A few weeks ago, we entered the summer months and the heat (and thunderstorms) is upon us. The Crape Myrtle trees in the yards and along the roads are in full bloom and it looks as if the long frost we had at the beginning of this year has done them good. Contrary to the effect on palm trees and other tropical plants.
A newsletter editor should solicit stories, reports or announcement from the membership to get a good balanced layout and keep the letter interesting. In spite of my efforts, I have still not been able to get my wish fulfilled. It is therefore that at the end of this letter, I propose a list with names and suggested subjects to encourage some persons to send me a draft.
In the first week of May, my eldest daughter, her husband, Cily and I went to the Dutch Tulip Time Festival in Pella Iowa. That festival is held every year at the beginning of May. Pella is a small town with approximately population of 10.000. Around 1847 a group of Dutch people settled in Pella. Once a year the village is remembering their Dutch heritage. Almost everyone is volunteering to contribute to the festival by wearing Dutch costumes and participating in parades and floats. Marching bands on wooden clogs from different schools and organizations. Even a real Dutch street organ plays typical Dutch songs. There is a real Dutch windmill, Dutch bakeries and a miniature Dutch village. but above all tulips are everywhere. However, nobody speaks Dutch. When some of them heard that we were born and raised In the Netherland, we got much attention and were invited to their home. We ended up with new friends who like to see us come back. Pella is already preparing for next year.
On May 19, like every year, some members of the Holland Club attended the ceremony for the Royal Dutch Pilots buried in Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Jackson MS. This time was special because the ashes of the last living pilot: Pieter Cramerus, who passed away in December 1917 at the age of 101, was buried at the Dutch cemetery plot. Members from the Holland club who were present during the commemoration ceremony: Conny & Casey Willems, Deirdre McGlinchey, Eric Gossiaux, Linda & Malcolm Burns and Max Winkeler. Cily could not join, because she was taking an advanced course in Jin Shin Jyutsu in Scottsdale Arizona.
During the Ceremony at the cemetery, Helen Bakker (Deputy Chief of Mission) and Brigadier General of the Mississippi National Guard gave an address, remembering the fallen pilots who were trained in Jackson during World War II. The son and daughter of Pieter Cramerus put the urn with the ashes in the prepared grave. I hope that we will be able to go back to this place for many years to come.
The day before we visited the American Armed Forces museum in Hattiesburg and got a tour of the museum with the Dutch pilot exposition section and the enormous army facilities by the museum director: Tommy Lofton.
If those two trips were not enough Cily and I with two good friends took part in a group trip to Israel, organized by CTU (Catholic Theological Union), guided by two professors with enormous knowledge of the Old and the New Testament. One of them is moreover an archeologist who excavated in Israel many years. Israel is full of excavations because of the many different occupations that area has encountered. Jews, Babylonians, Crusaders, Romans, Egyptians etc., Those of you who read James Mitchener’s: “The Source” will understand the enormous difficulty to determine the age of the constructions, because many times the same stones that were used on a previous building were used again for a new building (temple, palace, mosque or church). We learned how the people more than two thousand year ago collected and stored precious water in deep cistern using plastered sand stone and lime stone. Food and water were the two main daily worries of the ordinary people.
Of course we visited the Western Wall (Wailing Wall). For the Jews a holy place as it is supposed to be the only part of the original temple wall left. In the cracks between the sand stone blocks visitors are pushing pieces of paper with prayers and wishes for themselves and/or others. A visit of the Holocaust Museum left a deep impression.
Well, those are our stories so far. We are preparing for a 7 week journey back to the Netherlands, with side trips to Germany (Koblenz) and France (River Cruise). In the newsletter of the Fall, we will report about our trip, but only under the condition that I receive some short stories from other members. Here are my suggestions:
Eric Gossiaux: achievements of his daughter Emily
Linda & Malcolm Burns: about their daughters and the village of Geleen
Janneke van der Molen: Biking stories
Harry Be: trip(s) to the Far East
Johanna Coumou: School/Library and Biking stories
Cily Winkeler: Jin Shin Jyutsu
So, this is it for now. I hope that you all will have a nice and safe summer. Make plenty of pictures and don’t forget to create some write-ups for the next letter.
Newsletter Editor: Max Winkeler