Imagine sitting in class with a clear view of the Dom tower in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
The teacher English said, "c'mon gentlemen, you don't know what work is" when he
discovered that few
had done their homework. The same line could be heard from teachers
German, French, Dutch, Latin, Greek. Sleepy, uninspired twelve year olds. Sitting under
the Dom tower in Utrecht in the very center of Holland. Lazy youngsters in that
English had to be learned. A white haired lady living close-by was rumoured to know some
English. I visited her homework in hand. I saw an unfamiliar word. Do you know it? No, she
said. Oh, I'll look it up. Don't
bother, she said. If I don't know it, it's not in the dictionary.
White haired elderly ladies can be great educators and mentors. I was very lucky, then.
When English had been brought to a good "London, England" level, my fiancee Iris and
readied our travel papers for Canada. On the 18th of October at 18:00 hrs, I said goodbye to
my totally dear Mother and the judge -my Father-in-Law who was nice and rather emotional.
We took-off in my brother's car and arrived
at "Schiphol" Airport, Amsterdam, 18:30 hrs
At 20:00 hrs, a four (4) propellor aeroplane took-off for "Shannon" Airport in Ireland to
take fuel for the 14 hrs flight across the Atlantic to land at Gander, NFLD, Canada.
we travelled to Montreal. A European city. The restaurant tables were covered
with white batist linen. No, shouting, rope-swinging cowboys on young horses, but an
impressive city of huge, austere buildings and the latest modern merchandise everywhere.
We then boarded a "dome-train": the last car being the dining car with a round-about view.
Arrived in Calgary after four (4) days. Iris'Parents who had left years earlier welcomed me.
I could stay for one week, because we were not yet
married. (Testing our moral fiber.)
I knocked on the door of Spartan Air Service. They were pleased to accept me for technical
drawing with the advice that if no raise was forthcvoming in 5 months, i'd be out. No raise
after 6 months
!!! I inquired. Oh, so sorry, we forgot. I then received a much higher pay.
My fiancee Iris and I discussed a good day for marriage. Surely, not after 24, I said. Why?
Well, once you are 25, you get into the older
group of people, at least I would feel too old.
Besides there are 3 paydays in August, so we can do it just before our birthdays, right?
So, on the financial advantage of the 3rd payday, we married on the 24th of August and
a beautiful ceremony in the Cathedral, a splendid breakfast in the Palliser Hotel and
a reception at her Parents house, we set-out to "Baker's Creek" near Lake Louise Hotel.
We carvotted happily around the magnificent Lake Louise, climbed
to a teahouse in the
mountains and landed on a small clearing to carvot intimitely, free and undisturbed at
last. Then, a noise !!! What ? A bulldozer came around bushes. It's a young country !!!
The next day, we
made a walk around Lake Louise once more. Drank from the pure, clean
water and at days'end, walked into "Canyon-Lodge." We went up right after the evening
meal. Smiles at the breakfast table, next day. "Honeymooners, eh?" Yah, a bit
Why did you leave Holland? A peaceful, warm-hearted, harmonious country full of very
beautiful beaches, flowers, inspiring, learned friends and...cafes with good friends to
relate my latest adventures to and naughty
happenings at the Royal Academy of Arts..???
My girl-friend and I agreed to meet in a cafe in the glass-covered, always sunny building
in The Hague, called "Passage." were we amiably sucked on a milk-shake straw until she
Parents and I are leaving for Canada." What did you say? I was snapping for air.
I had come from Utrecht a nice but somewhat greyish city into the royal splendour of a
light, sunny, tree-lined city of The Hague, the zesty, bright, festively
resort of Scheveningen. The cozy cafes. The chess-play sessions. Street-organs. Herring.
My Virtual Cafe WIM' Guests asked me, "Why did you leave? Was it a latent yearning for
Canada, a new huge space
to grow, to develop, branch-out, live without family-critique?
I remember saying, "my fiancee Iris is beautiful and I am a Dutchman in Love." The End.
Most of all the above happened SIXTY YEARS AGO from October 18,
I will tell you much more in my brand-new book "84" some of which will be in this blog.
KIndly, be aware that I am not afreaid of your critique. Write me what you think.
e-mails are 250 times encrypted.