A New Car
My father was called for a recapitulatory exercicise by the land-forces in Malang for a couple of weeks. He had to stay in the barracks, except for the weekends, then he could go home to Sumber Sewu.
He took Henny and me several times to the cinema in the afternoons. We saw “The Three Musketeers” and “The Elephant Boy”. And of course we had our ice-cream, while our father took a cold beer.
During the last week of his army service his car the Rheo gave my dad a lot of trouble, so he had to buy a new car, this time a beautiful Hudson.
Since Henny couldn’t travel by bus, my father or the chauffeur from the plantation came to fetch us every Saturday in Malang by car. My mother combined these trips to Malang by going to Toko Piet, a Chinese shop, something like a supermarket.
Henny and I had to go to yet another boarding-house, as a matter of fact we went to a boarding-school this time. That didn’t please me at all in the beginning, since I couldn’t go to my swimming-pool any longer. We went to the Sisters Ursiline, in Malang, indeed quite difficult for me in the beginning, but not for long.
I can honestly say that my boarding-school time, was the best time I ever had. The nuns were very kind towards us, we received a very good school training, but we learnt a lot more than that and also the meals with all the girls together was real fun. Those meals were excellent, we received a lot of Indonesian food.
The weekends at Sumber Sewu seemed a lot calmer than before, that was of course because since there was always a lot of talking at school with so many girls, I was used to a lot of noise during the week.
I told Rasmina, our cook about what we were eating at the boarding-school and she said that I had put on some weight and that was very good. I also came to Rasmina with a problem, I had some warts on my hands. Rasmina went with me to one of our Papaya trees where she took off a leaf and rubbed the milky spint coming out of the stem, on my warts. Believe it or not, they were all gone within a day or ten.
Jansje was growing fast and liked talking to Henny and me. She was now alone at home with my parents and was of course more than pleased when her two big sisters came home for the weekends.
The news on the radio and in the newspapers was not so good. Not only in Europe but also in Asia where Japan began to show a very aggressive attitude. It was like a dark cloud moving slowly towards the Dutch East Indies. We children and teenagers could feel the strain hanging in the air. Also at school in the classes the teachers and nuns spoke about the war in Europe and that also Japan might start a war as they already had done in China. But we didn’t need to worry about the Dutch East Indies, America had promised the Netherlands to protect us since our home country was occupied by the Germans.
We were getting more snakes around our home. One afternoon when Henny and I were ordered to take a rest in bed, there was even a snake in the house.
I was reading a book when I heard Henny calling for help; “There is a snake on my bed.”
When I looked up I was really scared. I told Henny to call but not to move and I started calling for help as well. I didn’t dare to move either nor did I dare to get out of my bed, knowing that the snake would come after me as soon as he saw me move. Luckily one of the servants came in and called Pa Min, the gardener, who came with a stick to grab the snake. I found my sister Henny very brave!
But since that afternoon I always looked underneath the bed, just to feel safe before falling asleep. I was very scared of snakes and there were far too many at Sumber Sewu.
Father and daughter Jansje in the Hudson.
My dad at military service Malang-Singosari