Tag Archives: Jaguar

Man Leben – back to Limburg


Treibend auf die Wellen kann man leben –

Flooting on the waves one can live

You continue with your return to Limburg:

“My godfather had died. The farm in South Limburg urgently needed help. I was ready for a change; my “Jaguar – Saab years” were finally over. At the age of 48 years I became a farmer for a year and a half.

My godfather and godmother could not have had children. I have always felt it, but it was told over adult. During the war until the end of my primary school, they took care for me. I was more than welcome; living with them I had the most beautiful time of my life. Now my godfather suddenly died and the farm wished to resume the rhythm of spring.

The funeral of my godfather went according to use in Limburg. A heavy bell let the village know the sad news that there was a dead,  a mass, walking to the cemetery, a meal with the usual good food. The legacy had not yet to be divided. On her own my godmother had to take for the farm, the cows, the fields, the vegetable garden and orchard. The transition to work on the farm was on my way. Again I moved to South Limburg.

I settled myself to the rhythm of the day, month, season and year on the farm. I could remember much from the past, but a lot had changed. My godmother still followed all the rituals of the Catholic Church, but the secularization was also advancing in Limburg. The farm used to be almost fully self-sufficient. The surplus of the farm was sold and part of the money was used to purchase tools and for maintenance, another part was set aside for savings, and the last part went to church and help for others. The mechanization had already begun – there was a tractor and a number of machines were available. But a further increase in scale was needed in a few years: the choices were not easy and the necessary investments would be considerable. Was the farm large enough to be taken over by family or heirs? My godfather and godmother had been thinking about this question for several years; soon a decision had to be taken. Now she had to make this decision on her own. My godmother noticed that for me a change was more than welcome that year. After a few weeks my godmother and I agreed that I would continue at least until the farm was ready for the next winter.

[1]

For her, this was not an easy time: loss of her husband, help from me – an inexperienced farmer, how to continue with the farm and the changes in everyday life. In Limburg the secularization started and the television showed all the changes of the world in the kitchen. She fulfilled her duties for her late husband and I went along to each mass. This rhythm and the rhythm of the farm gave form to my life again.

[2]

In the autumn – just after the 6 months mass for my godfather – my aunt said that my help on the farm was welcome, but I was not a farmer; I did not belong on a farm. I belonged somewhere else, just as at the age of 12 I belonged somewhere else. On that evening we decided to live another season on the farm and within that year take for the transfer of the farm.

A college friend visited me for a weekend at that time. We have always kept in touch. Now he was a successful architect. Together, we considered the possibilities for a holiday farm. The location was good, the buildings were in a good condition and they offered sufficient opportunities. In consultation with my godmother we developed the plans further during winter and spring. At the end of spring my godmother – after consultation with the family – bid the farm and land for sale. In summer she bought herself a nice apartment in the village. We finished the summer season on the farm. The cows were taken over by villagers and the land was leased. So, we finished our farmers’  rhythm.

In that year we also talked about my future plans. I would save myself: my godmother believed me, but in her opinion this was not my destination on earth. We also discussed the wish of my aunt. She fully understood the wish of my aunt to honour my family with the traditional remembrance of the dead according to the Jewish tradition. My inability to do this, my godmother did not well understand. One may take the position of “no one’s boss, nobody’s servant”, but there existed a natural order with a God who created heaven and earth; He had to be honoured. For my godmother her faith and her way of life has always been clear: one knew what to do – like it or not – you had to do it. Gently she proposed a pilgrimage to me; a pilgrimage in the autumn to Dachau. That would be a preparation for honouring my family.

Looking back on my life in Limburg and the hike/pilgrimage, I remember a text that I have once read: “Disease and medicine help each other. The medicine is the universe. Who are you?”. [3]

At the end of the summer of 1983, I packed my backpack with two sets of clothes, a bivouac sack and a small stove. I said goodbye to my godmother and to the village and I hit the road”, you say.

The next post is about your trek to Ronchamp.

– “Who are you – Part 1″ ready for download –

– Please, see page: “Who are you – Part 1”


[1] Examples of farms in Zuid Limburg. Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Houtemstgerlach.jpg

[2] Example of landscape in Zuid Limburg: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationaal_Landschap_Zuid-Limburg

[3] Free rendering of Case 87 from the Hekiganroku. See also: Yamada Kôun Roshi, Hekiganroku, Die Niederschrift vom blauen Fels – Band 2. München: Kösel-Verlag, 2002 p. 321.

Man Leben – Everyday life


Wie soll man leben – How to live

Now you continue with your contribution to society and your everyday life in Amsterdam:

“I have completed my general education at a Catholic primary school in South Limburg and a Christian grammar school in Rotterdam. In my grammar school time my aunt promoted the regular study of the Jewish scriptures. At that time these were complete different worlds. Looking back, I mainly see the similarities.

Open-minded I started my study Architecture in Delft without formal obligations. On my 21st birthday the disillusionment followed. My aunt explained to me how she had handled the legacy of my parents and family. She had done well, but the time was not well-disposed to her. Hereinafter I finished my studies in four years with a reasonable to good study in the field of utility-building.

