My Grandmother lived for many years in a flat on the Gevaerts Dynoodtweg in
Scheveningen, the first street
behind the Ocean Boulevard and beach. A close friend, Mevrouw Pander, lived
in the flat next door to her, so she always had company.
Eventually (perhaps after Mrs. Pander died ?) Grotie moved to an other
flat on the outskirts of The Hague, near Wassenaar.
Regien ("Regina") her spinster housekeeper, looked after her
all her life wherever Grotie went, and lived either with my grandmother or
in her house not far away also in Scheveningen.
I loved my holidays
there as a child. All day I would be on the beach, or at a nearby canal (now
emptied) watching the boats.
In the evenings or on rainy afternoons my
Grandmother would read me books, "Bolke de Beer" (adventures of a bear in
the Harz, Germany), about the adventures of a parrot (one of them in the
Gobi Desert) which name I forgot, or about "Jeroen en de Zilveren
Sleutel". This beautiful Dutch name which we later gave to our son, is derived
from that book.
Later, as a student in Leiden, I would still visit her on a weekend.
and when married I visited her with Antien on the motor bike.
Antien was pregnant with Babette then and, in order not to worry Grotie, we
would park the bike a street away and walk to her home pretending we had
come by bus.
Grotie was our true matriarch. She kept our families together until the day she died in 1965 at age 89. We burried her in Den Haag on St. Babara's Day, the Guardian Saint of the Artillery. I remember because I missed the celebrations in the Officers mess in Assen that day. I will always remember her with great fondness.