Welcome to Three little birds! This site is made for Mirabelle Spitzer, Lucas Spitzer and Robin Spitzer

Dear Mirabelle, Lucas and Robin,

This site is made for you so that you know that opa and oma, Tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse, Tante Rens, Tante Femke and Tante Ischa, and all your other family and friends and schoolmates in Holland still think of you, miss you and love you very much.

You are always welcome to contact us!

Webmaster: info@threelittlebirds.eu

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September 2016

September 2016

The warmth of September 2016 was unique in the Netherlands. Since they started weather forecasts the weather never was like in this September. It’s normal when summer is ending temperature will decrease to eighteen till twenty degrees on the average in this month. Not in this September when temperature reaches up to thirty or even more degrees in the first half of September and in the second half of September temperature didn’t decrease under the twenty degrees during daytime.  It rained only a few times.



In this warm September month opa and I went to France. To our fixed holiday address in the Ardèche, a wonderful region in the South of France, where in the past our French friends Michel  and Geneviève found this wonderful house amidst vineyards and looking out over the hills of the Ardèche, on the right the high mountains of the Cévennes. From the far depth you can hear the small river Le Chassezac. The house of monsieur and madame Vezolles, the former owners of hotel d’Ardaillon in the neighbouring small town Les Vans.


Also mamma and tante Daphne loved this part of France very much. That’s why I want to show you photo’s of the past, when tante Daphne and mamma still were children. During our holidays in France.

It was the draughts composing of opa which introduced opa with Michel, a French draughts composer. By lack of French draughts composition in French papers  Michel sent his draughts compositions to the Dutch magazine “het Damspel” of the Dutch Draugths Union  of which opa was the editor of the draughts composition part. In France draughts composing was and still is rare in contrary to the Netherlands. So it was not strange that Michel who wants to develop himself in composing, wanted to know opa personally and invited opa and me to come to the apartment of his wife Geneviève and him in Valence. In 1975 opa and I (tante Renske took care of baby Daphne) went to “le Clos le Moulin d’Albon” in Bourg-les-Valence. There we met Michel and Geneviève and up till now we are friends.

In 1976 Michel and Geneviève came to Holland. Geneviève pregnant of her first child, Delphine, and I pregnant of mamma. Tante Daphne nearly was two years old then. In 1979 we went again to our French friends with our two children Daphne and Judith. Michel and Geneviève then just were parents of the two-months-old Candice, their second daughter. Here some photo’s of that holiday. And you see that tante Daphne and mamma loved France.

img042Here you see tante Daphne, mamma and me at the window of the room where we stayed during the twelve days we were with our friends. Michel and Geneviève lived in a bungalow at the Rue de Pescadou in Bourg-les-Valence now.

img043Geneviève always prepared great meals existing of five courses. Mamma especially loved the flûte and baguette we ate with the warm meals. This is the typical bread which the French eat with their meals. Geneviève says Michel cannot without this bread.  I always had to take care that mamma also ate vegetables, meat, cheese or fruit, because for mamma the meals could only consist of bread. For her this bread was a kind of pie.

img044Opa playing with mamma.


Mamma, tante Daphne and Delphine playing together.


Tante Daphne was allowed to carry little Candice onto her lap.


Mamma and Delphine.


Tante Daphne and mamma were so happy during our holidays in France.


It lasted till 1987 that we saw our French friends again. With work and small children it was more difficult to stay with each other, but now we had another option: go to France where they had a second home in Chambonas near the farm of Geneviève’s parents. There they found our wonderful holiday-house to stay for some weeks in summer. It was quite a success.


The old Roman bridge over the Chassezac. Mamma, tante Daphne, Candice, Geneviève and Delphine.


Mamma (nearly eleven years old) on the bridge, looking out over the Chassezac.


Chambonas and the castle of Chambonas.


When we walked to the village of Chambonas we had to go through the vineyards and passed the wall of the garden of the castle, which Le Nôtre, the architect  of the gardens of the Palaces of  Versailles, designed. Under this garden we discovered a corridor through which you could reach the old village of Chambonas. Here you see mamma before the corridor.


And it is really scaring, because you cannot see anything….


Till you see light again.


Here you could cross the Chassezac. You do need plastic shoes for the slippery stones.


The Chassezac

High in the mountains is the storage of all the water of the melted snow, but also of the rain. With all that water and with the differences in height electricity is generated. The Ardèche is well-known by its thunderstorms, which are causing amounts of water in the Chassezac. Geneviève still  remembers from her youth in the Ardèche, that at different times the Chassezac caused floods by its high amounts of water. That’s why the storage was constructed. She still remembers one time when people were not warned as now before, that the storage was opened: suddenly she and her brother, who were swimming there, were carried away by a powerful stream. She and her brother could hardly save themselves.

Also this holiday opa and I wanted to swim in the Chassezac near the place which is called “la digue”. There I swam two times. In the second week I wanted to swim again, but during the thunderstorms it rained too much and the dike has disappeared under a strong streaming layer of water. A fisherman fishing there warned me already that it would not be possible to swim there after the rain. He was right.

It was also in that Chassezac that Geneviève’s mother did the laundry. The Ardèche still was poor in that time. On the other hand Geneviève’s mother still knew a lot of plants and herbs. Geneviève signed me a plant which was used as soap. Also her and Michel knowledge of plants, herbs, insects and birds is very good. In autumn Michel is looking for mushrooms in the mountains. He exactly knows which ones are poisonous and these wild mushrooms are far more delicious than those you buy in the shops.

img055We invited our French friends for an evening with a meal, but also with playing acts. Here you see tante Daphne and mamma acting.


And here we are  eating together


While the adults are talking the children are playing games.




One of the many nice times we went out eating in a restaurant.



The first floor is our holiday/house. Mamma( nearly 14 years old) is sitting under the parasol. Above lived monsieur and madame Vezolles. Twenty years ago monsieur Vezolles died. Madame Vezolles is already 86 years old now and we realize that this time may be the last time we were in Chambonas.

img062Here mamma is swimming in the Chassezac. While we were in Chambonas last September I could also swim there. It made me so happy, because of all the good memories of the past, when we were swimming there.

finn-en-kirse-logeren-013So here was swimming this September


Here opa, tante Daphne and mamma were in the large vineyard. Formerly people were riding hinnies on this path. It is an old path, monsieur Vezolles said.


Again a photo in the vineyard.


Together with our French friends we often spent time near the river. Playing in the water. Mamma was fond of it.


Here a photo of the Chassezac in 1990.

finn-en-kirse-logeren-017And here the same place 26 years later.


Three girl-friends in the water. At the left it is mamma who is lying on the air bed.


The covered terrace of our house. Nice when it’s too hot in the sun.


Eating in a restaurant near the Bois Paoïlives.



I already told that generally  French meals consist of five courses.

One: starter, for instance an omelette

Two: meat or fish

Three: vegetables

Four: cheese. Mostly a cheeseboard with three species of cheese or even more.

Five: the dessert consisting of fruits, ice, pie or porridge.

Now Michel and Geneviève but also opa and I are growing older and don’t eat as much as in the past. So Geneviève mostly now prepares one course with meat and vegetables, a second course with cheese or yoghurt and the finishing course is mostly fruit.

And always the French will eat their hot meals with pieces of bread of the by mamma so beloved “flûtes” or baguettes and drink their own French wines.

The younger generation however is using more and more fast food and while the life has become more quiet than formerly where people had to work physically hard, things are changing. Was the prototype of a French man or woman that of a slight person in the past, now even in France you may see people with obesities. So I see disappear a culture of food which was originally good, healthy and elaborate. A culture where meals were so important that it took quite a time of eating together.


Four girl-friends


Mamma decorating the table for a meal with our friends.


Delphine and mamma.


Eating in a restaurant near the bridge over the Chassezac. Mamma is 16 years old.


Mamma on our way back to Holland, when we slept in a hotel.


Drinking somewhat on a terrace in Les Vans.


Eating in a pizzeria.

Our holiday in 2016

This holiday the high temperature was striking. One day it was 38 degrees in the shadow. Also for France this temperature is extreme high for September. Only in 1946 temperature was as hot as this September. This made me thinking of our holidays with mamma and tante Daphne in July or August in the past. Before and after our two weeks in Chambonas we went to Michel and Geneviève in Montélimar. They also came for some days in Chambonas with their camper. That was very pleasant.


Opa and I enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and made little walks in the for us so well-known region. Madame Vezolles told us to gather grapes and figs as much as we want. We felt like in paradise.

This holiday we got the opportunity to visit the garden of the castle. I made several photo’s of the garden and the castle. In the castle lived two families: the family de la Garde-Guérin and later after the French Revolution of 1789-1799 the family Chanaleilles. Geneviève still remembered that once a year there were organized games in this garden for the children of the village in her youth .

finn-en-kirse-logeren-046finn-en-kirse-logeren-032finn-en-kirse-logeren-034The garden of the castle is a typical Barok garden. It is mainly the form of the garden which is important. In the ash or the centre you can find fountains and wells.


What I thought funny was to see the outside from the inside of the garden now.  All those years we walked at the outside looking at the inside not having the possibility to see the garden from the inside. I looked from there in the canals and saw the carps at which I always looked, when I passed the outside walls of the castle garden. The funny thing of these intelligent fishes is that when they hear the footsteps of a human being they appear immediately looking forward for some food.

img_5000When we went out eating with Michel and Geneviève in a restaurant in Montélimar we ate in a restaurant near a little water, where ducks but also carps were swimming. As well as the carps as the ducks were fighting for the small pieces of bread I was throwing away.

I must not forget to mention the smell of ripe fruit in the vineyard. September is called the fruit month and when you are between so many fruit trees you understand why.

Striking in this warm beautiful landscape are the many lizards which constantly are shooting away. Once opa and I were every time looking intensely at them when we were walking to les Vans. I think them so special sitting there with their cold-blood body warming in the sun, but shooting away when you discover them. Following these intriguing animals we missed the path to les Vans and suddenly were on our way to Naves, a small village near Les Vans. In this way by assistance of the small shooting away lizards we found another nice way to Les Vans.

At Monday the 26th of September we left from Montélimar for Hooge Zwaluwe, waved goodbye by Michel and Geneviève. We had a very nice holiday in our beloved France.


The Netherlands

They were thinking of putting the Dutch Students’ Unions on the list of immaterial cultural inheritance. But after a starting student of the Groningen’s Students’Union Vindicat came in with a brain edema during the hazing time the putting on the list of immaterial cultural inheritance was cancelled. Everyone thought it better that Dutch Students’Unions first will reflect how they could better haze starting students without using violence.

The United States

It remains intriguing the election struggle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Did Hillary Clinton not receive her work-mails on her work-account but on her private account, Trump never told that he didn’t pay income taxes during 18 or more years because of a financial loss of 916 million dollars. After the first debate it seems Hillary Clinton will win, but you never know with the special election system of the US.

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August 2016

August 2016

The weather

We had some rainy days, but after those rainy days the sun appeared again. And the end of August was very hot for the Netherlands: temperature varied from 21 degrees until 33 degrees Celsius.


