1-2 GIRLS' SCHOOL AT GAZIANTEP AND YEAR IN USA
In a compound of its own across the street from the Hospital grounds, was an old building that had been a girls' school. The Dodd family lived in an apartment in the west end. An apartment was made for the Iselys in the East end and we moved there. Dad had the windmill from the college moved over so we would have a better water supply. The gravestones of the missionaries who had been buried at the college were moved over into a corner of the compound next to our vegetable garden. Dad also had a croquet court built, and later a swimming pool which was really for water storage to water our vegetable garden. Some of the cows from the college were kept so we and the hospital people could continue to have good milk.
Henry and I shared the east bedroom on the second floor. The first year we were there, there were quite a few earthquakes and I remember waking up to watch the green lampshade swinging back and forth. The middle part of the building between us and the Dodds had some large rooms, some big enough to ride a bicycle in, and Henry rode his bicycle there when it rained. Nurses who worked at the hospital lived on the third floor.
Sometimes when we got all the kids together we played a game the older ones had learned in Beirut called "murder". We would draw secret lots to see who would be the murderer and the detective. Then the lights were turned out and we wandered about in the dark, bumping into each other. At some point the murderer would squeeze a person's neck and scramble away. The murdered person would count to five and then scream. The lights would be turned on and the detective would try to identify the murderer by asking questions. The murderer was allowed to lie, and the person murdered couldn't answer anything. I didn't like the game very much because I never got murdered.
When people came to visit us from abroad, it was always a very special time. The engineer who installed the city electric plant gave us rides on his motorcycle. Then there were the bird men from the British museum who were there to collect birds and mount them. They had their own car and we got to ride to places we usually had to walk to. Henry got to shoot some birds for them. I didn't like the killing part, but the mounted birds looked very life-like. It didn't seem as bad as when Dad, Henry and the servants went into the attics and caught pigeons to eat. We would have pigeons to eat for days. Dad would say that there were too many pigeons and they were messing up the attics.
One of our favorite outings, which were usually on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, was to go for walks out into the country, either up one of the hills or along one of the streams in the valley. One favorite was called Head Spring. One time when we were coming back Mrs. Dewey noticed that Lynda was missing and sent our cook back to find her.
One of the walks up one of the big hills where once a year they had horse racing, was near an old Armenian orphanage. This was where the big snow pits were, where snow was stored in winter and covered with straw to keep into summer. On special occasions, our cook would buy some of this snow and we would get to turn the ice cream churn to make ice cream. After electricity came, regular ice was available, and we used it.
One year the Dodd family also went back to America and didn't come back, so we moved into their old apartment on the west side of the old girls' school building. This was very nice because Henry and I shared the second floor bedroom next to the windmill so we could go out the window and climb directly onto it. One time we and the Dewey children climbed on the hospital windmill so we could look into the operating room to watch Dr. Dewey operate. This made him so nervous that he stopped the operation until we could be removed from the windmill.
One summer when Mary Frances was back from going to school in Beirut we children decided to have a play marriage and have Lynda and Henry get married. I carried the ring which was woven out of flower stems. I don't think Henry was much impressed. He was more interested in climbing trees, throwing stones, and watching the cows. At this time there was a busy city street on the other side of our wall and we would climb up on the wall and watch the people going by. Sometimes we would watch stone fights between Turkish and Kurdish boys using slings.
One day Dad had some stonecutters make a deep trench in the back yard to extend our septic system. They broke through into a cave below. We didn't know that the people across the street had increased their storage area by carving out a big cave that went under the street and under our yard. We visited back and forth for several days until Dad had the trench filled in.
Another exciting thing was whenever we had an eclipse of the moon, the Turks thought the devil was eating the Moon and they would beat drums until the eclipse went away. It was not as bad as the wailing they did for several nights in a row when someone died.
I had trouble with Henry sometimes because he got to do things that I didn't and I would get mad and jealous. It just wasn't fair. I would usually end up scratching him on the arms and he would grab my arms and we would both end up screaming. Dad and Mon would separate us and send us to separate rooms to repent which we never did because I thought it was always his fault and he thought it was mine. We didn't get spanked like the Dewey kids, except I think Mother once paddled Henry with a hair brush which made her cry. I asked her why she was crying, but she didn't say anything.
