The Love Story Of My Mom And Dad
My Mom And Dad's Love Story Unwrapped
My mom and dad got married on October 21, 1939, just before the start of World War 2. Not the most romantic time for a young couple, but they had fallen in love a few years before and they didn't want to wait any longer.
I'll start with a little history about both before they met each other. I don't have many photos of my mom when she was young, actually only two. One as a toddler and one when she was 10 years old. I don't know if there have been other photos, never heard of them and never seen them.
I have more photos of my dad as a youngster, because his mom made a photo book for each of her four childeren.
Thanks to the eldest sister of my father, who has kept every single letter written to her or from her sisters and brother to their parents and thanks to their daughter (my niece) who is working on putting them on a special website in a timeline, we have a pretty accurate view about how they lived and thought during the WW2 and how they coped. I got her permission to use whatever I need for this article.
Nothing from this artical may be used in any way without my permission
Synco Schram de Jong
My Dad Synco Schram de Jong Was Born On March 9, 1910
My dad was born in the city of Nijmegen in The Netherlands as the eldest son of Grandpa and Grandma Schram de Jong. He got three younger sisters, Heleen, Coos and Arina.
My Dad's family moved around quite a lot in those days as his father (my Grandpa) was the Director of the Postoffice and he got assigned to different cities every few years.
Photos Of My Dad As A Little BoyClick thumbnail to view full-size
My Dad 22 Years Old
He Studied Art In Amsterdam
My dad had developed a skill for drawing and painting and went to the Art Academy in Amsterdam.
That's where he met Nico Wilbers, who became his brother in law when Nico married my Dad's sister Heleen. Nico started a school for advertising drawings and my dad was a teacher there for a while. I think it stopped when WW2 came around the corner and my dad was mobilized and had to go underground later on.
Little did he know at the time this photo was taken (Dec. 6, 1932), that he would become my dad 12 years later on Dec. 7 1944.
I inherited a lot of the drawings he made in his early years. His parents had moved to the city of Zierikzee. This little village had a beautiful church tower which my Dad could see from his bedroom window. I have a few pencil drawings of this church.
Pencil Drawing Of The Church Tower In Zierikzee - 1929
Geertje (Muys) Meijst
My Mom: Geertje (Muys) Meijst Was Born August 24, 2011
My mom was born in the city of Amsterdam near the district called Jordaan (mostly a Jewish district). She had an older sister Lenie and a younger brother Gerard. Her dad was a chemistry teacher at an institute. Later on they moved to Groningen.
At the age of five years, my mom got acute youth rheumatism in all her joints and in order to keep her constantly warm, they put her from her neck down in a sack made out of blankets for one whole year.
The doc had said to her parents that she would not grow old. Well, he couldn't have been more mistaken. My mom passed away on April 21, 2013 at the age of 101 years old.
I have only one photo of my mom when she was a toddler. Her Dad always called her 'my little mouse' and she kept that nickname her whole life. Only close family knew her real birthname.
Mouse in Dutch is Muis. Later on my mom pimped it a little to Muys. So I will refer to her as Muys, because that was the name everybody knew her by.
Muys At The Age Of 10 Years With Her Sister Lenie
My Mom's Family
Courting is exiting
My Dad Had Humor And Wrote Little Booklets To His Fiancé
As my mom was called Muys (Mouse) and my dad was an artist with humor, he used to show his love in word and drawings.
It was in December 1935 that my Mom and Dad met for the first time. My mom studied to be a nurse and she was invited by one of the other nurses to go to a dance party. She actually didn't want to go at first, but they convinced her that she needed a break from her study books. On that party she met my Dad, who was studying at the School of Art in Amsterdam. He was a painter. It was love at first sight.
My Dad, being an artist, send little drawings and poems to my mom on a regular base.
I've combined two little booklets into one and wrote my own little rhymes, because the lines my dad wrote were very personal.
They fell in Love
the minute they set eyes on each other
1939 WW II Mobilisation
It Was A Hectic Time For Courting In The Late 1930s
It was on the treshold of WW2 when my mom and dad were courting. Not the most pleasant time for a young couple in love.
In august 1939 The Netherlands got mobilized and my Dad had to go to the province Limburg and was stationed in the villages Voerendaal and Gulpen. My mom visited her fiancé occasionally. In Gulpen my dad was housed in a real castle, the Castle of Neubourg.
