March, 2014

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Monday March 31. Out on the town again

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Just to show you what four years in (mostly) and out of Holland did to me. I went back to the Noorder Markt after I discovered that the market there last Saturday is more of a farmers market, whereas as the one today is more a flea market. I hear my name being called in this busy crowded market, it was Astrid Verhoog from “de Schinkel”. A while later when I am walking back to the Central station, right in front of the 16th century building on Singel 2A, where my mother has lived, I see Pim Schregel in a sloop showing the city to foreign guests. Pim is also a member at “de Schinkel”.

It was t-shirt weather, this afternoon. Last night we ate dinner outside in the garden for the 14th birthday of Lukas, my nephew’s son.

I went to mass at the Augustinus church. The church was twice as full as what I have become used to. This alone was a welcome surprise for the last time visit. The choir I was a member of sang the mass and I was able to say goodbye to most members. They sang the Advent mass of Michael Haydn, “O Salutaris Hostia” from Edward Elgar, “Du bist dem Ruhm und Ehre Gebueret” from Joseph Haydn and “O Strength and Stay” from Eric Thiman. I have been spoiled for life because it will be nearly impossible to find this kind of liturgical support in a worship service where I am returning to.

choir with pastor Ambro Bakker in Augustinus church. Vincent Kuin organ. Herman Paardekoper director

choir with pastor Ambro Bakker in Augustinus church. Vincent Kuin organ. Herman Paardekoper directorDSC_0012_edited-1

Pim in front of Singel 2A
Pim in front of Singel 2A

 

Saturday March 29 Holland at its best

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

We are having fabulous sunny warm Spring weather. Yesterday I made a short trip north of Amsterdam. A long time business friend, Peter Karreman, also a sailor, reconnected with me through the article I wrote for the April issue of “Zeilen”. We have both worked for the first employer I had in my forest products career, in Amsterdam and till my retirement we did business together. We had lots to catch up on and we visited my friend Astrid at her bakery ” ‘t Spelthuys” www.spelthuys.nl in Enkhuizen. Astrid was the very first friend I made, when making my first landfall from California, on Hiva Oa in May 2005. She was then the first mate on the three mast schooner brig “SØREN LARSEN”.

Today I took the bus into Amsterdam to go to the Saturday market on the Noordermarkt and to meet Henny de Ruijter an old class mate I had last seen in 1954 when we graduated. She immigrated to Canada around the same period I arrived in California. Again lots to reminisce. Amsterdam was at its best. I will miss it more than Amsterdam will miss me, there are a lot more of my kind but there is just one Amsterdam.

Later this afternoon my friend Ernie and his friend Titia and his son Zoe stopped to see me in Haarlem. Ernie was my generous host last spring and summer when I worked on replacing Fleetwood’s deck.

Peter and Astrid at 't Spelthuys

Peter and Astrid at ‘t Spelthuys

1e Egelantiersdwarsstraat and Westertoren

1e Egelantiersdwarsstraat and Westertoren

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parking at Central Station

parking at Central Station

Titia, Ernie and Zoe.

Titia, Ernie and Zoe.

Tuesday March 25. Hyacinths

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

I purchased a large back pack, similar to the one that went down with the ship. My earthly possessions have outgrown the shopping bag I arrived with from Mallorca. I found the bag on the Dutch equivalent of E-Bay in Lisse, a town in the bulb growing area. It was a beautiful sunny day and I decided to take the bicycle for the 22 mile roundtrip. On the way back I stopped at my cousin in Heemstede and rode back in the dark, against a stiff northerly and the light being generated with a “dynamo” on the front tire. Sort of like climbing a hill with a load of bricks. I needed the work out. Gone is my gorgeous teen age body, I had last summer, with sitting behind the laptop most of the day.

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Sunday March 23. Its 10 p.m. do you know where your President is?

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The visiting heads of state with their entourages, fleets of aircraft and body guards have overrun this small country. I don’t know how you find time to visit this blog with the Malaysian Airline disappearance. Krim crisis, the Oso slide, etc.

