From the family album: The Candle Factory

MrJoop

Ramsgate, Australia

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

You’re not losing your memory. I have told this quite often but I couldn’t find it. ( I have since! )
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When my mother had reached the age when she could leave school, the teacher came to her parents’ house and urged my grandmother to let my mother continue with her education.
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I am convinced that, along with one other sister, my mother was most like her father. Had her own opinion. Needed to do things.
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My mother explained later that she looked around and saw how Oma (Grandmother) (Betty) Postma was needing to cope with nine children, on the income of her husband, the bridge-keeper (a public servant)‘s low wages, and decided that she needed to go to work.
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Two younger sisters joined her in the Kaarsenfabriek ( candle factory) and this formal photo is so typical.
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The next youngest sister, Juul, was closest (in age and in relationship) to my mother. She was content, from earliest childhood, to let my mother look after her and then, after my mother married the boy who had come courting her, was content, the rest of her life to have other female friends carry on this role.
Don’t misunderstand. She was fun! Just content to let others do these things and very adapt at saying thank you and praising the favour.
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The next younger sister, Bep (Elizabeth), I relate(d) to a lot. Like my mother, she loved and loves text. Has won countless contests where little slogans were required to advertise or promote things.
I am guessing that, while more likely to get on with things than Juul, working in the candle factory, she too may have sometimes had her mind wander off to more pleasant places.
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In this photo, my mother is the only one, with styrine/candle wax down her apron, having had to, once again, rescue sister Juul, and prevent her from being scolded by the hot wax.
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Years later, my father worked as foreman and union rep., in a nearby glass/mirror factory.
When he and I would sit beside her bed, in the nursing home, down the road, from here, a little over five years ago, he would love telling how, during a visit of union representatives, at the candle factory, one of the people in charge there had told him what a hard worker my mother was.
He found it hard to see her lying there and would tell the nursing home staff too. They politely smiled.
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( Bep married Koen and through him became possibly Gouda’s number 1 fan of the St Jan (St John’s) Church, where he took organ lessons in the belfry. She took me outside her little cigar store, when I went to stay with her and pointed to the spire, poking out above the city centre. It gave her comfort that she could see the church.
There is a web-camera located on that spire and, here, in Sydney, I can look at what’s going on in the market square of Gouda, around the town hall, via the internet. )
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HERE “Company film of the Stearine candle factory in Gouda, The Netherlands. It features images of the factory buildings and the candle production process”

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