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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July and August 2017

July and August 2017


Many happy returns of your birthday. Your last birthday which we celebrated in Holland was your fifth.

You were a pupil of juffrouw Deanne and juffrouw Erica. You had got a lot of phantasy and was such a funny little boy with your ear to ear smile.

I still remember your birthday party in the Van der Goesstraat. We did some games outside and inside with the by you invited children.

And as family and friends we celebrated your birthday in the Euromastpark, where we were and you were very glad with the football you received from Ischa and Femke. The first day after your birthday you told at school you received a golden ball, because the football had a gold color. Children were allowed to paint on glass and to make birds. These Rotterdam festivals always were very relaxed with music bands playing their music and the public sitting on the lawns and everyone enjoying  the atmosphere of a warm and happy Summer. These birthdays still are positive memories of the time you were in the Netherlands, nicely living with mamma, who then still took care of the three of you and who , loved you so much.



There was something strange with mamma. Everyone saw a beautiful woman, intelligent, social, witty, equipped with many talents, but yet she herself didn’t see that. Her ego was so small, so very small. The rape and the sexual ill-treatment of the raper probably made that her ego was so small and vulnerable. She always blamed herself the first, when something went wrong, while she had so many positive qualities.

I still remember her entrance in rooms. She never was invisible, because she had a lot of charisma. Everyone saw her because of this charisma. She had the possibility to set the atmosphere in a room. Every time I saw it again. As a young child lots of children wanted to play with her, when she got older there were boys/men who fell in love with her every time. She had so much to give, but almost wasn’t able by the damage of the cruel rape to receive. But you three formed her happiness.

One negative  remark could bring her already out of balance.  She tried to live her difficult life and did so her best. Her life was a continous fight to stay able to function.

Although she was destroyed literarily by the rape and later by the kidnapping of the three of you and the false blaming, she was not destroyed figuratively. Her inside and outside beauty stay as a positive memory, despite all the mean things which happened to her. Although it seemed she lost in a certain way she has won by means of this positive memory of her which will stay for ever.

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May and June 2017

May and June 2017

Dear Mirabelle, many happy returns of this day and opa and I wish you a good health, success at school, happiness with your relatives and friends. It is unbelievable you are already seventeen year old. I look at this photo below. This photo is standing  in our book case and reminds us of the time you were young. Opa and I remember you as this cheerful and adventurous girl. This photo was made during the year that mamma, Mark, Lucas and you were in Australia.

This photo was made by your neighbor. You often were tinkering, like mamma did. This afternoon I still saw a beautiful drawing of you with bright colors. I remember the three of you liked drawing and often were busy on our table with drawing or tinkering, just like at home with mamma, where you had lots of tinkering materials.


I now will write about some other quality of your mother. As you know also mamma was adventurous as a child and she always wanted to know her limits. That means that we as her educators often need to correct her. In a certain way she was accustomed that her behavior for instance was more criticized than Daphne’s, because Daphne was far less adventurous and naughty than your mother. But as I am thinking of her in the course of the time she was often able to handle the critics in a very constructive way. Especially when she was  wrongly diagnosed as a borderline-patient( in reality she suffered from a heavy PTSS)  we could give her advice without being afraid that she would become angry about it. Afterwards I think that her way of handling with critics was the reason she could function with her PTSS. Her self-reflection, intellect and social personality made her able to work and have the responsibility as your mother. But in between she was conscious of her PTSS and all the consequences.

Was she easy in handling critics, she also was very good in criticizing people in a positive, constructive way. That’s why she was beloved by trainees on her work. They accepted her straight and calm way of criticizing. Thinking to myself, when I was criticized by your mother I miss her typical way to express how she thought about things. Just like opa she had a sharp tongue and she knows when she was angry she was able to hurt people with what she said, but on the other side she never withheld how she thought about things. And when she disliked people she didn’t hide that. She was very honest in her way of acting. When she was studying to become a nurse, she had to do that study in the spare time she had, beside three little children at home. On the average she was elder then than most students. Because she had to be so economic with the spare time she had she could be irritated by young students who were making noise during the lessons at school. It cost her more time then to study the subject later.  She had already expressed her irritation by that to her fellow-students, but the students remained in making noise during some lessons. That’s why she stood up during a lesson and shouted to the others: “Could you be please silent  now finally!!!” and walked out of the classroom. It gave her a certain respect, because she was right. I still remember mamma was very very angry with me, because I had not connected the mobile she once gave to me. I had gone with Mirabelle and Lucas to the play ground in Charlois and mamma should come later when Robin was awaken from his afternoon sleep. When she came at four o’clock she didn’t see me, because in between the play ground was closed and I went to the Roosestraat with Mirabelle and Lucas. Somewhat later mamma came, very angry, I had to take the bags downstairs and she didn’t prepare dinner, so I went to buy French fries with Mirabelle to eat as a dinner. But mamma very clearly expressed she was angry that she didn’t like at all I didn’t connect my mobile and….she was right. Also to tante Daphne and to opa, Ischa and Femke  she could come with her typical critics. It was not always pleasant, but often she was right.

Another quality you also need when you are critical like her is courage. And mamma was very courageous as you can see out of her behavior towards her fellow-students. Also Lambèr van der Lugt, her manager, thought her critical but also courageous in that way. She was able to say to her colleagues that she thought there was gossiped to much about each other during the work. Mamma didn’t like that at all and said so. Her colleagues were not directly pleased by that, but Lambèr was glad she expressed her critics  and the atmosphere improved at her work. I do hope so that you also have this typical way of constructive criticizing. I really was proud, that mamma could be like that.

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March and April 2017

March and April 2017



On the thirtieth of March it was already eight years ago that mamma died. I was sad that day and must think of that terrible time eight years ago. As so many people said: “She had not earned that at all!” She was doing her utmost to live her very difficult life with a post traumatic stress syndrome of the terrible rape and cruel sexual abuse after this terrible rape. Although she experienced life as very heavy she wanted to continue for the three of you.  The three of you were the only thing why she would continue. She didn’t earn at all that you were kidnapped to the United States. The three of you were the most important in the world for her .