Only 9 days left till I head for the airport on my way home to the Pacific Northwest. Still lots of last minute jobs and goodbyes. Yesterday was my last service in the St. Bavo cathedral in Haarlem. Next Sunday I plan to attend service at the Augustinus church were the choir, I sang with last year, sings.

Last night Dirk Jan, my oldest nephew, cooked dinner. Fresh Asparagus with smoked salmon… He now lives just a 15 minute bike ride from where I am.  I placed the 2nd moonset picture on Face Book, asking: “what is wrong with the picture?” No one saw anything wrong. Or maybe they were too busy wit the rest of the news.

Saturday moonset from living room

Saturday moonset from living room

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St. Bavo Cathedral

St. Bavo Cathedral

L.R. Lukas son of Dirk Jan, Marieken my oldest Niece, Dirk Jan my oldest nephew.

L.R. Lukas son of Dirk Jan, Marieken my oldest Niece, Dirk Jan my oldest nephew.

Saturday March 22nd. Dachau opened for business 81 years ago today

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

 

Zuid Friesland March 19 .14

Zuid Friesland March 19 .14

Gruenwald14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In yesterday’s post you might have wondered about this photo in the article in the Frisian news paper. For those who have not read “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”. It was taken in May 1945 in Gruenwald, Bavaria at the U.S. War Press HQ which was set up to, for one, document the Dachau atrocities. In the picture L.R. Nel Niemandsverdriet, Harry Cowe, my mother Rennie van Ommen, Sergt. Nathan Asch. Nel and mother were intercepted by the US 12th Army on their Death March out of Dachau. They worked a few weeks for the Americans before being repatriated. I met Harry Cowe in 1999. He was a Seattle Times reporter. Nathan Asch is the son on Sholem Asch, Polish-American Jew, author of “The Nazarene”. As I write this a German teenage student, Henriette Schulze is preparing to present her contribution this afternoon at Dachau about our mother in a program called “Namen statt Nummern” (Names in place of Numbers) referring to the prison numbers the political numbers wore and the Jews were tattooed with.
http://gedaechtnisbuch.de/namen-statt-nummern/english/index-engl.html .Today is exactly 81 years since Dachau was opened for business on March 22 1933.  The first SS concentration camp to incarcerate political prisoners of the NAZI regime. It is estimated that about 188,000 prisoners passed through its gate during the 2nd WW and that about 28,000 never again read the “Arbeit macht Frei”, over the gate, for the second time.

Friday March 21. Dutch Spring

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Good Bye Winter. Hello Spring. And it started with Good Om(m)en like the Arab Spring. Yesterday, on the first day of Spring, we had an extraordinary sunny warm day. You can almost watch the Magnolia blossoms pop open and the bare tree branches put on a fresh coat of green. My cousin Gido van Ommen and I pushed his step mom Els  in her wheelchair to see the daffodils in the park and then she treated us to Kroketten from the Kosher deli. Els is the last of our parents’ generation. My uncle robbed her from the cradle and left us to push her around in a wheelchair….

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April issue

Then I received the 5 page article in “ZEILEN” the Dutch monthly sailing magazine. Which is sent out to today to the subscribers and will soon be on the newsstands. In it I tell the story about my shipwreck, with my “Mea Culpas” and the details on how and why it happened. Al mijn Nederlandse vrienden, moet je lezen. It is, if I may say so, my best writing effort and it is well presented by the magazine. I have in previous blogs given most of the details but this is a broader reflection on what went on in the accident and in me. I plan to cover it in a similar fashion in “Soloman”. You know by now that I cannot keep my mouth shut about my love affair with my Maker. And I am grateful that the editors allow me to incorporate this.

