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

My mother comes from Holland to visit

One day Mr. Chau took me to his Buddhist Temple and I met some of the monks. I had a long talk with one of the monks. I was interested to find out what the difference was between Buddhism and Christianity. The basic principles to live a good life in their teaching was not that much different than what I always believed in my religion. I have been to so many different religious ceremonies and saw people putting their whole mind and bodies into the service. Somehow it didn't make any difference if the person was poor or rich; somehow all of them believed that there was a certain strength in their religion that gave them their relaxation. There were so many things in religion which I couldn't understand, like why certain ceremonies were done, and so many of the mystical ways.

Another time we were invited by one of our Burmese friends to see one of the Burmese Buddhist ceremonies. His holiness Taung Pu Lu Saya Daw was invited by the Burmese Buddhist society to visit Washington D.C. He was known as one of the five spiritual masters of South East Asia, and one of the best well known monks in Burma. I was very taken by his ceremony and just his presence in the temple gave you this spiritual feeling.

Taun Pu Lu Saya Daw became a novice when he was four years old. When I was at his ceremony he was 84 years old. During all those years he had meditated and lectured in Buddhism. A monk in Burma doesn't own anything and lives a very poor life. Even their food is offered daily by the people who follow Buddhism. After the ceremony was over his holiness Taung Pu Lu Saya Daw passed by my seat to go in retreat in back of the temple. As he passed by I looked at this extraordinary person and I felt a cold chill going through my body. You could feel his presence in the temple. Here was a person who had given his whole life in meditating and teaching Buddhism and refused all the comforts of life. It's not that often that you meet that kind of people in your life. The mysteries in power they have in their beliefs are not explainable. I always had great admiration and respect for people who gave their whole life for what they believed was God's work.

In 1973 my mother came from Holland to live with us for one year. It was her first flight in a plane and she didn't feel too comfortable. Lu Lu and I were worried how she would adjust to all the diversities of our friends. To our great surprise this didn't bother her at all. One day one of our very good Thai friends took my mother to their house for a few days. When she came back I asked her what about the food and all the other things, because their way of living was so different than what my mother was used to in Holland. My mother said, "I don't look at that, they are people like you and me". I was very proud of my mom when she said that. My mother had a great time with us, and we and our friends took her everywhere. After a year she had to go back to Holland again, If she had stayed longer she would lose her Dutch retirement benefits. The whole year my mother stayed with us was quite an experience. This was the first time that Lu Lu and I had to live together with one of the family members and we had to change some of our life style. It takes a little while to get used to each other. My mother was a very easy person to live with, and when she returned to Holland again we missed her a lot. My mother told me so many times that her stay with us was the best time of her life.

In August 1975 Southland Corporation opened the new Embassy Dairy milk, fruit juice and drinks plant in Waldorf, Maryland. This dairy facility, acknowledged to be the most modern in the world, would serve Embassy customers throughout the Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. area. The new Embassy plant was the first computerized milk plant ever built in this country. The new Embassy had a capacity to process 100,000 gallons of milk in a scheduled work day or 50,000 gallons in an eight-hour shift. The Embassy plant also boasted four separated systems, unique to the industry, which control the entire operation electronically from receipt of raw milk through processing, order-filling and truck load-out. Dairy Industry sources hailed the new Embassy plant as the dairy of the future. The transition from the old plant to the new one was difficult as they were still working in the new plant to get all the bugs out of the system. Theoretically the way this plant was put on paper it should have worked perfectly, but in practice it took us months to have a good start-up in the early morning hours. I was in charge of all the quality control in this most modern dairy in the world, and spent days of long hours at work with all the unbelievable pressure. Being a perfectionist as I always was in my life didn't help much in this modern dairy plant. It created so much work for me I just couldn't leave the job as some people did. They would say to hell with it, tomorrow is another day. We had so many visitors who wanted to see our modern dairy operation. Whenever a group of people came in to visit us I was always involved, regardless of what I was doing I had to stop. I took a lot of my own work time to explain to those visitors how our operation was working. Many of the Southland Corporation executives who were supposed to be the experts in starting new plant procedures, spent days with me in our lab running hundreds of lab samples to get the bugs out of this modern system. The strength and patience I had during those months of trials on all that new equipment when they had me running all kinds of test procedures on all kinds of products. All of those executives I worked around with during the day in the lab would report their daily findings to the headquarters in Dallas, Texas. At the end of the day when they left for the hotel I was stuck with all the mess they had left behind to clean up. After that I still had to do a lot of my own work. Many other people who would have done my job would have complained of needing help. This was never in my blood stream, I just worked and worked.

CONTINUED: My responsibility at the dairy increases
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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