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Monologue by Sumru Aksu Gokcen

Gokcen, Sumru Aksu
Scardina, Trisha
Sepulveda, Charlene
Date of Interview: 
Stories and Storytellers
Sumru Goycen talks about reading as a child.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Charlene Sepulveda interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
SG (Sumru Aksu Gokcen): I'm Sumru Gokcen. I'm 53 years old. [Pause] I was born in Turkey, in small town with a population of 400,000, um, near the Black Sea coast. [Long pause] I remember reading, um, lot of storybooks, but most important of all, I remember reading, in, in a small corner, uh, books that were in a box that my father kept. They were his books, and they were in a box in a special place so nobody could touch them. And, I had his permission to, to go to that small room, and the most important book, I still remember today, is a small, uh, translation of Socrates, uh, and Plato's dialogues. I don't know why I read that book, um, it would take me forever to read that book. It was not a, um, thick book, a thin one, but the dialogues, were, um, I think, just, uh, enhancing. I would still remember today, sitting in that small room, and trying to, um, read the dialogues. But why? What do you think? And those sentences would really fascinate me, and I would imagine those two people discussing things and asking each other those questions, and, um, logical answers. And, I really don't know why I read those books. I would read them, fantasy books or um, fiction and fairytales, those novels. I was about seven or eight years old at that time. But I remember reading the dialogues of Socrates over and over and over, and the books were old, but well kept. They had a yellowish color, um, but they were, um, like a, series of the classics that my father had. They were like a quarter of an inch thick, small, um, booklets, but I [pause] I loved them for some reason or another. I really liked them, and um, at every um, incident I would also read, um, a book called Christopher Columbus. It was a bigger one. It had thick pages, black and white, of course, and the pages were, um, well illustrated. The pictures, and one picture from that book still, uh, is clearly in my mind, is Christopher Columbus being in a jail, with, um, shackles on his feet. And I remember that book so vividly, reading about Christopher Columbus' life, beginning with his journey, and ending. And it was so sad that I always thought it's not a fair ending, that he should be in a jail after he was, and remember? I remember the pictures of Columbus with, um, is, uh, Isabelle, Queen Isa, Isabelle, and, uh, religious leaders, that the picture that is so vivid in my mind is his picture in the jail. I didn't really have people telling me stories much, or uh, reading, um, few stories, that my grandmother would tell me, but it wasn't just, on a um, regular basis. It was, maybe I overheard her telling stories to younger grandchildren in the family. So, I don't really recall anyone telling me a story. I was the reader in the family. So I read and read and read, and [long pause], that's it!