For a digital copy for € 5,99 of the magazine go to:https://www.tijdschrift.nl/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/Sanoma-tijdschrift-Site/nl_NL/-/EUR/ViewRequisition-Dispatch?ProductRefID=ZEILE00052@Sanoma-tijdschrift&prePurchase=true&Quantity=1%2C00

Also to day appears a full page article in the regional weekly magazine “Zuid Friesland” www.zuidfriesland.nl . Sorry, again in Dutch but take a look anyway  it is mostly about my book “De Mastmakersdochters” which plays for a part in South Friesland where our mother grew up. Here is the link. ZFH-20140319-01005001Van Ommen

I have not made much progress with “Soloman” with all the other activities. But I am pleased to see that you can teach even an old goat (or a salty dawg) new tricks. My Dutch has much improved when I compare  it to earlier articles I wrote.

Wednesday, March 19th. Farewell to a Hero. Jan Eusman April 20, 1920- March 14, 2014

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

As reported on Tuesday:

Last year, February 10, I reported on my visit with Jan Eusman. The last survivor of my mother’s 2nd World War resistance group. Jan Eusman passed away last Friday, peacefully and just as clear of mind as when I saw him last year.  He was the only one to escape from the trap the Germans and their Dutch Nazi collaborators had set on the van Breestraat 155, where they caught five men and three women on May 22 and 23 of 1944. The three women joined my mother, who was arrested a month earlier, in Vught, Ravensbrück and Dachau. Two of the men were executed on June 16th 1944 and one of the men died shortly after war’s end from the damage in captivity. Jan took four bullet  in the escape, three were removed in the hospital. His father and another resistance member managed to smuggle Jan out of the hospital by a very clever scheme. This is all documented in “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”. The exact opposite scenario had happened a month earlier when an other member of our mother’s resistance group was arrested by the Nazis, when his father buckled  under NAZI pressure. His son perished in captivity.  As far as I can determine Jan was the last of the survivors of this group. Exactly one year ago, also on March 14, Marretje Ockhuysen-Habermehl, passed away. She, also at great risk, worked with Jan for the underground newspaper “Trouw”, delivering the paper. Marretje also happened to be near the van Breestraat 155 on May 22nd 1944 and witnessed the shooting of her colleague.  Jan would have celebrated his 94th birthday this April 20. The funeral will be tomorrow. I plan to pay my respect to this hero.

Wednesday March 19th: A cold wind blew, the bulbs are in bloom but most of the trees are still bare. I attended the funeral service in Uithoorn. The reformed church “De Schutse” was packed with Jan’s family and friends. Pastor T.C. Wielsma led the beautiful service befitting a hero. An organist and trumpet player and many familiar hymns. Including the Dutch version of “Abide with me fast falls the eventide”. This brings strong emotions to me because as it was described by our mother when the cattle cars started rolling from the concentration camp Vught to Ravensbrück in the first week of September 1944 : “Two young girls started singing and it was quickly picked up by the rest of the 900 women spread over 10 box cars. ”

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De dag verduistert, Here, blijf bij mij!
Als and’re hulp m’ ontbreekt, geluk m’ ontvliedt,
der hulpelozen hulp, verlaat mij niet!
 

En het prachtige 4e couplet:

Geen vijand vrees ik, als Gij bij mij zijd,
tranen en leed zijn zonder bitterheid.
Waar is, o dood, uw schrik, graf, waar uw eer?
Meer dan verwinnaar blijf ik in de Heer

We sang a newer version. Jan’s surviving youngest brother, two daughters, one son and several of the grandchildren paid tribute to their, brother, father and opa and one of his great granddaughters said her good bye. Martine, a granddaughter with whom I have become friends since meeting her last year at her grandfather’s home, read a letter that Jan had sent to his parents when he was first arrested in 1942. She will let me have the text and I’d like to translate it for you. It is an incredible testimony to his courage and strength from his Faith.

