Tag Archives: South Limburg

Carla Drift – Nomadic existence


Carla Drift – Nomadic existence

I cannot write more about my work in the area of crimes against humanity, because I will bring other people and myself in great danger. With state secrets, secret services, authorities and powers which have added stark dark pages to history, one cannot be too careful.

In Western Europe, many people think that this dark pages are written by authorities and powers in distant countries. From South Limburg I did not have to travel far. South Limburg itself had never had many ambitions to fulfil a role in world history, maybe robber gangs like the “buck riders” [1] added a few footnotes to history. I leave further research into black pages in history by South Limburg to others.

[2]

From my village in South Limburg I did not need to travel far for a number of my investigations. With a few hours walk to the East, I arrived in Germany with crimes against humanity during the Second World War. With a few hours walking to the West, Belgium is located with Congo as black pages in history; in elementary school we only learned the abuses against fathers and sisters and massacres of innocent believers, but later more became known [3]. To the North, Holland is located with its dark history in the slave trade. Also dark pages were written during the suppression of rebellions in Indonesia [4] where a President of the Council of Ministers [5] in his early years has personally played an active role. Finally – against the wishes of Holland – Indonesia became independent after a war that was called police actions [6] in Holland. I was involved in investigation into war-crimes during this war. Furthermore I have done research on all seven continents – also in Australia with Aborigines and in North America with the world power.

[7]

After every research in the tropics, I came home exhausted and sick. Luckily I still had places at home where I could recover. In Amsterdam I had my room in the house of friends of Man and me for a long time. When I came home in South Limburg there were always happy faces – when I came and when I went again; I was always greeted as the prodigal daughter but I was too independent and bold – “vreg”; the pastor, the Mayor and the City Council noticed this pretty fast. In short, several temporary places to recover and to make preparations for new investigations with all adventures involved. Always under a disguise playing a game of hide-and-seek in order not to be unmasked with all fatal consequences involved.

About 10 years ago, I left my room in Amsterdam, because the friends of Man and I decided to live in a smaller apartment at their old age. Their beautiful house in the Centre of Amsterdam was sold. I left my room with a rucksack, a sleeping bag, a bivouac sack, lightweight camping gear and some clothes. All my books were in the University libraries – with a number of library cards easily accessible. I sold my other belongings. All in all, an enormous wealth.

Several years ago I came back from a research in the tropics – but now I was seriously ill. I did not recover fully: after small efforts I was quickly tired. I noticed in my body and soul that tropics years counted double; After some 20 years in the tropics I had reached my retirement at the age of 50 years old . With my savings and some small consultancies, I could bridge the time until my “state pension”.

After a nomadic existence of researcher with recovery periods in Amsterdam with friends and in South Limburg with family, I was now dependent on a new place to live. In South Limburg I did belong any longer in the society of the village where I grew up – I left too long ago. My father and mother were proud grandparents of the children of both my sisters. These nephews and nieces were almost independent – two were studying, one was craftsman and the youngest was still following high school. My sisters were happily married with nice partners. My friend from my childhood was well either. He came along when I was in Amsterdam for a visit to world city with all its challenges. Sometimes he visited me abroad. How welcome the home nest in South Limburg might appear, I did not belong there any more.

I was a nomad, but a nomad who needed a roof during bad weather and cold nights. Through friends I bought a caravan that was adapted for wintertime.

[8]

There was another problem: I had no driving licence and I did not want to get one. Trough acquaintances in South Limburg, I bought a small tractor. My father checked the tractor on shortcomings. I think no tractor was ever so thoroughly checked, because my father intuitively felt that this might be one of the last things he could do for me – his problem child and apple of his eye.

[9]

The village waved me goodbye when I left with tractor – caravan combination and I waved back, again only happy faces. The following post is about the treks with this tractor – caravan combination.

News

My publisher has its new website available:

www.omnia-amsterdam.nl


[1] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokkenrijders

[2] Source image:  http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokkenrijders

[3] See also: Reybrouck, David Van, “Congo – Een geschiedenis van”. Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 2010

[4] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atjehoorlog

[5] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hendrikus_Colijn

[6] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politionele_acties

[7] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aborigines_(Australi%C3%AB)

[8] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravan_(aanhangwagen)

[9] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tractor

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Carla Drift – Behaviour 2


People accept differences in behaviour and in dealing with each other to a certain extent. This acceptance is determined by mutual relationships within a worldview that gives an interpretation to the similarity and differences between people. This worldview also gives an interpretations to the similarities and differences between groups of people. Priests and leaders have a different place in society and they have other habits than labourers. Within a stable society with an uniform worldview, every individual and every group of people experience its place as necessary and appropriate within a higher order. The differences often have an interpretation and a higher purpose in a world order seen as predestined; every woman/man experiences her/his place and her/his life changes as perfectly normal – how extravagant and absurd the situation may seem in the eyes of outsiders.

