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MY FIRST ENGLISH LETTER ....

...was composed in January, 1946 and written to an Aunt who had moved to America decades ago and apparently had forgotten most of her Dutch. She was very helpful and had sent our family several food and clothes packages immediately after the war.


Amsterdam, January 27, 1946

Dear Auntie Mieke and Uncle Alois (Ladie)

At first I will thank you for
the shoes I was very glad with them
amd they fitted me to a T. I can-
not so good english, but I will
write you yet in english. Now, I
will tell you something over my self.
I am 13 years old, and I go to
the Grammar school. There I had
learnt english since 4 months
and well 3 times a week. It's
fine there, but I (better) like (more) to
skate. There is now ice here, and
I skate passionately. Dear auntie,
I shou(l)d like to photograph, and
I can not acquire a film (6 x 4 1/2
Hollands cm)
Should you be
able to (acquire) (buy)
there in America
a film ? For I got an
old photo-apparat,
and during all the
war I was not
able to buy a film
Now, I'll finish,
many hearty greets from
Ben

these are the
measures
of the
film
in Dutch
4 1/2 x 6 cm.



The italicized corrections and additions in my letter were made by my father -
whose English was rather rusty in contrast to his French and German.
... talking to a British pilot about how expensive things were during the war: - DAD: "Everything was very yauker" -
(PILOT looks a bit confused) - DAD AGAIN: "Do you understand?" - PILOT: "yes, Sir, I do, indeed!" -
DAD: "yes, very yauker, inderdeed!" - (Explanation: "yauker" is a Yiddish word he remembered from his childhood)


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Ben Oostdam's Autobiography (years 1946-1950)