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
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
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.
grandparents in The Hague
grandmother in Helmond
grandfather in Helmond