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1 9 4 0 - 1 9 4 5 : my "WAR" years

part 2


In those years, each newspaper only carried a single strip, which was, however, usually immensely popular and influential. My grandfather had pasted each day's "Bruintje de Beer" strip into a used school-exercise books for me to read, and I also was fond of Marten Toonder's "Tom Poes".
I set about making up my own strip dealing with an undaunted dwarf I named "Piepijntje": the first page is shown on the left.
He met and defeated dragons, sorcerers and pterodactyls shown with music-bars as bubbles containing dire threats.


The summers of 1940 through 1943, we spent in Friesland, more specifically, in Gaasterland's Oude Mirdum, Wyckel and Sloten. My sister Carla stayed there with family from 1944-1945.We went there by ferry from Amsterdam to Lemmer, an overnight trip. It became more and more hazardous and the ship was darkened against possible attacks by British airplanes. We would follow the harvesters and pick up left over wheat and rye, which I would thrash and pack in one of Uncle Philips large green 'hutkoffers' (cabin trunks). My mother would bake bread and cakes from this to supplement the rations - which were down to a measly 500 grams of bread a person a week in the "Hunger Winter", 1944/5.
In Wyckel, I spent one summer with baker Auke Prins and his wife Joukje, who set as my task to collect two bucketloads a day of green caterpillars from the cabbagefield he grew. That entitled me to a sturdy dinner with plenty of gravy, grease and fat....

Another summer I spent at Kerst Koopman's horse studfarm, where I learned some facts of life and also helped sticking up bales of hay, as sketched on the right


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