America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

15 September 2008

Signs from a Turkish Woodworking Shop: Cemal Tokgoz Mobilya


Cemal Tokgoz was the first person I wanted to see on the day after my father was laid to rest. He was the man who my father apprenticed under when he first learned to become a carpenter and a cabinet maker. He was the person who my father always referred to as his best friend and mentor. The day after the funeral, I took off on my bike in search of some relief, or pain, or whatever the hell the road out of Mudanya would lead me to. I ended up at Cemal's cabinet shop. At the sight of him I fell apart completely, grabbed and pressed him against me while my heaving sobs resonated throughout his shop, my tears soaked his shirt and his startled apprentice looked on emphatically, bewildered. Cemal is about 4-1/2 feet tall, and for this reason, he avoids going out into social situations. People point, stare, make jokes. He missed the funeral for this reason, and I forgive him completely. Besides, he saved me from crying like a baby in front of 100+ people, by not showing up. So here I feature some of the signs on his walls, and the plaque bearing pictures of all of his old friends. Cemal is in his 70s.. so many of those who are pictured and long gone, including my father. I left Cemal Bey with an 8x10 picture of me in a bike race, and I added my own wallet sized picture to the plaque before leaving. The Pony clamp pictured above on the table was my father's last telephone request made to me. He had let someone borrow his clamp and it was never returned.. So he asked me to bring him mine, which I was happy to do. I showed it to him but I can't be sure if he really saw it through all the pain. I gave it to Cemal to keep, as it should be.




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