MY   STORY   

       CHAPTER 53         LINK TO OTHER PAGES

As a testimonial to my Christian faith, - I was born that way, even as a child having a rock firm faith which came forth of the hand of God since He destined me to that end.  And my loving mother imparting her faith into me as well, my mother a sure daughter of the Lord.  And O how joyful she was when she beheld the angels of God coming for her soul, a sight never to forget.

The devil however wanted to kill me the very day I came forth from my mother, as a blue lifeless lump of flesh, but the Lord prevented him. And when I went half way around the world at the age of 19 he followed me to make my life bitter with everyone near me that he could manipulate, only the Lord took care that I was not cast headlong in my misery.  And at the age of 24 having suffered many afflictions I went forth to die, that my spirit be taken from me.

The year is 1937, the day is the twin celebration of Weeks and of the Oath, and the place is a two-story house in a housing track near a dike that encloses fertile farming communities.  The dike shuts out the water that formerly dominated the now fertile fields as a lake.  Its depth is Apr. four meters below sea level, not far from the capital of the Netherlands, named Amsterdam where the Anna Frank story came to its birth.

 It is 05:20 in the morning on the seventh of June. (Holland time)  My mother is having birth-pains for a second time; her first being a girl, this time it is a male child, the first of six sons.  With her are my father and a midwife to ease her pains.  And of course I was there causing her all these pains.  But as I came forth from the womb, and received the usual blows on my behind, I did not deem them sufficient to cry out.  

And at the sight of this (as I am told) the color in my father's face changed sharply, the thought going through his mind that this was a stillborn child.  The doctor however said; “O but he lives, give him to me.” And taking me by the legs he whacked me a good one on my behind, and though I do not remember it, it must have hurt because then I did cry, and my sorrow came to the joy of all that stood by. 

I am the first-born son of my mother with five brothers and the second oldest of nine.  My father was a farmer his whole life trying to scrape a living from a mere twenty Hectare that came to him as one half of the property from his parents, the other half going to two of my uncles, one a brother of my father and the second a half brother of my father.

I was 3 years of age when the German armies swept over Holland and took it captive.  There were the usual air raids and bombing going on.  And when the planes were shooting at each other, or fired at from the ground at night I used to go to the window to watch the fireworks until either my father or mother got wind of it and quickly took me away from the window.  My mother then would sit with me and try to calm my fears with all sorts of stories and speaking to me at length, thinking now he is calmed down and has forgotten the war that is going on outside.  I however would look at her and say,  "But I still hear those flying machines."  Giving my mother to understand that, yes mother you can talk all you want but my mind is still on the war above our heads.

The furthest back that I can remember is walking on the foundation of our farmhouse being newly built.  And as a lad of about six or seven years of age I can still picture my mother in front of our house, closing my zipper (or buttons) with the word, you have to keep this closed otherwise your water gets cold.  One usually does not recall the average things that fall on him, but such things as make an impression are the ones one does not easily forget, and can remain fixed in his memory as were it the day of yesterday.  

One such an occasion remains forever firmly in my memory.  I was about 7 years of age, and living with us at the farm were two Jewish girls about 16 to 17 years of age, and good-looking at that.  At our two-story farm house there was a large bedroom where my father and mother slept.  And one morning, for whatever reason I do not know, I was in my mother's bedroom, my mother more or less sitting up in bed with the blankets upon her, and on her right and left were the two young women, I shall say rather than girls - in their underwear that did not cover much of their bodies.  The one sitting on the left of my mother near the head of the bed was the one that was bodily endowed more than the other, sitting next to my mother one leg on the bed the other next to it.  While the one of the right was sitting more to the rear of the bed, as for me I remember standing near the window, which is on the other side of the room from where one enters through the door. 

The sight of these young ladies even for a seven years old boy was enough that I could not take my eyes off of them with great wonder.  And my mother along with the two ladies seeing me paying such attention to these nearly unclad ladies, they began to tease me, my eye being fixed mainly on the one with the full breasts, which she teasingly pushed forward.  And O what fun these three women had, my mother inclusive, seeing my admiration and my frustration for what I thought so very beautiful and so attractive, but not knowing what to do about my admiration or how to reply to their teasing.

