrees. When I worked with Jacqueline, she impressed me with her ability to speak numerous languages, so I wanted my children to be at least bi-lingual and they are. Jacqueline’s children speak as many languages as she does--it must be in the genes, or maybe it is the daily contact with other polyglots. After spending precious hours with Jacqueline and her children, we went to the bazaar to buy gifts for grandchildren and friends. Again we were approached by someone practicing his English who took us to his carpet store.


Our attempt to return the rental car was again a mystery to be solved by Sam’s limited Turkish and sheer determination. The street signs in Turkey have been improved but we discovered when returning our rental car to Izmir’s new airport, that there is still room for improvement. We were leaving from the Domestic Terminal for Istanbul and the “rental car parking” signs directed us there. We unloaded our luggage and went through the airport screening to find the rental car desk with no luck. Asking around, we found that all the rental car desks are in the International Terminal. Therefore, we had to exit the Domestic Terminal, reload the luggage in the car and drive to the International Terminal.

We entered the parking garage, and at the ticket gate, a sign said, “Phone for free parking for rental cars.” No one answered, so we took a ticket to enter and found the Sixt Company parking slots. Sam left us with the bags near the terminal entrance and went to find the desk, which was unmanned. The employee at the adjacent rental car desk paged the Sixt agent who said he would meet Sam at the car parked in the garage and pick up Scott and me on the way out. The agent took the parking ticket and asked Sam for 7.5 lira to exit the terminal and return to the Domestic terminal. Sam was down to his last 10 lira and the agent gave him 2 lira change, so Sam made him dig out the last half lira — so much for free parking for rental cars. Fortunately, we had allowed extra time and arrived at the Domestic departure terminal to depart for Istanbul and then to the United States. I understand from the guide book that most of the improvements and developments of the cities and sites that we visited took place in the 80's. Turkey is truly a “wondrous place”."


Carol Tomlinson
I am closing with a sad note. Carol Tomlinson, who is seen dancing with Mr. Tumpane in my article at the top of this page, died as Carol Brendel on July 10, 2008, in Fairfax, VA. I really miss her.


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