Have you ever got into a situation where you felt you just needed to buy something? That is exactly what happened to us at a lonely roadside carpet store at Mumcular, Bodrum.
A nice summer morning as we drive through the ups and downs of the mountain roads of Bodrum Peninsula, we come across a beautiful stone house with interesting sculptures, knick-knacks strewn about in the garden along with beautiful kilims and carpets hanging from the stone walls and tree limbs. I ask Al to stop the car for a second so that I can take some pictures of this intriguing place.
As we walk towards the store, we realize that the store has no name. It only says Halici, (meaning “Carpet Seller”). The owner comes and shakes our hands and introduces himself: Huseyin Orhan. He is the carpet seller. It looks like he also lives here. We don’t ask him if he has a family. He mostly talks about his past, his father, and his village.
There is a main house consisting of two attached rooms with separate doors. There is an outhouse for shower and toilet. He says he built this house with his own hands. There are all kinds of stones he gathered from the area. Some are circular and probably have been used for grinding grains in the past, some have writings on them; probably he found them while digging the foundation. He says you can find many artifacts in Turkey if you start digging around the ancient settlement areas.
He shows us the little square building he started a while ago. He says it will take several months to finish it. The walls are done, but there is no roof yet.
As he unfolds his stories regarding each interesting artifact in his yard, my own memories from my grandparents’ house come alive. This is the way people used to live. Simple and functional. We had a stone house too. We had a giant wheel for grinding olives to make olive oil. We had a giant caldron to make grape molasses from our own grapes. We had an outhouse where I used to be petrified to go at night when there was no way you could see the hole. My grandmother’s soap tray was always filled with olive oil soaps basking in the sun to dry.
Now, they are all good memories. My grandmother used to weave her fabrics, make her kilims too.
When Huseyin started to show me the homemade kilims, how could I resist?
It is a beautiful white (!) wool kilim with a colorful border. What can I say? I fell in love with it and layed it on the floor of our home. Now, we have to walk around it so that we do not step on it.