Doing odd jobs

Kirse’s bed was too small. That’s why tante Daphne bought a new white bed with bars for her. A typical bed for girls. But the bed made that all Kirse’s bedroom had to change. Therefore tante Daphne asked me to help her with painting. We painted the walls cream colored. We painted the window frames cream colored. We also painted the base boards cream colored. We dragged a heavy, old fashioned second hand secretary upstairs, which tante Daphne bought on a second hand market. Tante Daphne rubbed this secretary white and painted it white wash and cream colored, which changed the ponderous thing in such a way that I could hardly recognize  the old thing we dragged upstairs. And tante Daphne bought a second hand chair, book case and bed sight table and changed them by painting them into charming pieces of furniture. Above the bed tante Daphne attached a nice mosquito net. Kirse was very happy with the result and is busy now to give her owning a place in her new bedroom.

Mamma was as handy as tante Daphne and she also knew how to change things, rooms and so on in nice ones. This changing didn’t cost too much money. Let me say that it is/was a challenge to change something with a bit of money into something surprisingly nice. I wonder if you are the same like mamma and tante Daphne, because the three of you were already very creative in Holland.



But tante Daphne and I were not only working hard. Tante Daphne would not be able to because of her fibromyalgia. We went to two church concerts. In the church of Oost-Kapelle the string quartet “the Rossignol Quartet” was playing. Especially the second string concert of Borodin was so extremely beautiful. In the Church of Grijpskerke played family Jongepier as brass quartet. Striking with that concert was the moving enthusiasm with which the family was playing together.

Photo’s from the past

img039Op de camping 2 057Op de camping 2 104Op de camping 2 107img040Op de camping 2 061Op de camping 2 058


I always had problems of a picture of God as a jealous and severe God. That’s why I left the church. That’s also the reason that I hate Muslims who are saying you have to kill people who don’t believe.  Also our friend Cor doesn’t believe in such a severe God. Before Cor came to us he delivered a speech in a church of students in Leiden. As you know he is a professor at the Leiden University and promoter of opa. He told about king Saul, who was confronted with a battle against the Philistines. The night before the battle Saul went to a woman who was able to make contact with deceased persons. He want to ask them if he would win the battle. The prophet Samuel appeared and predicted that because of his sins he would lose the battle and die. That made Saul scary and the woman saw his fear and pitied Saul and gave him food. “Now”, Cor said, “who do you think is God? The severe hard God of Samuel or the woman who pitied Saul and gave him food?”  Cor was choosing for the last one. The loving God.

julifoto's 051

Opa and I appreciate Cor very much, because of his wisdom and knowledge. He knows a lot of philology, history, theology and has got an iron memory and nevertheless he is not arrogant. He regrets Dutch people are not proud of their language. Even on the Dutch airports you don’t see Dutch, he said. Everything is written in English. Also the lectures at the University and the lessons at the Secondary School for the most part are given in English.

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With Cor we went to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the capital of Brabant. There you can find the only gothic church of the Netherlands, the Sint Jan. In my opinion it also is the most beautiful church of the Netherlands.

We ate a “Bossche bol”, that is a big puff filled with cream and covered with chocolate. Delicious! After two days Cor returned and promised to show us Haarlem in October.



William came to visit us. He gave me an enormous basket filled with flower plants. I was so glad with it. I was also glad that he came, because he is part of your mamma. William’s father had two hart-attacks and was three times in hospital. William is sporting a lot. He is able to play a table tennis on high level till midnight. He has got such a good condition. For William mamma’s death was terrible. He bought a house for her and for the three of you. He thought to become happy with her and the three of you. Now he is living alone in that big house. He told he was looking for an apartment.


Ada and Matti

I made music with Ada. And mostly after an afternoon of talking and making music Matti, Ada’s partner is coming to have a drink together with us. Now Matti again came, but invited us to have a drink in their summer house. Ada and Matti are living in a large house with thirteen rooms and have a large garden full of flowers, fruits and vegetables. There in that large garden is a cozy summer house. And there we had a drink  on that summer evening , but also we were offered soup and rolls. It was so unexpectedly agreeable.



When I was at the teacher training college for education I always biked with Ernst, who was following the same study,  to the college. And opa was playing draughts with him and together we played Klaberjass. Ernst liked travelling a lot. When he became a certificated teacher, he liked to work some time and after a year or more of earning money he went traveling all over the world. When we married Ernst was one of our guests, but later we lost sight of him till I once googled on his name and saw he became a singer song writer. He always was busy composing with his guitar, so it was not surprising me. Now opa found an e-mail address and wrote him. He should like to meet us and invited us to come to Zutphen, the town where he is living now. After our holiday in France we will make an appointment with him.


Biking in the woods around Breda

He was staying three days with us, Arne. Arne is the son of Wim, opa’s friend with whom opa is writing a book about draughts’ history.

Arne, who is living in Zeist (more than a hundred kilometer from Hooge Zwaluwe) came biking to us on his racing bicycle, his back sack with all his luggage on his back. Just when I put a leek pie in the oven I saw him arriving. Drinking when he arrived his last swallow of water. He had been biking all the trip against the wind.

Arne 14 augustus 2016 001

Arne studied geology, but is busy writing autobiographies. He is forty years old. Like opa he likes to compose draughts’ problems and opa promised him that when he will die he will inherit all his literature about composing draughts ’problems, but also all his composed and assembled draughts’ problems. With Arne we biked in the woods around Breda and we finished that trip in the centre of Breda, where we had a drink. It was nice weather all the three days. When Arne left again for Zeist he took a lot of rolls, fruit and drinks with him.  There he went again.

Arne 14 augustus 2016 005Arne 14 augustus 2016 007

Ill and lonely

When she opened the door I was shocked. Lean, pale, older, the eyes hazy. Not well. She didn’t feel well, she felt lonely. Hardly anyone visited her in the hospital, where she was because of a fractured appendicitis, which also caused a pneumonia. Why on hell didn’t anyone know she was as ill as I found her. She, the loving mother of three sons and child of a great family, the dearest colleague I ever had?!  And now I know. Joke is only giving, not taking. And she is suffering from all the misery in this world and doesn’t want to bother others with her sorrow. Together with her I cried. So much sorrow. Of course she thought it sensible that her sons went on holiday, because they needed.  So not anyone knew how I found her. I made her promising not to start her work. She really was too weak. I went a second time to her. Then her sons were back and she felt better. After our holiday I’ll go to her again.


Missing tante Daphnes’ dogs

Dear Mirabelle. Ischa wrote you we are missing you and Lucas and Robin so dearly. You answered you are missing the dogs. I don’t know how to interpret your answer. I only want to say on behalf of tante Daphne, Finn, Kirse, opa and me that we love the three of you unconditionally and that we miss the three of you every day. That you are always welcome here in Holland.



It was a long time ago that I went to the cinema with Mieke. I was happy to see her again in Lebkow, our coffee café in Rotterdam,  where we always meet each other. We choose to go to the film “Julieta” of Pedro Almodóvar, a film-maker I admire very much. Almodóvar is especially inspired by the role of mothers. By the way he thinks the talking of women far more interesting than the talking of men, because women are talking about essential things of life, while men often avoid these talks.

Julieta lost her great love, when she was the young mother of Antía. Her great love told her he sometimes went to bed with a collective girl-friend of them. He told Julieta, that however Julieta was and stayed his great love. She was shocked in such a way by the confession of her great love that she left home immediately  and only returned in the evening. She then heard that her great love was drowned in a great storm, because he went sailing, when she left home after his confession. Julieta was stupefied with grief and also with guilt: by her fault her great love went out sailing and was drowned!

She was not able to educate her beloved daughter Antía in the right way. No, Antía had to support her. That’s why Antía went away and left her mother with her guilty feelings. Now Julieta not only felt guilty about the death of her great love, but also about the fact that she actually didn’t know who her daughter Antía was. When she met Antía’s girl-friend years after Antía went away, who was saying Antía was in town again, she started a search after her daughter.



Fortunately the heart-operation of our friend Willem succeeded. He received four by-passes taken from the veins in his breast. Now he was staying with family and friends, because he is not allowed during six weeks to do something. I felt so sorry that we could not offer him a stay with us, because we are going on holiday.


Tante Ineke

All the sad events in our lives made the contact better between opa’s finally remained sister Ineke and us.  After some very bad relations she feels happy with her Arnold, a calm man, who is able to make her feel relaxed. Together they came to us to have our “Stoepen”- meeting. Of course we miss opa’s youngest sister Diane then, but also feel how important it is to have contact.

Duinrell 2016 002

Opa and I showed Ineke and Arnold Breda: the cozy market, the great church, the castle, the quiet beguinage, the shops and many bars and restaurants. At the end we ate roasted chicken with Dickens & Jones at the Market and when we left we promised them to visit them in their new caravan in Baarle Nassau in October.

Duinrell 2016 001

To Duinrell, tante Renske and Loevestein

I picked up tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse at the Railway Station of Lage Zwaluwe to go together to the amusement park Duinrell in Wassenaar. It was the third time I went with them, but they still wanted to go. Gliding in the whirligig, climbing above, sailing in bumper boats and so on. I observed them  and felt good, because they clearly felt happy.

Duinrell 2016 005Duinrell 2016 010Duinrell 2016 008

The other day Finn and Kirse stayed with opa to watch the football-match between Sparta and Ajax. Sparta lost with 3-1. Tante Daphne and I visited in that time tante Renske in Hardinxveld-Giessendam.

The third day we visited castle Loevestein. There we heard that Loevestein formerly was a prison, where well-known prisoners were kept. Among those well-known prisoners was Hugo de Groot. In that time prince Maurits thought Hugo de Groot got too much power as a learned and well-known jurist. Hugo de Groot was imprisoned because of his ideas. However Hugo de Groot escaped in a book coffin, when the director of the prison was away. The books of the coffin were put in his bed, so that it looked like he was laying in his bed. His wife said he was ill. His maid servant accompanied him in his coffin and took care he could flee to Antwerp.

The story of Hugo de Groot, but also a story about the construction of the castle were told by a lady and a man. After their stories we paid a visit to the rooms of the castle and to the garden. We went by ferry-boat to the castle. The castle is surrounded by the rivers Maas and Waal. In the past the owners of the castle asked for taxes from the seamen passing the castle. With that money  they could build the castle bigger and bigger. When we came back in Hooge Zwaluwe I baked pancakes and then opa brought tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse to the railway station in Lage Zwaluwe to return to Middelburg.

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Last year we expected oom Guus, my eldest brother, would die very soon, because the gerontologist thought so. That’s why we didn’t organize a “Berlijnendag”. Now oom Guus is still very ill, but still lives. We realized that we are getting older too and that we didn’t see each other for long time. For example I didn’t see oom Aad during one and a half year, because nowadays he lives half of the year in Knoxville in the American state Tennessee to take care of his grandson Arda, because his son Tom is working at the University and Arzu, his daughter-in-law is working too.

So this year tante Domien organized the day and we went to Eindhoven. It was a hot day and we could spend the whole day outside.

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We talked with oom Aad. He will become opa of a grandson  for the second time. Arda, his grandson is three years old now. Arzu his daughter-in-law was in Turkey, her native country, to work there as an anthropological archeologist with archeological diggings. It was just in the time of the coup in Turkey. After that coup she and her colleagues were not allowed to leave the country as academics. It was a pity because Tom, oom Aad’s son, would like to show the native country of his wife Arzu to Arda, his son. Arzu was able to buy out herself for €500,-. She is ashamed by the tricks of Erdogan.

