My bridge with my childhood - thank you, G. van Raemdonck.

In MySpace, I wrote:

Once again, I am using this blog to let off steam.

Should I be putting some pictures of my art work on the website which I look after? That! is the question.

I look after the website of the Dutch Australian Cultural Centre. It is currently located behind the Dutch shop, 85 Market Street, Smithfield, Sydney.

Board members take turns being there to greet visitors, on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Although we put out signs, not all people who come to the Dutch shop, go through the restaurant and the furniture section, to find us, in the corner. <br>It CAN sometimes be quiet, so I have developed the habit of taking my paintings there to work on and every time, I have taken more completed works with me, as well.

I put some of them just outside our door and just inside. I also turn on the radio and I hope that this way, we will be better noticed and visited.

Recently I have been working on a series of paintings, based on he illustrations, done by Georges van Raemdonck, for the book: Alleen Op De Wereld (Alone in the World), translated by A. Hilderbrand, into Dutch , from the book, Sans Famille, by Hector Malot.

These illustrations, are in the 1940 edition, which I brought with me, to Australia, when I migrated, as a 12-year-old boy, with my parents, in April/May, 1956.

The book was given to me, as a baby. I was born, in 1943, during the German occupation of the Netherlands. A present at my birth, was another book, an anthology of literature, mainly for children, from all over the world.
Obviously because my mother was known to be such an avid reader.

She read me Alone in the World (Alleen Op De Wereld) several times over, as bed-time story, from when I was really too young to hear about mines collapsing and buskers or street musicians, being thrown in gaol. But I am so grateful that she got me to love this (slightly over-the-top, melo-dramatic-) book and literature in general.

In the mornings, before pre-school, she tended to read me Piggelmee. It was in verse and based on the Russian folk-tale about a greedy woman.

I read once, and I am sure that this is correct, that there would be very few people of my generation (WW 2 and baby-boomers), in the Netherlands who had NOT read Alleen Op De Wereld.

To me, it’s similar, to the way Treasure Island, was THE book for young people, of my generation, in the English -speaking world, or Biggles, or Moby Dick, or Rip van Winkle.

The NSW Migration Heritage Centre has a collection, still growing, of Belongings, i.e., items which migrants, have brought with them, that have special meaning for them.

Last night, on ABC TV, there was a brief segment, on an ordinary suitcase, which is on display, in Canberra, brought here, by a refugee, with a story attached.

Alleen Op De Wereld, is My Belonging. My Bridge, between my life in Australia and my childhood years, in the Netherlands. Even with connections to a most pleasant visit to Paris, and the Seine, accompanied by my daughter, around the corner, from where Hector Malot lived.

I would have thought that putting this on the D.A.C.C. website was a good idea.

Not everyone agrees.

That is their right.
It disappoints me.
But……here it comes…….That’s life!

Journal Comments

  • Martin Derksema
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