That Monday, the sixteenth of February, that she knew that the three of you were taken away, she did everything she could to get you back. She went to the police to report the kidnapping. It was kidnapping said  the police and not only the police but also the judge affirmed that it was kidnapping.  The police told her that it would cost a lot of money to get her children back and also a lot of time. She asked the help of the television and was busy to fill in official documents with the Ministry of Justice. She was phoning and busy all the time. She didn’t sleep that night of the fifteenth February, but also not the night of the sixteenth February. That day she got a phone of an organization that they received a reporting that she abused the three of you.

The other day, the seventeenth of February,  she would have a conversation with that organization. By the way she thought that that organization would help to get you back to the Netherlands and that the reporting of abusing her children was not taken seriously after the kidnapping. But when she came she was seriously accused to have abused you. It was terrible for her. Fortunately opa and I were with this conversation. So we could support her and tell the contrary namely that mamma didn’t abuse the three of you at all.

The evening after this terrible conversation she was phoned by a so-called American doctor that she abused the three of you and that the three of you did never want to go back to her.  She phoned me and told me about the terrible phone-call with this so-called doctor. This was too much. She was crying and totally upset,  totally upset!!!!!  She understood that not anybody would or could help her. It was a nightmare for her: the three of you kidnapped and at the same time she was accused of having abused you and worst of all the so-called doctor said the three of you never wanted to go back to her. She said to me William was there and that I didn’t need to come. But she was not with William, she was alone and made an end of her life…. This was the last time I had her on the phone.

I never can believe that the three of you really accused her of abusing. You were so fond of her. Every time I think about that and then I look at the photo of the three of you sitting with mamma. The photo your neighbor made once. That photo is hanging on our wall, above the tea-tray. That photo  is telling me every time that you didn’t accuse mamma at all. It only convinced me that the three of you loved mamma very much and were proud of her. I see the photo as a sweet memory of the four of you.

Judith & kidsd

The other day, the eighteenth of February,  we found mamma in coma and she was brought to hospital. The doctors could only tell us that her prognosis was zero.  They told us she would die.  During six weeks she was treated well by sweet nurses, who were very touched by her sad story. Also the doctor attending her treated her very well. On the thirtieth of March she died.

I will write about that time as well as I will write about everything I know of you and mamma. Every day I am writing for you. The past eight years after each other we tried to do something for you, but we found too many difficulties on our way. And now we are only waiting for you and when you come we will show you  the immense file  of what we did to help you to prove that we never forgot  the three of you.

Opa wrote a book about mamma.


We were on the national television. Look at https://www.npo.nl/de-wandeling/01-10-2010/KRO_1389605. We had interviews with some papers We were struggling  with all kinds of organizations. People tried to help us, but it was useless. We couldn’t do anything. Now we feel quite powerless to do anything else. But really we never forgot and will never forget the three of you and do love the three of you unconditionally.


Here you see a photo of mamma’s coffin at her farewell at the third of April. Because mamma wouldn’t  like we shall do it in the crematory, we organized it in a restaurant in the wood. Before the coffin we put a photo of the three of you, because you belong to mamma, were and still are  her children. We didn’t forget you during the farewell. Tante Daphne started to speak on the farewell of mamma. She started like this:

M’n allerliefste nichtje en neefjes. M’n lieve Bellebel, Lucipuc en Robbie. Jullie hadden hierbij moeten zijn, bij het afscheid van jullie mamma. Oma en opa en andere familieleden hebben heel hard geprobeerd om contact met jullie te krijgen, maar het is niet gelukt. Daarom denken we nu heel hard aan jullie, zodat jullie er –via ons- tóch bij kunnen zijn.

When she said this, she spoke to the photo of you. I never experienced a farewell where so many people were emotional. They pitied mamma, but also the three of you.

Femke said in her speech:

Alleen laten we jouw kindjes niet. We vertellen ze hoe mooi en lief je bent, te mooi en lief zoals iedereen jou hier ook ziet.

Ischa said in her speech:

Je hebt drie prachtige kinderen ter wereld gebracht. Ook op jou als moeder ben ik zo trots: Met verbazing keek ik hoe je jouw drie kinderen met liefde aan het opvoeden was én studeerde én werkte en dan vond je óók nog de tijd om bijvoorbeeld ……

Tante Renske in her speech:

Je was zo gelukkig toen je van Mirabelle zwanger was. Samen bekleedden we de wieg. Je maakte allemaal schilderijtjes met de konijntjes van tekenares Beatrice Potter. Met liefde maakte jij ook die drie babyalbums voor Mirabelle, Lucas en Robin.

Also Lambèr van de Lugt, mamma’s manager of the Crabbehof had a beautiful speech. Here a part of his  speech about mamma and you:

Dat werken je niet vreemd was, en dat je veel voor anderen over had, bleek ook na het feest voor de kinderen dat de personeelsvereniging gaf met sinterklaas. Met de kinderen ben je in de Crabbehof geweest om dat feest gezamenlijk te vieren. Het is de organisatie van dat kinderfeest opgevallen dat jij samen met de kinderen mee hielp om alles op te ruimen. Uit jezelf. Iedereen ging naar huis, maar jij ruimde mee op. Dat vond jij vanzelfsprekend en het was duidelijk je bedoeling dat je kinderen ook bij te brengen.

And I told this:

Omdat ik, nadat haar ex twee jaar geleden naar Amerika was vertrokken, drie dagen per week oppaste, kwam ze met kerst met een kerstpakket voor me. Ze was immers mijn werkgever. Met de kinderen had ze allemaal lekkere en leuke dingetjes voor me gekocht o.a. bloembollen. Deze had Lucas voor me uitgekozen, omdat oma zo van bloemen hield. Nu staan in onze tuin op verschillende plekjes mooie bloemen te bloeien. Nog een lieve herinnering aan die drie bengeltjes die nu in dat verre Amerika zitten.

Mamma liked to sing the song “treintje naar dromenland” for you. When she lied in coma tante Daphne often sang this song for her. It always made mamma quiet.  During mamma’s stay in hospital I often sang “Suzanne” of Leonard Cohen.  The song of the girl who crossed the water (died). These two songs were also played during the farewell. William was not able to talk during the farewell, because of his emotions. He wanted to have played “crying” of Roy Orbison. Ischa asked for “Voor altijd” by Marco Borsato and Femke for “weatherstorm” by Craig Armstrong, music she knew was loved by mamma and during the music request  of opa “Adagio” of Samuel Barber numerous photo’s of mamma first alone and later with the three of you were shown by beamer on the wall. And opa? He presented all the speakers and the program.

