Friday, 28 September 2012

Sepia Saturday - Soccer

This weeks' theme has to be picked from a picture made available by the Dutch National Archive. It shows some presumably Dutch boys on their way to the weekly soccer match, their soccer boots casually dangling from their  necks. The photo is dated 1915-1925. 
The thing that strikes me is that they carry just their boots and very little else. No towels, no club shirt, no nothing. If you compare that with todays situation, where boys in comparable situations carry big bags with a track suit, match clothing, a towel, clean underwear, shampoo etc, the conclusion can only be that the times they are a-changing (thank you Bob Dylan). The explanation is probably simple. In those days clubs did not have showers (or maybe cold water only) nor sophisticated dressing rooms. It is not unlikely that these boys wore their club shirt underneath their daily clothing. They probably had to "change" in a draughty dressing room, played their match and went home where the weekly tub with hot water was waiting. The other thing that draws my attention are the soccer boots. Today those are unthinkable without commercial striping. And they can be bought in all colors of the rainbow. The boots in the picture are black and black only, I can assure you.
Picture ex Dutch National Archives
Although our son played soccer, I have very little action pictures showing him. But in 1976 he participated in the penalty trophy of his club DVH. DVH means De Vliegende Hollanders or The Flying Dutchmen. The name of the club finds its origin in the circumstance that it was meant to be the club for families of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines staff.
DVH's 5 best penalty kickers in 1976.
Picture taken on the DVH grounds in Amstelveen.
For more action shots, have a look at the Sepia Saturday Site where my fellow bloggers show their trophies.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Great-grandparents' Bible

Last week I mentioned that, apart from the Bible of my maternal grandmother, I have another one. This one also originates in my maternal line. It belonged to Jan de Langen (1861-1942) and his wife Johanna Margaretha van den Bosch (1860-1934), my great-grandparents.  It was a hand out, be it a bit heavy, from the church where they married in The Hague on August 8, 1883. Their church was the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduitsch Hervormde Gemeente). 
Presented to ... on the occasion of the consecration of their marriage on August 8, 1883 on behalf of the Church Board of the Dutch Reformed Church at The Hague 
As was the custom in those days Jan de Langen kept a register of the births, christenings, marriages and deaths in the family. All these events were noted on the first blank pages of the Bible, usually by the head of the family. Therefore, it is safe to presume that the handwriting in the register below is that of Jan. 
The family register
Although the first entries in the register have been made in 1883, Jan also carefully noted his own birth, the names of his parents (Bruno de Langen and Elsje Louwiza Koelinga) and, very important in those days, the fact that his parents were married. He also mentioned the date of birth of his wife and her parents Jan Cornelis van den Bosch and Gerarda Dorathea Lith. Subsequently he recorded his children. The last one on this page is my grandfather Gerardus Theodorus de Langen ('s Gravenhage November 24, 1888). He is baptized in the Kloosterkerk (Monastery Church) by the Rev. Knotnerus.
The owners of this Bible in approx 1920,
Jan de Langen and Johanna Margaretha van den Bosch
The Bible was published by the Dutch Bible Society in 1882. Normally, the Bible is a means to spread the Word. But this one also served another purpose. After leafing through the Bible I found two dried leaves and a dried violet. I suspect they have been put there by my grandmother Antje Doelman, the daughter-in-law of Jan and Johanna. She was a lady with what we call green fingers. She loved her gardens and I can very well imagine that she tried to preserve nature's beauty. I'm sure the Church Board would have had no objection to the way my grandmother used the Bible.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Sepia Saturday - Ex convict