In the opinion of oom Aad everyone in America is working so hard, that there is no time left to have a social life. It is difficult to make friends. At start they behave very enthusiastic to make acquaintance with you, but as quick as possible they take care to make you are making acquaintance with other persons too. A kind of pass-on system. Where he really was making friends was in making music with other musical Americans for old people. Together he and his friends make music every time for  old people. Oom Aad playing his accordion.

Oom Aad delivered a speech on Kentucky University about his paintings, which he displayed there too.  On the first of November oom Aad will go to Knoxville again to witness the birth of his second grandson which is expected the third of December. Then oom Aad will stay there another half year to take care of his two grandsons.

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Together with my brother Aad, my three sisters Domien, Renske and Marijke and my brother-in-law Lo and the two dogs Mira and Jimmie, opa and I paid a visit to the region around the watermill of Valkenswaard. A very nice district. We made a small walk and had a drink in the restaurant near the watermill. I enjoyed to be among my relatives.


Bringing tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse to Lheebroek

I was exhausted. It was a hot day. Thirty degrees or more Celsius. I promised tante Daphne to bring her, Finn and Kirse to her vacation place in Drenthe. But there was so much circulation on the road. Lots of people returned from their holidays or went on holiday. So I could only drive not faster than 70 kilometer per hour. I left at half past ten in the morning and came back with opa in Hooge Zwaluwe at half past nine in the evening.


Our stay in the house of tante Daphne

During the week holiday in Drenthe of tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse, opa and I stayed in tante Daphne’s house to take care of the cats Pippie and Pommetje. It was beautiful weather and just like the other years opa and I made a kind of holiday of this week. We biked a lot and every day we ate the delicious bolus, a specialty of Zeeland, a kind of sweet pie.

Around Middelburg are living three friends of us. With two of them we had an appointment. Mieke, who supported us very much, when the three of you disappeared so suddenly and mamma died, came to visit us. It was good to see her. She is very busy now with her oldest sister and youngest brother, who will probably die within a year. She has the intention to remove to Spain. We had a drink and ate soup with her.

We took a day to bike to our friends Martin and Volly who lived at thirty-five kilometer from Middelburg in the small village ‘s-Heer Abtskerke. We were received a warm welcome.

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The last day opa went to pick up tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse from Lheebroek again. During that day I cleaned the house of tante Daphne and worked in the garden.

Tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse had a nice week in a small summer house in the small village Lheebroek in the province of Drenthe. They visited Westerbork, a transition-camp, where Jews were gathered in the second World War before they were transported to the concentration camps, where they would be gassed. Finn and Kirse were impressed by hearing that also young children were transported to the concentration camps.

Another time they paid a visit to Orvelte, an open air museum-village. The rest of the time they biked and made long walks over the heath of Drenthe. They called their holiday a great success.


The Netherlands

It was quiet during the summer holidays in Holland, but from now on a campaign will arise for the elections in March next year. Our minister president Mark Rutte wanted to continue his prime minister ship, but if he succeeds to do so with which political parties? Already soon the hunting for votes by all the political parties will start. Already some political parties made public their party manifesto. We’ll see what is going to happen in the Netherlands.


The United States

The more stupid mistakes Donald Trump is making, the more probable it is getting that Hillary Clinton will win the president ship. Of late Donald Trump threatened that there would be built a wall around Mexico. When he visited Mexico, aware of how vulnerable the votes of Mexicans are, he said not anything of who will pay this wall. Three days ago however, with his visit to Arizona he clearly said the Mexicans have to pay for this wall. I think that not too many Latino’s will vote for Donald Trump.

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July 2016

July 2016

Dear Robin, many happy returns of the day and that you may be healthy and happy with your friends and family. Also you are in your teens. I am curious if you are still fond of animals and also if you have got still your charming smile. I always hope that you still remember some of mamma’s love for you, also that you still remember something of the Netherlands, of us, William, Dordrecht, juffrouw Deanne or Roos, the little girl-friend with whom you fell in love.

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The weather in July

July was a warm summer-month. As well as during the day as during the night temperature often was higher than usual. Despite this high temperature there also were local cloudbursts.


Cleaning the bookcases and the re-arranging of our books

All those books (I think two or three thousand or even more?!) which went through our hands, did remember us to the times we read these books. Every book has its own memory and even associations. Sometimes we read them during our holidays, or for a study, or because a special person advised us to read them. It was a tough job, but at the same time fine to do it. It took opa and me two days to get together the job. All those books from years and years…….

Photo’s of the past

G3 2e lichting 003Boozul, tante Daphne’s cat. Lucas always said “borstel”

G3 2e lichting 005Op de camping 2 142img037Lucas in Australia

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Death of a son

I knew these people. I heard their son had had a cerebral hemorrhage and died within three days. I offered my condolence and saw the great sorrow about a just died person. I realized that my sorrow was still there, but it is not as raw anymore as theirs. I am curious how your sorrow about mamma’s death is.


Married 43 years

Again we went to the Pannekoeckershuijs to celebrate our 43-year-old marriage. Here you can see the five of us. You ought to be with us on such days. Then especially we miss the three of you so dearly.

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is lopping the hedge in our garden. Aarnout, our opposite neighbor, is so kind to bring opa to the environment station with his car filled with the lopping. There the lopping is converted into compost. Two times a year you are permitted to come for this compost. I think this converting into compost a very good thing.


A bad day

We need a new drill, because our old one didn’t do anything. Because we had to think of moving to an apartment in future, when we are getting older, we chose for a very strong one. But when I wanted to make simple little holes one day to put a new top on our garden table, I couldn’t buy small twist bits for this kind of drill. It simply was a heavy drill for heavy work. But I was allowed to exchange the thing for a smaller specimen. And then the bad thing started: I wanted as I said bore little holes in the garden table. And….when you want to manage things in a minute, those things will go wrong. I didn’t fasten the bolster in the right way and that’s why I suddenly became aware a bad smell of melting plastics. The bolster was melting, because I placed it on the turning drill chuck. I felt so terribly stupid. The drill couldn’t turn anymore and has to be sent back to the factory and there they mended it for € 80,-. A bad day!!



As I wrote before, my girl friend Wil died last year. After her death we regularly had contact with Willem, her husband. Now it happened that it was some time that we didn’t see or ring Willem. And there he himself rang with the announcement that he had to undergo a heavy surgery of the heart. He needed four by-passes. This operation would be in the first week of August. To divert him of this coming surgery I proposed to him to come to us, but he proposed that we would come to him in Utrecht to accompany him to the Parade.

The Parade is a kind of a travelling theatre festival. On the Parade several theatre-groups are performing small performances of each about 30 minutes. This Parade travelled from Rotterdam to  the Hague and then  to Utrecht and as last to Amsterdam. In each town the Parade stayed for nearly one and a half week.

So we went to the parade in Utrecht and saw two performances, ate food, drank drinks and  enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of this festival. It was such a nice experience that we promised each other to visit the Parade next year too.


Jannie and Ton

Since we moved from Rockanje to Hooge Zwaluwe, we still keep contact with our Rockanese friends by phone but also by visiting each other. So Jannie and Ton came to Hooge Zwaluwe for a day to bike with us, but also to talk. Their eldest son is mentally disabled, which gave them a lot of sorrow. For it’s so hard to leave care for this vulnerable son to others. When they were with us they told a lot of the concerns they had.

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My Hooge Zwaluwse girl-friend Ada asked me to come to the summer concert of her orchestra. It was an open-air concert on the hottest day of July. The partner of my other girl-friend Ria, lived nearby the place of the concert and put a table and chairs outside and poured out drinks. It was so very nice.



Tante Renske

Poor tante Renske suffered five weeks from an unbearable pain in her neck. So I just decided to help her with cleaning her home and doing her shopping’s. But then this help wasn’t necessary anymore. Because the pain was less. She knows however there will be one day the pain will not go away anymore. Then she has to go to the pain-clinic.


Home-made jam

Not anything more delicious as home-made jam. I prepared a lot of it from black currants.


Finn is leaving the Primary School

Only Kirse still is at the Primary School. Finn’s time at the Primary School is finished after having performed in a musical and after having had a great final feast and after being given a rousing send-off by all the teachers and pupils. You will hear how he will experience his Secondary School within two months.



We were so happy to have Ischa here. For Ischa visiting us is part of her happy youth, for us Ischa is part of mamma. As you know Ischa is trying to do something with the fibromyalgia of tante Daphne. She combined her consult with a visit to us. Even tante Renske came to see her. It is very fine, that Ischa is treating tante Daphne, because she still knew the elder sister of her former best friend very well. It was a happy, sunny Sunday.

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Oom Guus

He didn’t recognize us, when tante Renske and I visited him. He was pushing the wall, when we came, and when I said: “Hoi Guus!”, he looked up very astonished. There the former dentist sits in a closed clinic with even some of his former clients. All with that terrible illness: Alzheimer. When tante Renske and I went away, we wondered how long he will have to live still like that.



Monique and Frido

Also from Rockanje are coming every year our friends Monique and Frido. I know Monique from my former Amnesty-group and Frido was the younger son of my former opposite neighbor woman. Monique is suffering for years from the sexual abuse in her youth. It is during more than two years that she is getting a tough therapy by which finally she feels that she is worth living. Bit by bit she is taking up her life, that was destroyed so violently by her former abuser.  I must say she is supported by the dearest husband you may have in those circumstances: Frido.

Talking about her difficulties I recognize so many of mamma’s difficulties after the rape. Monique with her own sexual abuse experiences is one of the few people who is able to understand mamma’s hard  life after the rape.

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The Netherlands

The lunatic of Nice made 84 victims by driving his large white truck over lots of people on the crowded boulevard of Nice. Several terroristic attacks in Germany, a terroristic attack in Belgium again after the attack in Brussels. And the discovery that European Syria-goers are sent back by Islamic State to prepare attacks in Europe. Still the Netherlands are free from those horrible attacks.


United States

The elections in the United States never were as hard as the struggle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump now. Every day we read articles of this struggle in our Dutch newspapers about the two candidates blackening the good name of the other. An idiot struggle.  And I must say that the Netherlands is hoping that Hillary will win. So I do.

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June 2016

June 2016

The weather in June

In June there was a lot of rain and there were many thunderstorms. In the East of Noord-Brabant the quantity of fallen rainwater was four times the usual quantity of rain. There the damage was great, also because of hailstones as large as oranges. Although it was rainy and dark in the past months temperature was one degree higher as ordinary.



Elly is the best girl-friend of tante Renske. Elly is swimming every day and that’s why her friends asked her to participate in the “Singelswim”. The Singelswim was kept in Utrecht and the swim of two kilometer was for a good aim, namely the fighting of dystrophia, an illness of the muscles. Everyone could sponsor her. So we did. After the swimming she wrote to us: “It really was a challenge for me, but I have succeeded. I swam it in 54 minutes (she is 68 years of age!). Swimming two kilometers in “green” canal water yet really is quite different from “blue” water of the swimming pool. And that in that weird wet suit costume!