Then we offered a high tea to all the people who came, for mamma always spoilt her guests with delicious things and we know she would have wanted it for all the guests who came on her farewell too. At last opa, oom Leander, William, tante Daphne, Ischa, Femke and I brought the coffin to the car under the music of Coldplay’s “Clocks”.  By car we brought her to the crematory. The urn with her ashes is waiting for the three of you.


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January and February 2017

January and February 2017

As I wrote in my last post I will write my posts every two months one time. I will not write anymore about us, only about your mom. Besides these posts I am writing now about your mom and especially I am translating my diary records about your mom, but also about the three of you. The translating is making me sad, because I realize that I am missing mamma and the three of you so dearly and also I realize that maybe I will not see  the three of you anymore. Nevertheless I hope so much, that you are happy. As I said I am still busy now with writing and then when it is finished  I will save this special  information for you for later. I will not publish this on this website.


Mamma and her social network

As Mirabelle, when she was still in Holland, mamma always had a lot of friends. Already from when she was a little girl. When she was young I sometimes had to be angry with her, because she had made appointments with several friends and she could not play with all those friends together. So I had to comfort the children with whom mamma could not play then. Till she died mamma had friends around her. They all mourned her sad death.

I will show you several photo’s on which you can see mamma and her friends.


This one is of her fifth birthday. Strikingly was, that mamma especially was playing with boy-friends. As boys she was naughty and enterprising. Mamma was sitting here between Maurice, the boy with the black hair. Maurice was living some streets from our home. Once I must punish mamma, because she went on her little bike to Maurice. She had to cross several streets and did it in her own. Robin do you recognize something of your mom? On the other side sits Xander, with whom mamma would marry, till he told her that he wanted to become a farmer of pigs. That mamma doesn’t want at all. Besides Xander sits Marnix. Marnix was the son of Marijke, my colleague of school. When she was giving lessons I took care of her children and when I gave lessons she took care of my children. Mamma and Marnix were a very naughty couple. Besides Marnix sits Ruud, a neighbor-boy. When we were on television to tell about your mom’s death he got in touch with us. Strikingly nearly all these children were with the farewell of mamma.


Here you see mamma, tante Daphne and Ruud, the neighbor-boy again. Ruud came to stay with us for a night.


This nice summer photo of the swimming-pool in our garden was so cheerful. You see mamma on the right. She made me think of Robin, when he was young. In between mamma and tante Daphne is Celine. A girl-friend of tante Daphne.


This photo is nice too, because here you see Femke on the right of mamma. Beside Femke is Marnix, the son of my colleague. Here mamma is opening presents on her seventh birthday-party.


Mamma and Ischa are acting here. They are play-backing the song “don’t worry, be happy” , when they had their end-feast of the primary school. Do you recognize mamma at the right? She liked to act funny situations.


Mamma and Ischa. From their ninth year on Ischa and mamma were bosom friends. I know for sure, that mamma and Ischa shared lots of secrets. And joking together? Ischa and mamma loved it.


Here mamma with her nephew Tom, who is oom Aad’s son. In many holidays mamma went to Amsterdam or Tom went to Rockanje. The two loved to make fun together.


Here mamma and Ischa together in a birthday game. I guess  they are acting, as they liked so much.


Mamma is at the secondary school and had a sleeping feast for her birthday. Mamma is lying in her bed. Besides her with our cat is a girl who also reacted on the death of mamma and said, that mamma makes a little piece of happiness in her heavy youth . It was so good to hear, that mamma was loved by so many people.


Mamma and Ischa were singing in a band. Here a phoot of the two.

img149Mamma and Ischa in the house of Ischa.

img150Mamma and Femke.

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December 2016

December 2016

First of all I will wish the three of you a happy 2017. That 2017 may be a great year for you with many good events for you, a year of health and good results in working, studying or whatever you are doing.


The weather in December

When the days are so short as in December you extra feel a need for sunlight during the only nine hours light of the short December days. This December was sunny. We had 76 hours sun against 49 hours usually. And it rained only 27 millimeter against 80 millimeter usually. On the average it was 4,9 degrees Celsius against 3,7 degrees Celsius usually.


One post per two months

Because I want to have more time for translating my diary-records about the time mamma lived and about the time  you were in the Netherlands, I will in future only write one post per two months on three little birds instead of one post per month. I made the assumption there will be some time that the three of you want to know exactly everything of that time. I will translate everything, so that you will know as much as possible of this period, the period of your childhood in the Netherlands. When I don’t live then anymore you may ask for it with tante Daphne. When tante Daphne doesn’t live anymore you may ask for it with Finn or Kirse. We will keep it for you, together with mamma’s ashes and some things I kept for you during this time.

So the next post will be at the start of March.


Mamma and tante Daphne

I now want to tell you something about mamma’s relationship with tante Daphne.

I always had the wish to have many children, but opa didn’t. That’s the reason why I hoped that tante Daphne and mamma would have a tight relation. Because when we would die they would have each other. And my wish partly  became true: mamma and tante Daphne had a close relationship. They nearly shared everything. Mamma was warm, social and impulsive, tante Daphne was wise, timid and perfectionist. The two sisters were supplementary to each other. Tante Daphne was telling or writing stories, while mamma was of creating drawings or objects. Tante Daphne was more of the theory, while mamma was more of the practice. Tante Daphne had some close friends, while mamma had many, many friends. I will tell three stories of the many I had about the close relation the two had.


When tante Daphne and mamma were small children, they shared a large room on the third floor of our home in Rockanje, the so-called attic. As mamma always had to do a pee before she slept in, she had to descend two staircases. And mamma always was a bit scary because of her great fantasy. Might be she might meet a great lion or a horrible man on those stairs! Therefore mamma begged tante Daphne to go with her and because tante Daphne thought that too much, she promised to think very firmly of her, so that she doesn’t feel lonely on those stairs. When mamma came back she told tante Daphne she really saw her. And this was the solution in that time: mamma went to do a pee, tante Daphne firmly thought of her during that time.