When I was seven, another sad time happened. The Dewey family went back to America on leave, and of course Warner went away. He was the one closest to my age and I was very lonely again because Henry and Mary Frances thought I was too small to play with. Even Johnny didn't come around as much. I did make friends with some of the nurses. They lived on the third floor and the ones on night duty sometimes were nice to me after they got through sleeping.
Then there was Metat. He was a blind boy who was going to America to go to college, and Dad was teaching him English. Dad wanted him to learn English well before he got to American, and to do that Dad had to learn brail. Dad even taught me some. It is another story, but many years later Metat became the minister in the Turkish Government for the blind.
Finally it was our turn to go to America for a year. In early summer, we were driven to the train station, since Gaziantep didn't have a train, and caught the Orient Express to Istanbul. We were there for a month having a vacation while Dad was in meetings. We stayed in a lodge and it wasn't fair because I had to stand around and be a lady while Henry was climbing trees and the walls around the Lodge. Robert College was nearby and we got to go there on walks.
We took a steamer up the Black Sea to Constansa. It wasn't fair. All of us got seasick except Henry. In Constansa, we got a train that took us across Europe to Vienna, where we met Metat and stayed with friends of his. They took us on a giant Ferris wheel ride. Then with Metat, we went on to Switzerland. Dad said that where we were our great-grandmother had lived when she was growing up as a girl. I remember the tame bears down in some stone pits. They danced on their hind legs, I guess hoping for food. Dad said we were going to catch a German ship, but we weren't going to Germany because there was something bad there.
So we went on to Paris in time for their Bastille Day. I remember that the fireworks we saw out of our hotel window were fantastic. Back in Turkey we had had fireworks but there were just Roman candles, small firecrackers, and one or two small skyrockets only Dad was allowed to set off.
We went to the old palace which was a museum and I was impressed by the costumes and decorations. I think Henry was bored. Several days later we took a train to a French port and caught the German steamer S.S. Europa, the sistership of the Bremen. Most of the sailors on the ship were just boys training to go into the German Navy. Again I think Henry was the best sailor when we got to sea. The trip was pretty short and we arrived in New York in about 5 days. I think we may have gone to visit Uncle Frank and Aunt Eunice in Washington next. We then went right on to Boston, which was the home of the missionary board in those days, and stayed at the mission home in Auburndale. I think they gave us a whole house. Dad had business with the Board and also needed to buy a car. I remember he and Henry went off and came back with a '33
Plymouth. Dad and Mother usually sat in front and we three kids were usually in the back. Our bags were tied all over the car, but I think we had our trunks sent to Wichita by train.
I know we did a lot of visiting on the way, but I don't remember much except I was impressed by some cousins in Ohio. A brother and sister were running a farm and they each had a new 1966 Ford. They also had their own gas well and electric generator. I think Henry learned a lot more about all that than I did. There was some kind of reunion with lots of relatives I didn't know, but we ate a lot of watermelon.
There were more relatives when we got to Wichita, and I eventually found out who they all were. First, there was Grandmother Wells where we lived for 9 months near Fairmount College. Great Aunt Alice Isely and Great Aunt Jo Wellman lived across the street. Cousins Kenneth and Malcolm Isely lived several blocks away with their parents, Uncle Bliss and Aunt Flora. Our Grandmother Myers lived in south Wichita and so did our Uncle Merle and his family who were our cousins. Uncle Merle worked for the Post Office. Later we got to meet cousins in Pratt and Dodge City, Kansas. Great grandmother Elise, for whom I was named, lived with Aunt Alice and Aunt Jo, but we didn't see her much before she died after breaking a hip.
That year both I and Henry went to the William Henry Isely elementary school about 5 blocks away. Mary Frances must have gone to junior high somewhere, but I don't remember much about it. School was kind of strange because there were so many children and it was different from the Calvert Home Study System that I had had at home. I don't think that I learned very much that year. After school, we had a lot of fun playing with children in the neighborhood, particularly in Grandmother's attic on rainy days.
This was the time Henry changed his name. He wasn't called William in Turkey because the Turks can't pronounce a "W". One of boys in the neighborhood started calling Henry "Hank" and, then "Hanky", which made Henry mad. Dad said "William" would be a problem when we went back to Turkey, so Henry decided he wanted to be called "Bill". We didn't really get completely changed over to calling him that for almost a year.