The things that remain fixed in one's memory are mostly of sheer delight, or of fear, things that make an impact, and one is often able to recall them vividly, like a clear picture in ones memory.  This was one of those moments in my life that remained fixed in memory.  Which may have been not only for their amorous play with me of that moment in time, but also because they were Jewish.  And how or why I do not know, but from as far as I can remember there was nothing more dear to me than to have a daughter of David, a Jewish women for wife.  These girls (sisters) were with us for years during the war when our country was under German occupation.

Before the war ended they were forced to leave our house, since most likely because of me as a child I had said something at school that revealed their presence with us.  And the town doctor came warning my parents that I had spoken amiss at the school.  In later years I met and visited with the one of the right of my mother on several occasions.  While the one of the left of my mother I did not get to see again until 2013 in a visit to Holland. The one on the right had two trees planted in Israel, and the one on the left 100 trees.

Farm life was not easy during the German occupation, the farmers had nearly to steal enough of their crops from the German hands in order to live and plant for the next year.  In 1944 when hunger became strong at some places more potatoes were taken out of the fields by others than by the farmers themselves.  Not that this mattered, since we were to turn all our crops over the German occupation troops.  

And being caught, or betrayed that instead we either gave or sold our crops to our own countrymen on occasion, (as an example) was rewarded with death.  They simply placed the farmer and his wife and children against the wall and shot them.  I was eight years of age when the war ended.  And O how I remember the things that made an impression upon me.

One day when we were trashing grain, and many person had assembled at the entrance to our farm, waiting to purchase some grain, there was a boy about 15 or so years of age, standing on the concrete railing next to a ditch. And it being warm, he did not have a shirt on, but only a pair of pants, nor am I in all these years been able to forget the sight of that boy, as he fell from that railing into that ditch. That poor fellow was truly skin over bone, all his ribs were visible, and I felt so very sorry for him, so very sorry indeed.

One day with my father in the field several airplanes had a gunfight in the sky above us, and while my dad grabbed me and we both hid in a ditch, I can still remember these bullets raking across the grain field not far from me. It was policy at that time that anything moving on the streets would be shot at,  

And one day as I was in the field behind the farm, an English fighter came right over my head with his machine gun at full bore, obliterating an ambulance almost in front of our farm, and I was scared to death, not knowing how fast I could climb over the fence to get into the house. By the time I got into the house, the plane was long gone and all the people with the ambulance dead in front of us.

One day as I was playing with my sister in a ditch next to the street  we heard a loud bang, and as we climbed out of the ditch onto the street we saw an English fighter had crashed not far in front of us,  The pilot at that moment was taking his jacket off and putting it on fire as we watched. Then of course the ammunition started to explode and bullets were slamming into the road right near us, until the neighbor lady grabbed us and we hid behind the block wall of her house.   And I can still see the Germans coming with one of those open automobiles, who in the turn unto the yard of the farmhouse nearly went on two wheels.

The pilot had hid himself in a thick row of trees on that farm, and while the Germans searched for him, and threatened to burn that farm and those to the sides thereof if we did not produce the pilot.  At last the pilot showed himself. And to this day I can still see him sitting between guards on a truck bed as they passed our house, and I was so sad for him, and so angry at the Germans.

On occasion the Germans would spot-check the farms for grain etc that was not turned into them, and one day while we had managed to withhold a lot of grain from them, we, knowing they were coming my dad and me worked hard attempting to hide as much of that horde of grain as we could, and as they stopped at our neighbor's farm, and loaded a few sacks I thought they can easily fill up that truck by us, but they passed us and went to my uncle’s place next to us where they loaded a few more, and then left, Thank God they did not stop at our farm.

  My childhood years were fun and a lot of hard work. As young boys we played tricks on the neighbors hanging a little stone on a string in front of the window, and with another string at a distance we tapped on the window, and of course there was no one at the door.  But that did not always work, at times we got a bucket of water over our heads.  

We used to go fishing in the canals, and catch the average small fish.  But there were occasions at the canal in the back of the field where we lifted the nets that professionals had put out.  Usually we were with about six or eight of us boys of about the same age neighbors, and one or two of us would strip naked and lift the nets to take out the large fish that were in it.  My dad asked me where all of a sudden we got such large fish, to which my reply was that we had found a good fishing place.

