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Chasing an airplane
My childhood was spent in Kahramanmaraş, the city where I was born. We went around every day in the heady atmosphere of the Second World War years, which arouses such disparate emotions in the human heart.
Reports of planes being sighted were broadcast over the radio. Those planes were war planes. But we were too young to know the difference between war planes and passenger planes. For us a plane was just a massive object made of metal. There was no airport in Maraş in those days. So the idea of boarding a plane never crossed our minds even once.
Until one day...
We were in school. It was a Saturday noon. In those days we had a half day of school on Saturdays. The weekend started at noon. All of a sudden there was a big commotion among the pupils. A rumor spread like wildfire through the school. It was incredible! A plane had landed at Maraş! How could it be? How could a plane land in our city when there was no airport? But within a few minutes the truth was out: a propeller bi-plane, grey in color, was indeed gliding over our city with an unaccustomed roar, sometimes flying so low as to almost scrape the minarets, and finally vanishing deep into the sky in an elegant curve. But before long it was swooping overhead again with that magnificent purring sound.
How it happened I don't know. Suddenly a new rumor spread among the children: “The plane is going to land at Arkbaşı!” If they said it then it must be so... Arkbaşı was, by today's standards, a vast rural expanse in the foothills of Ahır Dağı, which lay to the north of our city. An area fit only for the landing of such a plane. But before we even had a chance to head in that direction, a rain of confetti poured down on our town. My God! What lovely little fluttering bits of paper these were! How could we catch them?
Suddenly all the pupils burst out the school gate and began dashing madly all over town. Each in the direction where he thought he could catch some of the confetti. I too was running along behind the plane.
I thought the rain of confetti would never end, and if nothing else I wanted to catch at least one of little pieces. I had the good fortune of finding one at a spot rather far from our house. I was only in the first grade but I could already read and write. The bit of paper I found had written on it in big letters, “Happy Holidays”. I didn't know what holiday this was, which holiday was being celebrated. But what better holiday could there be than this? I was the proud owner of a holiday greeting tossed from an airplane, and that was holiday enough for me!
Unfortunately the rain of confetti came to an end. The roar of the plane began to fade from our ears, and the plane to vanish in the distance. We had stopped chasing it now. Not only me but all the children stood with our arms hanging helplessly at our sides, watching sadly as the plane disappeared from view. Even after it vanished completely beyond the horizon, we continued to stand there, rooted in place, not budging, but waiting in its wake with an inward longing for the day when we could touch an airplane with the tip of our fingers... And ever since that day that plane has been engraved in my brain, in a constant yearning to be reunited with it once again.