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Fifty Years of My Life (1939 - 1990)
A Memoir by Jeff R. Noordermeer

The Newspaper Interview

My mother was getting used to having me around the house again, and I knew she was enjoying my stay. She told me how nice it was having me around in the morning and having breakfast together. She even tried to convince me to move back to Holland since I wasn't working anymore. It's nice to visit your family and friends for a little while, but over the years which I had been away so many things had changed that it's very different for me to adjust again. What you expected to see is not there anymore. The lifestyle around my mother's town was too square for me, and what I observed during the five weeks I was on vacation was that materialistic things were more important to those people than sharing life with each other. One person was trying to out-do the other in their materialistic behavior. I never liked that kind of life, and I was never interested in it.

Most people think that by having and showing much wealth that this will place them in higher status of class in their society. I always felt you can show off all of your wealth you have around you, and try to impress your family, friends and neighbors, but if you only have a few nickels of knowledge, you are nobody in life. I always believed in living in an open world and being able to see how other cultures live. There are so many things we can learn from each other. Because one man wears pants and another is comfortable in a skirt or sarong, that must not keep us away form each other. Over the years I have associated with so many different cultures from all over the world and accepted some of their ways. I tried their skirts and sarongs and found out that in hot climates they were much more comfortable to wear than our trousers, which most of us think if the only type of clothes to wear in this world. In so many ways we are wrong because we are so stuck-up in our own environment.

During my vacation I was interviewed by my mother's local newspaper, "Landgraff". I had called the newspaper and asked them if they were interested in printing my story of a local citizen who had left for the United States 31 years ago because I felt the town I lived in was too small to reach a certain goal in life. The newspaper was very delighted to print my story. Mr. Jeff Bonten interviewed me for his newspaper and Theo Gyzen took the pictures for the newspaper. I told them my life story and just wanted people to know that all of us can reach a certain goal in life that, in later years, makes us very proud to look back on. All of us can't be kings and queens, but there are plenty of opportunities in life where you can reach a goal and make something out of yourself. I especially wanted the story to be printed in the newspaper for the younger generation. In order to reach a goal in life you have to do something for it. Many young people think that things have to be given to them. It's the individual who makes his life, and the success story comes later from how much he has put into life. Most of the time, it's the things you hate to do in life that makes you successful later on. I know because I lived such a life. Jeff Bonten has interviewed many of our interesting people who lived or have lived in the province of Limburg. Of all the people he interviewed, he printed two books called "50 Extraordinary Townspeople", and in his second edition he printed my story. I didn't know that his books were on the Dutch market, but after I returned from my vacation my oldest sister wrote me about it and sent me a copy.

After five weeks of vacation in my mother's town I had heard and seen everything, and it was time for me to go back to my own country. I had enjoyed my stay with my family and friends. Holland is the country of flowers. Everywhere you go you see flowers, as much inside the houses as outside in their gardens. I enjoyed their cleanliness; it's so noticeable wherever you look. Holland is such a small country with so many people but well organized. As much as I love this little country it's not a comfortable feeling to look ahead for this country's future with so many people without work and no opportunities to find a job. And yet they live such comfortable lives. How long can the Dutch government go on supporting all those people? Most people I met took it for granted that it could go on forever. I am sure that many young people will look for a future somewhere else as I did many years ago.

To say goodbye to all your family and friends is not easy to do. I know it wasn't easy for my mother to see me leaving again as she just got used to having me around. But those are things in life I have learned to live by. At the Amsterdam airport to my surprise there were many of my friends around to say "Bon Voyage". Even my oldest sister with her boyfriend surprised me by being at the airport as we already had said goodbye to each other at my house. From my mother's house it took us about 2 1/2 hours by car to get to the airport. We had about one hour to spare before I had to board the plane, so we decided that all of us would to the lounge for a drink. Everyone around you likes to have a little chat before you board the plane, and you don't know with whom to start to chat first. Finally, it's time to board the plane. After many kisses and goodbyes you are finally on your way inside the plane, and when you have found your seat number there is a relaxing feeling. Suddenly you are all by yourself again and sitting very relaxed in your seat and you can feel the emotional stress disappear. My vacation is over and I am heading back home again. I am sure Lu Lu will be overjoyed seeing me walk through the front door again.


CONTINUED: Lu Lu's health deteriorates
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© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora



  Contents:
- Foreword
- Old Rotterdam
- World War II
- After the War
- Coming to America
- Washington, D.C.
- Southeast Asia
- Philosophy of Life

- Book Index