Phileas Fogg
This week Alan is suggesting that we dig in our shoe boxes to make the invisible visible. For magicians that may be a piece of cake, for me it is next to impossible. I have been looking for missing limbs or heads but to no avail. However, I did find this picture of one of my favorites. He is shown here, going around the world on a misty day, almost invisible.  Fortunately there are more angles to approach this week's theme. If we look at the theme picture, the thing that strikes me is the title of the movie The Ex-Convict and the cashier behind bars. If ever there was a contradiction in a film poster...
Anna Nilsson
Guy Coombs
Other subjects that I could write about are the boy's worn shoes, the somewhat shabby looking suit the man is wearing, the difficult to decipher text on the floor or the movie stars performing in this 1914 film.  Although the plot of this movie is unknown to me, I believe the leading actors should be given a face, that is to say , their face. So may I introduce you to Anna Nilsson and Guy Coombs, stars of the silent movie but at one time also married to each other. Anna has been awarded a Wikipedia page, Guy hasn't risen to that level yet. But there is hope for him now that he performs as an SSS, a Sepia Saturday Star. 
Speaking of movie stars, my mother was a collector of movie star picture postcards. I selected one showing Amsterdam born actress Lien Deyers. To cut a long story short, she made her first movie under Fritz Lang and eventually went to the States via the U.K.  
Lien Deyers (1909 - 1982?)
The fact that miss Deyers is/was Dutch is not the reason to select this postcard. The reason is the backside. There my grandmother wrote to her eldest daughter, my mother, who was on a school trip to Germany. The card is dated August 28, 1933.
I have always admired my grandma's handwriting, I think it is beautiful, in particular the capitals. 
I will not tire you with a translation of the text but two things are worth mentioning. The first is that grandma writes that "it is terribly warm here, too warm to do anything." So we probably had a nice summer in '34. Usually weather conditions are not part of our family history. But sometimes they can be very significant when trying to explain certain circumstances. 
The other noteworthy thing is the text of the rubber stamp to the right. Translated it says "Use preferably Dutch manufacture". Economic circumstances in the 30's were generally less than optimal and governments tried to limit imports as much as possible. Hence the consumption of homemade products was stimulated. Today we would call this "protectionism". But the days of splendid isolation are over and protectionism is now almost a dirty word. 

As a final point I like to come back to miss Lien Deyers. Things did not go too well for her in the States. She was arrested several times for being drunk in public. It is unknown when she died. One of her signs of life was a written cry for help when she was an inmate in the Clark County jail in Las Vegas. But ever since she was discharged from prison, she was an ex-convict... Maybe someday there will be a film made of ​​her .
For more interpretations by the Sepia Saturday crowd,
please see here

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Grandma's Bible

Certainly in the spirit my maternal grandmother Antje Doelman (1892-1984) was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, the prevailing religion in the areas of her roots. The Doelman family originates in the Maasland area which is situated west of Rotterdam. Her mother, Huibertje Aartje Barendregt (1867-1901) came from the island of Rozenburg where the family owned a farm called Brielzicht. Rozenburg is long since swallowed by the Port of Rotterdam's greedy need for more and more land. Only connoisseurs of local history may recognize certain remains of the island.
The Doelman-Barendregt family with my grandmother at the right.
Based on the activities of the photographer in Rotterdam, the date of death of Huibertje and the estimated age of Antje, the picture must have been made around 1899
My great-grandmother died on April 10, 1901 just 34 years old. Needless to say this made an everlasting impression on her husband but certainly also on her kids. Her eldest, my grandma, was nearly 9 years old...
One of the things that was very dear to her, was a Bible printed in 1870.

I believe it belonged to her mother Huibertje Aartje Barendregt. On one of the cover pages my grandmother wrote a few words in remembrance of her mother.

In remembrance of my beloved Mother Huibertje Aardje Barendregt Doelman. Departed 10 April 1901 in Rotterdam
Front page 
The Bible was published by the Dutch Bible Company (Nederlandsche Bijbel-Compagnie) both in Amsterdam and in Haarlem in 1870. The publisher stipulates that it has been printed in accordance with the current language and spelling. The original texts date from 1618 and 1619 when church leaders had a national meeting (synode nationaal) in Dordrecht. Including all Psalms, Hymns and the Catechism, there are 1733 pages in this Bible.
My grandma had yet another Bible with many remarks about her family written in it. But that is something for a future post.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Comment moderation

Ever since I switched off word verification (captcha's) a few weeks ago, my blog seems to be flooded with undesired comments. I have indications that they are of Russian origin.  In the picture below I consider all comments for Peter's blog as being spam (and that's not canned meat :))
If you follow the link, it doesn't show up in my blog so it really is all rubbish.
However, word verification prevents people from commenting and I agree with them, that method may be effective but it irritates like you know what. So instead I have now enabled comment moderation.
Unfortunately that will result in the display of your comments being delayed, but so be it. I'll handle them as quickly as I can. I hope you can live with this.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Sepia Saturday - United grocers

