10 Ocak 2016 Pazar

Margot's letter


Sureyya and I talked about Emin Bey.  Most of what we remember is about his personal life. He was Catholic and grew up in Vienna.  I believe his father was a policeman.  Emin Bey's first wife Rosa Epstein was Jewish.  When Hitler invaded Austria Emin Bey feared for her life.  He had been to Turkey in the 30's on geological field work and to study the earthquake fault lines. He liked Turkey  very much so when Austria became dangerous for Jews he  moved with his wife to Turkey.  His father died during World War II.  He always joked that the man starved to death because his wife ate all the food. Sureyya remembers that his mom was quite heavy. He then brought his mother to live with them in Turkey. His wife Rosa was  older than Emin Bey and had diabetes.  For a while they lived in the same apartment building in Ankara as Sureyya and his parents. Sureyya's mom, Ayse hanim, befriended Rosa and they spoke French together. Sureyya remembers Rosa having Greek and Austrian friends. Emin Bey spoke German, English, Turkish and Italian as well as French.

Years later when Sureyya's parents were divorced and Rosa was dead, Ayse Hanim ran into Emin Bey in Kizilay and he asked her out.  To please Ayse,Emin Bey converted to Islam and changed his name before they got married. They were married by the same nikah memuru who married Sureyya and I.  Adnan Bey, the director of the National Library witnessed it as did a geological co worker of Emin's. Later Ayse Hanim very much regretted that she had let Emin convert.. He had made a name for himself publishing as Erwin Lahn.  Emin Bey just joked about this saying people wondered what had happened to that Erwin and if he was dead.

Emin Bey's mother lived quite a bit longer and even after his second marriage he went every night to eat dinner with her.  All his life he was a caregiver and yet he never complained. He paid Sureyya's tuition at Robert College even when Sureyya was failing and later paid the tuition at Middle East Technical. Of course he hated Germans but when Iskin got sick he went to Germany to help.  Sureyya told me he disliked  Americans but he never showed any displeasure to me.  He was a very polite and responsible man. It can't have been easy living with Iskin in his later years but he put up with the smoking and mental health issues. 

Emin Bey loved  Western classical music and would tell funny stories about Strauss.  Bruckner was a favorite.  He was a stamp collector and loved plants and gardening.  Ayse Hanim did not let him have plants and flowers in the house because she thought they made a mess so he just kept a cactus collection on the balcony.  He finally got his chance to garden when they got the place in Akcay. Once a year at Christmas he would bake fruit cake and take out his childhood toys.  He subscribed to a Socialist Viennese newspaper which he read every night as Ayse Hanim read Cumhuriyet.
He loved to go to the Pazar and to the manav but Ayse Hanim would always scold him for buying overripe fruit or paying too much.  Sureyya did the same to me.  Both Emin Bey and I loved the street vendors and street food and we both got scolded for that. If Ayse hanim ate out it was at her approved places like Ciftlik. She always ordered levrek and choked on the bones.  Emin Bey and I liked all kinds of Turkish food.

I don't know too much about his work.  Sureyya says he worked for the Coal and Minerals company and when I came he was with the Petroleum company.  Ayse Hanim always nagged him about being no good at office politics or asking for a raise. He felt geologists should do field work not sit at a desk or go to the summer camp on the Mamaris.  He had no love for co- workers who just collected a salary. He did not like the builders who put up apartment buildings in earthquake zones.

I hope all is well and thank you again for what you did. Sureyya and I have the highest opinion of you and your husband.

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