Archive for the ‘true stories’ Category

Christmas

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Christmas is about to start and the year is coming to an end, so time to think back. Of course there have been beautiful moments, but overall the world has not changed much since last Christmas, there still is poverty and war and awful disasters happened. The world again experienced violence, hate, envy. Not all was good in this year.

Personally this has been a rather good year for me though, as I have been able to work most of the time, in spite of some health problems that are continuing, and I sold 20 novels to my Dutch publisher 🙂 so I am grateful for that and surprised of myself!
My poetry book “Amor” was released, and there is another grandchild on the way 🙂 What the next year will bring, we shall see!

For everyone who has shared parts of their lives, part of their art and thoughts in blog postings and comments, thank you very much! I hope you will all have a very good Christmas, in the way you like it best, and have a good start of the new year. {{{{ big hugs }}}} and much love! 🙂

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The next story really happened and is a repost of January 1 2010, the day I started this blog

The Christmas card

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Last Christmas would be the first without my mother. We did the tree, the candles, and I bought some Christmas cards at the local photographers shop, with pictures of the island in snow. I got four of each, a total of about twenty-four I think, or twenty-eight. I was not very inspired this year, and hardly looked at the pictures of the lighthouse, the panoramic view from the dunes, and a scene in the street with the lighthouse in the background. All in snow. Somehow the spirit was not really there.

Things got worse when one aunt got a stroke just before Christmas day, aunt Esther broke her wrist and one son never made it home for Christmas because of weather conditions. (He is here now though. )

On Christmas day my husband, me and the youngest son went to my eldest son, who lives 6 km away, and whom I had sent a card as well.

“When did you make that picture of the Christmas card?” he asked while we were enjoying a drink.

“I didn’t. The photographer did. I bought the cards from him.”

I had sent him one of the street view, like I sent my cousin in Belgium. She had asked about a house in the picture. Something had been altered during the yeaRS and she noticed. I realized the pic must have been more than twenty years old. They had been made by the former photographer.

My son then wanted to know: “How come I never saw this picture of my grandmother before?”

“What?” I took a good look at the card. There were only two people on the pic.

“The woman with the sledge!” he said. “It is Oma!”

I watched. The woman was seen on the back But I knew the sledge, a typical Terschellinger design. As this sledge was very small, the handle had been made higher. I remember my father doing that. He never bothered to paint it green like the rest of the sledge.

“There is only one sledge like that and I have it here. And besides, I know that coat she is wearing,” my son said. “It is grandmother alright, going to do her shopping!”

I recognized the yellow boots. The trousers she hated to wear, but that particular year it was so cold… And yes, that coat!

“O my god! It really is her!“ I exclaimed. We were astonished. There she was, my mother, three months exactly after her burial, on this Christmas card I had sent to some people who had loved her. This way she was with us after all…

Of course it was a big coincidence I had picked this card in the shop for this Christmas. But a very nice one!

The cards are still being sold! 🙂

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The lighthouse and the candle (fiction)

It was a quiet evening. Christmas eve.
The “Pythia” was sailing under a full moon. On board, captain Hessel Westra did his shift and drinking his coffee that the cook had brought to him in the stirring cabin.
“Another Christmas at sea,” the cook sighted. He gleamed outside.
Hessel didn’t speak. He shivered. Every now and then a beam of light flashed over the water from the coast. The island became visible. The lighthouse Brandaris. Terschelling.

The old farmer put his book down and his glasses away. He looked at his wife, who was sleeping in her chair near the window. On the windowpane was a candle next to a picture of a young man. The candle was flickering. Christmas eve and a silent night. Maybe it was a pity there was no snow this year.
He rose from his chair, got his jacket and wellies and went outdoors.

It was so quiet outside. Just the sea behind the dunes. The moon was shining from a clear dark sky.
A cow in the barn mewed, then it was quiet again.
The old farmer started to climb the dune and he thought of years ago. So maybe he was wrong that time. He shouldn’t have tried to force the lad to do what he didn’t want. But that was how it was in those days. Children listened to their parents, was he wrong to think his son would listen too?

But the boy wanted to go to sea. Not become a farmer. And now, years later, he knew the son had a point. But then… Had he himself not just lost his brother who was drowned? He was still wearing the black armband then!
Around the arm that hit his son that Christmas eve.

From the top of the dune he looked over the peaceful island, the dunes and the sea.
Where would his boy be now? Well, boy, he would have been forty now. Would he still be alive today?
He left that Christmas eve and he had never returned. Never they had heard from him.

