The year 1940

Chinese New Year started with a delicious prepared sucking-pig,
given to my parents by the Chinese shopkeeper at Sumber Sewu.
I can still remember that gorgeous taste.
Later on in the evening there was some firework, always nice to watch.

In April it was my thirteenth birthday. Already!
Rasmina, our cook, made my favourite dish that day, and I received my first watch and several very interesting books from my parents.

And then the 10th of May happened what many Dutch expected, Germany invaded Holland.
A most terrible moment for my parents and all the other Dutch people living so far away from the Netherlands.
A feeling of deep sadness fell over the Dutch living in the Far East.

Queen Wilhelmina and a part of the Dutch government fled to England.
Life began to change a little, also at school, we all felt very sorry for our queen.
Princess Juliana and the little princesses they had to flee to Canada, only her husband prince Bernhard stayed in England to help queen Wilhelmina.

At prince Bernhard’s request, the people from the Dutch East Indies started the Spitfires Fund. Those spitfires were needed to set Holland free again.
Many Dutch offered at least a month salary.
At Sumber Sewu, the head-foreman Karto, came to my father with a small bag full with cents from the Indonesians of the plantation.
“For our queen”, he said.
No need to say that my father was touched by this wonderful gift from people who had so little and yet could still be so generous.
There were also quite some Germans living in the Dutch East Indies and they were just like the Dutch staying since several generations in this country.
The government sent many German men into camps and later on to India.
Many of the “Germans” were Eurasians.

Of course at school we spoke a lot about the war in Europe in those days, we also heard it over the radio, read it in the newspapers. But to most of us it was a faraway war. I guess that, like me, many of us felt very sorry for our parents and the familyin Holland.
I also felt very sorry for my mother who used to write her parents every week.
And now all of a sudden this stopped. She was the only child, that made it even more difficult for her.
My father came for a bigger family and he also had his brother, my uncle Pierre, living not far from us away.
But life was not easy for neither of my parents, they were very worried.

In the mean time Henny and I had to go to a new boarding-house, since the family Wildervanck moved to Probolingo.
It had been my boarding-house for three long years.

But luckily I didn’t have to move to another school again.
And very important, I still had my swimming pool.