Tante Daphne was studying educational science at the University of Leiden and shared an apartment in Leiden with her cousin Jo-Janneke. In that apartment they also had a cat, named Wicky. It happened that this cat fell down the window of the apartment from the third floor  on the street right under a riding car. She nearly lost her life, but a veterinarian saved her life. Every day tante Daphne went to Wicky and fortunately could take her home finally. Wicky was extremely oriented towards tante Daphne, which was fine but also nearly dangerous, because Wicky’s brains were damaged. From time to time she became extremely aggressive and then took tante Daphne as her prey. This meant that she tried to climb to the throat of her victim. Tante Daphne experienced these dangerous attacks several times and had to decide to have passed away her beloved Wicky. This was more than heavy for tante Daphne.  A hard decision, but who came some days later with a sweet little baby cat? Right, it was your mum cheering up her dear sister with this beautiful  little cat, which got the name Poomy.


Tante Daphne was going to marry oom Leander. She had a beautiful, but simple wedding dress and the hairdresser wanted to put some white flowers of the hyacinth in her hair. She ordered white hyacinths with the florist’s for the day before the wedding. But good heavens something went wrong and there were no white hyacinths with the florist’s the day before the wedding. Tante Daphne got in a panic, but mamma calmed her down and said she would solve this problem. And what did mamma? She walked through Rockanje trying to find a garden with white hyacinths. She found a garden and asked the owner for these flowers, because she needed them for the hair of her sister who would marry the next day. And because mamma had that strong disarming characteristic, the lady of the garden spontaneously gave her the white hyacinths and wished her a good feast day the next day.


Here some photo’s of mamma and tante Daphne.


Here mamma still is a baby. Tante Daphne and she are playing with dolls and cuddly animals in our garden.


Mamma on the potty and tante Daphne on her stool in the kitchen.


This sweet photo tante Renske took in the dunes of Rockanje. It was Easter Monday and we were going to picnic. Bread and fruits were in the new baskets of the two sisters.


Up till now tante Daphne likes to read aloud. Here she is reading the Great Kind Giant of Roald Dahl.


In the back of our garden I took this photo of the two sisters.


We went on holiday in the South of Germany. It was a hot summer day, so we wanted to be near the water. We found a nice stream with little islands of rocks in it. Here mamma and tante Daphne sit on such an island playing with their cuddly-monkeys.


On this photo we were staying in the province of Drenthe in the north of the Netherlands. It was nice weather because the two girls knotted their sweaters around their waists.


Playing theatre was one of the hobbies of mamma and tante Daphne. Here mamma was playing opa while tante Daphne was playing an attractive colleague of opa. Teasing by playing drama was very funny for the two.


And here the two were playing a walking holiday. Look at the backpacks of the two.


Our two great daughters in their teens. They often did things together.


You may imagine tante Daphne is missing her little sister very much and little Kirse promised her to look for the three of you when she has grown older. She feels a need to console the grief of her mother.


Saint Nicholas

This was the first Saint Nicholas on which Kirse also made surprises. And she made her first surprise for me. She made a bird-table for me and wrote her first Saint Nicholas poems. I liked it and would keep her first poems for later. Because opa is good in writing poems and is not so handy in making surprises, opa was making the poems and I the surprises. But ……there was a problem, because it was me who drew the lot of opa. But we solved it: opa was making a rap-poem for himself in the style of rapper Ronnie Flex. This rapper was supporting the World Championship of draughts, which was won by the 24-year-old Cor Boonstra.So opa made this poem and I made a LP on which the photo of Ronnie Flex was put.


On this photo you see opa rapping his poem.


And I made this helmet for Kirse, because she is so often teased by Finn. On the helmet I made small boxing gloves to save Kirse from teasing of her brother.


Here Kirse made Saint Nicholas staffs of paste filled with cheese.


Isolating the walls and the floor

There they came, two men who would going to fill our walls with pur, an isolating stuff. They started in the morning and were finished at six o’clock in the evening.

What we noticed already was that the atmospheric humidity was strikingly less than before. A month later two other men came to isolate the floor. One man lied on his back under our floor during three and a half hour to bring on pur. I hope our house will need still less energy than before.


A particular contact

Already when I was collecting money for the protection of animals I had deep conversations with her. She will lose her son in some time, because of a tumor in his head and I lost my daughter by cause of a suicide after the taking away of you and after the false accusations brought out against her. Pietie, the woman, and I had to talk so much that we made an appointment to meet each other. It felt good this meeting. Maybe I can support her, when she will lose her son.


The World Championship of Draughts

Opa together with his friend Wim would give a lecture about the history of draughts. Wim would show pictures with the help of PowerPoint  by which can be proved that in the past draughts was played by all social classes, included the high society.oud-en-nieuwjaar-011

This lecture would be given within the framework of the “Draughts ‘ World Championship” in Wageningen, which was finally won by Cor Boomstra.

There were other lectures by other authors of draughts ‘literature. I must say that there was a lot of attention. It was a success and opa and Wim found three sponsors for their new book.


Farewell of Ruud

When someone has passed away, you always hear more about someone’s life. The partner of Mieke, the girl-friend with whom I always go to films, died. Opa and I visited Mieke and Ruud several times in Amsterdam, where Ruud had an apartment near the Central Station. He then showed us Amsterdam and we always finished by eating in the Chinese Restaurant on the well-known Zeedijk.  Ruud was a kind and calm, intelligent man. He worked with the nature laboratory of Philips for some time. He was fond of his partner Mieke.

Now at the farewell we heard his family tell stories about his youth, which was not happy: his mother died when he was only seven years old and it was in the Second World War that his father had to work in Germany in the framework of the “Arbeitseinsatz”. So in short time he doesn’t have a mother nor a father and it was wartime. Later he could never tell about this hard time. We must hear it from his son and niece at his farewell.


The month of feasts

Except Saint Nicholas, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we had in the month of feasts two other feasts. The first was the birthday feast of our Rockanese girl-friend Anneke, who wanted to celebrate her birthday extensively, because all three her grown-up daughters were there. These three grown-up daughters are used to make big travels around the world and now all three of them were on Anneke’s birthday! A real present for Anneke. And she is so proud of her daughters, that she wanted to show them to all her friends and family. Also tante Daphne was invited, because in the past she was always taking care of these three daughters. “And we loved she did” said one of the daughters, “because it was always nice when Daphne came to take care of us”.