In Africa men rest in the shade all day – in the Western world people work almost the whole day to sit half an hour in the sun. In Europe a walk to the next village takes a small hour – in Africa a similar walk of the same distance takes over half a day because all social contacts along the road are maintained.

[1]

In the Western – modern industrialized – world many couples life together in a small family consisting of two partners and a few children. The children continue to live in the family house until they are old enough to live independently.

According to the Western ideal, marriage comes forth from a romantic love affair that continues after a few years in a marriage in which – after one year – successively two to four children are born. When the children themselves get married by a romantic love affair, the two partners end up living happy and satisfied together until old age. This small family is pretty mobile to move along with the possibilities that the labour-market can offer.

[2]

The reality is often different than the ideal. First young people explore the world of entering into love relationships; they have a number of loose/fixed relations. After this orientation a partner choice follows for a long-term love affair. This romantic quest costs besides happiness, hope and expectations also disappointments, sadness and headaches; much literature and movies on this topic represent a summary of the difficulties. The starting love gets – with some luck and perseverance – shape in the vow of a long-term living together. After a number of seasons the partners decide to continue the long-term relationship in a marriage or cohabitation agreement. In reality approximately 36% of the marriages end in a divorce [3]. Everyday life does not live up to the common ideal. Within the small family, the relocation of labour to another part of the country is a sensitive event: who of both partners must revise her/his ambition in the labour market. A wedding or cohabitation agreement has also the characteristics of a business agreement in addition to a love relation.

More than half a century ago many people in the Western – agricultural – world lived together in an extended  family [4] where children, parents with their brothers and sisters, and grandparents lived  lifelong under one roof. A number of people died in the same bed in which they were born.

[5]

In this extended family, honour, the reputation of the family and the survival of the house/farm was of great importance for the establishment of good life-long relationships. When the family honour was damaged, it was impossible for potential suitors from the extended family to find adequate life partners. A marriage arrangement was – next to a societal agreement – mainly a business agreement for the extended family. New members joined the extended family with an advance on their legacy and other members left the house with wedding gifts to live in another family. Marriages were often arranged – children were married off.

In some agricultural areas nubile daughters were given the possibility to get pregnant in an outbuilding of the farm. After the pregnancy was visible, the marriage followed immediately. This farming community did not wish to risk the survival of the farm by marriages without offspring. The Christian faith could never eliminate this ancient way of matrimonial agreements with an enlarged guarantee on progenies.

The local community society closely monitored the reputation of the extended families: everything was done to restrain the “biology between people”. Young marriageable women were constantly chaperoned by the close family. In the Catholic South Limburg around 1950, pensions and hotel rooms were checked at the beginning of the night by local police on unwanted extramarital activities. In November 1961 – in the Protestant village Staphorst – a man and a woman were driven by the local inhabitants on a manure cart through the village to their shame for an extramarital relationship [6].

At the end of the sixties an underneath sense of uneasiness in society – partly caused by an increased prosperity and by the availability of contraceptives – gave rise to freer relationships between men and women. Young people were young and alternative and they wanted to explore life and their sexuality more openly. The second-wave feminism also changed the relations between men and women. Young people had more freedom to engage in sexual relationships and there were different ways of cohabitation available. The new possibilities also cause more uncertainties – the society became adrift [7].

In our society most married couples remain monogamous during their marriage. Many other ways of cohabitation also show a large degree of monogamy. Though the number of illegitimate children rapidly increase in Netherlands: between 1985 and 1995, the percentage of children born out of wedlock has risen from over 8% to 16%. Afterwards, the percentage increased from 25% in 2000, 35% in 2005 to 45% in 2009. The reason for this is probably the decline in Christian morality and the increased prosperity with greater autonomy of women [8]. It seems that the sequential monogamy – partners are monogamous within a relationship, but the relationships change over time – increases in our society.

In addition to monogamy, other societies also know polygamy [9] – more women with one man – and polyandry [10] – more men with one woman – or mixtures of both forms. In sparsely populated areas or in societies where a deficit has arisen to one gender, these other forms are necessary for the survival of the population. In the Arab world many warfare with a high mortality of the male population took place; in order to maintain the population, more women married with one husband – in case the husband could maintain these women. In the Caribbean and around Miami men of a particular class are imprisoned for a very long time; women proceed to “passers marriages” with available men – the woman has a relationship with a man as long as this man can care for the woman. In thinly populated areas more men have a lasting relationship with one woman so that better support in education of her children is ensured.

