America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

22 February 2010

Irfan Altinbasak 1944 to 2008 (aka Charlie)



My grandfather passed away when I was 6 years old, in 1977. My father was 33 at the time, and he was here in the States. Father had three brothers and three sisters. He was the spoiled middle child- an oxymoron here, I know, but Charlie's interest in sports meant that he was always given the cream of the crop at dinnertime, and often ate steak when everyone was having leftovers.. If you ask my aunts and uncles, Charlie was the favorite. Five of his siblings left Turkey to be in America or Germany, Charlie and his sister Nuran were the only ones left. It is imagined to be a heart-breaking moment for my grandfather to discover that his last remaining son would also leave the nest and spread his wings toward America. Back in the late sixties, you would be driven out on the tarmac to board your plane, and your relatives could be observed watching you ascend the stairs to the cabin. As Charlie described it, his father was leaning on a fence watching him board, and between the time he entered the cabin and the time he took his window seat, grandfather had stopped looking in his direction and buried his face on his fore-arm, weeping as he leaned on the fence..

This is perhaps the only interaction I have seen between my father and his father. A young 25 year old Charlie is proudly showing off his newest possession, and bragging about it on the back of this photo. I was born about 2 years later.

1 comment:

TT said...

Nice homage. I too remember the airport scene where my own grandfather and the entire family were able to watch us board the plane on the tarmac.

Oh, the good old days before Department of Homeland Security. I remember being able to go all the way to the gate at JFK and sit among passengers whenever visitors were leaving NYC to go back to Turkey. We'd hug/kiss them right before they would enter the plane.