An envisioning . 1937 and high above the noisy streets in a city somewhere in the American Midwest . . . .

Oh to be here.

Turkish lounge upstairs in the big hotel downtown. An afternoon to be whiled away and a space like the “Thousand and One Nights” along with mother’s stories about Stamboul before the sultan was got gone, and everyone had to leave.

A harem that one was with all the ladies behind latticed windows but the arches and divans much the same. Colors not quite as bright but not that Western shade of pale they have downstairs at tea in the palm court.

Cups of hot tea on little tables and pastries that bring back the scent of baklava if one but tries. Stuffed dates in bowls to pick the stuffing out of when the waitress isn’t looking to make them taste like home.

Fire crackling and a dream to dream of going back. The big harem that the old ladies talked about during Ramadan. Ten slave girls, twice as many children and so many ladies that half the rooms had to be shared.

Men having to knock to be allowed in except for the pasha and even he asked first. No one to have to make dinner for and all the time in the world to live.

Five or six mothers they had had but all together with a life to be shared. Children to rear but together, not each mother in a separate house. Someone to talk to at home or on those picnics along the water. Gazebos in the park and every lady for blocks with pitchers of every fruit drink ever thought of and some only dreamed.

A better way . . . . back it may come . . . . . until then a castle in the air and that as often as can be. . .

Turkish Den. Planters Hotel Saint Louis.
Turkish Den, Planters Hotel, Saint Louis, Missouri. Undated hand colored postcard. image via In the public domain due to age.



Leave a Reply