On the 290th day of the year 1915 in the Gregorian calendar, October 17 1915 in Tunbridge Wells, in western Kent, England, about 40 miles (64 km) south-east of central London by road, 34.5 miles (55.5 km) by rail, Rose May Van Nuland was born to Paulus Franciskus Van Nuland and Maria Francisca Hanocq.
Six years earlier (in 1909) the town had received its “Royal” prefix. Due to its position in South East England, during the First World War Tunbridge Wells was made a headquarters for the army, and its hospitals were used to treat soldiers who had been sent home with a “blighty wound”; the town also received 150 Belgian refugees.
Some may think that if that person would have saved a Nickel every day starting at age 3, then by now that person would have accumulated $1,771.45 today. (Assuming this person is still alive and kicking), but in the world so much changed and for those who are considered to be of the better class, they would undergo a total change in their family life. For sure my mother had to harden her soul and was confronted with lots of changes in the quality of life. Having had the joy of servants in her life she would have to face her children growing older without all that comfort her family and that of her husband were going to get.
On October 17, 1915, playwright Arthur Miller, author of “Death of a Salesman” also saw the light of this world in New York., like the woman who encountered many people trying to sell at her door.
16 years before mobster Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion. (Sentenced to 11 years in prison, Capone was released in 1939.) my grandparents along mothers site were also going to face terrible financial drawbacks when lots of people came to demand their investments back. Being dependant on the exchange market for their income the parents of my mother still would have to go to see darker days.
Half a century later In 1965, the musical “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever,” with a score by Burton Lane and book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, opened on Broadway whilst the New York World’s Fair closed.
Being trained at the piano and receiving the first price at the conservatoire de Paris, the artistic blood of my mother would provide artistic veins to her children which not always would cause easy days for her. I remember very well the day I asked her what she thought about one of her children pursuing an artistic career in theatre. the slap in my face told enough for when I would like to become a musical star. Though having the stubbornly persevering fatherly blood in my veins, my parents got a lot of work with me and for sure our confrontations were not always of the easy and pleasant ones.
The one who was going to see the light on the Remembrance D-Day was going to bring some other earthquakes in the family than the one who on October the 17th in 1989 measured 7.1 on the Richter scale and struck northern California, killing 63 people and causing $6 billion worth of damage.
My mother was still alive when on her birthday in 1995, President Bill Clinton told wealthy contributors at a Houston fund-raiser that
“you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much, too”
and got to see that the Belgians were even better stars in raising taxes and being greedy. This small continental country managed to have so many governments and so many sorts of taxes. Whatever you could think off this country was able to create a tax around it, be it telephone-, internet-, water-, savingtax and even a sugar tax.
Though this was the part of the world were she found her love and was willing to create a future for her next generation. For those children she worked like a horse, even when she had lots of people to help her, maids, kitchen garden and laboratory staff. Always we saw her working and running around for this and that, taking care that her husband was pleased and taken good care of. they were a perfect example for what we may consider too much of self-abnegation for love. My father always came on the first place and his will was law.
Though at our country estate we had lovely moments with her when our father was not present and got the whole kingdom for ourselves. Then we were free to be clothed much easier and to have the order of the day in an easier manner, having some late hours playing cards and drinking beer. That were the moments when we saw a totally different mother, with a kind loving heart wanting to have the best for her children. As long as our father was not there in our woods, we could enjoy play and work. But as soon as the father was present work had to be on the first place, trying to keep the woods in a proper state. We diged canals with the hundreds.
And now it is all part of memory.
Grass-fields, all sorts of trees, nice food and lovely days of being together.
Today I want to remember that strong lady, who was a blossom.
As ten years ago a two-man Chinese space crew landed in China’s northern grasslands after five days in orbit it was that woman who brought us in our dreams into the wide orbit. With all the stories she told, with the care she gave for us, we were formed to encounter a totally different world than hers. It may have been a difference like day and night, but we managed because our parents provided for the strong foundation in our life. And that is where parents are for.
Rose May Van Nuland may be proud to have marvellously succeeded in giving us the fire and spirit for life.
God bless her soul.
Thought for Today:
“If you believe that life is worth living then your belief will create the fact.”
– Arthur Miller (1915-2005).