Friday, January 25, 2013

Other "earliest" memories

 --Telling Gerard what a good job he did after using the potty.  “Goed zo, Gerard!”

--Gerard and I jumping on the bed wearing a top hat and a wedding veil that Tante Toni had let us take.

--Gerard chasing me into Opa’s apple orchard with a knife and cutting me between thumb and index finger.  Opoe wrapped it in a towel and someone took me on the back of a bike to the doctor.  The doctor said, “You should not play with knives,” as he sewed up the wound.  I already know that, I thought.  Tell Gerard.

--Walking into Opoe’s kitchen early one morning where she stood in front of the window, her back toward me.  She turned and looked at me as if I were the only person in the world she wanted to see right then, and hugged me to her apron.

--Opoe sitting on the floor with Gerard and me in her lap, singing, and clapping our hands:
 Klap es  in de handjes
blij, blij, blij
op het boze bolletje
handjes in de hoogte
handjes in de zij
zo varen de scheepjes voorbij

--Wearing an orange sash for Queen Juliana’s birthday and learning to tie a bow.

--Reading the funny papers with Opa Roos on Sunday afternoons.

--Receiving marzipan in the shape of fruits for Christmas from Oma Roos.

--Receiving boxes from America filled with clothes and canned peaches.

--Watching the candles burn on the Christmas tree and singing a carol.

--Setting out wooden shoes for Sinter Klaas.

--Oma Roos made me remove my underpants while napping on Sunday afternoons.  I went outside to play with my cousin, Hannie, and realized I had no underpants on.  I had to reach  to ring Oma’s doorbell, which made my dress ride up dangerously high.

--the bread man delivering bread.  He opened the front door and set it on the stair, without any wrapping.

--Family parties with the Rooses where everyone smoked cigars or cigarettes.  Mother taking me into the kitchen to wash out my stinging eyes.

--Riding to church on the back of my father’s bike and getting my foot caught in the spokes.

--Going back to Breukelen late at night and the adults would holler across the River Vecht for the boatman to come and take us across.  (I always fretted that he
wouldn’t hear and we’d have to spend the night outside).

--Opa fixing my cracked wooden shoe with a tin strip across the top.

--Opoe’s shoe closet on the stairwell full of discarded shoes.

--Kittens under Opoe’s armoire.  (I later learned that Opa would put them in a bag and drown them in the canal).

--My uncles clowning around on a motor boat, rocking back and forth, until I cried.

--My father tied stiff wire around my waist and pushed me around on the ice on my skates.

--Opa Copier never closed his eyes when we said the blessing on the food.  “Opa didn’t close his eyes, “ I would report.  “How do you know?” he’d say.

--Swinging on Opoe’s swing that hung from a tall tree.

--the first time they had white bread for the sacrament bread in the Utrecht branch.

--Tracing Mother’s letters with onionskin paper.

--a funeral carriage pulled by horses across the gulley from our house.


  1. I love this! Now that I live in the Netherlands, I say "goed zo" to my 4 year old, we celebrate Queen's Day, eat those marzipan fruits, ride our bikes to church (my friend's daughter got her leg caught in her bike spokes recently-- apparently it is still quite common), put out our shoes for Sinterklaas, and I have a friend here named Roos.
    We're not Dutch, but I love so much about the strong culture here and the Dutch people. It's a wonderful heritage.

  2. Replies
    1. Any one else wondering when you found out about the cats?