Turkey, A New Adventure

In the spring of 1976, we were living in Valdosta Georgia, when my husband came home and said he had some bad news. He received orders to Turkey. He said it was up to me, he could go by himself for twelve months or we could go as a family for twenty four months. He said the base was in a remote area, without a lot of modern convinces.  I thought it sounded like a real adventure, so we decided to go. When we told the kids that were six and four, we were moving to Turkey, they weren’t too excited about it. They didn’t want to live in a place that was run by turkeys not people.

About a month later we were sitting in the tail section of a big jumbo jet flying to Turkey. I swear that plane wagged and flapped its tail all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. After stopping in several  countries to change planes, we finally arrived in Istanbul Turkey.  

The plane landed and we were hurried off  to go through customs. This was my first time in a forein country, saying I had culture shock was putting it mildly. The people, sounds and smells were all overwhelming. I was ready to get on the next plane back home. My husband said what in the hell did I get my family in to. On top of all that I had to pee since Yugoslavia.  I was about to bust and there were no ladies room in sight.

We were directed to an area to take a bus to the ferry for another several hours ride to where we would go by car to the military base. I still had to pee.

Before we got on the bus we were met by our military sponsors Terri and Glen. Was I ever glad to see them? They helped get us and all our luggage on the bus.  They explained what the next step was in arriving at our final designation.  I really, really had to pee by now.

We got on the ferry and were herded down to the lower section. The area was filled with Turks, smoking the most disgusting smelling cigarettes, jabbering away in their language, and to top it off they didn’t use deodorant.  By now I not only had to pee, I was sick at my stomach as well.

I asked Terri were the ladies room was. She had a shit eating grin on her face, and pointed to a door. I opened the door and found a man with his pants down around his ankles squatting over a hole in the floor. I got out of there as fast as I could. Terri said there are only community bathrooms in most public places in Turkey. Great, I really had to pee but was too scared to go back in that bathroom. What was up with the hole in the floor?  I was not a happy camper by now.

Finally after it seemed like hours we got off the ferry, and were meet by someone in my husband’s unit. It was late at night and he had been drinking. The car ride to the base was one I’ll never forget. Not only had he been drinking, he drove very fast over those winding mountain roads. By the grace of God we made it to the base. The family got settled in to temporary lodging. First thing I did was find an American bathroom. Yea, I made it. I was young and so was my bladder.

For the first month I cried and cried. I wanted to go back home. We didn’t have a car, and there were no American television stations. I hated it with a passion.

Things did get better. As a matter of fact Turkey became one of our favorite places. There I started a little babysitting business. I watched Terri’s son Abe while she worked. Terri and I grew to be best friends. After Turkey we were stationed together in San Antonio, and Colorado Springs. We have known each other for over thirty years now. The memories of long ago will be in our hearts forever while we continue to make new memories together.

The kids adapted quit well. In fact they still remember how to count and say a few Turkish phases. It was shocking to them the country was made up of people not turkeys. In fact I don’t believe we saw one turkey while we lived there.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tsonoda148
    Jun 17, 2011 @ 02:27:30

    Oh gosh, such memories. I remember that ferry boat ride. I had forgotten about the bathroom incident though. LOL You poor thing. Good thing your bladder was young, huh. Meeting you and Garry was one of the best moments of my life, a gift that has kept on giving for decades. Friends for life. A priceless gift!


  2. Mary Ann
    Jun 17, 2011 @ 13:01:48

    This was an AWSOME !post Mary ,,can’t wait to read the next one ,God Bless adn have a great time at the lake .Love Ya xoxo


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