The other great feast, even greater was the fifty-years-marriage of our friends Jannie and Ton. They invited all their friends and family of who came nearly hundred people. They hired a great room with catering. There on that feast were delivered many funny recitations about the past of Jannie and Ton by friends and family. I met two of my Training College for Teachers’Fellows. Just like me they had grown much older, but it was nice to talk about the memories we had of that good old Training College-time. We saw lots of people we knew of our time in Rockanje and we were happy to talk with all those people.  It was really great the feast: the recitations, singing, talking with friends and the delicious food.

With Christmas tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse came. However not tante Renske, because her neck was aching again. I brought her a great bouquet of flowers as a consolation. We played games at Christmas, tante Daphne sang and I played Christmas-songs, we ate delicious food and enjoyed each other’s company.

Opa and I went to Eindhoven to tante Domien and oom Lo with New Year’s Eve. We had deep discussions and also made acquaintance with the new friend of Joleen, oom Lo’s and tante Domien’s daughter. And opa played draughts with Simon, Joleen’s son.


And Ymke, Joleens daughter, engages herself with synchronous swimming and is so very flexible as is shown on this photo. I think she is as flexible as the three of you are.


At the end of the day we went out eating in the restaurant. It were nice days.


Kirse ten years

On the 21st of December Kirse got ten years old. She not any more is that small child, no she is growing up to a serious and very intelligent girl. She is reading English already now, because she wants to look for you in America, when she is older as I told you before.

In Summer she will have her birthday-party, because she preferred a party outside. Maybe that tante Daphne and I will organize a search then.


We celebrated Kirse’s birthday on the day before Christmas, because it was a day off for everyone. But on the 21st of December I was rung by Kirse at exactly a quarter to two: “Oma, do you know that it’s just at this time that I was born ten years ago?” She talked already about her birth when I brought her away by car to her youth orchestra that Monday before her birthday: “Oma do you know exactly when I was born?”I remembered that afternoon very well. Tante Daphne rang end of the morning that the baby would come and I was allowed to come just like your mamma. I hurried to be there in time and I stayed in a hurry, because the midwife was there, but the nurse was too late and the baby would come in a minute. The midwife also had to do all those things nurses do and I only remember that I climbed up and down the stairs a thousand times to get things for the midwife. It all went so quickly that your mother came just in time to see our little Kirse be born there.


The Netherlands

Maybe you still remember that when it was New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands lots of firework were let off. Then often serious accidents happen, when (mostly) boys let off self-bought firework. Especially eye-doctors ask for forbidding letting off firework by people who aren’t specialized in letting off  it. There are too many accidents with terrible damage of eyes with many young people. Also on the first aid of hospitals come lots of people with physical damage of firework. There is asked more and more now for forbidding letting off firework by people who don’t know how to handle it and organize instead of it a public great firework let off by people specialized in it.


The United States

Still some days President Obama will reign. I think it a pity he will stop and I am afraid Donald Trump will do stupid and dangerous things when he becomes President of the United States.

Right at the end of his government President Obama did some striking things, among others he didn’t speak out a veto against a UN-resolution against the settling of Israeli’s on the West bank of the Jordan in Palestine area. And at last he forbade that a gas pipeline would be constructed from North to South America. A heritage of president Obama. What will president Trump do with this heritage?

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November 2016

November 2016


Lucas, many happy returns of your birthday. Fifteen year old already. I wish you a lot of health, a lot of success at school and many good friendships. I also wish you happiness with your family.

When disappeared from Holland you only just were three months seven year old. More than half of your life you are living in the States now.


The weather in November

We had the coldest November since 1998. Even the first half of November was not so cold since 1980. It was freezing and also snowing (wet snow)  in the first half of November.

On November the twentieth was the heaviest storm of the year. The month finished with the coldest autumn-night since 1996 (- seven degrees Celsius). It was freezing twelve times. Normally it is freezing only six days in November.


Photo’s from Lucas from the past


In December 2001 you came from hospital for the second time. First you were born, but on this photo from February 2002 you were recovered from the so-called MRSA-bacterium. Because MRSA is contagious we, mamma, pappa, opa, tante Daphne and I, had to wear aprons and masks before our noses to prevent we breathe in the MRSA-bacterium in hospital . You see that on this photo you were fully recovered from the MRSA-bacterium and together with Mirabelle and mamma you stayed during four months with us in Hooge Zwaluwe. Mirabelle thought it funny to ride you (of course we took care of you so that there would not happen accidents) in her little baby-buggy. Only the terrible noise on the stone floor gave her already a lot of joy.


In your first year you also lived with pappa, mamma and Mirabelle during one year in Brisbane (Australia). On this photo you very concentrated are playing with your toys.


Here you are celebrating a birthday-party. I don’t know which one, because the photo is dated from August 2002 (Brisbane).


Not anything more interesting than water. Here you were only two years old and staying with us in Hooge Zwaluwe. Opa and I took you with us to the Asterdplas in Breda. For hours you were only running into and out of the water and looked interested at the stirring of the water you left by moving.


Here you were six years old. Mirabelle was staying with pappa during two weeks in the States. They were staying with the Great Lakes, but you, mamma, Robin, tante Daphne, Finn, Kirse and I were staying during one week in Petit-Mormont in the Belgian Ardennes. You were enjoying it very much there. Here you and me were walking in the neighborhood of our large holiday-house. I am carrying little Kirse on my belly.


Mamma had a relationship with William. The three of you went with William and mamma to a holiday-park. It was 2008. The three of you had a lot of fun in the swimming-pool. You were six years old.


