My First Seven Years , 1932-1939 (continued)

After my grandmother Oostdam- who I barely remember - died, my grandfather moved in with Aunt Nettie and Uncle Philip in Soest. Here, he kept pidgeons in one of the garages, and took me for nature walks.
Sadly, he died on December 5, 1936 - Sinterklaas Day.
I must have inherited his love for birds and animals, though I never stroked a lion's mane, as he used to do in Artis, the Amsterdam zoo. Another interesting habit of his was to fill up a whole school exercise book with one of his wishes (injunctions?), and then would write over it in successive different colors. He apparently was successful with this one, dating back to about 1930:
"Jeanette is good and wise she marries Philip Deys". Jeanette (Netty) did, indeed, marry her brother in law Philip, but "met de handschoen" ("with the glove", meaning she got married by proxy and only joined him after sailing to the Netherlands East Indies where he was Assistant-Resident at Taruna)

There were many children in our densely populated neighborhood, and we generally enjoyed playing all kinds of games. My father would also take me along to watch his students play the Saturday afternoon school soccer matches - a chilly experience in the windy sportsfields at the border of Amsterdam , unless you yourself were actively playing.
In the 1930's, there were still many horse-and-waggons in use, which we would follow to try and sneak rides hanging from the back. Invariably, some boys would shout "bakkie achter" to alert the waggon-driver who would then (threaten to) use his whip.

translation of words at right:
"round and square coal";
"oranges and tangarines", and: "rags and bones"
...and now I live in Pennsylvania Dutch Country...




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Other interesting conveyances were dogcarts, "bakfietsen" and pushcarts. Most of the vendors and buyers using these had their own characteristic shouts to alert the housewives - some of which still sing through my mind (the shouts) see left
Since the concept of "noise-pollution" had not been invented yet we emulated the vendors by using our own recognition screams ranging from a simple "hoe---oy" to extended ear-crushers.
When they were engaged, my parents also designed their own "fluitje" - which we still whistle decades later to alert our offspring.