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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.