My Dad and Mom Got Married
My Mom And Dad Got Married On October 21, 1939
My mom and dad decided to get married in 1939 and from the letters my dad's mom (my grandmother) saved, I learned it was very difficult to find a place where they could get married due to the mobilisation going on and all.
Finally, after pulling some strings, they could get married in the townhall of the City of Middelburg where my granddad was head of the Postoffice at that time.
October 21, 1939 MiddelburgClick thumbnail to view full-size
Just married, but living apart?
My Dad Got Mobilized In 1939
So they were married now, but living apart, because my dad had to perform his duty in the mobilized Dutch army. My mom came over to Gulpen occasionally to visit my dad and one day the countess, who lived at the castle where my dad was billeted, invited my mom to come over and stay at the castle so my mom and dad could be together for a longer period of time.
My mom told me that one day they were on a group bycicle trip and they happen to cross the border with Germany by accident. All the men in the group were captured by German soldiers and were taken away. Lucky for them it wasn't war yet and all the men were released again short time after.
They stayed in Limburg until the capitulation when the German Army attacked the Netherlands on May 10, 1940 and World War II was no longer a threat, but a fact.
After The Capitulation
After the Capitulation of The Netherlands
After the capitulation of the Netherlands in May 1940, my dad had to go underground for the rest of the war, to avoid being captured and send to the workcamps in Germany.
He managed to make a hiding place in the attic of the house in Dordrecht where they lived after they got married. That part however is another story which I will unwrap another time.
It's here and you can read the following up in World War II - Surviving the hunger winter of 1944
A War After The War
1946 -1949 Indonesian Independence War
4th Garde Brigade-Grenadiers
My Dad Was A Major In The 4th Garde Brigade - Grenadiers
After the Japanese surrender, the (provisional) government in Indonesia declared on 15 August 1945 the Republic of Indonesia's independence. After the Japanese occupation The Netherlands wanted another transition to the future of the former Dutch East Indies. Five battalions Grenadiers and five battalions Hunters took to the 1946-1949 Police Actions section.
Ultimately The Netherlands, under international pressure (read: United Nations and the United States), gave Indonesia its independence in 1949. Over 200 Grenadiers and Rifles didn't return to The Netherlands and are buried in the Military cemetery Menteng Pulu. In addition to various awards for bravery and exceptional performance, all were distinguished by the distinguishing 'For Order and Peace'. In 1977, by Royal Decree, the Guards Regiment Grenadiers, Guards Regiment and the Hunters, the standard inscriptions 'West Java 1946-1949' and 'East Java 1947-1949' were awarded.
On April 15, 1950 a Memorial book was published called 'Oost Java' (East Java) in which the story of the 4th Infantery Brigade in battle is described. This book (and also the cover) is illustrated with the drawings that my dad made in Indonesia between 1946 and 1949.
60 Years Later
I Took My Mom To The Castle Of Neubourg
60 years after World War II ended, I took my mom to the Castle of Neubourg. However we couldn't go in because it was under a major contruction and the whole Castle was fenced in. Mom told me stories of how she helped giving birth to a lot of babies in the time she was staying there. Sometimes in cellars due to the bombing.
I Took My Mom To The Castle Of Neubourg
An Amazing thing happened
Update November 13, 2015
Yesterday I noticed I had a new comment on this article, but it was only a link, so I didn't aprove it immediately because I thought it was one of those spam links. Strangely enough it was a link to a wellknown Dutch internet market place, called Marktplaats, a bit comparable with eBay, but just for the Dutch people.
So I put the link in Bing and to my surprise a painting of my Dad popped up. A lovely painting of two hydrangia flowers in a glass bottle, signed and dated 1933, still framed in its original frame.
I immediately contacted the seller and now it's mine. Thank you with all my heart, Vlatko Milosevski, for giving me the opportunity to purchase one of my Dad's early paintings.
I'm not allowed to put a link here to that market place, but this guy is selling more lovely paintings and drawings for a very reasonable price, so if you want to see them, just put "Vlatko Milosevski op marktplaats" in your browser and it will pop up as number one.
My Dad's painting is problably one of the many my Mom had to swap for some food during the Hunger Winter of 1944 .
My Dad's Still Life of Hydrangeas in a glass vaze
The Love Story of My Mom and Dad Continues
Of course my Mom and Dad's Love Story didn't stop here. I wrote a second article about their lives during the last year of the War and how they survived the Hunger winter in 1944.