Robin had his birthday-party and you were on turn in a game. You were going to dive for a candy out of the water. Would you succeed? (six years old)


Ah….gel in your hair. You felt really tough. At the background is the Euromast. We celebrated Robin’s birthday in the Euromastpark. (six year old)



I had only a key-code, but nothing else. What to do if the alarm of your opposite neighbor Cees goes off? Arnoud, our other opposite neighbor, rung at the bell: “Heleen have you got Cees’ phone number? ”Yes, I had, but only his line-number but not the number of the mobile. And Cees was away, so that doesn’t fit. From Cees ’ home came a terrible shrieking sound. Poor Melang(Arnoud’s wife) who had to do some phone calls abroad for her work got crazy by it. But another neighbor-woman had Cees ’number of the mobile, so opa called Cees who was just watching an exposition in a museum far away. Yes Cees gave his alarm-code, but nothing helped. The shrieking sound continued and continued. The upshot of the affair was that Arnoud was permitted to pull out the cables out of the alarm. Finally it was silent again. Good heavens! And what was the matter? There was a need to exchange the battery in the alarm. Next day ànd Arnoud and Melang ànd opa and I received flowers of Cees, because of all the trouble we had with his alarm.


Friends and family

Also this month we had many contacts with our friends and family.

I played music with my friends Ada and Mathilde.

Opa and I visited Simone, the woman who took care of mamma’s cremation. She has become a real friend for us and still is burning candles for mamma and the three of you. Just like we she is hoping we’ll ever get contact with the three of you.

I phoned my girl-friend Joke, who was so happy to have a new relation after years of misfortune.

Willem, the husband of my deceased girl-friend Wil, again had bad luck. Was his heart-operation succeeded, now he struggled with an infection of the wound and his breastbone which was opened to use veins, was not recovered in the right way. He had to wear a special brace, which will connect the two parts of his breastbone again.

Jaap de Lang phoned. He told that the apartments opposite to where you lived in the Frank van der Goesstraat have been broken off.

Would it be the name Willem? Because also the husband Willem of my girl-friend Ineke, was suffering from an infected wound of his gal operation. There was formed a abscess.  Fortunately Ineke herself could treat the wound, because she was a nurse in the past.

Tante Renske and I visited poor oom Guus. He is moved to another nursing home in Heemskerk. He now only is able to sit in his wheelchair. Most of the time he was sleeping very deeply. Poor tante Fennie is visiting him each day.

Rob, opa’s cousin and his wife came to have dinner with us. Rob told about the chaos in his work with the police. Since some years the police tries to work in quite another way. They reorganized the whole. A lot of money is spent to this reorganization. The minister of justice and safety together with the director of the police were responsible for it and up till now it is chaos.

We went to Zutphen to our boy-friend Ernst. We didn’t see him for 36 years. In that time Ernst was travelling a lot and that was the reason we lost sight of him. Now we found him again on the internet. He became a singer songwriter. We took contact with him and he too liked to meet each other.  We planned to have lunch with him, but already very soon it was getting so late, that we decided to go to the pizzeria’s. Late in the evening we went away. I don’t think it will last again another 36 year that we will meet each other, for Ernst promised us to come and visit us in the next year. Ernst told us that mamma and tante Daphne, when they were still children started to dance, when he played the guitar.

Oom Aad wrote a mail. On the twenty eighth of November his second grandson was born. The son of Tom.  He is called Evrim.

On the thirtieth of November my colleague Kitty had dinner with us. She sees that all the employees working in the hospital are busy in such a way , that they haven’t got the time to reflect things. And what is far more harmful, they haven’t got the freedom to fill in their work in their own personal way, because all the work has to comply with too many rules. That is killing, which is shown by the many burn outs which occur among the employees. Now as member of the ethical commission Kitty was writing an article in which she asked for more personal freedom. For employees are not robots. We are eager if time is so far that it will be acknowledged by employers that employees ought to have more personal freedom to perform their work. I am sure that at least it must give much more pleasure in work for employees.


Tante Daphne’s birthday

Also tante Daphne had her birthday. She got 42 years old. We went to Grijpskerke. We played games like poker bridge and pesten, but also watched the funny video “Knetter”. It deals with Bonnie and her mother Lis, who both like elephants. Lis is a sweet, but not so common mother. Sometimes she is very lively and gay and then again she can be very dejected. Actually Bonnie is taking more care for her mother than the other way around. The two of them experienced a lot, but love each other very much. Youth care wanted to send Bonnie to another family, but Bonnie prevents that by asking the assistance of a kind woman-neighbor, who is coming to live with Bonnie and Liz and will be like a mother for Lis and a grandmother for Bonnie. So Bonnie, Lis and the neighbor form a new family and youth care was sent away.


The nineteenth of November

was mamma’s birthday. Tante Daphne already early phoned that day, also tante Renske. Mathilde phoned. She also lost her child and knows how sad such a day is. There came two postcards from friends and in the evening our opposite neighbors came to bring flowers.

Opa and I were also thinking of the three of you. You must have celebrated mamma’s birthday. She must still have been there  for you. Then she would have spoilt you with pieces of pie and delicious food. Dear mamma.



Because in the second half of November Sinterklaas is in the Netherlands, I want to tell about mamma’s creativity. In this time I must often think of her: her beautiful surprises, her self-made presents on many birthdays, her nice drawings. She really was talented.

She was always very busy for our birthdays. Making presents herself gave her a lot of pleasure.


On this photo opa is receiving presents on his birthday.


This photo must be of father’s day at the end of spring, because of the nightwear of opa, tante Daphne and mamma.


Here mamma together with tante Daphne is decorating Easter eggs. At the background you see a painting of oom Aad.


At the attic I made a large table for mamma at which she was always busy to make the most beautiful things. She could sit there for hours.


This is the room of mamma. She made surprises for Sinterklaas. Look a kind of growth meter for tante Daphne. There some robot and on the foreground some hand with red nails. Sinterklaas was mamma’s favorite feast.


The older she grew, the more beautiful her surprises became. Look at the surprises she made on these photo’s.


With this fine modeling clay she made the most beautiful things.  Unfortunately I have not examples of them.


It was Sinterklaas 2001. Mamma, Mirabelle and Lucas (still a small baby) were celebrating the feast in Hooge Zwaluwe. Mamma made this beautiful queen on her throne.


And for little Mirabelle she made a nice show-box.


Opa and I were married 29 years and you were in Australia. Mamma sent this dearest bride and bridegroom.