Photo’s from the past

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Again the floor in the scullery was wet. Leakage!! But I remembered the last repairer of our drainage was a clever one. I asked him to repair the whole thing and yes, when he came he remembered that it was not long ago he was here. And he thought about the problem and found the cause. It was the mistake of the people who once made the system. A careless mistake, for the narrow pipe towards the head-drainage pipe nearly touched the wall of the head-drainage-pipe in such a way that soap remainders blocked the whole and the water could not leave. He solved the problem by sawing a part of the small pipe. It seemed very bright to me. It cost us thousands of Euros in the years we lived in this house.



As you know Finn is going to the Secondary School in September. As you may remember in Holland pupils go to the Secondary School when they are twelve years old. Before that time they are tested to which Secondary School they will go. So when you are handy and aren’t good in theoretical subjects you can go to the VMBO. There you can choose out of practical subjects as for instance building construction industry, hotel and catering, bakery or caretaking.  It is an education with learning and practice. Besides the VMBO there is the HAVO which educates pupils for a higher profession as it is called. And for the cleverest pupils there is the VWO, a continual Scientific Education and the Gymnasium. With these two schools you can go to University.  On the gymnasium the pupils are learning Latin and Greek  besides the usual subjects as Dutch, German, French, English, mathematics, history, geography, economics and chemistry. Which education Finn will choose, VWO or Gymnasium, depends on Finn. At any case he gets the opportunity to learn Greek and Latin too in the first year. Probably he will choose for the VWO, because he is very good at arithmetic. But at the moment he does not know at all what he will do for a job in future.

This month Finn had a first meeting at his future school. He and the other new pupils receive the order how to move the bridge near the Middelburg station more flexible. And Finn returned very enthusiastic, because the group in which he was, scored with the best solution.


A new battery

I was with tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse and I should bring Kirse to her clarinet lessons. Kirse skipping before me, I walking behind her. I opened my car, wanted to start up the motor, but……we heard not anything. The car was out of play. We foolishly walked back. What the hell was the matter with my car? “Ask my neighbor?”tante Daphne adviced, “he formerly worked in a garage and always is willing to help”. And yes the kind neighbor discovered the car needed a new battery. He bought one and placed the thing in the car for me. And yes I could drive again thanks to this kind neighbor: a good neighbor is worth more than a far friend.


A mud-playground

You may remember we once were in a mud-playground to celebrate Robin’s third birthday. Here you can see Kirse who together with a girl-friend was in a mud-playground.


The book of opa

Together with his friend Wim opa is writing a book. Wim is collecting beautiful reproductions of draughts in art and opa is writing his history of draughts with all the new facts he discovered. It will become an arts-book.  Here you can find a beautiful copy of such a picture.

Arnoult, Nicolas 01A picture of the end of the seventeenth century at the court of King Louis the fourteenth. And what are they playing? Right! Draughts! A very popular game at the time.

Wim came to us to discuss how to manage everything around the book.


Finn away with his class

Because Finn is in the highest class of the primary School now, he and his class went away to Buren for four days. Buren is a small fortified city. Outside this small town Finn and his class camped. He canoed, had a survival trip and visited a museum about the Roman time. The last evening was an evening of varied entertainment. When I picked up him after those days he and his fellow pupils were very quiet because they were exhausted.



Often I bring Kirse to clarinet lesson by car, when I am with tante Daphne to help her. On our way back Kirse wanted me to sing an accompanying melody, while she takes the lead with singing. We enjoyed to do so. She often did this with her mum, she told me.

Here you can see Kirse on the day she had her schooltrip. She was so excited!



Sandra and Jeroen

Our new neighbors Sandra and Jeroen invited us for an open-house-feast. How different one and the same house can be. With our old neighbor there were various paintings and pictures on the wall and different places to sit and cupboards with lots of articles, books and so on. But now the walls of this same house were filled tightly and painted white while only one wall was painted grey. Only one flat screen of a television you could find on the wall, a couch, a large table with chairs and a white kitchen. It was quite different to see, but one and the same house.

Together with other neighbors and friends we had a drink and a nice conversation. And I must admit that I think our new young neighbors very kind.



Everyone from tante Daphne’s neighborhood thought it was Kirse. Near to tante Daphne also lives a woman who just like tante Daphne is always bringing her children to school by bike.  It’s a daughter of Kirse’s age and two little brothers, one biking on his small bike the other on the back of his mother’s bike as mamma did with you in the past.  And now was that terrible accident in which a seventeen-year-old boy on motorbike caused an accident in which the daughter of that other mother was killed. Many people thought it was Kirse when they read the article about the accident in the newspaper the other day.  At such moments you realize that it could be like that. Everyone in the neighborhood mourned in his/her own way for that innocent girl, who underwent that terrible accident. Many flowers, drawings, letters, candles or cuddly toys were laid on the place where this accident happened.


To Zwolle and Kampen

One or two times a year opa and I have a day off with our friends Ada and Matti. By train we first went to Rotterdam to have a cup of coffee with Lebkow, a coffee house near the railway station. Then we took the train to Zwolle, the capital of the province Overijssel.

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The terrace where we had lunch. The sun shone and we enjoyed the warmth of the sun-rays and the nice surroundings.  We visited the “Stedelijk Museum”, where we admired the rooms of the Drost of Zwolle of the sixteenth century. A drost is a kind of sheriff.  We saw beautiful painted ceilings, lots of paintings of which one

struck opa and me the most. A painting of a reading girl. She read so concentrated her book! We

watched the clothes people carried in the sixteenth century. We discovered 5 dishes with board games. I took photos of them.

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And then drinking tea in the nice museum garden and leave for Kampen by train. This is a town situated near the river the IJssel.

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Near the river you still find houses where beer, wine or meat were produced  to transport later by ship in the past. Kampen has two theological Universities where students can study to become a vicar.

Once opa and I made a biking-tour through the Netherlands and then we slept with some guest-house for bikers in Kampen. We still recognized this house and remembered the nice holidays we had then.

In Kampen we had dinner and then left for Hooge Zwaluwe. At twelve we were back home again.

Getting older

We are getting older. Tante Domien has become 73 years of age now. It is the age that both my parents died. I realized that the three of you are getting older too. You are in your teens now. Mamma should have become 40 years of age this year. I also realize that opa and I are getting older. Opa is 72 and I 64 now. Sometimes I am so afraid that we will not see the three of you anymore. I think it a terrible thought. The older we are getting.


Tante Domien

I told you already that tante Domien got 73 years old. I am so proud of her, because she is studying at the academy of arts which she finished with good results already. Now she is specializing herself. She always was already very artistic. When she had her birthday I asked her to show some of her work. It really was surprisingly good. She showed us studies of one thinking man, originally a part of a Portuguese statue, she saw in Portugal.


Poor tante Renske

has a aching neck again. Still at this moment when I am writing this month-blog. She is so afraid that now the time starts the aching will not go away anymore. She is afraid that she has to go to the pain outpatient’s clinic to learn how to handle this terrible aching.


The Netherlands

It appears that there are coming less refugees since refugees who were crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece are stopped by the European Union now. I thought it cruel that many refugees were drowned in the sea, but I also think it terrible that the amount of refugees is restricted, because the European Union fears that the refugees will be a threat for the well-being of European civilians. This all embarrasses me very much and I am still determined to help refugees when they are coming to Hooge Zwaluwe. Imagine you are flying such a terrible war as for instance in Syria. Then it would be agreeable when the people of the country you flew to are kind to you and help you to settle down.


The United States

I was shocked by the terroristic attack of a homo-bar in Orlando on the twelfth of June. The offender was a confused 29-year-old man of Afghanistan origin. And again president Obama pleaded with a more severe control of the commerce of weapons, for then this terrible act might have been prevented. And also the president referred to the recognition of the freedom of life of homo’s. We cannot tolerate that homo’s, lesbians, transgender and travesties are the victims of such terrible deeds. Everyone has to see it as a achievement that homo’s, lesbians, transgender and travesties have the freedom to live in a free society as America.



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May 2016

May 2016

Mirabelle I hope that you will experience many happy returns of the twenty first of May. It’s already sixteen years ago that you were born. That birth is indelibly printed in on my memory. How happy mamma was with you, how happy we were with you. Your first year you spent in our home in Rockanje. You were the reason of happiness for us. We were so very glad with you. I’ll never forget that feeling. I do hope so dearly you are happy in your teens, that your health is good and that your back is good again, that you are doing well at school. I hope you are happy with your family and your friends. I wish you all the best.


That also Finn and Kirse will never forget you, proves this photo: on your birthday they ate mirabelles in honor of you.


The weather in the Netherlands in May

The first ten days of May were sunny. After the fifth of May we even had days with summery temperatures of 25 degrees or more. In the weekend of Whitsun however we experienced the coldest Whitsun since 1951. On the twenty second and twenty-third of May it was very cold for May. So temperature was very instable in Holland in May.



In this month I often played the piano to accompany another person with another musical instrument. At the second of May my cousin André and his wife Riet came for a day. Riet plays the recorder. During their visit we took the time to play together and we enjoyed it in such a way that we promised each other to do it more.

And at the twentieth of May my girl-friend Ada and I organized a “Takkenbosconcert” (“Takkenbos” is the name of our house) for our two girl-friends of the swimming-pool. Ada and I gave explanations of the pieces we played. The husband of one of the women even made a film about it. It was a pleasant afternoon and the film showed an enthusiastic  trumpet-player and piano-player.


Harry Potter

Every time tante Daphne read aloud for Finn and Kirse the book of Harry Potter. And just now she finished the last book. Now she has the intention to read aloud “the cabin of uncle Tom” of Harriet Beecher Stowe and “Alone in the world” of Hector Malot.



There I sat with Finn, who had to deliver a talk about South-Korea at school. He thought it difficult to start, but bit by bit he found out how to do it. And he had a good talk his teacher said, just like his paper about South Korea which was illustrated with nice drawings drawn by Finn himself.



Together with tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse I went to the beach of Oost-Kapelle. Although the temperature of the sea-water was still very cold, Kirse jumped into the water. And Finn played football with tante Daphne. We all enjoyed the visit and at the end of the day our faces were bronzed by the sun and the wind.

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Photo’s from the past

Here eight photo’s from your stay with tante Daphne and oom Leander Mirabelle. You must have been three years old then.

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This is a proof that you were always fond of animals. Lying in bed with the cat “Boozul” and before the bed the jealous dog “Gaski”.

Here seven photo’s of the Efteling (amusement-park).

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A photo of Lucas. Your little brother Robin just was born. Why did you keep your eyes closed? Because of the crying of that little brother-baby?

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Mamma with Robin.

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All is lost

I already saw that this well-known film would be on television and my beloved film-actor Robert Redford would play the leading part, or rather he played the only part in this film during one and a half hour.

It dealt with a sea-yachtsman who crossed the Pacific with his sailing boat. And there the boat hit a container lying in the water. The boat was damaged in such a way that it took in water. A terrible leak. And then you saw what happens, when you are all alone on a damaged boat on the Pacific. The sea yachtsman was not saved. What struck me in this film in which Redford hardly said a word, was the immense water of the Pacific. You are helpless when you don’t get help. The part played by Redford was more than magnificent.



This is a feast which was in the past devoted to the fertility. A tree was planted and people danced around the tree. They celebrated the fertility of the fields, the cattle and the human beings.

