In the last post I told you I would be having an exciting meeting this week. Yesterday I had a lovely lunch with Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld, Fred (nephew of Bertram), my mother and my Aunt Nicky (nieces of Bobby) and various other friends and spouses.
Fred and his wife, Carol, were gracious hosts. We sat on their deck on a glorious New England spring day, trading stories and looking at old photographs and historical documents.
This group is tied together by a thin thread from 1941. On December 7th, 1941 – the same day that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor – Bobby, his wife Tineke, Bertram, and their friend Freddie left their homes in Tilburg. The Netherlands had been occupied by the Germans for a year and a half and this group was feeling the noose tighten around them. They wanted to leave and get to a safer country. Bobby’s sister and her husband were in London. Bertram’s parents were in the USA and had already bought him a ticket for passage from England to New York.
I am not going to write about their escape here as that will come in my book. What I will tell you about is some of the people that are telling the story now and how we are connected.
As I was preparing for the meeting I pulled out various pictures from my grandmother’s albums that I thought the other folks would like to see. For the first time I noticed that my grandmother had written an address on one of the photos, and it turns out that it was Bobby’s and Tineke’s house. When I showed the picture to Arnoud-Jan he pulled out his i-Phone and showed me a picture of an identical cabinet to the one that was in my picture. He had visited Tineke’s nephew (Bob, named after Bobby) ten days ago. Bob had shown the piece of furniture stating that it had belonged to Bobby and Tineke!
I am already looking forward to my visit to the Netherlands. Hopefully I can time my trip to coincide with the Tilburg ceremony to install stumbling stones for Tineke and Bobby outside their house. I’ll bring along the photos of the inside so everyone can see what the home looked like in 1940 – before Hitler invaded the Netherlands.