The Hague

Binnenhof

Binnenhof

 

Nel and I were allowed to go home when a big house became available for our family at the Johan van Oldenbarneveldt lane in Scheveningen. The Hague. Joost, Kees, Pieter, Laurens, Maria en Paul were born there in that order. Two times, we had to deliver a certification that declared that we were no longer tubercolisis patients, just to ensure that we would not infect others.

Verklaring 1

Verklaring 1

Verklaring 2

Verklaring 2

Our house seemed to be elastic. A lot of people were accommodated there. Social workers such as Mieke Dolmans, Mariette Schneiders, Trees Hafmans and Adri Hes. A son of a Limburgse greengrocer, who discovered his calling for priesthood later in life, became accommodated in our house. He suffered! He was stupid enough to confess to the motherly Mieke Dolmans that he was suffering from constipation. She knew how to handle that. In just a matter of time, everyone knew about his situation. Because mother’s sons grew up so fast, we had several chamber pots in all kinds of sizes. We placed them from the top of the stairs to the front of his door. We decorated them with toilet paper and walnuts. We placed a diaper with a glycerin injection on his bed..

When Trees Hafmans returned home with him, he found the trail of chamber pots. I believe that our nagging led him to not fulfill his calling!
The dishes had to be washed at night. Marriet had to take care of some entertainment. There was a lot of singing. In this way, washing the dishes became a social event too! I remember a waterfight. One half of the residents was outside and the other half hid in the stairwell. The doors that allowed us to go outside were closed. Suddenly, a lot of water came pouring down. The people that were outside had climbed inside through the windows and threw a lot of water. However, the reader should not think that everything was possible in the house of the family Schrijnen. We were raised in a strict Catholic manner and we had to pray at night before the portrait of O.L. Vrouw van Welberg. And every Sunday, we had to go to church! Every resident needed a key, so you could definitely not lose yours. If one of us came home at night without a key, however, he had two possibilities. First, he could try to push the windows open. Second, if that did not work, he could blow a certain whistle. This whistle became more and more dramatic when more help was needed. Or you could try to throw some little stones against the window of another resident.

Then there was the most important resident, Father Gall. There was also Miss Lucie Flateur, a singer, and a married couple Terstegge. Daddy tried to make money whenever and wherever he could. In the beginning, he wrote stories about our time in the camps in the newspaper until it was no longer up to date. He traded in Eastern goods with Terstegge. He became exam supervisor at high schools. He obtained a job as secretary of Dr. De Boer, inspector of Secondary Education. He was also secretary of De Bond Zonder Naam with Father Henry de Greeve for a while. If you became a member of this union, you received a new saying every month. We put this saying above the shutter to the kitchen. These sayings were educational! The six children that were born in this house were a little spoiled by their big sisters. I do not dare to say that this benefitted them. For me, it became the ultimate preparation for motherhood. Changing diapers, feeding them porridge, etcetera. Putting on a diaper while those little legs stamped and those little arms swung and then we had to feed them! Pieter had to go into quarantaine for a while (because of the scarlet fever?) with a lot of instructions.

I took on the caretaking of Pieter. No one else was allowed to. When mother obtained the disease of Pfeiffer, Joost and Kees had to stay with the neighbours, family de Jong. When we had to go to school, we walked by the gate of de Jong, where those two were standing. I felt sorry for them!

Foto

Foto

Foto

Foto

Mariet Schneider (a resident as well) was probably raised to be well-behaved. Because when she was standing on her balcony at night, she saw a couple kissing beneath the street light. She prayed for forgiveness for this sinful behavior! To go to school independently, I had to learn how to ride a bike. With a lot of difficulties, Mieke Dolmans managed to teach me. I must have been a danger on the road. Traffic rules meant nothing to me, I did not learn them at boarding-school. I also did not learn how to swim. I started with lessons, but managed to obtain my A diploma much later in Alphen aan de Rijn! My highest diploma was my C diploma. My father still thought that my brain could handle a lot and sent me to the atheneum. It was a big school, at which I did not blossom and I was surprised what kind of tricks everyone played there. One of the problems was finding your way to the classroom. People made balls of paper. I did not learn much from those classes. I was sent to a mulo, ran by nuns, in The Hague. I went to second grade, even though I had a backlog in German. I still suffered from adjustment problems. What did I know of the Bible and retraites? During the retraites of three days, you were not allowed to talk. I could not stand those days.

I had to take dance lessons as well. Parents picked out respectable boys and girls for these lessons. Dancing teacher Kuipers taught us at Sunday night. But then he had to teach Princess Beatrix how to dance! Her lesson was on Sunday as well and therefore our lesson had to be moved to another day. We learned how to dance. The Valeta, the waltz and the quickstep etcetera. We were allowed to show our skills at the dance in the Kurhaus at the end of the year.

I stayed at this school for two years. Then my father gave up his hope on an intelligent daughter and decided that I had to became a kindergarten teacher. Again with the nuns! I was placed into a teachers family in Venlo, in the Bisschop Schrijnen street. The nuns tried to convince the girls to become nuns as well. I did not fall for it, but a friend of mine did. She was an outsider and her family found it to be a good solution. She got rid of all her stuff and became a nun. However, she suffered from psychosomatic complaints and her doctor advised her to leave the nuns. She left, but suffered from the consequences. I became a kindergarten teacher!