At the school of Finn and Kirse a stake was placed on the school-yard. A stake with a sundial. Thirty or forty ribbons were fastened on the stake.

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Every class danced its own dance around the stake with or without the ribbons. The eldest class of Finn had to perform a complicated dance in which they had to weave and later to unweave these ribbons. All the children had to be dressed in white, even the parents or the grandparents who took part of this feast. At last the eldest and the youngest pupil of the school had to let fly out four white doves. It was moving to see all these children dressed in white dancing their dances.

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Long ago

It was fifteen years ago that we saw him. Adrie. In the past he and opa played football in the same team and they together often played football on a playground near our home in Rockanje. One and a half year ago his wife Alie died. And now unexpectedly he came to visit us. It brought us back to Rockanje. To the time that opa played football with Adrie and Wim. Adrie promised us to come another time with Wim and his wife Marinda.


Mrs. De Snaijer

We celebrated her ninety-third birthday. There she sat fragile, but still bright. She isn’t able to swim anymore, but still is bright and interested if we heard already anything of the three of you.


A research for the economical development of the time after the second World War

When Niek, opa’s colleague of school comes we are always discussing diverse topics. Niek was teaching economy. One of his special topics is the economic development. Together with others he is doing research after the economy of countries in which just like The Netherlands 85% is living since long time in rather good economic conditions after the second World War. Even the economy in some countries is still growing. What are the mechanisms? How does that work in America and how in Brazil, where economy is stagnating at this very moment? What is a good parameter of a good economy?  Next year Niek will visit us again. Then we will hear more about the research.


The director of Finn’s school is killed

Imagine the director of Finn’s school is killed. There are six suspected persons, there are six locations where the victim might be killed and there are six possibilities how the suspected person might have killed the victim.

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Here on this photo tante Daphne is telling about the murder. It is Finn’s birthday-party and he and his boy-friends had to solve the murder. And they did. Meanwhile we biked to the beach of Oost-Kapelle and stopped every now and then to continue the game. It was really enjoying.

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VWO-advice and playing in the orchestra of adults

Also the CITO-test showed that Finn is able to go to the Scientific Education. He really appears to be clever and at the same time he learnt that he was the only one of the youth-orchestra who is promoted to the adult orchestra, because of his good results on the flute.


Finn’s birthday

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The thirty first of May Finn became twelve years old. Sunday the twenty ninth of May his birthday was celebrated. Before that day I helped to prepare Finn’s birthday. I did some shopping, baked pies and prepared food. We really were quite busy. Meanwhile we thought about the next year, when Finn will be at the Secondary School.

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The Netherlands

Typhoon is a well-known Dutch rapper. Because he was driving a luxurious car he was stopped as a suspected person by the police. Ethnical profiling it is called, because Typhoon is from Surinamese origin. Typhoon told the police that he honestly earned the money for the car and the police made his excuses for his mistake. But the incident gave a start to the discussion about discrimination in the Netherlands. Because why is unemployment higher among Dutch people of foreign origin? Why are they suspected earlier of crimes? It is necessary to think about these things and to fight against discrimination.


The United States

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are fighting for the highest place in the Democratic Party. Although Hillary seems to win the combat, Bernie Sanders continues fighting. During his fight he met with strange things such as the super delegates who automatically vote for Hillary. He asked for explanation. Bernie Sanders is beloved by young and intelligent American people who are approving his message of measures of preventing climate change, and his fighting against extension of nuclear energy, and his promoting of universal health care and of the marriage of homo sexuals.  And as you ask for my opinion? I should like he would win.

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April 2016

April 2016

On an average April 2016 was  colder than December. Especially the end of April was cold with temperatures of 8 degrees. On King’s Day (the birthday of King Willem Alexander) on the 27th of April it was only 9 degrees. But we also had nice temperatures in the beginning of April with 20 degrees or more. But the rest of April the weather was dominated by many clouds and much rain.


Opa is happy

Opa is happy, because his football club Sparta has promoted to play in the Major League next season. As you may remember Sparta is opa’s favorite football club.

Once opa and I went from the Roosestraat to Sparta by bike. In front of my bike Robin who was a small boy of two years old and on my back Lucas who was nearly four years old. Opa had to do a financial job with the administration of Sparta. But all kinds of things happened. First we were soaked through by the rain when we biked on the Erasmusbridge, then we finally were at the Sparta park Lucas had to go to the toilet and there was hanging a cord. Of course Lucas had to pull at it and in a moment there was someone knocking at the door: “What’s the matter? “The cord was for alarming incidents.

It struck opa and me that Lucas nor Robin were whining because they were wet through. In a certain way you were enjoying the trip. At any case you were not spoilt!

Photo’s from the past

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Book presentation

Opa and I were invited with the presentation of a book written by Yvon Né. Yvon is very talented: beside drawing she also writes poems. Now she wrote the story of her own life as a child in the North of Zuid-Beveland in the province of Zeeland. She was a silent child with her typical own thoughts, not understood by her parents. She established her characteristic thoughts already in her poems, but now also in her book. And now at the same time an exposition of her drawings was opened in the Museum of Breda and her new book was presented. At the end of the presentation we bought Yvon’s Né book in which she wrote a dedication for opa and me.


Karel and Ingrid

We biked already on that sunny Sunday to the book presentation of Yvon Né. Because we were in Breda already we promised our friends Karel and Ingrid to have dinner with them after the book presentation. Karel and Ingrid had a bad time because of problems in their family, but now the problems were nearly solved and they had to tell us nice news. Two sons of them have Polish girl-friends. One of the sons is going to marry and the other son will have baptized his daughter. The two festivities will take place in Poland. The marriage even will last three days. So in July Karel and Ingrid will go to Poland.



Simone came to have lunch with us. Still she is burning candles for mamma and for the three of you, because we don’t know anything about you and we do hope so dearly that the three of you are fine. Still Simone is concerned about mamma and you, and still she rings every birthday of mamma, but also every day of death of mamma. As an undertaker of funerals she never saw such a sad funeral as mamma’s with so many people crying about mamma’s and your fate.



The Netherlands are proud of two brothers who play the piano very well called Lucas and Arthur Jussen. They play each on their own piano. Tante Renske and I heard them playing the piano concert of Poulenc. It was marvelous. Google them and see what they play. At any case the concert hall was full of people who wanted to see and hear the two brothers playing the piano.



This year opa’s board games congress was in Neurenberg, a town in the middle South of Germany. Striking when we drove on the freeways in Germany are the cars which are driving far more than 130 kilometers per hour. Often they drive two hundred kilometers per hour. I always think it very dangerous.

Neurenberg is well-known of all the German people who stand trial as war criminals after the second World War.

After the second World War Neurenberg was bombed totally. Then the people rebuilt the town stone by stone.

So the fortress around the old city was rebuilt as you can see on these photo’s.

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The congress was organized in the Pellerhaus. This Pellerhaus was once the most beautiful house of Neurenberg, which every tourist must have seen.  Also this Pellerhouse, a mansion, was bombed flat after the second World War as a revenge of what the Germans did. By means of crowd funding this house is rebuilt as you can see on this photo’s.

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I realized how stupid wars are in which not only lots of innocent people are killed, but in which also beautiful buildings are destroyed. That part of the human being which feels a need to destroy is incomprehensible when you see terrible war scenes on television in which even small children are victims. All these thoughts circled around my mind seeing this beautiful rebuilt city. Look at other photo’s.

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Opa again delivered his speech in his own characteristic way as you can see on this photo.

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And we had an excursion to the Haba-factory in Bad Rodach where wooden toys are produced like wooden building blocks. Here some photo’s of our visit to this factory.

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Do you know that also children drank beer in the past? We visited the caves under Neurenberg where beer was brewed in the past. The people used the groundwater for it and you may understand that when this water was polluted lots of people died by diseases caused by this polluted groundwater. And in the second World War lots of people were saved when they hid themselves in the caves during the time when bombs were dropped.

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We had a nice surprise during the congress. In the past we several times met Werner and his wife Carla from Mainz. Werner collected draughts pieces. But some ten years ago Werner died and we didn’t hear after that time anything of Carla. Wim, opa’s friend, delivered a speech about Werner’s collection of the draughts pieces. And who did come? You will guess. Carla and her new partner. Carla was in a deep depression after Werner’s death. So her new partner told us that she didn’t leave her house during three years. Now she was there again. To hear Wim’s lecture. Emotionally but also happy that Wim showed the collection of her beloved Werner. Finally we had lunch with each other. It was a good experience. See this photo.

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New neighbors

After about two years we have new young neighbors. Jeroen and Sandra. Jeroen was already born in the Burgemeester Vlaklaan. After having lived in an apartment in Breda he returned to Hooge Zwaluwe, back to the silence of the flat country. The house will be totally changed, but we are glad with our young neighbors, who already introduced themselves to us.


Not champion

Finn hoped that his football club would win and become champion, but the club just didn’t win. It was a nice match, but a pity for Finn’s club.

I am eager if you also play sports. I am convinced you do, because you always were busy with running, doing a somersault, biking and so on. I cannot imagine that the three of  you are sitting quietly on a chair, because the three of you were so active.


Our visit to Marijke and Martin

When mamma and tante Daphne were small children I worked part time in the eighth class of the primary school together with my girl friend Marijke. As we had two children each of the same age it was easy to have someone who took care of the children meanwhile. When Marijke works I took care of her and my children and when I worked she took care of my and her children. So Matthijs and Daphne of the same age, but also Marnix with mamma of the same age  grew up together. They were close friends.

After some years Marijke and Martin had to move because of the work of Martin. First they moved to the east of the Netherlands and later for ten year or more to Great Brittain. We kept in touch with each other by means of post cards. But Marijke and Martin returned to the Netherlands and well to their native town, The Hague. When mamma died they came. Marijke, Martin, Matthijs and Marnix were shocked by mamma’s sad death: they lost a kind of a daughter or sister. From that time on we saw Marijke and Martin regularly again.

This month we also went to The Hague to visit Marijke and Martin. Martin just like opa got a new knee prosthesis and had to walk with crutches. So he was not able to walk with us to the dunes and the beach nearby. And each time they informed after the three of you, because you are the children of Judith. Maybe you saw Marnix in the past, because he and mamma always kept in touch.


Arie and Ludy

It was long ago that we saw Arie and Ludy, our friends from Rockanje. First Ludy was ill during a year and then when she was recovered Arie fell ill: a cancer of the prostate. He had to be operated to take away the tumor. Just now the urologist didn’t  find any remainder of the cancer. We were so happy for them, but now again Ludy doesn’t feel well. And I am a bit concerned about her, because she doesn’t look well either. But it was fine to be with them. It was bad weather, that’s why we stayed inside. We had lunch at the table and stayed talking at the table till Ludy served dinner. We had so much to talk about as if we could talk forever and ever.


Playing the piano and the trumpet

Ada and I are practicing for a new concert for our girl-friends from the swimming pool. It will be the twentieth of May. We will play six pieces of music. We hope that it’ll be a success again.


The Netherlands

When opa and I were in Neurenberg also King Willem Alexander and Queen Màxima brought a visit to the same town in the same time. When I walked through the town I suddenly saw a lot of policemen on motors. They surrounded the car of King Willem Alexander and Queen Màxima, who just had lunch in Neurenberg was told by some German people to us.