On the bridge of the “Pythia” Hessel still shivered. The coffee couldn’t keep him warm. Was it really cold? He remembered that he had this strange sensation when he was young. A shiver. A feeling of bad things to happen. And then he would just know a cow would die, or lightning would strike , things like that. Odd, he had forgotten all about that shiver.
Maybe it had to do with the fact they were sailing here, so close to Terschelling, where he had lived on his parents farm until that Christmas eve such a long time ago.
There was the lighthouse. There were the dunes. And somewhere behind those dunes was the old farm, the horse and his parents. If still alive.

The old man was staring towards the sea, were he could see the light of a vessel far away. Why didn’t he just go home, inside, where it was warm.
Didn’t he hear the old horse now? What was wrong with that animal?
He turned round and entered the barn. The horse was restless, scraping his foot over the floor.
“What is the matter old boy? Huh?”

On board of the “Pythia” Hessel took over the stirring wheel from a mate and gave him his coffee.
It was strange, in the last years he must have sailed here several times, so close to the shore of his island, and he never thought about home till now. It had been a horrible fight, between him and his father. Over twenty years ago it had been and he had left and never returned to the island.
Maybe he was right then. He thought so, then. But now, he could see his fathers point of view too. So soon after the death of his father’s brother, he should have waited a bit with revealing his future plans.
And now he once again sailed by the island he used to live on.

He shivered.
All of the sudden he saw his mother, she was sleeping in her chair near the window. The candle on the windowpane flickering. The candle…
He uttered a cry.

The horse had calmed down a bit, the old eyes looked sadly at the farmer.
“So you are fine now, aren’t you old boy,” the farmer said. Just when he decided to take a look in the stable to see if the cows were okay, he could hear the telephone ring in the living room.
“Now why doesn’t she take that call?” he wondered. He forgot about the cows and hurried inside, into the living. There his wife stood in the room, a burning curtain was lying on the floor. She tried to kick out the flames. He helped her and they succeeded to put out the fire.
Still shaken she said: “I was asleep, you know, and then the phone rang. I woke up and I saw that the curtain was burning. I just tore it down to the floor. Just in time. If that phone hadn’t rang…”
“Maybe whomever it is, will call again,” her husband said.
“Whomever it was, he or she may have saved my life,” the old woman said. She put the fallen picture of her son Hessel back in its place and they both had a glass of wine to celebrate the good ending.

Hessel was still near the radio and waited. There was the voice of the operator.
“This is Scheveningen Radio again sir, I am sorry, they won’t answer the phone.”
He thanked her and stared out of the window again, over the sea. There was the lighthouse of Ameland, the next island. The shiver had gone.

Slowly the ship continued the voyage.

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Foot prints (true story)

The house had no floor, the table stood in sand, there was no lamp.
She was one of the witches that tried to survive in the days before old people got money from the state.
She looked at me with kind eyes.
I came door to door to collect money and she had none, I know now.
Outside the other children were waiting, they were convinced she would kill me.
“Don’t you think I am a witch?” she asked.
“I do not believe in fairy tales. There are no witches. You are a woman.”
“Good.” She looked outside. “Stupid breed. Their genes are feeble. When they came for the horses, a man got shot because he didn’t want to give his horse to the Germans. When they came for the Jews, nobody did anything. They took every Jew from the island.”
“My mother told me this already. She was also angry because of that.”
“She is not from here. She is from a ship. I was from a ship. People like us never root.”
I looked at her bare feet in the sand.
“You need a floor.”
“I don’t care. It means nothing to me. Not anymore.” She gave me some brandy that burnt in my throat.
“Come again if you like,” she said. “I don’t get much company.”
I promised to come back.
I never did. Her house was demolished some years after her death. When I walked there recently, I noticed footprints where once her living room was, just before the wind blew them over with sand.

Mensch

The train was packed,
my mother and I
went back to our country,
after a few weeks
on board with my father.

The journey took several days by train.
We sat on green benches,
the last part of the journey with some Spanish men,
who were eating olives all journey.
They offered us some, but we didn’t like.

They drank wine and laughed much.
They had a lot of suitcases and bags.
We crossed a border once more,
and the train stopped.
Costums officers entered.

The Spanish men
got agitated, panicked.
Without knowing their language
my mother knew why.
They had no papers and needed to run.

They wanted to take
all their luggage, but there was no time.
“Go,” my mother said.
To make herself understandable,
she used her hands.

“I will put the luggage
out through the window.”
Did she have no respect for uniforms?
They left in a hurry
and my mother did as promised.

