Jansen, Reni: Izmir, Turkey

Memories of Izmir

I have more memories packed into my short senior year in Izmir than I have of my 3 previous years. To be fair to me, I went to 4 different high schools, as some other of my classmates probably did.

I loved the school. The teachers were all very cool as I remember. Mr. Gahan, who taught English and SS, was a hoot. He would call the girls Miss, then their last name, and the boys Master, then last name. Imagine the giggles that erupted every time he called on Master Bates (Richard Bates)!!! Now, fully grown, I’m pretty sure he was just a mischievous person. He kept us entertained!

Two girlfriends and I skipped school one day to get on a Turkish bus and explore parts unknown to us East of Izmir. I think the girls were Stephanie Marsh Aliberti and Renata Revilla (Barrick)? My memory is fuzzy here. We had a great day and saw some ruins (my first). I think the ruins were under reconstruction and it was a temple or gymnasium. I was wowed. We also saw what Turkish rural life was like. It was a completely crazy thing to do. I think all our parents had to talk with the principal. I don’t remember getting into huge trouble over it. But I do remember my friendships with Stephanie and Renata.

There are so many stories. I got there just days after a classmate; Melanie Doerty had died from a fall off a balcony. The mood was very somber when I arrived. So tragic. The 1973 yearbook is dedicated to her. I didn’t know her but have thought of her through the years, how utterly terrible that must have been for her family, her classmates and all who knew her. I would come to know how tight knit we all were and interwoven with each other.

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