That year in America, Mother and Dad traveled a lot, telling the various churches about their missionary work in Turkey. It worked out all right with us because grandmother took good care of us. That fall we went on a trip with Uncle Charles who was running for U.S. Senator. I remember a rally in a park somewhere where one of our "crazy" cousins was trying to impress us by eating pickles with his ice cream. We were still not used to drinking ginger ale because it burned our throats.
We had to go to Church regularly on Sunday. Grandfather Wells had been a Pastor at the Fairmont Church, and Grandfather Isely had been a leader in the community. They even had a stained glass window in his memory in the church. Henry was named for him and people regularly told Henry he had to behave because he carried grandfather's name. This often happened when we tried to read the funny papers in church.
After school was over, we packed up our car and started out East. Dad had arranged with friends and relatives everywhere we went so we always had a place to stay at night. One place we visited was the home of an ex-girl-friend of Dad's. I don't think that Mom was very happy. When we got near Boston, Mom was driving and the road became a 4-lane turnpike. Mon was driving at 45 miles an hour and Dad told her to slowdown. After visiting more friends and doing some camping, we sold the car and went to New York to catch a steamship to Beirut, I think it was the S. S. Excalaber. The ship was delayed and we had to stay several days in a hotel. The Deweys were going back with us and we had fun in the hotel running the elevators up and down. They wanted us to go to child care. But apparently we were too old for that. At last we were able to get aboard ship.
A few days out Dad got pneumonia and was very sick. After the first few days, we weren't allowed to see him the rest of the trip. Mother was with him most of the time, so the Deweys sort of took charge of us. Mrs. Dewey took us ashore for sight-seeing at Gibraltar, Naples and Alexandria. At Naples, we went to see the volcano and in Egypt we went up to Cairo to see the pyramids. I didn't get to climb to the top of one of the pyramids with some of the others.
When we got to Beirut, we all got off and Dad was moved to the local American Hospital. Mother stayed with him, so we three kids were put in the American Community School boarding department where we stayed for about two weeks until Dad was well enough to make the train trip to Turkey. Mary Frances, who was now called "Muffin", stayed to go to high school in Beirut, along with the older Dewey kids. Back in Gaziantep, Henry, now called Bill, and I shared a room. His part was always a mess because he had a bench on his side where he ran chemistry experiments. He also had a dog we called Barby for Fredrick Barbarossa, that slept in his bed with him.
The summer times were best because that was when all the other kids were back from going to school in Beirut. They were always learning new things to teach us like dancing and different card games. We built two tree houses in large mulberry trees, one for the boys, and one for the girls. Our parents decided that tree-house sleeping was not well enough supervised for kids in their teens, so tree-house sleeping came to an end. We still had a lot of fun in our swimming pool. Henry made a boat out of a large box, but when two of us tried to get into it, it turned over and dumped us into the pool.
The two missionary mothers acted as teachers in the morning using the Cavert home-teaching system. Mrs. Dewey taught math, French, piano, and spelling. Mother taught history, geography, and general science, so we switched off several hours with mother, and then with Mrs. Dewey. Afternoons mostly we played. Dad had had the old tennis court reconditioned, but we played more croquet. Sometimes some of the Turkish or Armenian kids our ages came and played. One summer was a lot of fun because we all pitched in and painted the hospital and got paid for it.
We spent part of the summer of 1939 in Istanbul, and Muffin went to America to stay at the mission home in Auburndale to go to High school. This was a wonderful summer because we had a house overlooking the Bosphorus and learned to do oil painting. Dad was the best at it. Some of the older kids, including Bill, got to swim across the Bosphorus from the Istanbul side, but Dad wouldn't let me. He said I was too small.
That Fall all the kids who were left went to Beirut to school except me. Even Warner Dewey went because his mother was very sick. In fact she didn't live much past the fall. That Christmas, Dr. Dewey went to Beirut to be with his children and even Bill didn't come home. That year and the next got very lonely, except for the summer of 1940. The war in Europe was on and everyone was worried about that. We listened to the BBC every day and the news kept getting worse. France was over-run by the Nazis, and Dad was worried because Lebanon and Syria had been under France, and there was some indication that the Germans would go there too.
One morning Mom and Dad woke me and while they packed my things told me I was going on a trip to join Bill. They were afraid a war was about to start in Lebanon and Syria and I was to catch a train at the nearest station and go to Beirut and from there to Jerusalem where I was to meet Bill. Somehow from there we were supposed to get to America. I barely had time to say goodbye to Barby.