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Ben Oostdam's Parents and Grandparents

My Grandfather (from Mother's side)

(left) Imme Henrikus BOELSMA at the age of 17,
in 1897 - just over a century ago.
He was born in Balk in the province of Friesland, and became a teacher and principal of a teacher's college.
He taught English, even though from 1900 on he hated England with a passion because of their barbarian treatment of the "Afrikaander" women and children during the Anglo-Boer war.
He was almost seven foot tall and married my grandmother, - one of his students - who was less than 5 foot in size... They had two (average size) children, my mother: Catharina Geertruida ("Truus") and her younger brother, Fekko Johannes ("Joop").
After his retirement around 1935, they travelled a lot through Europe, making cruises on the Rhine and along the coast of Norway. Of course, these activities stopped during the Second World War (1939-1945) at which time they lived in Amstelveen. He died on March 7, 1947 in Amstelveen, and my grandmother in 1956.


My Mother, Truus Boelsma

She was born on May 21, 1911 and went to her father's teacher's college where she met my father around 1926.
[ ( left : ) Truus in 1929 , a n d ( right : ) Truus in 1930. ]
They both taught elementary school in the early 1930's, during the "Great Depression", got married in 1932 when I was born, followed in 1936 by my sister Carla. As was customary, she stopped working to take care of us and the household - a tough job, especially in the Second World War.
She was very smart, attractive and self-disciplined.
It was only after 1950 that she and my father traveled abroad, bought a car, washing machine and refrigerator. She became rather disillusioned by Holland's 'Welfare System', but they did finally enjoy their hard-earned financial independence in the 1970's. She died unexpectedly in 1981.


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