The united States

Hillary Clinton of the Democrats and Donald Trump of the Republicans will fight each other for the president ship of the United States in November this year. Lots of Republicans are not happy with Trump and probably will vote therefore for Hillary Clinton. It will become a tense fight the coming time in the United States.

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March 2016

March 2016

This is the month of mamma’s death already seven years ago. Her death still makes me so sad. Also the sudden disappearance of the three of you makes me so sad. I wonder if you still are missing mamma, the Netherlands, tante Daphne, Finn, Kirse, tante Ischa, tante Femke,William, opa and me and all the friends you had. It must have been so much for you when you suddenly left for the US and never had the possibility to go back, didn’t even  get the possibility to bid farewell to your own mamma. But her urn with ashes is waiting for you. It’s the urn of the three of you, because it contains the ashes of your own mother.

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March in the Netherlands

The normal temperature in March in the Netherlands is 6,2 degrees, but this March with 5,4 degrees was too cold. But the sun often shone. It was even freezing 13 times during the night. That was scratching ice from the windshields in the morning. But in the latter half of March it was cloudy and with Easter it was even stormy. Was the Dutch winter too soft, March was too cold.


Oom Guus

Oom Guus is still alive and still is in hospital and will not go out of it. Tante Rens and I went to him. He still recognized us, but is not able to talk with us. Just like my father he has Alzheimer and suffers from aphasia. He is not able to construct the words to talk and also he still suffers from deliriums. Then he is mentally disturbed. And finally his heart valve has to be replaced, because it doesn’t function in the right way. But oom Guus cannot be operated because of his Alzheimer. It is hard to see him like that.


Finn’s choice of the secondary school

Next year Finn will go to the NehaLenniaschool in Middelburg. Also your little cousin is growing older.


Our neighbors Melang, Arnoud, Noel and Imana

Every now and then we visit our neighbors. Just like mamma and Mark, also they were in Australia, but also in New Zealand. They thought it very nice but they prefer to grow old in the Netherlands. Now Melang is working for a pharmaceutical company. She is responsible there for the safety aspect of new developed medicines. She coordinates the research of new medicines on testers. You may imagine how responsible this work is. She has to communicate with specialists and has to compare every result. Is the result negative somewhere, then she has to stop immediately the researches with testers everywhere on the world till the moment that the new medicine has been changed so such that another research with testers can be started. Sometimes Melang has to work till midnight or later, because she has to communicate with specialists all over the world. As you know the difference in time between the Netherlands and Minneapolis is seven hours. When I get up at seven o’clock In the morning it is only twelve o’clock at night with you in Minneapolis. When it is three o’clock in the afternoon in the Netherlands it is only eight o’clock in the morning in Minneapolis.

Yesterday I saw Melang working, when I was going to turn in. Maybe she was working again until five or six o’clock in the morning. It is an interesting, but heavy job.

Opa has an e-bike

And then that Sunday the moment was there. As you know opa and I like to bike. Also that very Sunday we biked our favorite trip. At the end of the trip opa’s bike refused to bike. He still thought to bike three years on this bike, but now the thing refused to. Opa had to decide or to choose another bike or an e-bike. He decided to buy an e-bike because of his knees and because of his COPD.


Jetty and Sjaak

Jetty and Sjaak are friends from Rockanje. Still tante Daphne and mamma played with their children Marcel and Claudia. They came to us for a day. After talking we walked with them and went to restaurant “Onze Kerk”.  “Onze Kerk” is the old Roman Catholic Church of Hooge Zwaluwe, which had to be closed, because of the decrease of Roman Catholic church-goers. Now it’s a restaurant with a menu with products of this region. And you might think:”A restaurant in that small village Hooge Zwaluwe! There would not come anyone”  You are wrong: the restaurant runs well, because of good reviews in the newspapers.


Mevrouw De Snaijer

We visited our 92-year-old neighbor woman from Rockanje, mevrouw De Snaijer. Also tante Daphne went with us. And Franny, mevrouw De Snaijer’s  daughter, was also there to make tea and so on for us, because mevrouw De Snaijer is too old to do so.  With Franny’s  daughters Roanna, Xenia and Sigrid mamma played in her childhood, when they were with their grandmother, mevrouw De Snaijer. Still mevrouw De Snaijer informed after the three of you. She was so glad to see tante Daphne, who she knew already from childhood on. After the visit we drove to restaurant “Het Wapen van Stellendam”, where opa and I used to have dinner after biking the whole day on the isle of Goeree Overflakkee , when we still lived in Rockanje. It was pleasant to sit there again and eat with tante Daphne, who we brought back after dinner.

Some photographs from your past in the Netherlands

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Beyond Sleep

It was already some time that we saw Willem, the husband of my deceased girl-friend Wil. We had made the appointment with him to go to him in Utrecht to go to the film “Beyond Sleep”, a filming of the book “Beyond Sleep” of Willem Frederik Hermans, Willem’s beloved author. One of the features of Herman’s books are the descriptions of meaningless lives. In this book Alfred, a geology-student, is the main person. With three Norwegians he went to inquire if there was an evidence that the characteristic small lakes in the North of Norway were caused by meteorite impacts. But Alfred is a bungler with whom everything went wrong: he  fell into a ravine, get caught up in a moor, fell into the water, lost his compass and found his mate Arne dead, so stayed alone at last. And ….he didn’t sleep because of the nights which were not dark and especially because of the sound of lots of mosquito’s.  He went back home without any findings and without any illusions.

With Willem we went to a students’ restaurant and discussed the film there. By the way Willem was professor on the Utrecht University and also wrote the book “the Nuclear inheritance”, one of the scientific books one had to read said a scientific commission in the Netherlands.

At the end we promised each other to go to the cinema in Breda next time.



Outside it was still freezing, especially during the night, and when we got up it was cold. The thermostat only indicated fifteen degrees Celsius. And that is cold in our humid house. The thermostat also indicated another problem: empty batteries who needed to be replaced. That was looking in our battery store, where were only AAA-batteries but no AA-batteries. I bit back a curse and quickly washed myself, brushed my teeth and ate a slice of bread before going by bike to our super market in Hooge Zwaluwe, hoping they would bring us the “rescue” , but…… the owner of the super market was ashamed: he didn’t have them. Then on my bike to the nearby super market in Wagenberg, but…..maybe you guess it already, the owner grouchy declared me to have no AA-batteries at all. That was biking to Made the other village in the neighborhood. There at last I succeeded. I had biked one hour to get those stupid batteries! Better to have them in store.

March 2016 012Pippi, the cat of tante Daphne


Of late I obliged myself to fill in our yearly tax forms. I always think it a hell of a job, because of the incomprehensible language, but also because of the incomprehensible calculations. But I discovered that I want to understand everything and that not everything is to understand. Lots of people have difficulties with those damned  tax forms with their stupid language and calculations. I have to learn to do it, because I realize that because of the difference in age between opa and me I shall have to do it alone in future too.


My eyes

There was something strange with my eyes. As you may remember I have got contact lenses, because I needed them to look well in the distance. But I grow older and got also problems with reading, so looking close by. So I needed glasses too. But of late I discovered that I wasn’t able to read with contact lenses and glasses anymore. What was the reason: the view in the distance was improving and the view close by was getting worse. But… that doesn’t mean that I had to decide to change the strength of my glasses already, because of –and that the contact lens specialist had to explain several times to me- the view with contact lenses with the wrong strength influence the view of glasses as such that the view got worse. Maybe I was able to read with contact lenses with the right strength and my old glasses again. He was right, the specialist, I am able to read again. Fortunately I have a kind, patient contact lens specialist who takes the time to explain these difficulties to clients like me.


A water-mill

With friends like Ada and Matti, who love to do historical research, you always have the chance to get more historical information about your own surroundings.

When Ada and I swim on Thursday-morning there also swims a 83-year-old widow who lives in a farm on the road where also is the Lucasbos. The father-in-law of this widow once bought this piece of land on which used to be a water-mill, which he broke off when he started his farm. The widow invited Ada and me to look. She still had a drawing of the old mill. By this information I more and more learn about the past of my surroundings.

We walked to the farm and on our way I took these photographs of the places where we often went with you in the past. Look.

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Maybe you discovered already that I love films. So, when someone loves to see films too, I always will ask him/her to go together. Now Mieke phoned me to go to the film “Room”, which was reviewed as excellent in the papers and on internet. And it really was a good film dealing with a woman who as a girl of seventeen year old was kidnapped and was locked up by her kidnapper in a shed  in his garden. Every evening he came to abuse her sexually. It was not surprising therefore that she got pregnant. She got a son, Jack, who wasn’t aware that there was a great world around him, because his world was only that shed  mentioned “room” by his mother. He only saw “the world” by means of the television, but experienced the real world as a story in a book. Jack’s mother planned Jack has to act as if he is severely ill. Then she should ask her kidnapper to take her child to the doctor’s. There Jack could tell the doctor that his mother was locked up for years in a shed. But….the kidnapper didn’t want to take the child to the doctor’s. That was a too great risk for him. No he should ask the doctor for medicines. Therefore Jack’s mother planned Jack should be acting himself as dead and she would roll his corpse in the carpet and ask the kidnapper to bring the corpse away in his pick-up. When the pick-up would stop with a traffic-light Jack should quickly roll out of the carpet and jump out of the pick-up. This act succeeded. The police was alarmed and discovered the shed where Jack’s mother was locked up. The kidnapper was locked in and Jack and his mother were free. Then you see the little boy struggling with this real world, where people are who talked to him and wished an answer back. He wasn’t used to. Where there are other children with whom he can play. It was quite a discovery for him. Where there are toys, while his mother made toys  from egg-shells in the “room”. He never saw toys before and didn’t know how to play with it. Where he suddenly appeared to have family. The film is emotionally but also informative about children who grow up isolated from society.


Finn and Kirse stayed in Hooge Zwaluwe with Easter

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I picked up Finn and Kirse at Good Friday-evening from Middelburg. At Saturday we prepared Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Then tante Renske and tante Daphne would also come. While I cleaned the house, Finn and Kirse painted the eggs, picked daffodils in the garden for the Easter-table and decorated Easter-branches. We ate rolls in the garden with coats on, which reminded me of you Mirabelle. You also wanted eating sandwiches in the garden, when you stayed with us. There we sat opa and I, shivering with cold, but you were so happy.

I baked a delicious pie and then we worked in the garden. And really especially Finn worked fast and well. Then Finn and Kirse went playing football with opa.

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In the evening Finn, Kirse and I went to a concert of the harmony of Hooge Zwaluwe. There we drank tea and ate apple-pie, which was baked by people of Hooge Zwaluwe as a contribution to the harmony.

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At Easter Sunday tante Renske and later tante Daphne came. We were playing rummy-cub after a breakfast with rolls, eggs and crackers. When tante Renske comes you always first hear Mira, her dog, who gladly runs forward to jump up towards everyone to say good-bye in her own special way. Later tante Daphne came and then the group was complete.

We played beggar-my-neighbor, sat some time outside in a little bit of sun. Then I prepared Easter-dinner and tante Renske together with Finn and Kirse folded Easter bunnies from Easter napkins.

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With Easter Monday Finn and Kirse looked for chocolate eggs and we ate cheese fondue and then later in the afternoon opa brought tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse to the train, back to Middelburg.


