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Opa’s letter 2

Opa’s letter:

From home, the 4th of Januar 1945.

Dear children,

I’m busy with making light ( don’t know how, but I guess on a sort of bike) while the younger can finish the work .

But I see the work is done. Reinder has the cigarette on again, and now Jan is spinning. Gerrit, boy, thank you for your letter. I didn’t send a New Year’s wish this New Year, if things go after that, it won’t be much special, but I don’t see that I mean it any worse this year than before, so it can still be better than expected. When I stood on the milk truck this morning, I saw 2 V1s go into the air shortly after each other. I thought to myself, if those things come crashing right over your house, the pans can hardly stay on the slats. .What a noise. And that goes on and on, except when it’s clear in the sky, and the Tommies come, they seem to have a taste for that, especially because then they betray themselves.

Here everything is still normal. We still have our horse, and since we only have one horse, no wagon or harness may be requisitioned. And we still haven’t had any difficult Germans at the door. Today a few more came for eggs, nice humble guys.

It seems to be true that they don’t always have it easy with the food, I believe they used to be.

I picked tubers this afternoon with—an iron rake. We had cleverly hollowed out part of the camp the tubers, with the result that they had all become large, and now that the ground was soft on top and still hard, I could pop them out so nicely with the angle of the rake.

It’s freezing again now. The weather is almost like the average Dutchman, afraid of extremes, afraid to express his own opinion.

Berend is slowly deteriorating, the esophagus is as good as closed. He lies patiently, fortunately without pain, in his bed. He neither desires nor fears death, an ideal attitude.

My wish is, as far as I am concerned, to be like him. It is not right, if you are so afraid of death that you want to rake all the doctors together to be able to live one more day here.

I once read a nice fantasy by Frederik van Eeden. A pair of twins, still in the womb, were arguing about the (for their) afterlife. One thought like Berend: the Power that allows us to be here will soon also take care of us, what we will then need, I trust, God will also bring within our reach. And the other, a pessimist, thought, you can’t be sure of that, you know that you are well worried now, and you also know that you will soon have to experience something that resembles death. The bond of life, by which we now get everything, will then be broken! The other couldn’t say anything to this, mate remained quietly comforted, he handed it over…. Still a nice comparison. And meanwhile, here in the so-called second world, we see both kinds of people again, but I don’t think they are completely separate. Some maybe 10% of twin 1 and 70% of 2. And others half of each. But perhaps it can also be said that way: some, usually pessimistic but still with brief flashes of confidence, and others generally quietly believing, with occasional slumps.

Now my paper is already full again, which is good. “I was going through again.

Now children, Gerrit and Hanna, our greetings, to Bertha and Antoon ditto.

-And just try to wait and see what happens, we didn’t create the world-

Foto: Opa, gefotografeerd door Henk Braakhekke.