One of Jan’s daughters told us that he liked Paradisum from Gabriel Faure’s Requiem. We sang this at last years May 4th memorial day services for the victims of the 2nd WW, with the Augustinus church choir in Buitenveldert. So, this one is for you Jan:

Jan P. Eusman taken Feb 10 2013

Jan P. Eusman taken Feb 10 2013

Great Grandchildren

Great Grandchildren

Last Post

Last Post

Monday March 17. In Friesland

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

My cousin Carol (male) de Vries drove us to Friesland. I wanted to take a last look at the Polderdijk in de Lemmer where the Mastmaker’s daughter grew up. Carol is the last and 5th generation of the mastmakers. The home and mastmaker shop are declared a provincial historical heritage site. The owners of the B&B “Lemster Veerschip” and hotel “It Heechhhus” will restore the buildings in their original condition and then incorporate it in their B&B/hotel. They plan to start the restoration this September. Jan van der Neut, the third generation mastmakers of the family our grandfather sold the Polderdijk business to in 1928, still lives in one of the apartments above the shop, the same spot my mother grew up in. We talked to Jan briefly. Next we rang the bell of the tiny old bakery across from the Reformed church and the historical museum to say hello to Johannes de Vries, 82 years old. Who succeeded his father as the local historian. Johannes is not related to our de Vries side, even though he has the same last name, but he is related through his mother to Carol’s mother, Schirm. He knows our entire family history. His grandfather, Taeke Bijlsma worked for the father of the “other” Mastmaker’s Daughter, in Germany. Across the bridge, next to the 200 year existing Clothing store of Schirm lives Carol’s cousin Douwe Schirm. He is a sailor and very close to my age and his wife has the same addiction as I have for South East Asia. He owns the smallest Lemster aak ever built by the yard of de Boer in Lemmer in 1907, 8.7 meter, the LE-10 and a regular traditional fishing Lemster Aak the LE-6. Our last stop was in Sneek to see our cousin Siebold Hartkamp. He is just between me and Carol in years. My mother was Siebolds mothers oldest sister. Still with me? Siebold is the success story in our family, he knows everyone in Friesland and we were treated with great respect when he took us on a tour of the Frisian Maritmime Museum. I have been there a couple of times since 2009. They have enlarged and update the museum with more video areas, etc. I could spend a couple of days in it. There is a recent addition of a Roman origin skiff that was discovered deep below the peat when laying a gas transmission pipe. The estimated origin is the year 1180.

reconstruction

reconstruction

detail

detail

model

model

 

"my" garden

“my” garden

 

Sunday March 16th. St. Patrick

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

It is 9 p.m. and I am listening to Prairie Home Companion in Southern California KPCC FM 89.3. A good one, particular the Saint Patrick Day jokes and parodies. It is now 1 p.m. on the West Coast, because instead of the usual 9 hour time difference we do not go to daylight saving time till March 30. It’s 80 degrees at the station and 70 on the beaches.Today we have two birthdays here. My brother in law turned 89 and my oldest nephew 56. Tomorrow my cousin Carol (male) de Vries, the fifth and last generation of the de Vries mastmakers family, and I are gong to pay a visit to the Mastmaker building where the Mastmakers’ Daughters story plays, on the Polderdijk in de Lemmer.

Herman with his 89 rosette. My sister Karolien soon to be 80

Herman with his 89 rosette. My sister Karolien soon to be 80

so that all know I attended mass in Badhoevedorp. Stations of the cross in early 20th cent Jeronium Bosch style

so that all know I attended mass in Badhoevedorp. Stations of the cross in early 20th cent Jheronimus Bosch style

Monday March 10. Ouch!

Monday, March 10th, 2014

I just sold some dollars and that hurts. Just 71 euro cents for a dollar. And most likely I will find that my dollar does not buy as much anymore either as it did last time I was in the United States.

Another gorgeous Spring like day in Holland. Yesterday I went searching for flowering bulb fields but except for one field of Daffodils everything else was still covered with straw. But I’m sure you’ll see some Tulip photos soon. I attended service yesterday in Bennebroek. My friend, Cor Oost, played the organ in the St. Joseph church. His choir premiered “Missa Harmonia”, a Latin mass Cor wrote. Very well done and well received.

Daffodils in Vogelzang

Daffodils in Vogelzang

Pastor Vanderstad at St. Josef church

Pastor Vanderstad at St. Josef church