Be economic with energy

In the Netherlands it is striking that people are really thinking about alternatives for fossil energy. It’s planned that in some ten years cars are driving on electricity and that people will share cars so that there will be emitted  less carbon dioxide in the air. And all the houses have to be heated by the energy of sun, wind or by heat pumps. Also opa and I were thinking. We decided first to fill the hollow walls of our house with pur. So we can save warmth  by this isolation. And of course we don’t heat our house too much. You can also put on woolen sweaters and trousers. So bit by bit we try to reach the norms which were asked in the climate treaty of Paris. Next month the isolating of walls and floors will be done.


One million Euros

I am always talking about politics with Hennie. Like me Hennie is also swimming on Thursday morning. And after swimming a group among Hennie and me are staying to drink a cup of coffee. Once the group started as a small group of eight persons and has grown now to thirteen persons. The agreement for being a member of this group is that you have to treat when it’s your birthday. It really is very pleasant.

So during this coffee Hennie came to me with an invitation. She is the chair-woman  of a local political party and that local political party organized a special evening. Everyone was invited. On that evening we’ll do a game in which we are supposed to have to divide one million Euros among items in our municipality. A number of our swimming-group ( among who were me) went to that evening organized in the Cheese Farm of Made. The people present there were divided into groups of five persons. It was nice to reflect and talk with other persons which items in the municipality might need more money. Our group thought care of elder people the most important, because last time this care is economized the most. Lots of older people need far more help than they had at this moment. As second item we choose for the sustainability of the environment. The third item was the return of the local bobby.

In the break the owners of the cheese farm showed us how they prepare cheese and of course we were offered many different pieces of cheese. At the end we received a little present: a bottle of local beer, a piece of cheese and a ballpoint of the local political party, which organized this evening.


The Netherlands

The use of violence by Dutch militaries in the struggle for independence in Indonesia was far more than was suggested up till now. After the second world war lots of Dutch militaries were sent to the Dutch colony to prevent independence of Indonesia from Holland. Rémy Limpach and other historians  examined this time in our history and discovered that the military leaders gave vague orders, but let kill many people. A black page in our Dutch history.


The united States

Donald Trump is forming his government now. The names of the new ministers are made known. I fear for the environment of the States. For the rest nearly everything which Obama built up will be broken off by Trump. Think of Obama care and the approach to Cuba. And what will Trump do with the Mexicans, abortion and euthanasia? Also the European Union is looking if Trump will withdraw himself from the negotiations with them. We will see.

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October 2016

October 2016

The weather in the Netherlands in October

Since April the month of October was colder than it ought to be. It was on the average 9,9 degrees Celsius against the usual October-temperature of 10,7 degrees Celsius. But it was also drier than in a usual October-month: 67 millimeter of rain against the usual 83 millimeter. It was rather sunny at the coast and in the middle of the Netherlands.



I can imagine that you are wondering who or how mamma was. The three of you have known her very short and maybe you forgot a lot of her personality. It’s hard for you that you have to do it with some memories from her of the past, when the three of you were only small children. That’s why I thought last month, when I was showing her on the photo’s of our marvelous holidays in France, that I can tell every next month about a special part or characteristic feature of mamma. Maybe you will recognize something of yourself in what I tell about your mum. That would be nice.

Because the fourth of October was animal day, I will first tell about her love for animals.

Look at this photo. Mamma was four years old and was lying in the basket together with Athos, tante Renske’s dog. She was fond of this dog-friend of her.


We ourselves had cats. First a cat of oom Aad called Miesje and later two sisters, Minoes and Jozientje. Mamma and tante Daphne choose the two sisters themselves. When mamma left home on her seventeenth, she took two cats of her own, Diesel and the you well-known Wammes. When mamma went traveling around the world where she met your father in Aruba, she gave Diesel to a friend of her and Wammes to opa and me. Further we had a lot of cavia’s like Zwartje, Grijsje, Vlekje etc. and the rabbit Lou. The most exciting moments for mamma were those in which small cavia’s were born.

That mamma was always seeing or was busy with animals you can read from parts of her holiday-diary during our biking-holidays in England. She was writing this for example:

“Op de camping waren ook paarden. Toen we de tent opgezet hadden en aan het eten waren, begon de guitigste van de twee een knijper op te eten.  We konden de knijper nog net uit zijn bek pakken.”

“There also were horses at the camping. When we had put up the tent and were eating, the most roguish of the two started to eat a peg. We just could take out the peg out of his snout.”

And this she wrote to opa, who stayed at home:

“Toen we daar nog niet waren, heb ik een veldmuisje gezien, dat zich aan het wassen was en een jong musje. “

“When we weren’t there yet, I saw a young field Mouse washing himself and a young sparrow.”

I still remember that during our biking holidays tante Daphne was always biking together with me, but mamma often stayed behind, because she saw so much, especially animals as you read in the pieces before. When it was too busy on the street tante Daphne and I took her between us.

As an adult she still loved animals. When you were children she bought cavia’s for you. Their names? Rosa, Willem and Sjakie.


Mira, Pèpe, Pliva and Dusche

Also tante Renske is fond of animals. You may remember her chickens, but also her dog Perro. Later, when you were away to the States she took Mira, the border collie-like dog on the photo’s below. But tante Renske often takes care of other dogs. She sent these photo’s to me and I thought them so funny that  I also  want to show them to you.


The Jack Russel is called Dusche and the pup, Pliva, is called after the river Pliva in which she was nearly drowned. This dog is Pèpe. Tante Renske takes care of Pèpe every Monday-, Wednesday- and Friday-afternoon.

By the way opa and I also loved and love animals. Now that we are going so often away, we think it not responsible to keep them. But I am collecting money every year for the Animal Protection around animal day. I think it very important that we protect and love our animals.



Imana, our opposite neighbor-girl and her girl-friend Pien wrote a story about badgering at school. Melang, Imana’s mother , adviced them to go to a woman in our street who is working with the television of our municipality. And with her they made the appointment to make a film of their story. Imana plays the principal part. Her mother, Melang, produced the film with crowd-funding and Imana’s father did the music-arrangements. I won’t tell more about it, because you can see the result on You Tube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L47R-QuOpVE. The film is called regret and you will probably recognize Hooge Zwaluwe and surroundings. The film is used at many schools to pay attention to the theme “badgering at school”. It is quite a success.



