Bill Olders Speech presented at Joseph and Gerarda Olders 50th Wedding Anniversary
1953 – 1955
One of the unforgettable times was the trauma of all of a sudden not having dad around. As events would have it the decision to go to Canada to escape any further reprisals of the Nazi regime turned out to be a blessing. Canada has indeed been the land of opportunity but far more for the children than yourselves mom and dad. Although, an additional benefit has been the strong bond that has developed between the family members, the down side has been the little contact with all our cousins and nephews.
Three events stick out in our minds in the times when dad was in Canada:
Going to the annual town carnival parade with the devils from hell (depicted as a huge black drum) dressed in Cowboy hats, moustache, make-up and guns & holsters direct from Canada. I have difficulty imagining the delights both Hannie and Ine must have had with their new baby doll pajamas also received from Canada, but I was glad that they did not wear these to the carnival and dressed as bourderinskins instead.
The trip to Oma’s and Opa’s 50th wedding anniversary in Oss was our (perhaps not all kids) last contact with your parents, mom. We were busy getting in every-one’s way, being introduced to millions of people and exploring that big house on Molenstraat. I personally remember getting a little pep talk from Opa for playing with the record player (the latest in technology) but at that time I was incorrigible and it had little effect on me. I missed them both when Opa went for his siesta and Oma was sick on this great day of theirs.
The strongest memories of this time are coming to Canada on the boat. There were tears on the decks and waving until our arms got tired. The drama was re-enforced by the continued re-appearance of the farewell party as they drove down the Hook van Holland on the road beside the river to the North Sea. The many bouts of sea sickness on the boat and the racing of deck chairs on the wet decks were great ways to stave off boredom. I remember how difficult it was to eat with the food swimming in front of our eyes at the supper tables as the Zuiderkruis pitched and rocked in the waves. Both Ine and Peter decided to add a little spice to your experience by getting lost in the cargo hold. Great fun it was.
The exitement was at an all time high when word got around that land had been sighted. We all remember the exquisite views of the Quebec countryside that unfolded at our journey’s end. Lush green spaces with the occasional farm house appearing out of the morning mist.
The neat way Ham and Process Cheese Sandwiches were halved diagonally added to all the new experiences dad was trying tell his very tired family on the bumpy train ride to Toronto.
Poor aunt Lucy was shattered when each of us became systematically ill after attempting to eat her porridge that she had prepared for our first Canadian breakfast. Fortunately mom saved the day by showing aunt Lucy how porridge was made. Our inability to communicate in english did not help matters.
“Iedereen weet mein naam” was Hannie’s first response when she first learned the word honey (the Canadian term for a good looking girl). Similarly we were equally amused that mom was a WIFE whenever she was introduced by dad – had he no respect?
1956 – 1963
The joys of the unfinished Kenmark subdivision – a sea of mud – Ine lost her boot in it.
I personally had a very frightening experience that probably only Mom remembers. Here I was ripping down the path through the backyards on mom’s bicycle and unbeknownst to me a neighbour had strung up a steel clothes line. It Happened to be right at the height of my neck. The cable was torn from the post wrapped around my neck and I came to an abrupt halt when I fell from the bicycle and hung from the end of the wire with the other end solidly still connected to the wall.
This is a time when the boys had a lot of fights and a lot of fun. One day we decided to see how much smoke would actually come fron burned toast.
The boys rigged a walky-talky system allong the back fence we got half way to Leroux’s house with the unravelled bell telephone wires that we found at construction sites.
Collecting bottles to get spending money was our first attempts at earning real dollars one of us actually got about six dollars worth.
– going to Kew Beach on Sundays for picnics with the Kennedy bus, the Danforth bus and the Queen Streetcar
– Exhibition – free samples in the Food building
– everyone had to carry 2 grocery bags
– our first car – now we could go to Upper and Lower highland Creek parks for picnics – with orange potatoe salad
We had to push the car up every big hill – Why?
– the blender demonstration
– Dad brought home 2 live chickens – they were pets for a week, then we (he) couldn’t kill them – the neighbour had to.
– walking home from Church (at St. Clair) singing commercials
– Dad brought home roadkill – a fresh rabbit – Mom made hasenpfeffer but us kids wouldn’t touch it!
– you being altar boy (who else)
– radio station B.U.G.G.Y.
– Feeding the snake, the frog went croak in the middle of the snake’s belly
– We made tons of gun powder with various recipes. One fine day we decided to test the results of our efforts.
– evenings around the table doing homework listening to Starlight serenade
– evening dishwashing – Bill the wanderer — That’s funny says Joy — he never grew out of this one!!
– going to the cottage on Georgian Bay for two summers – all night Monopoly games
– Saturday housecleaning – everybody to pitch in
– Bill building a kayak while we were gone, in the living room
– Bill’s first job – Sudbury? Biff Burger?
– Hannie at the library
– After church on Sunday, going to visit the Royal Ontario Museum, by bus and streetcar. Sitting on the grand steps at the front of the Museum, in a row, eating our lunch sandwiches.