Monday, December 7, 2009

Zalig Kerstfeast

Zeist 14/12 ‘55 (a Christmas card from Holland)

“I wish you were here, Pamela, then you could play with him and pick up all the toys he throws away,” it read.

Deiederihfe was a beautiful baby with white-blonde curls and a big smile. I didn't have much experience with babies even though Mom often babysat. But I was mesmerized by this big, beautiful, Dutch baby. He would drop a toy. I would pick it up time and time again. It was a game he loved, and one I was willing to play.

Uncle Phil contacted Mom about a family that was coming to the US from The Netherlands. The father, Hans, was going to be working with Uncle Phil. His wife and baby boy needed a place to stay. Of course, as usual, Mother opened her arms and our house to these travelers.

Wilhemina introduced her country to this Neff Road home. She became part of our family chatting like an old friend, helping Mom in the kitchen and telling us of her home far away.

“On the other side of the card you see the bulb fields in Holland. Perhaps you have it so too a little bit next year. We hope that they will grow in Arcanum.” The row of tulips ran down the side of the old garden. Every year they bloomed and reminded us of the woman who sent them.

When she first came to our house, she brought to me a pretty handkerchief with a Dutch boy and girl embroidered in the corner, a chocolate orange and a beautiful pin when opened displayed pictures of Holland. A world beyond came to our house, and I grew.

We lost track of the Hubenauts. Sven joined their family a few years later and much later the Hubenauts were divorced. I think of them often and have even tried to find online that once darling baby now grown man. Amazing how a visit can change the world of a child.

Every Christmas I pull out the card I received from Wilhemina in 1955. I was eight when I when it made the trip across the Pond. Greetings from Holland. Fifty-two years later, I remember that time appreciating the experience that made my world a bit bigger.

Zalig Kerstfeast, my friends. Zalig Kerstfeast.

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