Everyday life took me on. A short period I worked at an architectural firm on utility projects. Through this firm, I ended up in the trade of building materials. In the early sixties more money came in society and there was also more money available for building materials. I lifted on this tide.

[1]

Through my work on the architectural firm I met my wife and mother of our three children. In grammar school and the first two years of my study, I have been in love several times, but there was always a distance. Now I saw her and she appeared in a white glow; not as bad as when in primary school I fell in love for the first time. Then lightning struck me and everything was completely white, now it was gentler and only she stood in a white glow. Fortunately I could utter a few meaningful words. The second time I had the courage to ask her out. So it went on. We are quickly engaged and we married in 1959. A short time we have lived in an apartment and when the children came, we moved to a house near Amsterdam.

The trade in building materials was very successful. For me my “Jaguar year” started.

[2]

I will keep the description of these “Jaguar years” brief, because Lucy Irvine [3] in her book on the stay on a deserted island in the Pacific could not stand it when her companion “G” began about his “Jaguar days”. Our success increased and we moved to a detached house on the outskirts of Amsterdam; we went with vacations further and further. The children went to primary school and everything seemed quiet and fine.

With the increased wealth at the end of the 1960s, there was a underneath sense of uneasiness in society that also got a place in our family. Structures and ways of living changed, values and ways of behaviour changed and we felt a great increase of freedom [4]  and possibilities. The imagination seemed to come to power. The routine of a fixed family with fixed ways of living together changed in a free family with free manners. Our marriage changed in an open marriage with room for other relationships. The Jaguar was exchanged for a Renault 4 as family car – a delicious moving car, which flowed like everything else in that time –, because we felt we were still young and alternative; we enjoyed life.

[5]

The trade prospered and required another car – a Saab 99. Looking back the joy of this freedom and entering into other relationships was fleeting and shallow; the latent discontent remained.

[6]

The second-wave feminism rolled into our family. After our wedding my wife stopped working, she took care of everything in and around our house, and for the children; I took care of the income, for all official business and for the management of our possessions. We made plans for the future and considered together important decisions. Everything was nicely divided as usual in that area. We started with a normal marriage like everyone else in that time. The hippie time made everything loose and more jolly; clothing was alternative and the relationships as well. In the early 1970s my wife wished to develop and orient herself on her place in society.

My wife started to develop herself; she began a study languages at the University of Amsterdam. Her social life changed – her new friend came in our life and not much later they moved on with the children: she was my ex-wife and a visit arrangement with the children followed. My social life changed: there were several female friends in my life and my circle of friends changed because our separation also resulted in a separation in the family and friends – “partir est mourir un peux”. My inner discomfort and dissatisfaction remained.

With these changes also the view on other religions came in my life: Catholicism, Christian and Jewish faith had already found a place in my life – the last 25 years more or less dormant. With the alternative movement also Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism came into view. Later these religions played an important role in my life.

At the end of the 70 ‘s I was – additional to my work in the trade – a few years part time teacher for modular construction elements at the Delft University of Technology. I had transferred part of my job to younger colleagues. In that time I followed the lectures in philosophy by professor W. Luijpen. His view on society had a major influence on me.

In 1980 my aunt died after a short period of illness. I have organized her funeral and the additional matters. At that time she was again my closest member in the family. I visited her grave annually in the Catholic fashion around 1 November. I still could not fulfil her wish to honour her with traditional remembrance of the dead [7] according to the Jewish tradition. I still was not ready for it.

In the spring of 1982 my godfather in South Limburg suddenly died. My life was ready for a change. I decided to help my godmother on the farm: I moved to South Limburg and I was temporarily farmer. Before I left, I handled my business in Amsterdam, sold our house and for the children I have – like my grandparents had done for my parents in 1923 – a small capital base in deposit. My family has not appreciated this change. When I look back, I shouldn’t have taken these steps so bold, but in that period of my life I felt that this change was on my way”, you say.

“I remember that confusing time. In Limburg these changes happened later, but at the end of my grammar school time everyone had long hair and colourful clothes. During my study in Delft I felt resistance against men because I had the opinion that women had an unjust place in society”, I say.

“When we married, the society was organised differently. The changes came later. On my return in South Limburg, I went back in time. In Limburg the relation between men and women were not so much changed”, you say.

[8]

The following post is about your return to Limburg and how you started to drift.

 

– “Who are you – Part 1″ ready for download –

– Please, see page: “Who are you – Part 1”


[1] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Piping01.JPG

[2] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jaguar.3point4.750pix.jpg

[3] See: Irvine, Lucy, Castaway. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1984

[4] The verb root “Vraj” means in Sanskrit “go, walk”. Source: Egenes, Thomas, Introduction to Sanskrit – Part Two. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2005 p. 395. According to the electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta, “Vraj” also has the meaning “to go to (a woman)” and “have sexual intercourse with”.

[5] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Renault_4_R_1123_1968.jpg

[6]  Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Saab_99_EMS_1974_(UK_Spec).jpg

[7] See also: Zie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish

[8] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Ford5000.jpg