I was about 14 years old at the time, and I was coming along with my mother on our weekly visits to see Cicianne and Nasut Dede. I was excited for two reasons. The first one was that Cicianne would make her hallmark ice cream: huge mounds of chocolate ice cream covered in all sorts of wonderful toppings — almonds, cookies, bananas, cherries, raspberries form the garden, self-made jams and preserves. It was a treat every weak.

But secondly, I was eager to show Nasut Dede a painting I made. I bashfully opened up the watercolor book and showed him the still life of an eggplant. “Good,’ he said. Now being a teacher of gentle patience, Nasut Dede was also very economical with his words: “but your lines for the table are crooked. Draw a line for me.’

I drew a line for him across the page. It wasn’t straight, and I thought I could just use a ruler.

“You don’t need a ruler,’ he said. “When you draw a straight line, you always look to where the line is going to be. Not where your line currently is.’

So I took the pencil again and this time stared ahead of the line and let my hand lead itself in the right direction. The line was now straight.

There are a few people in my life that I will never forget and never wish to see leave this world. I miss both Nasut Dede and Cicianne dearly and am reminded of them nearly every day. Their impressions live on in my memories, as clear as when I was with them, and I have been forever grateful to have know them.

Zeyn Nasut Uzman (1927–2015).