Fountain pen writing on paper. With the words Arranged Marriage, 1950s Melbourne Pen Pals Wed, Lottery Win, U.S Travel,  Curiosity, Creativity, Life Advice, Turkish Cuisine, Hard Work, Home Ownership,    Recognising senior Victorians logo and image

Emine Mehmet is 99 years old and is the oldest resident at the Ottoman Village Aged Care facility in Broadmeadows. She has been bedridden for a while, but she said that she receives very good care at the Ottoman Village and that the caregivers even braide her hair occasionally.

The following story is provided in Turkish, Emine's native language, and then English.

Emine Mehmet 99 yaşında. Osmanlı Yaşlılar Evi’nde kalıyor. Bir süredir yatalak. Bu merkezde çok iyi bir bakım aldığını, bakıcıların saçını bile ördüklerinden keyifle bahsetti. 

1973 yılında Ankara’da Milli piyangodan 1 milyon Türk Lirası ikramiye kazanarak San Francisco’da yaşayan kardeşini ziyarete gitti. Birlikte Disneyland’de dahil olmak üzere Amerika’nın birçok yerini gezdi. İlk eşinden ayrıldığında bir oğlu vardı. Eniştesi Avustralya’da yaşayan biri ile tanıştırdı. Uzaktan, birbirlerini görmeden bir yıl haberleştiler. Bir yıl sonra, 1958’de oğlu ile Avustralya’ya geldi. Eşiyle birbirlerini beğenmezlerse geri dönecekti. Avustralya’yı Paris, Hollywood gibi bekliyordu. Çok büyük hayal kırıklıklarına uğradı. Her şeye rağmen dayandı. Bir yıl sonra ikinci oğlu oldu.  

Emine ev hanımıydı. Eşi iki işte birden çalışıyordu. Oturdukları evi mortgage ile almışlardı. Fakat Emine mortgage ne demek bilmiyordu. Oturdukları evi kiralık ev sanıyor ve ev sahibi evden çıkartabilir diye çok korkuyordu. Bir gün eşi Emine’ye evin borcunu ödediği müjdesi verdi. Emine kulaklarına inanamadı. O gün baklavalar, börekler yaparak tanıdığı tüm Türkleri Kıbrıs Kulübü’ne davet etti. Büyük bir parti ile kutladılar. “Ev artık bize ait olduğu için kapıları, camları değiştirdik. Evimi istediğim gibi süsledim diyor. Evini özlemle anan Emine, Evim, bahçem, çiçeklerim vardı. Her şeyimi satıp parasını Türkiye’ye yolladım” dedi.    

Hayatında birçok moral bozuklukları yaşamış. Başkalarının dertlerini kendine dert etmiş. “Çok pişman olduğum günler oldu diye ifade etti. İyimser olmak hiç iyi değil. Herkesi kendin gibi sanıyor ve hayal kırıklıklarına uğruyorsun. Beni param için seven insanları hiçbir zaman sevmedim” diyor.

Bir kadının kendine bakmasının çok önemli olduğunu belirten Emine “99 yaşındayım. Halen düzenli olarak cilt bakımı ve makyaj yaparım. Bir oğlum İngiltere’de yaşıyor. Pendemi öncesi sık sık ziyaretime gelirdi. Bu sene gelemedi. Fakat makyaj malzemelerimi hiç aksatmadan yollar. İki çocuğum var. İkisi ile de gurur duyuyorum” diye ifade etti.

Gençlerden büyüklere hürmet etmelerini istedi. İçki ve sigaradan kesinlikle uzak durun tavsiyesi verdi.

 

Story in English:

A stroke of luck

In 1953, she won a one million Turkish Lira jackpot from the National Lottery in Ankara and went to visit her brother, who lived in San Francisco at the time. Together they toured many parts of America, including Disneyland. She has been married once before and had one son. Following her marriage breakdown, a mutual friend living in Turkey contacted Emine’s second husband, who had already immigrated to Australia, to tell him about her – that she had previously had been married, had one son and was a prospective bride and partner for him in Australia.

Pen Pals wed

Despite the long distance, they corresponded. With only a photograph as an introduction, he arranged for Emine and her son to migrate to Australia and begin their life together. A year later, in 1958, she came to Australia with her son. Her thought was that if she and her husband-to-be did not like each other, she would return to Turkey. She expected Australia to be like Paris or Hollywood, but she was dissappointed to find out it was not. “When I first came, this country seemed like a village, very primative. I was expecting it to be like Paris or Hollywood. It felt very strange to come from a big city like Ankara. I hardly saw any people in the streets”.

Making a new life in Australia

Adjusting to her new life, in a new country was difficult for her but she held on and one year later, she had a second son. Emine was a housewife and her husband worked two jobs. They bought their house with a mortgage, but Emine did not even know what ‘mortgage’ meant. She thought the house they were living in was a rental house, and she was terrified that the landlord might kick them out. One day her husband gave Emine the good news that he had paid off the house. Emine could not believe her ears. On that day, she invited all the Turks she knew to the Cyprus Club and made baklava and borek. They celebrated with a big party. "Now that the house belonged to us, we changed the doors, the windows and decorated it the way I always wanted”, she said. She sold her house and all of her belongings before moving into aged care. She also donated some of her money to people in need in Turkey. Emine experienced a lot of dissapointments and let-downs in her life. She always worried about other peoples’ problems. "There were days when I regretted it very much," she said. “It is not good to always be optimistic about others. You think everyone else is like you, and a lot of the time you find out they are not. I never loved the people who loved me for my money."

Life advice

Emine stated that it is very important for a woman to take care of herself. "I am 99 years old. I still do my skin care routine and makeup regularly. One of my sons lives in England. He came to visit me often before Covid-19, but he could not make it this year. Even if he can not visit, he will always send me makeup. I have two kids and I am so proud of both of them." Emine still has an intellect that is curious, critical and creative and her hearing is good. Her advice to young people is to respect their elders. She also advises them to stay away from alcohol and cigarettes.