Friday, 14 December 2012

Sepia Saturday - Passion

The theme this week reminded me of the saying "ships that pass in the night". Not that this picture was taken during nighttime but as far as I can see both lovers are standing on a ship. Also the famous picture of the sailor kissing a girl on Broadway (?) just after WW2 in tango like fashion, emerges from my memory. Although this latter picture seems to have been staged, the theme picture looks "natural" and one wonders what happened to the couple in later life. 
Confidentially I can tell you that my wife and I were equally passionate kissers. (Don't draw any conclusions because the previous sentence is in the past tense.) However, with no photographers on the scene I can't show you any proof. So I have to turn to the family archive instead.

The picture that I found is a postcard used by my grandfather Gerardus Theodorus de Langen to inform my grandmother Antje Doelman, that he would see her next Sunday.  The text implies that we are looking at circumstances taking place before their marriage on December 27, 1916.
I can't say this is a love letter but it is clear Theo is very fond of her. He starts with referring to the little boy in the picture and expresses his desire that one day they would have such a child together "if ever we would get to that point". He quickly disposes of that thought cause she will be very busy this Saturday. So busy that there will hardly be an opportunity for a quick kiss. (Before her marriage my grandmother worked in a pastry shop in Rotterdam.) He then discards the whole idea of meeting her on Saturday and announces his arrival for early Sunday morning "unless of course you are too tired to get up early. Then I'll wait." Earlier he informs her that an apparent problem with his lips is over now "so you know what that means." Coming to the bottom of the card he ends his text with: "Honey, I'll see you on Sunday and here's a hug from your loving Theo."
When I first saw and read this card, it really touched me. Obviously I knew my grandparents only when they were much older. And for one reason or another you do not associate your grandparents with a young couple in love. At least, I don't. But thinking about the text of the card, I feel it is very much in line with how I knew them: two happily married, spiritual  people with a lot of respect for each other. Therefore, the possession of this card is very dear to me.
To the best of my knowledge my grandfather wasn't much of a sailor, nor did grandma fancy boating. But I'm sure they loved each other. And that brings us back full circle to the theme of this week.
I'm sure my fellow Sepians (thank you, Ticklebear) have written similar stories. You can read them via the Sepia Saturday site.


  1. "So you know what that means" - what DOES that mean? I suspect you're much like your grandfather. (By the way, you could have staged a photo with your wife so we could get the full appreciation of the theme.)

  2. @Wendy
    I am just quoting granddad so I can only guess that it has to do with his (in)ability "to pay lip service"?
    And staging a picture? NEVER!!

  3. What a cute card, it's great that it has been preserved. The actual Dutch text it is even better (more cute) than you described in your post.

  4. Peter, This is such a sweet card; Your grandfather was quite in a flutter, could not wait to see his love, but wanted to let her know, no kissing because all sounds so wonderfully innocent, as for you, no photo, I agree with Wendy!

  5. All that is missing from this post is a picture of them together. On second thoughts it's rather like you and your wife - best left to our imagination.

  6. @Titania
    I believe my female readers are way too curious... Please see Bob's comment!
    My grandparents are clearly visible in the 4th picture of the previous post ;)

  7. It's always delightful to find affectionate correspondence between your ancestors. I saved all the letters my son's father sent during our courtship, though some of them are steamy, so I hope they don't read them until after I'm gone to ashes.

  8. I don't think actual kissing is necessary for a romantic post. Very sweet.

  9. @Meri
    Mmmm, steamy letters ;)

    Thank you, Kristin!

  10. Such lovely sentiments and the intimacy and love comes through. He certainly gave her plenty of "wiggle room" here - your grandfather was clearly not a controlling type of man.

  11. The card is wonderful - matched only by your interpretation of it.

  12. U R welcome!!!
    You are the first post I read and I see you haven't noticed the on-looker...


    Lovely thought of thinking of your grandparents as lovers, as it had to start somewhere. The acquaintance, the courtship, the proposal, the wedding, then the kids... The rest is History!!
    Indeed, we tend to forget how it all started.

  13. Another excellent demonstration, Peter, that imagination always makes history, and especially family history, more entertaining.

    And I really enjoyed the airplane ride. The contrast between the tangle of the old cities and the neat geometry of the tulip farms was fascinating.

  14. @Helen
    You may be right but in his professional life he was heading an accounting department, typically the kind of job where a certain measure of control is almost required.
    Thank you for reading my post first ;) and you are right I did not notice the 3rd person... a photo bomb?
    There is a striking difference between street patterns of many European and American cities.

    Thank you all for visiting.

  15. Yes, I dare say so, a photobomb!!

  16. This is so wonderfully sweet. Such a lovely post.

  17. OH, this was so charming, Peter! How lovely to have a concrete representation of your grandparents' feelings for one another. I only wish I had something similar.

    I must say, I'm a little intrigued about the whole "lip problem". Perhaps they were working on improving their kissing techniques.

    Sweet. So sweet.


  18. @Kat
    About the lip problem, that's my conclusion as well :) but it's a pity I can't ask Grandma anymore :(


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