My grandparents in Holland

We went by boat to Batavia and had to stay in a hotel for some days; it was all very nice and we had many tasty meals.

But then the day came when my mother, Henny and I had to leave by boat again, this time to Holland. When we left I saw my father’s figure becoming smaller and smaller. It was my first grief, which I suffered in silence.

However, four people were very happy when we arrived in Holland. My grandparents were really adorable and extremely nice to us. My mother’s parents and my grandfather van Kampen were there to welcome us when our ship from the Dutch East Indies arrived in Rotterdam. I politely offered them all a hand, but I was kissed all over my face. Grandfather van Kampen picked me up and said: "You will be taller than I very soon." This granddad became my favourite; he had twinkling eyes, and he was very kind and thoughtful to us.

First of all we stayed five months in The Hague where my mother’s parents lived. They were of course very happy to have their daughter back for a while. I had to go to school in The Hague — a school I didn’t like at all. The children were very different from the children I had known in the Dutch East Indies.

My grandmother in The Hague took Henny and me to the cinema one day. We saw De Witte, a Belgian film for children. Henny started crying, so grandma had to take her outside and she told me to stay in my seat until she came back. When she returned at last with Henny, she found me sitting there roaring with laughter. My grandmother told my mother that she was very pleased with her grandchild sitting there all by herself, ignoring the whole world, just laughing about a funny film.

Then we went to Helmond. My grandparents had a beautiful house with a big plot, several fruit trees, vegetables, a henhouse, and many plants and flowers — especially many roses. But no bananas or coconut trees!

And of course I had to go to school again, this time in Helmond. It was my granddad who took me to school that first day. He had taken his children (five of them) to school, and now he took his granddaughter to that same school.

Altogether we stayed ten months in Holland. My father had found a new job right away, but my mother wanted to stay a little longer with her family in Holland. But now we were coming home! My mother’s parents and granddad van Kampen were there to wave us off. Granddad van Kampen asked me if I wasn’t sorry to leave Holland, but his happy granddaughter answered: "No, I am going back to my daddy." He was surprised because I had never complained that I had missed my father. So he said: "That is very sweet of you. I will write this to your daddy."

I loved this grandfather and asked him if he could come together with grandma to the Dutch East Indies. He promised to come. He had planned to come over to Java in 1937 to stay three months with each of his sons, but he couldn’t keep his promise. I never saw him again; he died in 1937 of a cardiac infarct.

Meeting my four grandparents was a very heart-warming experience.

My grandparents in The Hague
My grandmother in Helmond
My grandfather in Helmond

 

Two sisters in Helmond

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