With a number of farming boys so near to the same age, and no television, if we were not playing football, or cards, (bridge mostly), or at the movies, or working, we were up to something.  In the early spring when the ice on the canal was not so strong anymore, we used to break the ice into pieces, and then dared each other to cross the canal leaping from ice block to ice block, at which we were of course not always successful, and it was a very cold and wet walk home.  We never considered the danger of getting under the ice, or stuck somehow, for we could all swim like rats, and with enough fellows there, one is always to receive help. 

And we had our usual fights among each other. Once on the way home from leaping ice blocks, two of my neighbor friends really got into a fight, and they were tumbling in the ice-cold water in a ditch, as if that was not enough to stop the fight.  I was once very angry with a neighbor friend, I do not know what led it on, but I had gone home and was in the back of our farm when he came with my brother and some others, and I had taken a rather large piece of wood, and I was going to kill him.  

And so when he came and I said, come closer and I will kill you, he took two steps forward and just stood there.  That was the best thing he did to just stand there, for that brought me to my senses, had he attempting to attack me I certainly would have split his skull with that club.

As kids we used to play tag, and when we were somewhat older around 14 to 16 years of age, and as farmers we had tractors of course, we on occasion played tag with the tractors, and even inside the barns we did so.  It still amazes me that no real mishap ever occurred, for these games were anything but timid.

Our work turned into play at times, and my next door neighbor friends still remind me after so many years how when at work with a roller behind the tractor, him and me both, we used to race to the ends of the field, and the dust would cloud behind us.  And once when I was fertilizing a field that bordered onto the street, with a horse pulling a fertilizing machine about eight or ten ft wide, I was bored and wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.  

So what I did was at every turn I skipped about three or four feet.  At the time I of course figured my dad does not know.  But a few weeks later this became very clear as one looked at the field from the street you could see exactly were I had gone in the dark and light green of the crop.  So I never did that again.

I have many good memories of my younger years and some bad ones also.  Once when I was cultivating with the tractor, the tractor having those very wide steel wheels, tubes set apart by Apr six inches, and I was continually turning left in my rows back and forth, with my dog walking alongside at my right.   Then came a time that I had to turn the other way, and I remember thinking in myself, you better watch it now dog for I am going to turn the other way, but then I never really thought that perhaps I might run over my dog. 

And so in the turn I heard my dog scream, and as I stopped immediately, and jumped off to find the dog, he had come up to the side of the tractor right next to where the clutch etc is, as to come to me.  He was in pretty bad shape and as I laid him down hoping he might survive it.  But soon I realized that his pain was too great, and his ribs being broken and all, I knew it was only a matter of time, And since I could not stand the hurt of seeing my dog in so much pain, I put him in a gunny sack and drowned him to put him out of his misery.  This indeed was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, to kill my dog.

We had another dog once a white poodle, and he used to catch rats like nothing.  Once when we were trashing peas, the trashing machine was at the large doors, and we had sort of a long brick wall barn.  And when it came to the last parts of those peas as we were heaping them from man to man to cast them up to the thrasher, with about eight men or so, the rats had gone hiding, and now in the last end they had no place to hide.  

And with this poodle there, this dog did not know which rat to bite first, one after the other.  This was indeed an interesting day with a lot of fun, I can still see one of the men jumping up and down because a rat had gone up his pants from down below, or they tried to climb the wall along a beam, and we would jump up and whack em down.  It was indeed quite a scene there for about ten fifteen minutes.

My mother now had passed away when I was twelve years of age.  And at the funeral as everyone cried, I did not cry, since with full conviction I believed in God and in my mother that now she was rejoicing, and why then should I cry for her.  Later on in missing her I cried.

School years

At the age of 6 I believe I went to school, the school with the Bible as it was called, And Mrs. Van Kempen as I recall was the first grade teacher, And Mr. Snell the principle and teacher of the sixth and last grade-year.  I was forced to pass through the third-year class twice, not so much in my lack of learning as in the competent of the teacher of that grade.  He used to drag a fellow by his ear to the front of the class if he were angry for some reason.  And you did not want to get in trouble with the principle; he used to use only two fingers, long fingers, as they were to slap you with in the face. 