I felt some strange hurting at my back and opa discovered a swollen and red growing spot . I went to the doctor’s and his immediate diagnosis was “shingles” and when I was shocked, because my mother-in-law and also my sister, tante Domien, were so very ill by it, the doctor eased my mind. When I took medicines immediately, it was possible that I won’t feel ill, he said. I was happy that he was right. I only was not allowed to swim, because shingles are contagious.


First prize

For opa, because he made a splendid draughts’ problem.



I was so afraid all the blackbirds in our garden would have died by the mortal virus which was raging in the Netherlands. I thought they were all died, but you may imagine how happy I was to see still one of them. A male one. He still announced all alone the day and the evening as blackbirds used to do. I hope we will soon see more blackbirds again. I so love their beautiful singing.



I am proud of my nephew Peter (son of tante Domien and oom Lo), who has become a part-time professor at Utrecht University in patent law and privacy. He is specialized in the patent law of artificial intellectual right. And then you have to think about the development of artificial intelligence of robots or software-programs for instance. How do the creations and inventions of autonomous intellectual systems fit within the system of the present intellectual property-right?


To Middelburg with presents

Actually tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse live in a small village near Middelburg, the capital of the province of Zeeland. The village is called Grijpskerke. It exists of a street ring around the church and some more streets. Every day Finn and Kirse have to bike six kilometer to and six kilometer from their schools in Middelburg.

After our holiday we went to Grijpskerke with presents we bought in France. Tante Daphne baked an apple-pie for the occasion and in the evening we went to the pizzeria to celebrate the end of our holiday. And because it was Children’s Book Week Finn and Kirse were allowed by opa and me to buy a book in the bookshop.


Here Kirse is choosing a book.


Eating at the Pizzeria.


Friends and visits

Also in October we visited friends and received friends. So I had again a lunch with my girl-friends of my Primary School. Opa and I received draughts’ friend of opa, Jan, who wanted to introduce his new partner Jenneke. We also received our new young neighbors Sandra and Jeroen. They appeared to be a kind and intelligent couple and we are very happy with them as neighbors. From Denmark came Peter Michaelsen and his partner Berit. Like opa Peter is interested in old board games. Peter visited us before and now he came together with Berit. She promised me to show me Kopenhagen, where the next Board Game Colloquiem will be in May. I will enjoy it very much. Together with my girl-friend Mieke I went to “l’avenir”, a beautiful film with Isabelle Huppert in the leading role playing a just divorced woman who is trying to find the happiness in her life. And we were received by our neighbor Els for lunch. With her we had a deep conversation, as we always have with her.


Finn and Kirse stayed in Hooge Zwaluwe

Tante Daphne brought them. She also stayed with us during the weekend and Finn and Kirse stayed until Thursday. We looked together  for autumn-material in the wood.

It made me think of you Mirabelle. You were looking for autum material with the Kralingse Plas either. You already collected the most beautiful things. And then you saw a little boy collecting autumn material too and you gave him all your material.


Finn had to read a book and had to make a summary of it for school. It was quite a lot of work for him. But fortunately he had some time to play his favorite football with opa and we often played with all four poker bridge, mastermind and “pesten”.  And with Kirse I played music. She on her clarinet and I on the piano.

One day we went to the Museum of Image in Breda. This museum paid attention to five hundred years celebration of the famous painter Jeroen Bosch. Of one of his great paintings, the garden of earthly delights, was made a virtual reproduction. When you looked at this reproduction you every time see turning up another person or being moving and later on disappearing.


Also you could put on virtual reality glasses and quasi walk through a virtual world, where you could crash with every obstacle you may meet. With some buttons and handles you could try to avoid these crashes. And Finn and Kirse could make  photo’s and put them on buttons. These photo’s were at the same time a nice present for tante Daphne’s birthday.


There was much more to do for Finn and Kirse and they were quite busy to draw on computers or to scan products with the grocery’s or to walk through a street of horrors. At the end they received a game of goose with pictures out of the paintings of Jeroen Bosch.

And often, especially when  Kirse and Finn are staying here I miss the three of you so dearly. It would be so nice to see or hear you. Also Finn and Kirse, tante Daphne and opa are longing so much for you. If you should give any sign we immediately leave for the States to see you.



In August we made the appointment with our friend Cor to go for a day to Haarlem in October after our holiday in France. Cor could guide us through Haarlem, a city near to his residence Oegstgeest.


He showed us the marvelous gothic church the Saint Bavo with the well-known Müller-organ. On the Market was the statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster, inventor of the art of printing around 1430. I found a music-shop where I could buy second-hand music-books for piano and recorder.


We walked along the canal the Spaarne and went to the Teylers Museum to see the Weissenbruch exposition. Weissenbruch is called the nineteenth century Vermeer.


We passed the famous Frans Halsmuseum and decided to go there another time. We walked through many streets of the old town and finally had dinner with Brinkman’s, the former home of Willem Bilderdijk, a well-known historian, linguist, poet and lawyer of the eighteenth and nineteenth century.




There were too many trees and bushes in our garden. We had the idea the trees and bushes hardly could breath. Therefore we had to chose which trees and bushes had to be sawn.


Our young neighbor Jeroen and his father-in-law helped us.


Look how many branches and tops of trees had been sawn.


The Netherlands

Prime-minister Rutte has got a problem. The sixth of April a referendum was organized to give the Dutch people the chance to vote for more economical cooperation and legislation with the Ukraine. Lots of silly Dutch people voted they didn’t want this cooperation. Now the Netherlands is the only country of the European Union which may obstruct this Association treaty with the Ukraine, which does everything to belong to the European Union.

I think it stupid so many Dutch people say no to this Association treaty. The Ukraine is longing for the protection by the European Union against the Soviet Union. These Dutch people only are afraid to lose money. They think that the Ukraine like the poor Greece will ask them money.


The United States

And the most terrible happened: the narcissistic liar and idiot Trump is elected as president of the United States. Lots of especially young people protested against his president ship. I doubt he really will build a wall around Mexico, but what with the climate agreement  of Paris, the Obama-care and abortion and the homo-marriage? Within some months we’ll see if Trump will cause an enormous chaos or that he will be calmed down and will be considering with his government which is the best for the United States and for the world.


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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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on September 2016

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on August 2016