When I was 10 years old, we were two brothers in a core family of four living in a small town. My mother was then a teacher in town's only high school teaching Turkish literature, whereas my father was rural judge to settle down the land disputes in the rural region. My grandmother was living with us.
My mother had too much house work so one day she expressed her need for a housemaid, a small girl to help her in daily household activities. So my father asked his staff to find a proper housemaid preferably to stay with us to help my mother. Rural administrators are asked to advise for a family to volunteer to give their girl, preferably a poor motherless family unable to support their children.
Then one day we have been advised that a poor father whose wife left the house with someone else, volunteered to give his 8-year old girl to our family. One early morning she arrived with a poor dirty dress, long dirty hair, with heavy dirty smell, with no belongings. She was afraid of being alone, in a different new environment, away from her natural family protection.
My grandmother took the initiative, pushed her to the bathroom, stripped her completely, cut her dirty hair at short style and washed her completely multiple times during the day. Then my mother tailored new dress for her. She had same food we had, clean dress, comfortable bed to sleep. She was not overloaded. She was a small house maid, a daily household helper for my parents, but for us, two small boys, she was our natural sister to share everything.
We had 3 years together. At first she avoided to talk, other than short talk, in order to hide her rural accent. Within 3-months she modified her accent and was able to talk in the same manner we had. The next year my younger brother was in the first year of elementary school, we shared all books and she learned read and write and math.
After 3-years my parents decided to move to the capital city in order to enable the kids to attend to better schools available in the capital city.
Our sister had home education during that time. Mom decided to send her to special school for girls to let her receive special talents for home management, tailoring, cooking, etc. She could also go to schools for teaching or health services.
However one day she disappeared suddenly for 3- days.We informed the town police. They found her in a shanty house at the outskirts of the town, with her biological father and relatives from the rural village. Her father said that he missed her daughter very much after 3-years.
It was shock for my parents. They were afraid of not being able to control her escapes. Things may get worse, and they could not carry the responsibility any further.
So my parents decided to send her back to her family.One day her luggage was prepared, full of her personal dresses, plus some books to read.
Anyhow from the very beginning, we two boys presumed that she was our new natural sister, not a housemaid, and we shared everything with her.
Suddenly one day she left our house leaving us, two small boys all alone without sister. Two small boys lost their sister thereafter. We had no more news of her thenafter. We had a new born brother. Later our family moved to the capital city Ankara. We changed our environment, our house, our city, our way of life, our schools. So her absence was absorbed and forgotten in time.
Most probably she got married at a very early age, and for her marriage, her father probably received a big amount of cash money or land for agriculture in agreement with the other party, since she was not an illiterate village girl any more but a literate educated polite mannered city girl.
We have two group pictures taken in one of my humble birthday parties, cute, cleaver, pretty, small girl next to daughter of local high public administrator.
I feel and wish that she got married and had many children as well as grandchildren at later years, and had a happy life.
Anyhow I still feel sorrow after her leave for her absence, loss of a sister in early childhood.
Your comments are always welcome!
I'm asking myself why you just sent this to me. Then again, if you want my honest opinion, I'm always happy to share with a fellow writer. I thought this was sent to the group site--interesting.
I would suggest that you leave out the phrase at the very beginning of your essay--"Long long time ago, when I was 10 years old". Just say instead--"When I was ten years old--and go on from there."
This is a fascinating study of your culture. The choice of words you use really tells me a great deal about what you consider "normal life." For example, if your mother needed help with the household chores, why couldn't the young men of the household help out. I know why. It just wasn't done, perhaps considered just women's work. There's one example.
Then a young, but poor, eight year old girl comes to your house to help out your overworked mother. She is taken under wing and although, she works, she is also treated as one of the family. That is wonderful and she obviously benefits from living in your household. It sounds like you accepted her until I read these words----”cut her hair at proper short style” or “hide her terrible rural.” This shows a prejudice against the child that cannot control her existence. Now I will not stand in judgment of you or your family, and obviously you loved this girl a great deal. I think you want us to see your feelings for this girl and you would like to know what happened to her.
Here you tell us about her schooling--”Our sister had home education during that time. Mom decided to send her to special school for girls to let her receive special talents for home management, tailoring, cooking, etc.” I'm guessing that girls are not afforded the same educational opportunities as boys there. Or was that merely your mother's choice?
Now here we really see the change in class structure----”for her marriage, her father probably received a big amount of cash money or land for agriculture in agreement with the other party, since she was not an illiterate village girl any more but a literate educated polite mannered city girl.” Your word choice says it all. This is not a criticism, Haluk, just an observation in our cultural differences. Women are, in fact, exploited and considered commodities in many countries. Young girls, especially in poor and rural areas, are married off or given away at an early age. I've studied this in some of my history and literature classes. I cannot say that I agree with the practice.
I like the ending and I think it shows your love for a “sister” that you undoubtedly miss. “I still feel sorrow after her leave for her absence, loss of a sister in early childhood.” There are many databases to search for people here on line. But I doubt if she's listed on any of them. Perhaps she's out there somewhere and would like to see you also. Have you tried to locate her? You obviously care about her still. I feel that in your word choice as well.
You may want to rethink some of your word choices, but I see a lot of love for a young girl showing through here. And I think that's what you should concentrate on. I hope this is helpful to you and let me know if I can be of further assistance.