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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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.

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August 2016

August 2016

The weather

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


Doing odd jobs

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

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



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

Photo’s from the past

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


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

julifoto's 051

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

julifoto's 049julifoto's 047

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

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



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


Ada and Matti

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



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


Biking in the woods around Breda

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

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

Arne 14 augustus 2016 001

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

Arne 14 augustus 2016 005Arne 14 augustus 2016 007

Ill and lonely

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


Missing tante Daphnes’ dogs

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



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

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

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



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


Tante Ineke

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

Duinrell 2016 002

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

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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.

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July 2016

July 2016

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

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The weather in July

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


Cleaning the bookcases and the re-arranging of our books

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

Photo’s of the past

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Death of a son

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


Married 43 years

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

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


A bad day

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



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

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

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


Jannie and Ton

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

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



Tante Renske

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


Home-made jam

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


Finn is leaving the Primary School

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



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

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Oom Guus

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



Monique and Frido

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

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

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The Netherlands

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


United States

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

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June 2016

June 2016

The weather in June

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



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

Photo’s from the past

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



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

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


A new battery

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


A mud-playground

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


The book of opa

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

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

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


Finn away with his class

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



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

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



Sandra and Jeroen

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

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



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


To Zwolle and Kampen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting older

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


Tante Domien

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


Poor tante Renske

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


The Netherlands

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


The United States

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



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May 2016

May 2016

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


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


The weather in the Netherlands in May

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



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

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


Harry Potter

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



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



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

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Photo’s from the past

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

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

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

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

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Mamma with Robin.

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All is lost

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

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



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

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

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

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Long ago

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


Mrs. De Snaijer

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


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

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


The director of Finn’s school is killed

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

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

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VWO-advice and playing in the orchestra of adults

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


Finn’s birthday

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

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The Netherlands

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


The United States

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

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April 2016

April 2016

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


Opa is happy

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

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

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

Photo’s from the past

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Book presentation

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


Karel and Ingrid

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



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



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New neighbors

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


Not champion

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

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


Our visit to Marijke and Martin

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

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

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


Arie and Ludy

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


Playing the piano and the trumpet

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


The Netherlands

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


The united States

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

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