Back on the Atlantic. March 6th 2024

Written by Jack van Ommen on March 7th, 2024

Jack came back to the “Port of Gold”  on the Eastern Shores of Virginia. This is my last stop on the cross country trip I started when I wrote my previous blog on February 9. The first stop was Eugene, Oregon to visit with Evert Slijper my Dutch-American friendship since 1972. Next to visit my youngest son, Seth, and his wife Carly, in Roseburg.

I took an overnight train ride to the San Francisco Bay area to see Bill and Cathy Crowley in Napa, California. This was our first in person meeting. While I disentangled myself from the Covid restrictions in the West Indies in April 2020 by sailing onto the only open shores to U.S. citizens, the U.S. Virgin Islands, I had an engine problem. I appealed to the expertise of my Face Book sailor friends and Bill won a “SoloMan” paperback by accurately diagnosing my problem. In the subsequent contacts I expected that this could bloom into a friendship. And it sure did. I had a wonderful week with them. The Crowleys live in a deep canyon with tall Douglas Firs and Rewdood trees and a roaring creek running through. In this picture you see the burnt bark on the Fir trees from the 2017 “Nuns Fire”.

Crowley’s Nest

Bill is a sailor and antique race car fanatic and a lot more hobbies. Cathy taught Bauern Malerei a skill she learned from her friend Scottie Foster. Here are a couple of Cathy’s pieces:


I flew from Oakland to Las Vegas to spend time with my oldest son, John, and his wife Jennifer and her two daughters. My last stop on the West Coast was to see my youngest daughter, Jeannine and her daughter Gabrielle and my first wife, Joan, in Redlands, California. Southern California was my first home in the United States when I emigrated from Holland in 1957 until 1961 when I was drafted to serve as a foreign mercenary in Vietnam and discharged in 1963.

I finally made good on a promise to visit Texas to see where my oldest grandson, Mark II, lives with his family. His father and step family moved here in 2005 from California. They are doing well and sharing in the robust economy of that state. I was impressed how in the last decennia totally new cities have grown on the plains. Everything is “more better and bigger” in Texas, but a bit monotonous for my taste. My grand daughter in law, Tori,  spoiled me for my birthday dinner with fresh clams, rack of lamb and Tiramisu for dessert.

Vongole alle Tori

God is alive and well here in Texas. I have bitched on these blogs about the empty churches in Holland and the U.S. inner cities. The Christian Reformed church in Amsterdam I grew up in was demolished, so is the Roman Catholic church in the same neighborhood. The church I have attended in the last 15 years in Amsterdam is scheduled to merge because of a lack of members. This picture of the Saint Martin de Porres church in Prosper, Tx. shows a different picture.

St. Martin de Porres, Prosper, Tx

When I was in Roseburg, Oregon it was also a large full church and about 12 adults being initiated into the church.

St. Joseph R.C. church, Roseburg

Last Sunday I had the privilege to worship in a Baptist church in Blackwater, Va. where the grandfather of my two great granddaughters is the pastor. This church is celebrating it’s 250th anniversary this year, founded two years before America’s independence.

Blackwater Baptst church

4 generations L.R. Lily 2010, Madison 2009, me 1937, David Leon 1989 missing 2nd generation

This Saturday I will be giving a presentation in Kinsale, Va. on Potomac River, for the local YC like I did in October 2021 and last Spring. That evening I’ll be the guest of Harry and Cathy Coorens on their yacht in Hampton and we will be at the Sunday morning service with Russ and Doreen Grimm who I met in this historical church, St. Mary Star of the Seas, at Fort Monroe on the 4th of July in 2020. Just in case you have missed my point that churches are the best places to make lasting friendships: at the Feb 25 th service in Texas at St. Martin de Porres I met the “R-Quad Squad”.

R-Quad Squad

I asked the handsome dude on the left: “How old are you?” answer: “Six”. So I turned to the taller brother and said: “You must be the oldest” answer: “NO”. Next I turned to my last try, also “Six”. Turned out they are quadruplets. And all their names, including dad, Robert, start with an “R” . The sweet sister is Rosslyn.

I am set to return to my “project” home in Zaandam on March 28. But until now I have no definite prospects to return to the YC “de Schinkel” in Amsterdam. I might have to find an alternative as the “Flying American”.







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