Also Mischa is having dinner

We were invited with Ada and Matti to have dinner, because of Ada’s birthday. And guess who was also eating at table? Their cat, Mischa. She sat on a stool and ate her cat chunks out of a small saucer, which Ada and Matti put on the table. It was quite funny to see.


The thirtieth of March

Every year I am awake at eleven past six in the morning at the thirtieth of March. At that time mamma deceased seven years ago. Her sad death, falsely accused of having abused the three of you, who were taken away from her. Many people wrote down she didn’t abuse the three of you. Opa, tante Daphne and I cannot live with that false accusation, because she only loved the three of you. She didn’t earn that at all many people said.


The Netherlands

Dutch people were shocked by the terroristic attacks in Brussels. They realize that the next time it may be in the Netherlands.


The United States

At Sunday the tenth of March President Obama visited Cuba. After 88 year he is the first American leader who paid a visit to Cuba, since the revolution of Fidel Castro in 1959. Then Cuba and the US became enemies. Now the leaders of Cuba and the US want to relax their connections.

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February 2016

February 2016
The month in which you were brought to America. Already seven years ago. Unexpectedly, because mamma thought Mark would come to the Netherlands to share the education with her. Things passed off in a total different way.

February in the Netherlands
Also February was rather mild as far to temperature. Although there was a lot of wind during carnival, so that many carnival’s parades had to be cancelled. At the end of February there were some sunny, but cold days, with following nights with frost.

A day in Middelburg
Because during the evening tante Daphne had to go to Terneuzen to Ischa and her colleague I stayed for one day with tante Daphne’s . After school we went to Janos, the husband of Anneke, tante Daphne’s neighbor who died in November last year. Janos was glad we came. He changed his room, so that sculptures and paintings Anneke made are more emphasized. It was strange that room and that garden without Anneke. She was such a strong personality.

Then we went to a public lesson of Kirse’s drama-club. All the children have got a kind of hat on their head. And with that hat belongs a special personality. They had to act like that personality. Meanwhile the teacher took care of it that the children talked clearly, because the public had to be able to hear them. But also…you may think as starting actor that you are angry, sad or glad, but….how does the public know that you are angry, sad or glad? In other words the fundamental principles of acting before a public are taught to the children by means of playing small acts. It was funny to see how children solve the starter’s mistakes of acting before public.

I am so glad with the renewed contact with my old colleague. She came to have dinner with us and we talked a lot. Like me Kitty has got religious or spiritual feelings (also like mamma), but like me she has got problems with who or what God is or if there is a God.

To the people of my swimming-club was asked to put on a hat or glasses for carnival. I sewed a bath-sponge to a woolen hat my mother still knit for me. But….I could only do gym with it, but not swim because of the water, which made the hat so top-heavy that it droppedfrom my heads into the swimming-pool.
Swimming is also pleasant because of the good interaction in the group. When someone has his birthday one treats every one of the group with coffee and a warm apple turnover after swimming. And when someone is in hospital a postcard will be sent.

Oom Lo’s birthday
Oom Lo got 76 years old on the fourth of February. We went to Eindhoven and were received with “Bossche bollen”, that is a big puff filled with cream and covered with a chocolate sauce. For a joke tante Domien bought them, because opa answered on her question what he wanted: “Bossche bollen!” That are his favorite pies. Also Joleen and her children Ymke and Simon were there. Joleen is tante Domien’s daughter and the cousin of mamma. Ymke was full of synchronous swimming. She is really good in it. She did some movements she had to do with others in the water. Her brother on the other hand is mad with water polo, just like his uncle Peter (also a child of tante Domien and mamma’s cousin too).

is a woman from our neighborhood. We have always nice discussions with her. A year after mamma’s death her husband died. In the past she was a alternative doctor. Many inhabitants of Hooge and Lage Zwaluwe were her patients. So she is widow and mother of four adult children. Els had lunch with us and again we had a nice talk. The twelfth of March Els will go to her son in Canada.

Again Cor, opa’s supervisor, stayed for two days with us. He took us to a restaurant to have dinner. It’s always very pleasant with Cor. He is very intelligent and knows a lot of history, theology and of course of Dutch and especially of historical Dutch. We went with Cor to the Dordts Museum. Admired there paintings of Israels, Scheffer, Strij, Mesdag and Breitner. I loved the beautiful sea-views and was surprised about how unnatural children were painted in the past.

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At home I prepared a delicious dinner for Cor and after that opa brought Cor to his train to Oegstgeest.

I went to Carol with Mieke, my girl-friend. A nice film with a brilliant part for Cate Blanchett as leading lady. She is very rich but doesn’t feel happy, because her marriagewais bad. She fell in love with the saleswoman of toys, Thérèse. Only the love already between Carol and Thérèse is so very beautiful to see. Of course Carol’s husband didn’t agree with Carol’s love with Thérèse and tried to arrange that she will lose her custody of their little daughter. After divorcing with Thérèse Carol tried to keep this custody, but at the end she moved to an apartment and invited Thérèse to live with her.

Solar panels
Because tante Daphne had to work opa and I had to receive two mechanics who would place six solar panels on tante Daphne’s roof. And also a new cooker would be delivered. At coffee break opa and I sat with three mechanics around the table. They advised to use electricity during the day, because the energy of the sun is totally free.
In the afternoon we biked to our girl-friend Mieke in Vlissingen. She was busy selecting stuff out of moveable furniture of a Portuguese woman she was helping. This woman returned to Portugal and was allowed to store her stuff with Mieke’s. Mieke is always helping people. Because she is the youngest of her brothers and sisters, she has to drive from one to the other of her brothers and sisters, because they all are feeble or ill and she is the only one who still feels well. Mieke also helped opa and me in the past. It was good and familiar to be with her. In the dark we biked back to tante Daphne’s.
The other day I prepared all kinds of food for tante Daphne. Ischa as tante Daphne’s therapist prescribed to don’t eat potatoes, bread, rice, pasta’s or what so ever. It gives tante Daphne of lot of work to prepare this totally different food, so I was busy preparing soups, smoothies, vegetable pies with oats bottoms and so on. I so dearly hope that it will give lightening to the fibromyalgia problems of tante Daphne.
I brought Kirse to clarinet lesson by car. Meanwhile she recited small poems of punctuation marks. I had to guess during driving which punctuation mark the poem meant. I still remember Mirabelle, that you liked to recite poems too. Just like Kirse in the right tone.

The topping of our willow
There they were. Two gardeners in the garden of our neighbor to top the willow which hangs over our ditch terrace. It gives us a lot of sunlight. Look at the willow.

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A three days stay of Finn and Kirse in Hooge Zwaluwe
I bought a football for Finn and a box with odd jobs for Kirse, because they came to stay with us. They were glad with the presents and started to do odd jobs. Do you still remember that I always spread out the yellow table cloth on the table when you drew or did odd jobs? I still save all the drawings you made as small children: Mrabelle’s beautiful colored drawings, Lucas’ pirate ships and Robin who started do draw cats and so on.
Finn worked at his South-Korea paper and Kirse was doing sums, because she likes arithmetic and after I read aloud from “Minoes” of the author Annie M.G. Schmidt.
The next day after my swimming we went playing football in the wood. And opa didn’t feel anything and I felt my right knee and my back! Phew, I am getting old!!!!
I played music with Finn and Kirse. Finn on his flute, Kirse on her clarinet and I on the piano. It was nice to do. And Kirse discovered how to play her clarinet music on the piano with one hand.
I also played the piano with the three of you. The low tones were the tones of dangerous beasts or giants or bears or elephants and the light tones were elf’s or gnomes or little children. You liked to do so. And once I gave you wooden spoons and pan tops with which you could drum and accompany my piano playing. It was a great success!
The other day opa, Finn, Kirse and I went by car to Dordrecht. Park our car near the Weizigtpark and walked to the bus station. We took the bus to the Merwekade, where we took the waterbus to the Erasmusbrug in Rotterdam. We sailed to Rotterdam, saw the Brienenoordbrug and the Hef, the old bridge near your home at the Roosestraat in Rotterdam. And when we got out of the waterbus we walked over the Erasmusbrug and went to Villa Zebra. Mamma very often went with you there.
The theme was “at home”. There are different homes: for homeless people for instance a sewer, but also a tree hut or a flat or a tent and so on. Finn and Kirse had to draw their own home and from clay they made their own cuddling-animal which just fits in their hands and with which they always feel at home. Finn made a cat and Kirse a butterfly. And then at last we drank tea and ate pie and went back by waterbus, bus and car to Hooge Zwaluwe. There I baked pancakes and brought Finn and Kirse back to tante Daphne’s

Again neighbors
In April we will get neighbors again. The daughter of our old neighbor Henk came to tell it. I am eager how it would be with the new neighbors.

Photo’s from the past

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The Netherlands
Prime minister Mark Rutte is the chairman of the council of ministers of the European Union in the first half year of 2016. There are lots of problems in Europe. For instance all those refugees and the problems how to receive those refugees. But also the financial problems of Greece or England which doesn’t want to obey to all the European rules. We will see if he can handle all these problems.

The United States
From the first of February the preliminary elections for the new president of the United States started. Who will become president: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Cruz or Rubio? In Holland these preliminary elections are followed closely, because the Dutch people feel themselves tied with the US.

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January 2016

January 2016
This funny postcard to wish our family and friends a happy new year opa and I sent when we just lived in Hooge Zwaluwe. Especially our friends we left in Rockanje were curious about our grandchildren. We chose for this funny scene. Only Kirse was not there, because she was not born yet.

Nieuwjaar 2005
By the way still our family and friends are curious about you and are concerned about you and still ask after the three of you. They know how terrible it was for you to lose your mother , after you were suddenly taken away against your mother’s will. They still pity the three of you. Especially because your mother was accused of something she never did to you: abusing you. She only loved you, she wrote in her farewell letter. And I saw and you know that she never abused you. This horrible lie and the sudden taken away of the three of you were the reasons of her death.

January in nature
It was unusually mild, but also it was raining a lot and it was not too sunny. Because temperature was higher than usual, everything in nature is too early. While usually the daffodils are flowering around Easter –in the Netherlands called “Easter-flowers”- the first daffodils were already flowering in January. There were only some days with frost, and soon after these “winter days” the mild temperature started again.

Uncovering everyday life from Bosch to Bruegel
is called the exposition about painters who lived around 1500. Because I think my knowledge of the visual art too limited I want to develop it by visiting museums more often. That’s why I chose for this exposition and made the appointment with my friend Tineke to go to it in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

de nar
This jester was illustrated on the posters which announced this exposition. Before 1500 religion was always depicted in visual art, but it was Jheronimos Bosch who started painting scenes from everyday life around 1500. He was followed by his generation of painters.

I enjoyed the scenes of debauched farmers tempted by women in brothels or the packing food away on feasts of the folk, or people on fairs. I had to laugh of the depicting of God, who on a painting of a debauched performance, turned his back to all this sitting on a cloud in the left upper corner. Still there was the religious influence of a severe God who disapproved all this or was this meant humoristic. What do you think?
But we amused ourselves very much with these paintings.