The train then left
a few moments later.
My mother seemed pleased
that she had been able
to help the poor Spanish men.

Then, the last thing we saw,
was how the customs officers
had caught up with them
on the platform.
They took the men away.

My mother cried for them,
feeling their defeat as her own pain,
as they were poor sods,
trying to earn a living.
She was a Mensch.

I don’t think this is a poem, but I tagged it as such anyway (May the poetry police be lenient!) It is a true story.

The Christmas Card (true story)

Last Christmas would be the first without my mother.  We did the tree, the candles, and I bought some Christmas cards at the local photographers shop, with pictures of the island in snow. I got four of each, a total of about twenty-four I think, or twenty-eight. I was not very inspired this year,  and hardly looked at the pictures of the lighthouse, the panoramic view from the dunes, and a scene in the street with the lighthouse in the background.  All in snow. Somehow the spirit was not really there.

Things got worse when one aunt got a stroke just before Christmas day, aunt Esther broke her wrist and one son never made it home for Christmas because of weather conditions. (He is here now though. )

Christmas day my husband, me and the youngest son went to my eldest  son, who lives 6 km away, and whom I had sent a card as well.

“When did you make that picture?” he asked while we were enjoying a drink.

“I didn’t.  The photographer did. I bought the cards from him.”

I had sent him one of the street view, like my cousin in Belgium.  She had asked about a house in the picture.  Something had been altered and she noticed.  I realized the pic must have been more than twenty years old.

My son  then wanted to know:  “How come I never saw this picture of my grandmother before?”

“What?”  I took a good look at the card. There were only two people on the pic.

“The woman with the sledge!”  he said. “It is Oma!”

I watched.  The woman was seen on the back.  But I knew the sledge,  a typical Terschellinger design.  As this sledge was very small, the handle had been made higher.  I remember my father doing that. He never bothered to paint it green like the rest of the sledge.

“There is only one sledge like that and I have it here.  And besides,  I know that coat,” my son said.  “It is grandmother alright, going to do her shopping!”

I recognized the yellow boots. The trousers she hated to wear, but that particular year it was so cold…

“O my god! It really is her!“ I exclaimed. We were astonished.  There she was,  three months exactly after her burial,  on this Christmas card I had sent to some people who had  loved her.  This way she was with us after all…
Of course it was a big coincidence I picked this card this Christmas. But a very nice one!

This was the first posting on Inaweblogisback, I wrote this Jan. 1 2010 https://inaweblogisback.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/the-christmas-card-true-story/ The cards are still for sale! 🙂

The Christmas card (true story)

Last Christmas would be the first without my mother.  We did the tree, the candles, and I bought some Christmas cards at the local photographers shop, with pictures of the island in snow. I got four of each, a total of about twenty-four I think, or twenty-eight. I was not very inspired this year,  and hardly looked at the pictures of the lighthouse, the panoramic view from the dunes, and a scene in the street with the lighthouse in the background.  All in snow. Somehow the spirit was not really there.

Things got worse when one aunt got a stroke just before Christmas day, aunt Esther broke her wrist and one son never made it home for Christmas because of weather conditions. (He is here now though. )

Christmas day my husband, me and the youngest son went to my eldest  son, who lives 6 km away, and whom I had sent a card as well.

“When did you make that picture?” he asked while we were enjoying a drink.

“ I didn’t.  The photographer did. I bought the cards from him.”

I had sent him one of the street view, like my cousin in Belgium.  She had asked about a house in the picture.  Something had been altered and she noticed.  I realized the pic must have been more than twenty years old.

My son  then wanted to know:  “How come I never saw this picture of my grandmother before?”

“What?”  I took a good look at the card. There were only two people on the pic.

“The woman with the sledge!”  he said. “It is Oma!”

I watched.  The woman was seen on the back.  But I knew the sledge,  a typical Terschellinger design.  As this sledge was very small, the handle had been made higher.  I remember my father doing that. He never bothered to paint it green like the rest of the sledge.

“There is only one sledge like that and I have it here.  And besides,  I know that coat,” my son said.  “It is grandmother alright, going to do her shopping!”

I recognized the yellow boots. The trousers she hated to wear, but that particular year it was so cold…

“O my god! It really is her!“ I exclaimed. We were astonished.  There she was,  three months exactly after her burial,  on this Christmas card I had sent to some people who had  loved her.  This way she was with us after all…

Of course it was a big coincidence I picked this card this Christmas. But a very nice one!

This was the first posting on Inaweblogisback, I wrote this Jan. 1 2010 The cards are still for sale! 🙂

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