How old is old?

Until recently, no one had any idea how old the history of Turkey was. Now we know better. About 200 miles to the southeast of Bursa is the site of the second oldest city ever discovered (the oldest is Jericho in Palestine).  In fact, most archeologists think the first cities were created in the area of the Tigris-Euphrates valley.  Of course, urban sprawl didn’t amount to much more than the total area of Pancake, Texas, but it was the first time that people came together and depended on trade for their existence.

In any case, the name given to the dig is Çatal Höyük. Archeologists think it was first inhabited sometime before 7,500 BC!  That’s four thousand years plus before the pyramids were built and 3500 years before Stonehenge was erected.

The houses weren’t much more than mud huts, but they were still grouped together for the first time in known history.  (There’s always room for more known)
On the wall of one of the houses in Çatal Höyük is a map of the settlement and it is credited with being the earliest map ever discovered.  Sit back and think about it for a minute.  Credible evidence of a community existing 100+ generations before the Egyptians hired Judeans to design their tombs.

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It has been pouring water from the sky for the last 24 hours. I’m not quite sure, but I think it’s called rain. Whatever, it has become too much for the local drains and they are pouring the water back on the street through the manhole covers. Glad I’m on the uphill side.

Radiators started working this morning and I had hot water in the bathroom. Marvelous what a hot shower can do for your disposition.

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Attribution: Most of the facts in this monologue come from “Guide to Turkey for History Travellers”by Bob Fowke —the spelling of travelers giving away his nationality. It’s a small but charming book in a series published by the London Sunday Times. I was given a book in this series by a neighbor in London, “Everything Spain” and loved the dry humor (excuse me, “humour”) the authors exhibit. In any case, some observations are Bob’s and some are Bob’s.

So, I will attempt to shorten a short history of Turkey or —a history of a space on earth now occupied by Turkey. No culture can claim continuous ownership of the space because the Turks followed the Greeks, who followed the Phrygians, who following the Hittites, who followed —who knows? People have walked on this dirt I’m trying to get out of my apartment for over 6,000 years. Including (among many others to be noted later) Alexander, Cleopatra and Mark Antony, St. Paul (born here), and perhaps Achilles and Helen. I don’t consider myself the least of these, but I am one of the latest.

I know that you know (now you do) the main city, Istanbul, is in Europe, but most of the country, Anatolia, is in Asia. (Anatolia is from the Greek, anatole, which means sunrise (i.e. from the east). (Those of us who approach my age may remember that it was called Asia minor in our geography books. You don’t have to identify yourselves.)

The Asian part of the country is ringed by mountains on all sides, but the most interesting are the eastern peaks, the highest being Agri Dag – called Mount Ararat in the bible. I’ll look for Noah’s descendants later.

I’ll close with this meatiest of information: “Turkey is a country but it’s also the name of a bird. (Also some of the people I knew.) This is due to a misunderstanding. The ‘Turkey-cock’, as the species was once called, was a native of Mexico, but turkeys were first supplied to England via North Africa. This was because the first birds to be taken from Mexico were imported into North Africa by Spanish traders . And from North Africa, English merchants, known as ‘Turkey Merchants’ due to their trading links with the Muslim world, supplied the birds to England.”

Now, I don’t know for sure if these birds were once consumed at a banquet in the Massachusett swamps, but, if so, there’s a good chance they were brought to the table by the native residents. Who knows? In any case, one of the symbols of that penultimate American holiday was an illegal alien.

Ciao (which, if you think about it, is a pun)

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I think I’m going to be driven nuts. No hot water this morning (or now, for that matter), but the heat is on. I have steam radiators in each room and I suddenly realized that they’re working. And a week ahead of schedule. Maybe there’ll be hot water tomorrow.

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Fair warning: Tomorrow I’m going to write a short history of Turkey. The reason for my writing is to give me a better understanding of the country in which I’m living (and can’t supply hot water). You want to stick around, please do so.

Note: Had another one of the serendipitous encounters today. I have stopped at a small restaurant once or twice to buy takeaway and had talked with the proprietor (a Syrian emigré). Today, because my phone wasn’t working I asked him to listen to the message that I was getting when I tried to call. He did. He said (OK, I’m sort of paraphrasing) that I had no time left on the SIM. I asked, “Where do I go?” \

He closed the restaurant (really) led me a block up the street to a phone shop (a longer story) and helped me with the shop owner until my phone, once again, worked.

We returned up the street and he reopened the restaurant. (Of course, I ate there. What kind of fool do you think I am?)

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I have decorated my kitchen. Which, as I view the things available to me for actually cooking, will function best as a greenhouse.

I have decorated my kitchen.  Which, as I view the things available to me for actually cooking, will function best as a greenhouse.
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WEBB’S LADY SPARTANS HAVE WON THEIR SECOND CONSECUTIVE STATE VOLLEYBALL TITLE! </p>
<p>Webb defeated Evangelical Christian School in straight sets, 25-18, 25-23, 25-13, at today’s TSSAA Division II-A State Girls Volleyball Championship in Murfreesboro.</p>
<p>More details to follow. Congratulations Lady Spartans!” width=”461″ height=”364″ /></p></div>
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WEBB’S LADY SPARTANS HAVE WON THEIR SECOND CONSECUTIVE STATE VOLLEYBALL TITLE!

Webb defeated Evangelical Christian School in straight sets, 25-18, 25-23, 25-13, at today’s TSSAA Division II-A State Girls Volleyball Championship in Murfreesboro.

My granddaughter, Madeline, is front row, right.

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