Finn is busy. He has to deliver a talk about trees and has to make a paper about South-Korea. He is getting more and more home-work as a preparation for the secondary school.
The choice for which secondary school is very difficult for him. He has the choice between three schools. On open days he can make acquaintance with the atmosphere of the schools. I am so curious how the three of you are going at school. If you are happy at school. I miss all this information and especially the three of you so very, very much.

My birthday

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My birthday is on the eleventh of January, but I celebrated it more or less on Sunday the tenth of January. In the past, when we lived in Rockanje, I always celebrated my birthday with our friends. A room full of people. On the birthdays of mamma and tante Daphne, except for their birthday parties, also our neighborhood was invited. So you can imagine that except it was between the thirteenth November (tante Daphne’s birthday) and the nineteenth November (mamma’s birthday) a great time for mamma and tante Daphne, it also was a more than tiring period for opa and me. We always cleared up the festoons with a sigh of relief.

One year as well as tante Daphne as I lay in bed with gastroenteritis. So we had to cancel the feast and I solved it by inviting all the people in one time together. Our room was more than filled with people and with little children making their typical noise. It really was a pleasant chaos. I was so busy, too busy to handle it, until my girl-friend came to the kitchen, saying: “ Heleen I ordered my sherry one hour ago. Cannot you better say people are allowed to serve themselves?” I did so. And from that time our guests on birthdays served themselves. Mamma always enjoyed these feasts and was very handy to prepare snacks. She and also tante Daphne always were a great help to me on feasts. I still have pleasant memories on those feasts.

After our removal to Hooge Zwaluwe I stopped to invite friends on my birthday, preferring to see them separately and to be able to talk with them. That’s why I only celebrate my birthday now with tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse and tante Renske, oom Lo and tante Domien and I like it. By the way tante Marijke was in her second home in Portugal, oom Aad in Knoxville in Texas and pitiful oom Guus is still very ill.

The day before the celebrationof my 64th birthday tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse came. I loved it. Kirse had problems with knitting. She was able to knit one, but not to purl one. I taught her and together with Finn I looked at information for his paper about South-Korea in our Great Lekturama Worldatlas. I loved to do so, my old job as a teacher . Maybe you still remember Mirabelle I helped you with your talk about guinea pigs and with arithmetics and language and you Lucas with your talk about the celestial bodies or the talk about the book “Valentino de kikker”.
Just like mamma tante Daphne is fond of reading aloud. She read aloud from the fifth book of Harry Potter.

The celebration of my birthday was fine. I made a lot of work of the dinner. And there we sat all together around the table until it was time to bring tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse to the train to Middelburg. In the evening we had a deep discussion as usual. I very much loves that.

Exposition of oom Aad in Kentucky
From January the eight till February the twelfth oom Aad has an exposition of his work in the State University of Murray in the US-state Kentucky. Here you can see one of his works, but also a description of his kind of work.

It’s really a pity that I cannot succeed in getting oom Aad’s work on this place. Sorry.


This is a photo of oom Aad with his daughter-in-law Arzu on the right. Arzu promoted in archeology. Near to her stands Arda, her son and grandson of oom Aad. Arda was also born on the 21st of May. Here they celebrated Boxingday in Boston with the sister of Arzu.


Here is a photo of Arda again. Oom Aad is walking behind him together with Tom, his son. Tom promoted in theoretical physics. He and mamma were close friends in their youth and they often stayed with each other.

Anneke is a girl-friend from my volunteering work for the development aid of HIVOS (Humanistisch Instituut Voor Ontwiikelings Samenwerking) and human rights work for the HOM (Humanistisch Overleg Mensenrechten) for the humanistic movement in the Netherlands.
Anneke and her husband Nico already worked for development aid in Jemen. Anneke as a nurse. Later she stayed busy with development aid and now she regrets the conflict situation in Jemen.
We often met each other and worked together within the framework of our volunteering work for development aid. In that time Anneke’s children were still little children and because of her work she asked if Daphne could be allowed to look after her children. And of course tante Daphne did, because she loved to do so. That’s why we had an appointment with tante Daphne’s. It was fine to see that Anneke still appreciates tante Daphne very much. You may see it on this photo.

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Ria is one of the women with whom I am going to the swimming pool. She was operated. She got a new hip prosthesis and I visited her. She told me of her first man who died from a cancer and of her new partner, who took care of her after her operation. I really was received by her like a friend and felt happy with it.

Our neighbor Bert still misses his partner Helen, who died a year ago. He is sleeping very bad by it. He told he will go with his caravan to a camping in Limburg to be together with friends there. He hopes that the pain of Helen’s death will become less there.

Making music with Ada
It really is pleasant to make music together. Ada on her trumpet and I on the piano. In some time we will give another concert for our friends in Hooge Zwaluwe.
During the making music Matti sneaked into the room and applauded, when we finished like he was real public. He had taken a present with him, because of my birthday. I invited Ada and Matti namely to celebrate my birthday after the making music with having a dinner with us. It really was very agreeable. Ada told a lot about her father who was in the resistance during the second World war. She will write a book about it and now already published articles about it in a local historical magazine.

Falling down
As you know opa and I nearly always bike when we go to concerts, friends or are going shopping and so on. And that Sunday we had a concert in the church of Terheijden and as usually we went by bike. But……the ground was icy by frost. And I fell when turning around the bend. I had a bruise on my knee and bruises on both my legs. But I was so happy it wasn’t opa who fell, because of his knee prosthesis’s.
At home in the garden I saw the birds eating from the seeds I threw on the bird table. Some days it was winter in the Netherlands.

Opa finished the writing of his new art-book
With the help of a great dictionary opa wrote a text in English for a book with pictures of draughts during history. The pictures were collected by his friend Wim van Mourik and opa wrote about his linguistic findings in the history of draughts. Now his English is corrected by an English draughts’ player.

Tante Daphne is happy: she is asked to act in a play for little children, but also for another play for the whole school.

Skyping with Geneviève
Every now and then I am skyping with Geneviève, our French girl-friend. But that day the communication was too bad, probably because others were also using the line, so we decided to skype another time. Geneviève invited us to come to them in Montélimar this year. We will go to them in September and will combine it with a two weeks stay with madame Vézolles in Chambonas in the French Ardèche.

Problems with medicines
Tante Daphne is suffering from a too slowly working thyroid gland. Therefore she has to take the medicine Thyrax. Now lots of thyroid gland patients are coming into problems, because the Thyrax-factory will move to Belgium. In the meantime the factory will not produce Thyrax and because the Netherlands is a too small customer the factory didn’t give the Netherlands a stock beforehand. The problem is that it costs the doctor a lot of time to determine how much Thyrax a patient needs. When he gives the patient another new medicine the determining will start again. It is really a bad thing for the patients. But fortunately tante Daphne still has a stock of Thyrax, because she just went to the doctor’s.

With my girl-friend Mieke I went to the cinema in Rotterdam to see the film “black”. It treats of two gangs of youths in Brussels. One gang of Moroccans with the principal person “Marvan” and another gang of North Africans with the principal person “Mavela”.
Marvan and Mavela spent their time with stealing, fighting, violence and hanging on the street. One day Marvan and Mavela met each other with the police-station after having stolen and being punished for it. There they fell in love after which the film started to look like the old musical “the Westside Story” or the classic story of Romeo and Juliet of Shakespeare. The sad story of two young people of different parties who fell in love with each other. That love will not be tolerated by the other party and their own party and so it was with Marvan and Mavela. Marvan was beaten in a terrible way by his group and Mavela was raped by the boys of her own gang. It was rude, cruel and hopeless. The two were not to be saved. It finished with the classical fight between the two gangs in which Marvan was killed in the arms of Mavela.
What impressed and deterred me very much were the group rapes as a punishment for the fact that the girl has a lover in the party of the enemy. It’s not permitted that this film will be shown in the cinema’s of Brussels, because the government is afraid of the violent reaction of the real gangs in Brussels who fight each other. The violence between gangs of youths in Brussels is a real problem.

Worn out and run low
I wore mamma’s jeans and mamma’s jumpers and jerseys until they were worn out. Also the perfumes she gave me ran low. I put all in a plastic bag, because I cannot throw them away. It hurts so much.

Opa’s birthday
Opa has become 72 years old on the 27th of January. I prepared a breakfast for him with eggs and bacon (his favorite!). Together we went to Breda (not by bike for it rained cats and dogs, but by car) to the cinema to look at the film “A Danish girl”, the story of the first transgender who was operated to change from a man to a woman, because she felt imprisoned in a man’s body while feeling herself a woman. Very sensible was registered what it means to be a transgender. Impressed and still talking about this magnificent film we went to a Greek Restaurant to have dinner there.

Storm and rain

januari 2016 024Pommetje is eating yoghurt.
When we were in Middelburg to help tante Daphne it was terrible weather. Storm and rain. Tante Daphne brought the children to school with her e-bike, because it was too stormy for opa with his knee prosthesis’s to bring them by bike. The next day we drove back to Hooge Zwaluwe, five persons in our small black Peugeot 107, on the freeway of the province of Zealand, where storms are blowing harder than in our province Noord-Brabant because of the surrounding sea. We saw a car lying upside down in the ditch. An ambulance with it. Probably the driver couldn’t hold his car on the road. Really the storm was jerking on my steer. Except a hard storm it was raining cats and dogs, which makes the driving very hard .How glad we were to arrive safely in Hooge Zwaluwe. There I baked doughnut balls because of the birthday of opa. We feasted on, especially because the balls were still warm. In the evening we went eating in a restaurant. It was a pleasant day.

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On the photo you see Finn and Kirse playing the piano.

Tante Renske’s birthday
The next day, on the 31st of January tante Renske became 71 years of age. After breakfast we went to her. There were already some neighbors drinking their coffee. After them Jesca came, a woman who illustrates children’s books. We had a nice talk with her. She told that she felt unhappy at school, because she felt different from the other children and only when she passed her exams of the secondary school she started to feel happy, finally being in the possibility to devote herself to drawing. She feels the happiest when drawing alone in her room.
Then the small room of tante Renske was filling with family and friends. I had a talk with a girl-friend of tante Renske with whom she was friends already at the primary school. The father and the mother of that girl-friend were one of the first people owning a real television. We as children were allowed to watch television there all sitting on the floor on Wednesday-afternoon and Saturday-afternoon when children’s programs were broadcasted.
At the end of the afternoon we ate with dishes on our laps the goulash tante Renske prepared before. And then we quickly went to Middelburg, where I should look again after Finn and Kirse the next day, because tante Daphne had to go away for a health consult in Terneuzen.

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The Netherlands
Each day are coming lots of refugees in the Netherlands now. And not every Dutchman is happy with them. It is getting a great problem, because different cultures also have different standards.
It is also a problem to give every refugee a house. Old prisons, old factories and holiday houses are used to get the refugees housed.

The United States
On the fifth of January president Obama announced he wanted to restrict the rules for the selling of weapons. In the Netherlands people are punished when they own weapons, but in the States it is usual to have them. And many Americans feel safe with them, while in the Netherlands they realize which risks are connected with the owning of weapons. Considering the late massacres of innocent children or people at schools and in cinema’s in the States it is convincing that it is not sensible that everyone is allowed to own weapons. It may be even very dangerous. The discussion about the owning of weapons is also a big political item in the struggle in the election of the new American president this year.

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