BarendKamperman

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< We arrived by boat at Pier 21 Halifax in July 1957. We stayed with Herman Lamb's family for a while on a farm outside of Masstown.For a city kid the lush countryside and farm animals were fascinating.We started learning English from the Lambs.Somehow Colonel Kenrick Carteret Laurie of Oakfield Estate Farm got to interview my dad. (Mr.Lamb translated.)The Colonel liked that my father had been a narcotics cop in Rotterdam.He got hired as a farmhand for the estate. Soon we moved to the lakeside village of Grand Lake. The house we moved into and its asphalt brick paper covered garage were just as Tante Pauline had described to my mother. The two kindly old people turned out to be the Colonel and his wife, Violet Maud.Because of them I got to work in Japan years later. My first teaching job was instructing my mother English spelling and pronunciation. Because dad always spoke very poor English I'm still able to speak Dutch.

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> We arrived by boat at Pier 21 Halifax in July 1957. We stayed with Herman Lamb's family for a while on a farm outside of Masstown.For a city kid the lush countryside and farm animals were fascinating.We started learning English from the Lambs.Somehow Colonel Kenrick Carteret Laurie of Oakfield Estate Farm got to interview my dad. (Mr.Lamb translated.)The Colonel liked that my father had been a narcotics cop in Rotterdam.He got hired as a farmhand for the estate. Soon we moved to the lakeside village of Grand Lake. The house we moved into and its asphalt brick paper covered garage were just as Tante Pauline had described to my mother. The two kindly old people turned out to be the Colonel and his wife, Violet Maud.Because of them I got to work in Japan years later. My first teaching job was instructing my mother in English spelling and pronunciation. Because dad always spoke very poor English I'm still able to speak Dutch.


# 1. A Post War Sendoff

pic My family's past has often meddled with the "current present" in my life. Dealing with that has been a recurring challenge. First some background.

I was born September 30, 1950 in Rotterdam Holland. The product of a "mixed marriage."

My dad, Berend a staunch Calvinist and my mother, Regina a strong Roman Catholic and a refugee from Soviet occupied Lithuania.They'd met in Wildau Schwartzkopf labour camp outside of Berlin. He was a medic with expertise in sports massage. She was his nursing assistant. They courted in broken German and worked with Berlin's anti-Nazi resistance. Mom was pregnant with my sister, Irene when Berlin fell.Her Dutch relatives welcomed her initially with hostility, believing she was a "dirty" German. Mom could speak Polish, German, Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Belarusian. She counseled refugees fleeing the USSR to not return east.She was sometimes hounded for that. Her sister's house in Lithuania mysteriously burned down. Russian authorities refused to treat her sister's injuries; unless she quit counseling refugees. Then in '56 Hungary was invaded.

My mother (again pregnant) was traumatized.' Convinced the US would do nothing to stop another war in Europe.My parents decided to immigrate to Canada. They presented it to us kids as an adventure. We'd get to see cowboys too! My mother's dearest friend, Pauline Larson a Norwegian Christian clairvoyant had predicted before this uproar began, that our family would move to Canada. First my mother scoffed at such a ridiculous idea. When the time came close to leave, she told mom two old people would take good care of our family and she described the home and property we moved into in great detail.It all proved true. This was my first brush with the supernatural; but, not the last.

It would be decades later that my mother informed me that my prissy oldest uncle, Wim was always presumed to be a homosexual. And my tomboy aunt, Femme was always taken to be a lesbian who loved motorbikes and women. (So same sex attraction runs in my family.)They were both crippled by homophobic religious guilt and so was I for a while;but, I escaped. I clearly remember having a powerful crush on a cute little guy my age. I loved being with him. Strangely his mother made him wear nice pants, a jacket, white shirt and a blue bow tie. Ever since bow ties on hunks get me going. Of course all of these things couldn't be explained to a six year old boy. They just were.

#2. Becoming Canadian And The Dykes From Up The Road

We arrived by boat at Pier 21 Halifax in July 1957. We stayed with Herman Lamb's family for a while on a farm outside of Masstown.For a city kid the lush countryside and farm animals were fascinating.We started learning English from the Lambs.Somehow Colonel Kenrick Carteret Laurie of Oakfield Estate Farm got to interview my dad. (Mr.Lamb translated.) The Colonel liked that my father had been a narcotics cop in Rotterdam.He got hired as a farmhand for the estate. Soon we moved to the lakeside village of Grand Lake. The house we moved into and its asphalt brick paper covered garage were just as Tante Pauline had described to my mother. The two kindly old people turned out to be the Colonel and his wife, Violet Maud.Because of them I got to work in Japan years later. My first teaching job was instructing my mother in English spelling and pronunciation. Because dad always spoke very poor English I'm still able to speak Dutch.

picGrand Lake, 1958

It took time to get used to Canada's ferocious winters and holidays like Halloween.Enter the King Sisters.I answered a knock at the door one Halloween night. There twenty feet away stood a figure dressed like a farmer in overalls with a gauze bag over "his" face. He took off his Fedora.He swung it low to the ground, in a silent courtly bow.His "farm wife" stood further back waiting. Startled, I called for mom.She was delighted to see them and invited them in. The "husband" sat in a rocking chair and pretended to fill and light his pipe. His silent wife began busily knitting. Mom did all the talking. It was rather pleasant but strangely mysterious too. They didn't stay long and were very gracious when they left. They only visited us once more. No one in the village had seen them or knew anything about them.

Later I heard about the eccentric King sisters on a farm in nearby Wellington. One always dressed like a man in farmer clothes. They kept to themselves and the "farmer" was surly and laconic.They kept a toll gate over the road that passed by their home.The other sister was very much into playing the farm wife.They were protecting themselves in a backward time and place.

2015

picSelf Portrait - 2015

Self portrait - 2015