It was great to introduce Jan to Haren. After parking the car we immediately set out for Kerkstraat, the street where the family home was and where I was born. I still can't get over how everything is so close together and Jan was quite taken by the fact that the opposite corner from the family home was the church where I was baptised; across the road was the cemetery where my paternal grand-parents are buried; a few doors down the street is the school - which is no longer a school, that I attended for almost all my primary education. Further down the road - a hundred meters or so, is the birth home of my own father. As I said, it was all so close together and we enjoyed the journey of rediscovering those long ago days:
Below; as it was in 1931, almost complete with my parents in front:
And below, in front of the same classroom with my teacher, Mrs Romein at the top left. My sister Wilhelmina & I are sitting bottom right with Pieter & Errit immediately behind us. How we have changed!!!
Just before leaving for our European adventure, I received an unexpected email from a cousin of mine whom I had not seen for some sixty years and who, not surprisingly, did not remember me. Irma inquired about my knowledge of the family tree. Having done a lot of work on that over recent years, I was able to respond providing her with information that we had gathered. With our visit to Holland, it seemed natural to arrange to meet her.
We spent a most delightful day with Irma and her husband Adri (who was just three weeks younger than me). There was immediate rapport between us and our whole visit was a happy experience. I think that our respective spouses smiled at, what they observed as, similar family traits. Hmmmm! I have been told that I look like my grandfather Bouman, but perhaps Adri saw other similarities as well! Whatever, we just got on like a house on fire and it was a real treat to connect after so many years. Many of the photos that follow were taken by Irma, who is quite expert in photography, and I thank her for permitting me to use these on this blog.
After a delicious lunch Adri & Irma invited us to stretch our legs and see a little of their surroundings. We were ready for a good walk and gladly agreed. They took us to a property now used as accommodation for widows of ex servicemen. It is set in lovely bushlands and is very peaceful.
In showing you the next lot of photos, let me do so as a special tribute to Adri Buenk who passed away just a couple of weeks ago. On our return to Hobart, we received news that Adri was diagnosed with cancer and in the space of a couple of months was 'called home' by our Heavenly Father. It was a huge shock that I found personally very hard to cope with. Jan & I remember him with much enjoyment and the following photos reflect this. It was a happy walk, full of colour and diversity as I am sure was his life.
And finally, the above wonderful photo showing the fine and regular detail of God's amazing ingenuity in creation. Perfectly made. In the same way he made each of us - special in every detail.