Friday, May 29, 2015

My Mother

Mijn moeder, Helena
Mom was the first of three children,
born in Holland 100 years ago.
She grew up with two younger brothers. 
Her father was a doctor in the Dutch Army. Sadly, he was killed in a train accident when Mom was a young girl. Her mother began a summer boarding school for children along the coast of Holland and then later remarried. Mom's fondest childhood memories were growing up along the sea in Noordwijk in the 1920s.
The two smallest children are Mom's brothers, Jaap and Paul
Helena, my Mom is sitting on the sand
in front of her mother, Nel my Oma.

WWII and the German occupation of Holland, her worst memories. Mom's youngest brother Jaap was arrested by the Nazis in 1941 and later died in a German work camp. Mom's mother died during this time as well. Mom didn't talk much about the war, the few things she told me about were the shortages during those years. She couldn't get new embroidery floss or yarns for needlework. Fabric was also impossible to come by. Even items like toothpaste.  Many parts of Holland were bombed including Rotterdam where Mom lived.

This is a picture of my Mom and Dad in 1946 shortly following the war. On the back of the photo Mom has written... "My stepsister's wedding. Dad and I are not married yet! Because of shortage (after W.W.II) nobody could buy material for new cloths. I wore one of my mother's dresses tucked in!! Dad's stuff is rented."
 Mom at a sewing machine, a hand crank I believe, 
Altho there are wires behind her I don't see a belt on the wheel.
And at her loom which she later brought to America. 
I still have parts of that loom but that's another story.
Many Dutch couples were married following the war, including Mom and Dad. 

Mom on her wedding day...
Mom in Holland shortly before coming to America

After they married in 1946 they applied for passage to America. It took two years and with sponsorship from a family member in America, they came by way of a Dutch cargo ship leaving Holland December of 1948. Once across the Atlantic the ship stopped in Havana, Cuba, the port of Vera Cruz and then docked in Houston, TX in January 1949. From there they took a Greyhound bus, which broke down on it's way to California and started a family. Can you imagine what that must have been like for a young woman! 
These are pics my father took along the way of the cargo ship
and the Greyhound Bus (broke down) that took them from Holland to California

Mom and Dad made many visits back to Holland to visit family over the years. 
The best was her first trip because she took me!

Mom lived an interesting but troubled life. She was loved and loved us.
They had three children, I was born first just like Mom and then two boys, Paul and Kenneth. One living grandson, my son Chris. 
Many nieces and nephews in Holland, South Africa and the United States

Mom's brother Paul stayed in Holland and became a surgeon. He married Kuuk, a close friend of my Mom, and they had five children ~ Jaap, Miems, Paul, Peter Bob and Jeroen. Kuuk died early, I was in high school and Paul died 3 years ago. Uncle Paul married again to Truus. Dad's brother Peter and wife Joyce immigrated from Holland to South Africa. They had three children ~ Anton, Peter and Helena all in South Africa. Dad's sister Ina and husband Hans immigrated to Canada and then to the United States. They had one daughter, Iteke who now lives in upstate New York. Iteke has a big family of her own with lots of grand babies :0)
Ultimately dementia took Mom away from us a little bit at a time over many years.
My father looked after her until his death 8 years ago. Mom has been in my care since.

Mom died over Memorial Day weekend. A fitting time really. 
She wasn't a veteran but her life was certainly affected and damaged by a war. 
Rest in Peace Mom, you are safe now
I love you

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Where to start... It's been over a week since the Linda Ballard workshop. It seems like a few days ago. The past week and a half has been a whirl wind of appointments, consultations, decisions and ultimately an intake with Hospice for my Mom.

My Juki, bag of quilting supplies and the tote with fabric and started blocks from the workshop are all sitting in my studio unopened since the day of the workshop. That was Thursday May 7th. Today is the 17th of May so that was 10 days ago. wow, hard for me to wrap my head around that. 

Looking forward to finishing the project but it will be on hold for now. I sit here early morning listening to Mom breathing in the next room. This new phase of the journey began early Friday morning, April 24th when Mom fell at the residential care facility where she has lived off and on for the past 8 years since my father died.  Here is a blog post on my business blog about that morning when Mom fell.

Long story short, since then Mom refuses food, has been off and on for some time now, so weak she prefers to spend most of her time sleeping. She tells me she is tiered and wants to go home. 99 and a half years old and 97 pounds the day Michael and I took her back to our home, she doesn't have much to sustain her.

It's just past 5:30 am and Mom is calling out at the moment so I will post later when I am able. Just want to add that Hospice is amazing, I could not do this without them and Michael, he has been absolutely amazing!!! I can hear him talking to her right now.

Tot Ziens, Jo

Monday, May 4, 2015

Linda Ballard workshops

Linda Ballard will be doing 2 workshops this week in Chico! First one is organized thru Honey Run Quilters. The quilt pattern for the first workshop is You Need a Rita a new pattern by Linda with a fun name! This class takes place on Thursday May 7th. If there are spaces left and to get more info, contact Honey Run Quilter's at Cathy's to sign up. Best to call the phone # listed for Honey Run on Cathy's home page or check for info on HRQ's Facebook page.

The second workshop will take place on Friday May 8th. This workshop is thru Annie's Star Quilt guild. Some info is available on the website for MacKenzie's Square. A special ruler is required so sign up soon! Contact the guild, Theresa Yocum, workshop chair or come to the guild meeting in Chico on Thursday night, 7pm at the Masonic Center on East Ave and for $5 you will be treated to an evening with Linda Ballard as our guest speaker. 
MacKenzie's Square
You Need a Rita
Both workshops take place in the classroom at Cathy's Sew and Vac in Chico, CA. Linda Ballard is a wonderful teacher! Donna and I are signed up. I know that Kelly is signed up for both! It's going to be a long but fun day and a nice day for me to get away from all the stuff going on in my life right now that has knocked the stuffing out of me, none of which involves any personal quilting time so this will be it! Enjoy your week, Jo