Back in 1901, when my grandfather Gerardus Theodorus de Langen was 13 years old, he started his working life. His first job probably was something like a junior clerk in the offices of Eigen Hulp in The Hague. Eigen Hulp, which can be best translated as "Help Yourself", was a central procurement organization involved in the exploitation of shops established in 's-Gravenhage. (The Hague is the colloquial name of 's-Gravenhage, the city where the Dutch government resides.) The shops sold a wide range of things such as groceries, wine and office supplies. 
Legally the organization was owned by its Members, the majority of which were day to day customers.
Company logo of "Eigen Hulp"
Quite coincidentally this weeks Sepia Saturday theme is visualized by the   grocery section of Bell and Macauley's Store in Drouin VIC, Australia. So I can safely continue the grocer's career of my grandad.
Unfortunately I don't know very much about that career. In fact all I know is that some 25 years later he was managing the organization's accounting department. And I only know that because I found the website of Theo van Ewijk whose father was also employed by Eigen Hulp. That website displayed a lot of information about my grandad's employer. The website also shows the picture below.
Eigen Hulp staff on Aug. 29, 1928 during the 50 year jubilee of the 
company. My grandad is seated in the front row, #4 from the right.
Two years earlier he celebrated his own 25 year jubilee. A slightly damaged photograph of that event survived the past 86 years. It shows my grandparents amidst what I presume is grandfather's staff. They are flanked by his managing director and his wife.
The 25 year jubilee of my grandfather in 1926.
When my mother got married in November 1942 and WWII was 2,5 years underway, she apparently felt the need to inform her father's employer. In return the happy couple received a congratulatory letter from the Board of Directors.
Congratulatory letter from the Eigen Hulp Board of Directors
on the occasion of my parents' marriage in 1942.
Some time after this event, probably after the war, my grandfather retired from the company. It is very well possible that a measure of disagreement about certain financial matters, was sufficient reason for him to resign. After that he started several companies in the field of staff training and fiscal consultancy. Gramps stayed with us until a few months after the birth of his first great-grandson Robert in 1967. He missed his 79th birthday by just a month. Contrary to what you might think, I don't believe money was important to him. My grandmother managed the "cash flow" in their household. This is evidenced by the meticulous recording of the household expenses in  a booklet which I still have. Obviously the booklet and the method come from my grandfather but the handwriting is hers.
Household expenses in December 1917. A.o. groente (vegetables), brood (bread), kaas (cheese), kruidenier (grocer) and also huur (rental, 14 guilders/month). There is also the expense for a bottle and teat (flesch en speen) obviously for my mother who was 30 days old at the time.
 She did this so well that some time prior to WWII she was able to tell my surprised grandad that "we have now saved enough to buy a house!" And so they did. That is the very same house that I remember so well from my earliest youth. And that, dear readers, may serve as evidence that if your grandfather works for a grocer, it creates very fond memories for his grandchildren.
For more grocer's stor(i)es, and I can recommend those,
please see here.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Saved from the dustbin (12)

Up until approx 50 years ago air transport was for the privileged few. Fares were high and the necessity to travel was only felt by very few (business) people. Holiday travel hardly existed. And besides, air travel before WWII was not without risk. 
This atmosphere of exclusivity was certainly strengthened by the many celebrities descending from aircraft stairs, waving and smiling towards  their fans and the ever present (photographic) press.
However, celebrity was preceded by royalty. And KLM had its fair share of royal interest.  Below two examples.
King Albert I of Belgium pays a visit to ?
 The above picture was taken at an unknown location on an unknown date. Judging by the aircraft type it is probably some time after WWI. If the location was the airport of Waalhaven/Rotterdam, then it must have been after July 26, 1920 when the airport was opened.
Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands accompanied by KLM Managing Director Albert Plesman
It is likely that this picture is taken at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport shortly after WWII. The lady to the right looks like Princes Juliana, the Queen to be.
I believe that also representatives of the movie industry were willing eye catchers. In those days going to the movies was about the only entertainment for many people. So shooting pictures of eye blinding actresses combined with the adventurous air transport industry always created a certain degree of attention for many. Below two of  these "names".
Movie star Ava Gardner meets her technicians
American actress Ava Gardner (1922-1990) on her way to Barcelona via Schiphol Airport. The picture was probably taken in the 50s. 
Gina Lollobrigida (1927) with KLM stewardess Hoogestegers
Gina Lollobrigida, Italian actress and iconic sex symbol of the 1950s. In 1955 she played the leading part in a movie called The World's Most Beautiful Woman. The title of this movie became her nickname.
Winston and Lady Churchill arriving at Schiphol from Croydon on May 8, 1946. The aircraft is either the PH-TBD (DC3) or the PH-TBR (C47A)
Only young readers may not recognize the man with the cane in this picture. It is legendary British PM Winston Churchill, the man who forged the North Atlantic alliance that would be decisive for the outcome of WWII. His visit to The Netherlands lasted a week.  During his stay he was cheered by large crowds because they recognized his role during the war.
Dutch soccer team Feyenoord travelling to NY
with Douglas DC4 PH-TAT "Twenthe"
With an increasing number of international contacts, also soccer teams started travelling by air. Above the well known team from Rotterdam and below the also in those days famous Spanish Real Madrid.
Spanish soccer team Real Madrid on its way to Odense on Oct. 16, 1960. The aircraft is the Convair 340 PH CGC "Jacob Maris".
Frequent readers of this blog know these pictures appear here thanks to Bert Besseling and Aris Zwart. The site of Herman Dekker is the source of all aircraft data shown in this post.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Sepia Saturday - Confusion