In areas in Africa and in some regions of the Himalayas polyandry takes place. An example is written in the Mahābhārata where on female protagonist – Draupadi – is married to five brothers – five other main characters – after the mother of the five brothers has said that her sons must share what one of the brothers has obtained. The brothers lived successively one year with their wife from which five sons came forth [11].

[12]

Another example of polygamy and polyandry is found at the Maasai in Kenya. Women and men live together in a mixture of polygamy and polyandry. A woman sometimes marries with an age group of men. A man is expected to give up his marriage bed to a guest/age mate – only the woman decides whether she wants to share the bed with the guest. All children of the woman are also the children of the spouse [13].

Bigamy, polygamy, polyandry and marriages between equal sexes are prohibited in many countries. Often there is a traditional taboo on uncommon forms of cohabitation. Many societies do everything – including banishment, hell and damnation – to eradicate unfamiliar cohabitation. Are other forms of cohabitation seen as inferior and unethical in order to suppress one’s own uncertainty and covert wishes for change? Or is it easy to regard other forms of cohabitation as an inferior cohabitation and as a consequence as deficit and unethical [14]? At tension and conflicts, there is the desire to demonstrate this inferiority and deficit of the others. Or, as Prof. Dr. W. Luijpen said in his lectures at the Technical University in Delft: “Evidence is compelling that others have to bend their knees “. This compelling may proceed in a stigma and the search for scapegoats within our neighbours. The tension may spiral in an armed conflict with massacres. Isn’t  accepting other ways of cohabitation – and the acceptance of the uncertainty and tensions about our own way of cohabitation – a better solution?

[1] Source image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mt_Uluguru_and_Sisal_plantations.jpg

[2] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Old_marriage_at_Plac_Kaszubski.jpg

[3]  The Catholic Church recognises three grounds for divorce: death of one of the partners, “non- consummation the marriage” and a prolonged absence of one partner without a forecast on a return. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce

[4] Source image:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_family

[5]  Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FamiliaOjeda.JPG

[6] Source: Nieuwblad van het Noorden, 13 november 1961 – pagina 1.

[7] See also: Drift, Carla, Man Leben – One Life, A Biography. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 44 – 47.

[8] Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buitenechtelijk_kind

[9] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamie

[10] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyandry

[11] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabharata

[12] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2716_PandavaDraupadifk.jpg.jpg

[13] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasai_people

[14] See also: Agar, Michael, Language Shock – Understanding the Culture of Conversation. New York: Perennial, 1994, 2002, p. 23, 37

Carla Drift – Years of Flourishing 2


Suddenly at the beginning of my first spring in Delft, my great love came in my life. I turned around and there he stood. A friendly smile in a moon face, with a lot of blonde curls. I opened my mouth in surprise and his smile became much larger; I started to laugh. He studied architecture, was several months younger and he lived on the other side of the city. It seemed like we knew each other for ages. He invited me to drink coffee together – I invited him to dinner after my rowing training. In the evening we visited an organ concert in the “Nieuwe Kerk” in Delft with music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

[1]

After a few drinks in the “Waag” [2] we said goodbye; two days later he would come to me for dinner.

At the beginning of that night I could not sleep; I felt tingling all over my body. In the middle of the night I fell asleep. The following two days I felt myself floating; everywhere I went, I felt a warm glow around me. At the beginning of the evening I prepared my best meal; he had a bottle of wine with him – I sinned against my rowing training. Long dining with lots of talk and laughter and during the preparation of the dessert he laid his hand on my shoulder, I turned to him and smiled happily. After finishing diner, we listened music and kissed. Everything was familiar, our hands and tongues found their way by themselves: experience of a lifetime of many millions of years.

[3]

We slept in my bed – spoonwise – underwear still on. The following afternoon he went on study trip for one week; before his departure we promised to meet again a week later.

This week I used to explore my body and to get the contraceptive pill. Better not to play hide and seek on this point. As the oldest, I preferred a small advantage: some control over the intimacy between both of us. From the library I borrowed several books about physical intimacy. In a few evenings I found out what I certainly liked – after some tries, I discovered that orgasm [4] seemed to me like making turns while biking – the rest would follow later.

