Friday, 14 March 2014

Women in Bodrum - The Oral History Group


Wedding photo 

As a nod toward International Women's Day on 8th March, an exhibition of photos opened in Bodrum to give a glimpse into the lives of women in the last century and this month's Oral History meeting concentrated on only the ladies' recollections.  I have to admit that I didn't enjoy this meeting as much as the one in Mumcular (Click here to read) as the audience seemed more intent on following their own conversations than listening to the speakers. I couldn't work out why they were being so disrespectful until I started to watch the chatterers and realised that they were fixated on the screen behind the speakers' heads which was showing a loop of photos from the exhibition, then the penny dropped. They were seeing photos of people they hadn't seen for decades and of course couldn't help themselves but give a running commentary.  Hopefully the organisers won't make this mistake next time. What I managed to hear of this week's talk did emphasise how cut off the villages around the Bodrum peninsula were in the 1950s and 60s.  There was only one jeep a day into Bodrum, the menfolk would often be employed as fishermen or sponge divers and would be away from home for weeks  so the woman in the villages had to be self reliant.  The local teacher was a much more important part of the village than they are now and would do much more than just teach the children. One retired teacher explained that she had been the only village first-aid post, learning how to treat scorpion bites with a razor blade and ammonia, bandage up damaged limbs and on one occasion reattach an ear!  One of her ex-students was in the audience and reminded her that she had also cut the children's hair.  In return there would be a steady supply of fresh eggs, butter, milk and vegetables to the teacher's living quarters. 




A retired bank employee who started her career in Bodrum in 1966, wistfully looked back at her days behind a desk where cash was kept in a drawer with no key and security wasn't an issue.


Another speaker only in her 60s told us that she's been engaged at 13, married at 14 and had her first child at 15, but that her husband was a good man and that she'd been blessed with a very happy life.
After the meeting I went and had a second look at the exhibition, some of the faces I recognised and wished I asked more questions when I first came to Bodrum.

The exhibition is at  Trafo, by the castle, for another week.

18 comments:

  1. . . such a difference between stuffed-shirt 'Englishness' and the gregarious, voluble Turks - can be infuriating at times! Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells

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  2. Having spent 12 of the past 15 years 5 miles from Tunbridge Wells - I hold my hands up in surrender.

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  3. They'd started to do this in my area of France just when I was leaving...it was fascinating to sit in on and things I'd heard piecemeal started dropping into place.

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    1. It should be done in every neighbourhood.

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  4. There has been a photo exhibition for Women's Day here in Selçuk but what with one thing and another (one of those things being a shower of rain when we were wondering around it) we have not managed to see it all yet.

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    1. Can you post some photos when you do. It would be good to compare

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  5. It's great that mining those so very important personal memories is being organized before they're gone. The photos look wonderful.

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    1. I was surprised that the white wedding dress was used in Turkey in the 1930s.

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  6. Sounds absolutely fascinating and absorbing, despite the chattering classes. There's a teacher tale in the new book so I may have to nick a few ideas!

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    1. I was a teacher here for 17 years - if you need any hints.

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  7. Fascinating. I've just come across some old wedding photos on our village Facebook page, and it's wonderful to see how things change over the years.

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    1. I wonder if your ancient neighbours have any wedding photos you could post.

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    2. They may well have. I will find the right time to ask.

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  8. Beautiful photos and I love the idea of this Oral History Group - so wished to be there, thank you for sharing.

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    1. I hope too that you can make it to one meeting.

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  9. A lovely idea - and yes, hopefully the talk and photos will be kept separate if this is done again. I should think it would be utterly irresistible to keep quiet when glimpses of your past flashes in front of you. A lovely post, Annie - thanks for sharing. Axxx

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  10. Aww, I love a bit of history like this - and wow, Bodrum's certainly changed hasn't it. Would have liked to have seen this exhibition.

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  11. Fascinating and really important to do this before those memories are gone altogether. People are just starting to do this in our bit of France and the photos are amazing.

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