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

The important things in life

Jeff R. Noordermeer 2008
Jeff R. Noordermeer in 2008

There are memories that will remain with me forever. Some are sad and some are happy. From a very young age I learned to survive hardship and to adjust to the rapidly changing world. People became one of the most important assets for the goals I wanted to reach in life. I had to use my talents against much more qualified people by listening and asking careful questions. At my work I always had to be very diplomatic to be successful, and what I didn't know was that I was always able, through very careful manipulation, to get the knowledge from other people. Through all of this I became one of the best at my work. Etiquette is very important to be successful in life. As Will Cuppy says, "Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than absolutely necessary". I was always very compassionate for the people who worked for me and the ones around me. For the misfortunate ones in this society I always have time to listen to, and if I can be of any help to brighten their day it has always given me a lot of pleasure. If I would ever strike it rich I would share my wealth with most of my friends and people I know who needed it more than I do. I never wanted to be very rich in life but just comfortable. I will never be rich because I have too much heart for other people. It gives me great pleasure to help people who are not as fortunate as I am, and especially if I can help them to make life better for themselves.

My traveling experience, and especially my long journey through South-East Asia, and after that to survive three heart-attacks which forced me into retirement gave me a totally new outlook on life. I was never a religious fanatic, but always interested in other peoples' religions. I came to the conclusion that it makes no difference which religion you practice. Most people inherit their religion from their parents, and whatever you inherit from your parents you should carry on as we do our family names. Whatever religion you have, it's within the person's faith how much comfort he gets out of it. In many of my difficult times I was glad that I knew how to say prayers, as it gave me strength and a lot of comfort. There are so many mystic ways about religions which are very difficult to explain, and yet many people in this world find comfort in it. All of our life revolves around faith, without it we couldn't be very successful. Religions should be respected by all people of different faiths. It's sad that even in the 1990's there are still many wars fought because of different religious beliefs.

The 1990's... I call it the looks of a New World. As long as this world is inhabited by people it will always change. Each generation contributes something to the history of his country. Some are for the good and others we wish had never born. All through the years it has been said many times that this world was coming to an end. In my lifetime I was told that World War II was the end of the world. I always felt that these predictions were made by lunatics. This world will always be here, the greatest fear I have is that the human race many destroy itself by overpopulation which creates food shortages, and from that decreases will occur. With so much conventional warfare in this world there is always a chance that some madman without any kind of consciousness of the consequences might use these weapons. Hated race relations could turn this world to a very destructive age. As long as there are people on this earth, we have to deal with complicated matters. Even in the half-century I have lived I saw many complicated matters arise and be resolved, and created again. I know that I will never see a perfect world, but I will do everything in my power to be an example of my generation to be compassionate to all people of this world, regardless of race, color or nationality. There will always be a discrepancy in society of the rich the poor. But rich or poor, we are all people who came to this world for a purpose. Some of us are luckier than others, but many people forget that we have to respect each other, regardless of our wealth. The rich need the poor, and the poor need the rich, and if we can understand each other's way of living and try to make adjustments for helping each other, it would be a lot better world to live in. We must always keep in our mind, "Live and Let Live".

As I saw much diversity in my life, I was always able to adjust to whatever came along. You like to have perfection in life, but whatever we do there is always a negative and positive part to deal with. To be patient and understanding is very important in each of all our lives.

Married life taught me how to share, love each other, and most of all how to be patient in days when medical problems start to occur. It's the patient who suffers, but also the care-taker who has to offer his life for the patient. During this time you become housebound because of many responsibilities. I could see the deterioration of my wife after she had that open heart surgery, and not long after that a stroke. But this is part of life and we have to face it, regardless of the suffering involved. I try to make the best of every day and the patient I am living with the comfortable day. You look at it from a point you know that's all you can do. Somehow there is a reason for everything that is happening to us in life. The road we travel isn't always smooth, but we must also realize that the road is not always rocky. There are happy moments, but nothing in life will last forever.

As I look back at my life I see that I have done things which many people can only dream of. And I have done things which many people would have given up on. By sticking to the most difficult days in my life I feel pride growing in me, and a certain respect which comes automatically from the people around me.

This half-century of my life has been an interesting one, and made me that self-made man that I am today. Most of all, what I am today is because of my wife, family, friends, and people I associated with... all of them were the backbone of my success. I am glad that I have many more years to look forward to in this interesting world.


CONTINUED: Epilogue - Jeff Noordermeer passed away
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© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora

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

- Book Index