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:
I have to admit there is chaos in my life! I am absolutely and utterly confused. My goals are gone, I don't know what to do and I have difficulty concentrating on a single subject. But before I go on creating havoc in my mind, maybe I should give you a little explanation.
Well, you see, until this day there was just regularity. Each and every week I had to write something for this blog. And in order to find out what I should write about, I would turn to a specific website. On this site a gentleman resides and he would tell me what the subject for this week was. So far, so good.
Last Wednesday I had a quick look at what my orders are for this week. I couldn't believe my eyes! In a few sentences the man mentioned or suggested subjects such as (bowler) hats, a trio of people, Sunday clothing, sisters, trees, a brewery, a killing, the RMS Leinster, Tipperary, dates, heads and submarine weaponry. I mean, how unfocused can one be? Does he expect me to sort out this mess? 
As far as I was able to do that, I have thought about this question. And, after a good night's rest, I believe I am now capable of formulating an answer and that is: "Yes, that's what he expects of me!"
So, with all discipline that is left in me, please find below my Sepia Saturday contribution for this week.
Sepia Saturday 142 Subjects
Because of the confused state of my mind some of the elements in this picture may seem a bit far fetched. But I can assure you that all of them have to do with the text that the gentleman gave us for Sepia Saturday 142. If you don't believe me, see for yourself here. There you can also see how other people interpreted the assignment of this week. 
And now I am off for a quiet weekend and wish you the same.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Saved from the dustbin (11)

When KLM Royal Dutch Airlines decided to fly to Tokyo via the North Pole, it must have been considered as quite an adventure. For the passengers that is, and possibly also for the crew. I mean, the prospect of an emergency landing may have been nice for members of the KLM Ski club, the average business passenger possibly had to convince his wife and children that flying via the Pole was so much quicker than the traditional route via the south. So on November 1, 1958 the PH-DSC "Yellow Sea" left for Tokyo via Anchorage. The aircraft was the reliable Douglas DC7C capable of carrying some 100 passengers. A crew of ten took care of their well being.
Left to right: Capt. Snitslaar, Rijpstra, Bik, Groothoff, Welscher, Germann, Ten Hoopen, Galama, Buren and Jansen.
It was obvious that KLM had to take certain precautionary measures adapted to flying over hitherto unknown, uninhabited, snow covered and deep frozen territory.  So in the unlikely event of an emergency landing there was a survival kit containing among others a gas burner, cups and straws, sunglasses against snow blindness, an ice saw, a shovel, an ax, rubber gloves, kleenex, rope, candles, a box with the text  'emergency ...' on it and a hunting knife. The picture also shows a couple of articles I do not recognize. For the long polar nights there was this booklet with the promising title "Life in the arctic". And then, last but not least, a rifle! 
On Polar flights KLM carried this survival kit. Some of the items on this table I do not recognize. And where is the ammo?
The picture below suggests that stewardesses were trained in the use of this weapon. However, pulling the trigger with those gloves does not look easy. But on the other hand, everything becomes possible when a polar bear comes charging at you!
Polar bears may be a serious risk there, the chance that you meet one is limited. But the extreme low temperatures and freezing winds create a greater hazard for stranded passengers and crew. So KLM experts must have thought "if you can't heat them, join them!" and invented the 4-person sleeping bag demonstrated below. I don't think this very social piece of camping gear has ever been used in practice but I bet that reading a user report would have made my day!
Sleeping bag for four persons.
Being on the subject of auxiliary equipment, on certain routes KLM frequently carried missionaries. To enable these clergymen to celebrate mass during stopovers, there was a small suitcase with all requisites.
Frequent readers know where all these old KLM pictures come from. For those who don't, they have been saved by Aris Zwart from a former KLM office in Copenhagen. Colleague Bert Besseling sorted all these pictures and made them accessible for us.
Aircraft data have been obtained from the impressive site of Herman Dekker.

