Thursday, April 02, 2009

Five Generations

Tonight I'm just too tired to write a blog post requiring me to use my brain, so I thought I'd share some photos taken in England in March. They trace a journey of five generations of women in our family, although there is a sixth generation not represented; our four granddaughters.

This chair, which is in Mum's bedroom now, was my great grandmother's, whom we knew as Opoe. It used to be on my great grandmother's barge, on which she carried cargo, and where Mum and her 7 siblings spent many happy hours.

Opoe was tiny, and all her life she wore the national costume of Zeeland in the south of Holland.

She was a single mother for many years, as the result of an assault for which she undeservedly bore the shame. She refused to marry the father of her baby, and never had another child, but later on she married a widower, who loved her, and whom we knew as Opa Piet. They were in their nineties when I knew them, and as brown and wrinkled as raisins.

This is Oma Schipper, the baby born to Opoe. She had a very hard life as a child, but she had not a shred of bitterness.

She was industrious, creative, a lover of animals, always quick to laugh and hospitable.

She made dolls clothes for our dolls and knitted us sweaters.

I will always remember taking her to Niagara Falls and waiting for her reaction. It wasn't quite what I'd expected. She said, "We have lots of water in Holland too."

Brenda and Mum are so much alike. Both of them are extroverts who love people. I love the fact that in my daughter I see so much of Mum's qualities and character.

I'm not sure where I came from. I am an introvert who died of embarrassment many times over as a child, when Mum would talk to total strangers! I often wished that I could be more like her, but in the words of Popeye, "I am who I am!" :)

I inherited Oma's hospitality at least. I love gathering a group of people around a table of home made food and watching the energy of a crowd of people eating and talking all at once. I love to create an atmosphere of welcome in which that can happen.

So, that is a tiny little bit about "us!" There is much more to tell of course.


Angcat said...

Sometimes pondering on family is all that is needed.

I see you in Oma Schipper, in physical resemblance as well as all the other things you listed about her; quick to laugh, hospitable and a lover of animals (or a certain canine variety anyway...).

So I think we do know where you came from.


Love Ang

Marian said...

Hey Belinda,

I am glad you are who you are. Don't ever change and try to be anyone else. You are someone who displays the fruit of the Spirit. I also appreciate your lovely sense of humour and your quiet wisdom.

Belinda said...

Thank you, Ang and Marilyn. :)

Dave Hingsburger said...

Oooh, did I love this post. I loved the photos and you tempted us with such wonderful family stories ... um, more maybe?

Marilyn said...

I agree with Dave - more maybe? This was a treat I thought about all day Thursday -- thoughts of your 'generations' led me to recall some of my own. A nice little mental vacation. Very refreshing.

Belinda said...

Thank you again to Dave and Marilyn. Praise God for kind friends and for God's inspiration! :) Dave, I love you for wanting to hear "family stories." Yes, I have a few and they may pop out, one by one, or maybe five at a time. :)