My mother was regularly visited by Kelontong (small ware) Chinese vendors. They were trying to sell her very beautiful embroidered table-cloths, table-runners, napkins, and many other very pretty embroidered items. My mother always bought something from them because it was not really expensive, especially if you consider all the work the Chinese women had done.
My youngest sister, Jansje, became good friends with our goose.
We first had two had two geese walking around the house: this was to keep the snakes away. But the female was killed by a snake so from then on the gander fell in love with Jansje.
She really could do everything she wanted with that goose, but none of us could come anywhere near him; he protected his Jansje.
December was always a very busy month in the family. First there was St Nicholas, 5th of December; then Henny’s birthday, the 11th; then my youngest sister’s birthday, the 20th; then of course Christmas.
On the 5th of December the three of us received nice presents.
As for Christmas Henny and I received two or three books.
My parents had to go to Malang to buy all the toys and the books, and they had to hide everything from Henny and me.
At school in Malang we also celebrated the 5th of December, only a bit earlier. St Nicolas came to school; this was especially for the younger children of course who were always very excited.
As for Christmas, my mother, who was a very good cook, prepared the Christmas meals. I don’t know where she found all the necessary spices but she made us a real Dutch Christmas meal. There were apples as well on the table; I knew that they came from Batu, a beautiful place in the mountains above Malang.
In Batu were many fruit trees imported from Europe - and not only trees, but there were Dutch cows as well.
Our butter came from Australia. I remember that my mother bought the Australian butter in tins at Toko Piet, a big Chinese shop.
They sold European and Australian food in cans.
The Dutch East Indies had enough fresh food, fruit, meat and poultry.
The Indonesian servants on the plantations received coffee and sugar. Many received tea as well, and my parents gave them a daily portion of rice.
At Sumber Sewu they all had a small garden and some fowl.
And for Christmas Henny and I had to give our old toys (still in good state) away to our servants so that they could spoil some children in the kampung
From my parents they each received extra money and a present under the Christmas tree. First the highest in rank, Rasmina, then Pa Min and then the others. They had the day off on the 25th of December.
Henny and I, mostly I of course, had to do the dishes. Real fun of course if you don’t have to do this every day.
My father kept Jansje busy.
On the 31st of December 1939 we would go to Benderedjo, the plantation where my uncle Pierre was the estate manager.
My parents and Jansje
Jansje and her goose
Christmas tree 1939