Friday, September 04, 2009


There are some things I just cannot part with.  This is one of them.  It is one of the original suitcases my parents brought with them to the USA when we emigrated from Holland in 1962. It still has a piece of the US Customs inspection sticker on it.  Sitting on top is the leather briefcase in which my dad carried all our important immigration papers, documents, etc.  He was very good about record-keeping.  I am not positive but I believe these two items also came from Indonesia back in 1950 because even in 1962 they looked very old and worn.    As I touched the suitcase and briefcase tears swelled up and rolled down my face.  So much history and energy is connected to these items.  Their lives were are stake as they fled Indonesia.  Papa was on the Indonesian Revolutionists's hit list as a Dutch sympathizer and collaborator.   He worked with very sensitive information as an undercover reporter for the Dutch military.  Since he was dark (Ambonese origins) and he had extensive knowledge of all the dialects, he served the Dutch well.  Mom said they had to flee and were the first of our extended family to leave.  With a 2-yr-old under one arm and a 4-yr-old under the other arm, she said they walked up the gangplank of the huge oceanliner never to see their homeland again.   They were the only family.  She said the rest of the passengers were young Ambonese men heading to Holland for work.

It was only in their old age that my parents really started to reflect and share these kinds of stories.   It's almost like the gravity of a lifetime had settled in and their minds can now review all that they've experienced.  Also, maybe it was because I had more one-on-one time with them.  The story about walking on the gangplank occurred in the car.  After an appointment I drove mom to a scenic waterfront near our home.   Living in the Pacific Northwest we are surrounded by scenic water and mountains and never tire of it all.  We stayed in the car looking at the beautiful water and it must have evoked a memory in her as she proceeded to share this story.  She had a very far away look on her face and we sat in silence together.   That's the kind of energy I feel when I handle this old suitcase and briefcase.  

May parents lived through tremendous losses and upheavals, but never did I see them complain or feel sorry for themselves.  Both parents are gone now.  I cherish and honor their memory with all my heart and soul.  I still miss them very much.  Thank you Mom and Pap for everything !   God bless you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My parents were both born in Holland, but living in Dutch East Indies. I was born in Batavia in 1939. Now live in Indiana. Enjoyed reading your blog. Dat was mooi!