Tuesday, April 1st. Making the rounds to say my good byes.

Written by Jack van Ommen on April 1st, 2014

This morning I met Willy Kerkhoven, one of my former high school classmates, in Haarlem. We took a tour of the old St. Bavo church. As you can see from the below pictures it is no wonder that the organ made a big impression on Herman Melville when he visited here a century and a half ago. In “Moby Dick” describing the size of the mouth of a baleen (Fin?) whale Melville compares it as follows: ” Seeing all these colonnades of bone so methodically ranged about, would you not think you were inside of the great Haarlem organ, and gazing upon its thousand pipes?”

Melville wrote “Moby Dick” on the Marquesas island of Nuka Hiva in Comptrollers Bay, after he jumped a whaler ship. I anchored in the very same spot in May 2005. I had never been inside this church. I quote some more from the Wikepedia page: “Upon completion in 1738 it was the largest organ in the world with 60 voices and 32-feet pedal-towers.”

This afternoon I said goodbye to my oldest cousin, Willy, 82 years old. She and her husband Herbert live just 10 minutes by bicycle from here. Tomorrow I am scheduled for another 3 to 4 visits.

The old St. Bavo, Haarlem

The old St. Bavo, Haarlem

The St.Bavo organ

The St.Bavo organ

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