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Grandmother’s house in Göztepe

Athanasios left Istanbul in in his teens because tensions over  between Greece and Turkey made his life very difficult. He is from Beyoğlu area of Istanbul, but very often they visited his maternal grandmother’s house in . A trainline went by the house, but the nearest stop was about one kilometre away. His father, who also liked visiting his mother-in-law’s house, used to go by train to her house. In those years, the were slow and powered by steam. When his train passed by the house his father used to open the window and shout ‘aki aki’ to call his son. Then he would throw his bags from the window for her to pick up and take inside. That way, he did not have to carry them all the way from the station. Athanasios remembers the sounds of the bags being thrown from the train…

They visited this house in the 1960s until his grandmother died in 1973. He remembers the place with fields around, where he used to play with his friends. There was no church in Göztepe, so they had to walk to Kalamış or Fenerbahçe. The fields and muddy roads meant that they had to take extra shoes and change them before entering into the church because one had to enter the church with clean shoes. 

There were two houses in a big yard and the next-door neighbour was his family’s tenant, Mehmet Bey, and his wife, Muazzez. Athanasios said they did not have any children and loved him very much. They also used to fight a lot. During their arguments, they sometimes threw kitchen utensils into the garden, and these often ended up in Athanasios’s grandmother’s yard. After the arguments had calmed down, Ayşe used to ask Athanasios to give back the utensils: ‘my dear, our utensils…’ Athanasios said ‘we had such beautiful memories in Göztepe…’

After many years, he took his parents to Göztepe to see the house. However, they found that it was not there anymore. They were upset at this. Today there is a park there.  •

Athanasios is in front of his grandmother’s house in Göztepe
A train in Göztepe