A week later after the rowing training, I was waiting for him at the beginning of the evening. He beamed when he saw me. We went to his room. He slept while I ate my dinner. I read in his books about architecture: Ernst Neufert-Architects ‘ Data and some books about the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. By the end of the evening I woke him; he looked sweet and vulnerable. I put up a record and I laid myself next to him. Slowly we merged together on the flow of the music. A number of times I was completely one with everything. I felt an infinite love; a transcendence of the “I”. Later we slept for a few hours. The next morning I sang while I made breakfast for us. We lived alternately in each other’s room. That spring, summer and autumn lit up in a golden glow. In addition there were the necessary practical matters: study, rowing, holiday, meeting each other’s family. And, of course, living together with other students.

Around my rowing, we went away on weekends – camping in Belgium, staying with friends in other cities, visiting musea and buildings.

During Ascension we stayed at my parents in South Limburg. We met my primary school boyfriend. He mentioned that he had fallen in love with a female school friend. The next day we met her. She was very surprised to see my great love and me together. She thought that I had a relation with my primary school boyfriend – she really liked him. At Pentecost we invited them both in Delft. That was the beginning of their later marriage.

[5]

The summer holidays, the four of us moved through Europe by train. A carefree summer.

Around the autumn holiday his attention for me diminished; it first showed with small things. There was a small forgetfulness – for example: an appointment for a weekend away coincided with another appointment – may happen. Then I felt increasingly in all kinds of gestures, that our fully togetherness was no longer mutual. Not much later he asked for more freedom and he soon fell in love with another fellow female student. This transition took him trouble and it caused a landslide for me. The landslide was not caused by his interest in other women, but because we started drifting apart and an increasing disharmony crept in our relationship. It was just if the left and right hand, eye, ear, foot began a life on their own. Before, we felt one with each other and with the world around us. Around the autumn holiday our relation slowly split in two. First we tried a love triangle. At that time the relations between men and women were already on drift for a while. The second women’s emancipation golf was in full swing in our environment – I think I was not easy at that time. From a love triangle we drifted to an intimate friendship for more than a year with a lot of talk about life and about ourselves and very occasionally we had intimacy. Halfway through my third year in Delft, a students’ psychologist said to me the honest and very painful words: “Wrong partner choice”. After this visit, I wished to shout over the canal: “The only true partner choice”. Now looking back – so true. After my great love, occasionally I had several vague relations that can be described with a line from a song by Joan Armatrading [6]: “I’m not in love, but I’m open for persuasion”.

Our friendship diluted, but my inner loss remained. The full moon of love that first shone from his face, had now passed in a new moon. It was painful to see him in Delft – I wasn’t kind anymore. I had no permission from the faculty of the University to pursue my study in a direction that I wished. In the next post more on this development.

In the last semester of my Bachelor I sat next to a charming middle-aged man during colleges philosophy. Since some time he was a senior scientific researcher in architecture, but soon he would start helping his godmother on the farm about ten kilometres from my village. A number of times we had lunch together. I had told him my plans for the continuation of my study in Amsterdam. He arranged my first room in Amsterdam with friends of him. Occasionally I visited him in South Limburg when I was at my parents. I helped a little on the farm and we ate together.


[1] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delft

[2] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waag_(Delft)

[3] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amour

[4] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orgasm

[5] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delft

[6] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Armatrading

Man Leben – interview 3


The previous interview is about your move from South Limburg to Rotterdam. This interview includes several questions about love.

“In the description of your life, you mention that there have always been women in your life. Your mother, your godmother and your aunt have a clear role as caregivers and educators. My place as companion during our Odyssey does not raise questions for me. I find it striking that from your 10th year until recently, there have been nearly always loves and lovers in your life. I started around my 18th year with a vague love. From my 19th until my 20th year I have known my love of my life – the man in my life. Then I have had feelings of companionship with men and men were in love with me, but I have never had real loves and lovers in my life again: I was never open to love after the love of my life. In the description of my life I will give more details. How did you deal with these changing loves?”, I ask.

“If I might choose, than I would prefer to remain with my first love during my entire life; the love that I’ve felt as an intense glow on my 10th year.

[1]

With her I would like to marry on my 18th and grow old. This was not possible for several reasons: I moved to Holland and I was not really at home in Limburg. And later – when I was able to have contact with her – her life had taken another turn by an engagement with a nice and caring man. They still have a happy marriage, have many children and grandchildren and become old and happy. I have often met her: she has never been aware of this blinding love in my young years. Now, when I look back, I see that my love is always directed at one woman: one woman in different manifestations. Of course all loves have been different, but there was always one constant, the constant of intensity and intimacy in diversion. The feelings of intensity and intimacy for all my beloved did change in the course of the time, but it never disappeared. Maybe you and I have here one point in common; your love of your life – the man in your life – is one man of all men. My loved ones are one woman in different forms”, you say.

“I will reconsider this resemblance. How did you experience the finiteness of the seperate loves”, I ask.