Update Sept. 26, 2012: For further information about the ammo and comments about this blog, please see It's fun to see that one of my posts attracts so much attention!
Update Oct. 15, 2012: I discovered a KLM letter providing a little more information about the AR-10 rifles. It was addressed to a collector of these rifles in Normal, IL.
KLM letter dated January 9, 1984
Please click to enlarge.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sepia Saturday - Inside knowledge

Mist u een Nederlandse vertaling? Of kunt u het met het Engels prima af? Laat het mij weten door op dit blog een reactie te plaatsen. Dat kan, helemaal aan het eind.
As you can see in the Sepia Saturday logo at the end of this post, this weeks theme - also - has to do with a shop interior. Now, that poses a problem for me. Among my ancestors there are no shopkeepers, none that I know of at least. The man whom I consider my oldest ancestor, started as a farm hand in what is now Belgian Limburg. After that he joined the military and later, in The Hague, he had a more popular job. He was a (beer) tapper in a pub and as far as I know he was not the innkeeper. We are talking 1805 now. 
Then there was one of my great uncles. Around 1895 he was an errand boy in a pharmacy. He delivered medicines. (I don't think he would have liked being called a drug runner!) 
Ever since, most of my forbears earned their living as a civil servant, either for the municipality or for the government. So not many shop interiors there.
However, it is a small step from a shop interior to the inside of a house. And since Sepia Saturday organizer Alan is a flexible man, my pictures will show house interiors with which my ancestry can be associated.

The first picture is the interior of the house in the De Perponcherstraat 83(?) where my matrilineal grandparents lived in The Hague during the twenties of the previous century. The focus of the photographer is on my grandparents celebrating my grandfathers 25 year jubilee with his employer Eigen Hulp, a cooperative association of shops. I believe that event took place in 1926.
My grandparents Gerardus Theodorus de Langen and
Antje Doelman in approx 1926.
Looking with my today's eyes I see a number of things in this interior that I think are characteristic for the 1920's. In the red circles there are Dutch art deco patterns on earthenware. Also the vertical blue arrow points to examples of such patterns. The black cupboard is ornate with wooden decorations (blue circles) which I believe were typical for the turn of the century. On this side of the black cupboard is a fireplace. To avoid having to look at a big black hole in summer, people used a decorative shield, see the blue horizontal arrow.
The combination of my grandfathers neck tie and the heavily starched collar was commonly known here as a "father's killer", a vadermoordenaar in Dutch. In granny's dress you can already see the first signs of the charleston fashion of the thirties.

When I was about 3 years old, I vaguely remember that I, together with my mother and kid brother, stayed at a luxurious country house in a place called Laag Soeren. We are talking 1947. My most vivid memory is the availability of a tennis court on the premises. Funny, the irrelevant things a 3 year old remembers. My mother kept a few pictures of the house including a view of the inside of the living room.
The country house in Laag Soeren. The height of the windows on either
side of the front door is indicative of the presence of high ceilings.
The living room in Laag Soeren
The thing that strikes me most in this interior, is the height of the ceiling. You can't even see it! Must be more than 3 metres/10 ft! The fire place has already been modernized by installing a stove there (red arrow). But with a 10ft high ceiling additional heating is no luxury. So they put in a central heating radiator as well (blue arrow). Just after the war central heating was not unusual in industrial environments. However, in houses it was still exceptional. 
In those days the largest lamp in the room was over the table (black arrow). Certainly during the evening all activities took place there. The oak furniture is equipped with lavish ornaments (green arrow). Please also note the separate curtains for the upper windows (yellow arrow).

Unfortunately, in neither interior there is a clock visible. So I hope I did not disappoint you there. Still, I expect to have increased your inside knowledge. Before I refer you to my fellow Sepia Saturday adepts, I like to show you our previous house and its insides. We finally managed to sell it (pfft!) although not for the price mentioned... But I have to warn you, it's a bit different compared to the ones I showed you above.
For more clocks and interpretations of this week's theme,
please click here!
Update Oct. 13, 2012: A gentleman from Hoog Soeren, his name is Jan K., drew my attention to the fact that it was unlikely that the country house shown above, was situated in his village. After some further consultations and investigations, it is very probable that the house is (still!) located at 3 Badhuislaan in Laag Soeren. It is visible on Street View, be it that the black and white picture shows the rear of the house and the view below the front. Therefore, the text in this post has been corrected.


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