“Sometimes I ran away from school and went to the Azak cinema. He used to play mostly Arabic movies. You could stay in the cinema as long as you wanted, as the seats were not numbered. Arabic films would have subtitles. The Armenian ladies, who were regular customers of the cinema, took us among them because they could not read, made us read the texts, offered them from home to eat at the cinema, and even ordered soft drinks.
As I talk about Kumkapı, let me tell you a little about its ancient state:
The street, which is now full of taverns, was then full of firewood and charcoal sellers. The best firewood and charcoal came from Romania. Takas used to dock at the wooden docks off the coast of Kumkapı and unload the fuel they were carrying. He would also come to Cibali on the Golden Horn. At the end of Kömürcüler Street, there was an underpass of the railway. I think it’s still available. About ten meters in front of the underpass was the sea. Crossing the bridge, there was a large cauldron on the right. Here the dolphins were always boiled and the oil extracted. Passing it, again on the right, between the train track and the sea, there were about ten fishermen’s houses, very pretty. In front of the doors of these houses, the fishermen and their wives fix the nets. This place was demolished in 1936 and a spike was built. This spike was later demolished and a new coastal road was built.
To the left of the underpass of the bridge were the docks for the machines and a square. These docks carried wood and coal, as well as Thracian onions and potatoes. In fact, it would not only come with engines, but also with horse-drawn carriages. Kadırga, Kumkapı and its environs used to carry their winter onions and potatoes in cheap sacks from here.
As for the beaches; After the wooden docks of Kumkapı, they were places to swim to the lighthouse of Ahırkapı. There were separate beaches such as the family beach, the men’s beach and the women’s beach on the coast, which was divided by the walls that stretched out to the sea and were sometimes left behind. Each went to his beach and could not enter the others. But the most beautiful was the family beach. Here they ate, made tea, the children cooked the mussels in cans, and after five o’clock came the men who left work and had fun together until late.
Women, men and children living in these districts would swim in the sea. The women’s beach was at the end, just after the train passed through Akbıyık, and was also known as the girls’ beach. The sea water was clear and clean enough to drink, and the fish boiled.
The floor of Cinci Square was made of clay. When it rains, it’s like a lake. Since the schools were the only teaching, it was from morning to evening and the lunch break was an hour and a half. On a lunch break, we started a double-goal game on the relatively dry side of the square with the cloth ball we made ourselves. We let ourselves get carried away so much that it was time for the lesson and we went through the dry field and dived into the water game. However, we woke up to the arrival of our teachers and our families, and it was hard for them to recognize us, as we were all covered in mud from head to toe. Of course, we all received the reward of this ingenuity as a beating.
To keep any of the three clubs, which are the biggest football teams in Istanbul and Turkey, the mind has to lean towards that club. Despite this, the kind and polite people of Kadıköy were from Fenerbahce, and those who wanted to sit in Beyoğlu and look cultured and European were from Galatasaray. Beşiktaş fans are; Apparently, they were unpretentious and virtuous people. At that time, handsome and friendly, that is, the men admired were those who went to the neck of the ear, had a light belly and were extravagant fighters. Nowadays, those who wore swimsuits and threw themselves on their bellies, posing for the newspapers with their white bodies, were despised. Older father men would not even bring such people to cafes.
Not to mention, these days they call Beşiktaş the ‘team of pilots’, without knowing what it means. But why it’s called that, even club executives don’t know: in the 1930s, there were almost no cars in Istanbul. Transportation, transportation, and excursions were done by horse-drawn carriages. Cars would be single or double-horsepower, and the rich would go to phaeton, just like today’s luxury cars. Some of the chariots were surrounded by tables thirty or forty inches high, which were called Tartar chariots. Some were completely open. The drivers of these cars, standing on the car, with bridles in one hand and a whip in the other, ran their horses like crazy through the cobbled streets of Istanbul and warned the road users to whistle like horns. ‘air. Being on a road like that and in that wheeled iron car was no chore for all the brave men. Like this statue, the name “Arabacı” has been given to majestic young people, with the idea that the residents of Beşiktaş are as strong as a coachman. However, the highest number of university graduates was in Beşiktaş. So how do you rate football players who travel with the most expensive jeeps today?
If those lands and squares where balls were played between neighborhoods in the past had not been given to squatting squatters, a Cup of Champions Clubs would come to this country every year and millions of currencies would have come from the transfer of footballers to Europe. They would do what no government could do. The success of South American and African youth is due to the fact that these plots still exist in their hometowns. As a nation, we have always seen what goes into our pockets as a benefit. However, some things we believe we have gained take away our dignity and sometimes even our lives. However, eight hundred years ago, the late Nasreddin Hodja had warned us: ‘My son, you cut the branch where you are, you will fall!’
When the word of those days of the Galera opens, not to say it briefly, although it is explained at length, those who did not live there cannot understand the feelings of that day. Friendship, brotherhood, cooperation and collectively, love …
Here, today’s collapse is due to the destruction of this feeling of love. “
(A short excerpt from my memoir “In Search of Past Lives” published last month. Available at Near Kıbrıs Şehitleri Caddesi Bookstore in Izmir, Dost and Turhan Bookstores in Ankara, Lexitabevi.com Kanguruyayinlari.com.tr!)
Murat Anyyilmaz / [email protected] yahoo.com