“The women in my life have always treated me well. I have also tried to treat them well. With my wife I was not successful; I am still regretful and shameful about this inability: I should have known better. Also two separate relationships with German loves ended resolute and abrupt; they probably had in mind: finished is finished – no more fuzz. If the ways between my loves and I began to separate, than I always left the decision of the separation to my beloved. I think I have unconsciously felt that the ending of a relationship is easier for the loved one who starts the separation. By my life I’m probably better equipped for painful separations. When possible I keep in touch with my former loved ones. Sometimes only through letters and Christmas cards, with others I have stayed or travelled together”, you say.

“I think the separation with your wife seems more a separation of a way of life than a separation between two lovers”, I say.

“You may be right. In the area of intimacy and love we drifted apart due to all kinds of reasons and circumstances. Then the time of our free [2] marriage did start. This other way of our marriage has increased the difference between us: my wife flourished and she wished to start her own lives with her new lover. This last development I have noticed too late. Too long I tried to maintain a family house. The sale of our house and the separation of our possessions – including the small capital for our children – marked the end of an era: a goodbye to a reality that already a long time ago had changed in an unsustainable illusion. With the settlement of our marriage and possessions, I operated fare too one-sided and rigorous. I made nobody happy; my wife and children are completely estranged from me”, you say.

“The end of the love of my life was impossible for me and it was a painful process. In the description of my life I will give more details. I find your poem about the “petite mort” in the post “Love” quite nicely. In the love of my live I also experienced the all-encompassiveness of the small death.

[3]

How did your life go further after the great death of your beloved companion?”, I ask.

“Her family and friends have seen me partly as an intruder. I can understand this, because in addition to a small apartment in Amsterdam, many books and a state pension – for me a great possession – I have no other possessions. She had significantly more possessions. The family and friends have insisted to arrange the funeral and the further settlement. I have kept in the background. From the legacy, I have received several books. In a recent book, she has underlined a passage on love: “The biggest mystery are you yourself”. After her death I moved on with the feeling that I was ripped in half – invisible filmy in half – straight through my heart. Everything was cold, endless and painful. The third surprise of simplicity gave me a new balance”, you say.

In the next post I will continue with several questions about your simplicity.


[1] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:HaloIJsselmeer2.jpg

[2] 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”.

[3] Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orgasmus

Man Leben – interview 2


The previous post includes the first part of the interview about the description of your life. Now I continue with some questions about your move from South Limburg to Rotterdam.

“You started to live with your aunt in the vicinity of Rotterdam at the age of 12 and you went to grammar school. How was this change?”, I ask

“In South Limburg I have probably had the best years in my life. I felt fully at home, although I have been a misfit. First I could not understand the local language and customs, but after a year everything was fine and I could speak the dialect fluently. In Rotterdam everything was again completely strange. I lived in a Dutch and Christian environment with an accent from Limburg, Catholic habits and a Jewish background: all exceptional. The bad word for Catholic “paap”; this word means in the Sanskrit “wrong, bad, guilty” [1]. The first years near Rotterdam I have had difficulties to adapt myself. Luckily I was accepted at school in my class. My aunt also has had many difficulties: she had to finish a former life in a difficult environment; the possessions, the taxes and finances deserved attention. Also a new life had to be started. She was lucky that she could get a good post in a trading company due to a family relative. Later I have thought that she might have emigrated to America if I did not exist; She has never told this”, you say.

[2]

“You have said that the small capital that your grandfather has deposited in Switzerland around 1924, was very helpful”, I say.

“That I understood later on, when I was 21 years old. Before my aunt came to South Limburg, she had visited the bank in Switzerland where my grandfather has opened the account in 1924. This account remained outside the scope of others – including the authorities in Germany and the Netherlands. This is a small part of my arrogance: in that time for me very understandable. This small capital covered my study and a part of the capital for the homes of our family. Later, when our family had fallen apart, I also opened similar account from the sale of our family home for my children in future difficult times”, you say.

[3]

“In that time it was money outside the books for the Governments”, I say.

“That is true. It was a different time: by our family the authorities were not experienced as very reliable. It was wise to have some savings outside view. Later, when I put my trust on the wind and the Moon during my journey to Dachau, I began to see the vanity of capital. I saw the full meaning of the second commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. I began to understand that money is a metaphor for confidence. I put my trust on All en One – volatile as the wind and moving as water; from then on my way is lit by the Moon. In this world money is sometimes a useful medium of exchange, but a burden on the eternal way”, you say.

The next post include several questions about love.


[1] Source: electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta.

[2] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigratie

[3] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banking_in_Switzerland

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