May 15 ’23 “Fleetwood III” is afloat again.

Written by Jack van Ommen on May 15th, 2023

“Fleetwood” is afloat again, as of last Friday. It was love at first site, a year ago, but the subsequent honeymoon lasted less than a week when I discovered the leaks and shortly after the hidden defects of the rot in the bottom panels. I’m glad that is done and that I am on the water again and don’t have to climb a ladder and away from steady noise of the freeway traffic. And Spring has finally Sprung this weekend, after a long, cold, rainy start.

But there is still more work to be done with the many leaks in the deck. I had a tarp on it while on the hard. And I cannot risk working in the open with the rainy Dutch climate. I have reserved a shed at Klaas Mulder in Zaandam from June 9th for 4 weeks. I can do some work before here on the Nieuwe Meer in Amsterdam. But I also hope to catch up with friends and family, get some dental work done, etc. I have an appointment to get my passport picture taken and fingerprinted on May 25th for my residence permit; this will solve the problem of the maximum 90 days stay for non-Schengen passport holders.

Now, let me get on with what you have been looking for: the response to my appeal to you to help Ken House, in my last blog. A whopping number of four American friends and one Dutch friend responded. Not sure what went wrong. Did the other 495 family/friends figure that there were enough others to chip in?

We managed to help Ken with a month rent. Not sure where the next month will come from. I’ll keep the page open for a while longer and the option to get a book gifted at:

Much has happened since my last report of March 20th.

I had another memorable Lent and Easter experience here in Amsterdam. Some of the outstanding memories of Easter are starting my voyage from Santa Barbara in 2005 at the magnificent old Franciscan Mission, where Lisa, our first born, was baptized in April 1964; in 2006 in Hanoi, 2007 with the Anglicans on Saint Helena, 2011 in Amsterdam and a week later, on the Orthodox calendar, on the Greek Island of Chios, 2020 in the French West Indies on Saint Martin.

From my arrival in Amsterdam until a month ago when I was allowed to take up housekeeping again on “Fleetwood”, I was the guest of my 5-year younger cousin Carol de Vries who lives in the oldest section of Amsterdam in a 425 year old building. I could walk to the old Saint Nicholas Basilica. A magnificent church with a great choir and organ.  I walked the 14 stations of the cross there on Good Friday. This church happens to have some of the largest depictions of the stations on both walls.

On Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday, I sang with the large “Cantemus Domimum” choir of the Saint Augustin church. This was one of best settings to welcome Christ’s Resurrection, ending with Handel’s Messiah Halleluia chorus.

The annual liberation of concentration camp Dachau was held on April 22 at the monument in the “Amsterdam Forest” near where I am on the boat. This was the first time that not a single one of the survivors is left. Over the years I have seen the survivor attendance shrink. There are just a couple of the U.S. liberators alive but not capable to attend any longer. The U.S. consul in Amsterdam has not laid a wreath any longer since before Covid, as it used to be their annual contribution. The German delegation still does. My niece, Jozina, visiting from Australia for her brother’s 65th birthday party, attended with me. I have no pictures, I did not have my SD card in my Nikon and the ones I took on my pone are in the repair shop.

Every Wednesday evening, since my arrival, there was choir rehearsal, for Holy Thursday and Easter and for the May 4, 2nd WW Memorial Day concert. The main portion was Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem mass, the Hymn “Abide with me” and the English version of Mendelsohn’s “Hear my Prayer”. In 2not 016 “Abide with me” was sung with parts of my mother’s story being read, between the verses, about how the 650 Dutch political prisoners started singing the Dutch version after the cattle cars started rolling to one of the worst NAZI concentration camps, when the allied forces approached the Dutch concentration camp. (see This time three high school juniors read war memory stories. Here is the link to the sound and some part of the performance of  “Hear my Prayer”  . In the last picture you’ll be able to find my white haired head in the left back row.

May 4th by Veronica Tummers

I am the oldest choir member. Fortunately, two of the three program pieces were familiar. It turned out well. I love to sing and all the rehearsing ends up with a great award shared with my choir friends and the director and musicians. I feel very blessed that I can still participate. At Pentecost the liturgy will be sung from Missa Princeps Pacis –from A. Lloyd Webber. And that might be the last time magnificent church, built in 1935, will be used and be mothballed due to the lack of attendance.

On April 29th, I completed a task that, at the last minute, I faked and kept it just between myself and Rose Marie’s Godparents. Our second oldest daughter Rose Marie passed away on June 2nd., 2019. She was baptized in Brussels in February 1968. Her ashes were distributed in many of her favorite places. But when I arrived at the church St. Pi X (Saint Pius the Tenth) in September, 2019, I did not have the small container in my backpack. So, we faked it (see

A day later, back in the Netherlands, I found it in my backpack after all.

The godmother, Yvette Claeys, assisted me again.

I walked that Saturday morning, just about the same route I used to bicycle to work in 1966 and 1967, when I worked in the European sales office for the Weyerhauser wood products division on Avenue Louise. We lived very close by this church until we moved into a beautiful small village south of Brussels, in Ittre. The picture shows the same bed of roses where I faked it in 2019. By coincidence the address of the church is Rue Roosendaal=Valley of the Roses street. This church has also lost too many of its flock and the services are rotated with a priest shared between the remnants of several churches in this part of the city. “Please, God, send us another Jonah!”

I rode from Amsterdam with my cousin Carol de Vries, who was my host since March 14th. His niece, Katinka, lives close to Avenue Louise and celebrated her 63rd birthday on that same Saturday. Katinka works for a Brussels based NGO helping less developed regions, in particular women’s health and social causes. Her Spanish husband works for the WHO. There were over a dozen different nationalities among Katinka’s party guests. A Canadian friend of Katinka and Joseph, Carla Huhtanen sang an opera aria and “TAKE CARE OF THIS HOUSE” from Leonard Bernstein musical “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue”. Very appropriate suggestion to the current occupants. This was a treat for me, like a throw back of the outstanding memories of the four years we lived in Belgium.

This Mothers Day weekend were the annual Spring sailing regattas held on the man-made lake here. The biggest fleet were the “Vrijheid” class. A stripplanked mahogany 17 foot day sailer. It was conceived in 1945, right after the end of the 2nd WW.  YC “de Schinkel” has the largest active fleet in Holland. Thirteen years ago “Fleetwood” was a long time guest at “de Schinkel” and I made lots of pictures of the 65 th anniversary regatta, see:

1421 get that chute up!

sailing Stradivarius

wild start

close up


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mabuhay Evelyn,
    Salamat very much!. I miss you and all my Cape Charles, friends, brothers and sisters. Glad I had that one month stay with you in February. Wishing you the blessings of the Pentacostal Holy Spirit. I am very blessed to look forward to sing in this magnificent choir day after tomorrow, we have been rehearsing furiously. I expect to have some pictures and possibly audio for you on my next blog.

  2. Thank you Cate, success with your Pre-Pentecost Cate-Ring event with the Operation Night Watch. And may the Holy Spirit be with you.
    Love to you, Gabe and the Ring.