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

A new job, and doubts about my relationship with Lu Lu

The winter months came and I lost a lot of days without work. The weather was bad and we couldn't do any of surveying work, so I wasn't getting paid either.

In the meantime I had moved out of Mrs. Arndt's house. I felt like I had to go on my own. I will always be very grateful for what Mrs. Arndt did for me and Lu Lu. Lu Lu had introduced me to some of her friends. He was a Filipino and his wife was a Virginian from the mountain area. Both had worked for Mrs. Arndt before Lu Lu came. When they found out that I was looking for a room to rent somewhere they asked me to stay with them and rent one of their rooms to me. I called them Pap and Mom because they both were older people. Their name was Mesina. Mr. Mesina drove a taxi in Washington D.C. during the day, and Mrs. Mesina did part-time domestic work. Mr. Mesina came from the Philippines 40 years ago and met Mrs. Mesina in Washington D.C. where she was a domestic worker in a family's home. Mrs. Mesina came from a small place in the mountains called Syria. They owned a house there on 150 acres of land. Lu Lu and I became very good friends with the Mesinas for many years to come.

It was October 1961 and I was looking for another job again. This time I went to an employment agency. It was called Green Employment agency. When I filled out my past work history the lady who looked at my application noticed that I had worked in a milk production plant in Syracuse, New York. She said that I was very lucky because one of her friends was a personnel manager at Embassy Dairy in Washington D.C. and he was looking for some experienced dairy plant workers. I really didn't want to go back in the dairy business again, but I had no choice as I needed a job. The lady of Green Employment agency called Mr. Doyle who was the personnel manager of Embassy Dairy. She made an appointment so that I would meet Mr. Doyle the next day.

The next day I looked sharp and neat, and ready to go for my appointment. When I arrived there were already five people in front of me, but not one I noticed was neatly dressed. I looked like a salesman trying to sell one of my products. I was given some papers to fill out on my past employment status. Not long after that Mr. Doyle came out of his office, and to my surprise he asked me to come in first. He first asked me some questions and then he called the plant manager. The plant manager started to ask all kinds of questions about my past experience from the Dairy in Syracuse where I had worked before. I had no problems answering his questions, so I was hired on a 90 day trial basis. I had the job and the rest was up to me.

In the meantime Lu Lu had a tough time with her job. After her operation she was working too hard. Dr. Camalier who had operated on Lu Lu, told Mrs. Arndt that Lu could only do very light work, but Lu Lu was doing the same work as before her operation. Mrs. Arndt didn't realize how severe Lu Lu's operation was. I felt very sorry for Lu Lu and told her to come and live with me and I would look after her. After all, when I was very sick in Syracuse, she looked after me. I told Lu Lu I would ask the Mesinas to rent another room to us so that we all could stay together. Lu Lu didn't like that idea because we weren't married. I told her not to worry as all of this would work out later. We were going out together for a long time now. We were very fond of each other, we were helpful to each other and loved each other. We had no family around, and we were just by ourselves. We were both struggling to make the best out of life. We had our love affairs before and disappointments. We lived an adult life and had nothing to hide from each other what had happened in life before.

It was not very easy for me to do certain things in life, like asking Lu Lu to come and live with me. My growing-up was in a strict Catholic religion with many principles, like living together without being married as a sin, and so many other things. Marrying a woman with another religion wasn't very welcome, either. But I had changed since I had been away from home and saw the world a little differently than when I was living at home with my family in a very square environment. It takes a little while to overcome certain ethics which were given by your parents and your religious beliefs.

When I first met Lu Lu I told her that it could never work out between us, as there were so many differences in our cultural background and lifestyle, Lu Lu's background being from the Orient. I had never been to the Orient. Then Lu Lu wasn't a Catholic. I know my family would have loved seeing me getting married to a Catholic girl with a church wedding. But somehow life was set up different for me. There was a reason that I had to meet Lu Lu and we were going steady for such a long time. I had so many girls before who had the same culture as I and yet it never worked out for long. Why the East and West had to meet in America, and we were so far away from our families. There are a lot of phenomena in life that are difficult to explain.

I told Lu Lu that I would go home for a vacation and tell my family about our relationship, and that we loved each other and were planning to get married.

CONTINUED: My responsibilities increase at Embassy Dairy
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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