Once in the winter with the first snow on the ground we had our usual fun during lunch hour. And the residence of the principle was right next to the school a two-story building, with an attic as the third. This had a small round window that happened to be open, and we dared each other to throw snowballs in it, and a number of them did get in.  But I will never forget our punishment that followed afterwards. He lined about six of us up for the lash with his two fingers.

I completed the full six years of elementary school, after which followed two years of high school. In the first year of that high school I attended approximately three/ fourth of the time, And in the second year only about one fourth of the required time.  I was more needed at home on the farm to help my father.  If then I graduated from high school, I have no idea.

It was of course expected of me that I should become a farmer to follow my father on the farm, accordingly I entered the agricultural college in my town. It was small with a minimal number of students since it had just been opened in my town.  This was a four-year term, full time in the first year, Then one day per week off in the second year with two days off in the third, and only one day school per week in the fourth and final year.  This was so that the students could work on the farm the other days for practical experience. And there was only one teacher in the first two years, Mr. Lightenberg, a very nice and considered person.  

In the third year we got another teacher, and what bothered me so much about this teacher was that he used to repeat everything, stating everything twice.   And being tired of having to hear the repetition I once remarked to him, saying;  “You said that already.” This of course was impolite, and the principle forced me to apologize for it, which was not without some heated debate between the principle and me.

And once, so I am told, as that teacher was explaining something standing in front of the black-board, I loudly said to him in the class; "A large light-pole does not give much light."  So as to remark to him; - you are standing in front of it wherefore I can not see anything.  Myself I do not remember it, or even how I could be such a rascal to say that.  According to my sisters I was quite a rascal, and about the only thing I really got out of the two Jewish ladies, as to how things were in that time, was; that I was quite a character, and that they had a lot of fun with me.

About midway through the third grade something happen to change my course in schooling.  I used to be a quick learner, usually in the afternoon the teacher would go over the homework that we were to present the following week after our days off to work on the farm.   The teacher then on occasion would test us to see if we paid attention or how much we had retained of it.  And picking on me one time I simply raffled off the whole thing, having memorized everything as he outlined it to us. 

But instead of appreciating my quick aptitude, he got angry and gave me an F, because so he said I was not to learn or do my homework during class.    This however made me so angry that I refused to do any more homework since that day, or to learn more. Accordingly, although I did pass that third grade, I did not graduate or pass after the fourth since I refused to learn or do it right.    I recall that when I did learn I used to spend only about ten to fifteen minutes a week to complete my entire volume of homework for the entire week.  And so while I did learn a lot, it was not sufficient on my reports to graduate, nor did I care, since it was neither in my intend to become a farmer.

When at an outing one time towards the end of the four year term, some of the bad boys let the air out of the tires of the motorcycle of the Principle, I thought this so mean and went up to the principle if I could be of help. Instead however he got so angry with me blaming me for the incident, nor was he of a mind to believe me.  In times thereafter I wished to speak with him regarding it, but he would not give me an ear.   This hurt me a lot.

   Leaving Holland.

Like a voice within me that I should leave my place of birth and to head west, to go to the United States of America so it was that at the age of 19 I left home.  The idea of me leaving did however not suit my father all that well.  And so I was to go together with my older sister Susan, and accordingly I put the process to work, going to the Embassy and all.  But I required a sponsor in order to enter the US of A, and not wishing to call on an Uncle already there, I wrote a letter to President Eisenhower, who in turn by his secretary referred me to an agency called, "The Church World Service"

While all this paperwork was going through and I received my shots, etc, my sister meanwhile had a boyfriend, and they planned to get married, wherefore she no longer wished to go to the USA, this left me to go alone.  And one day having received in the mail the approval that I had a sponsor in Long Island, A potato farmer, and that I was to have my father approve and sign the paperwork before December 31 1956, at which time the program under which I was able to go to the USA was to end.  My father was not at all happy to see me go alone so far away in a strange land.

For in those days it was like so that leaving was permanent, I left my place of birth with the understanding never to see it again, for how would I ever obtain sufficient funds for a visit back home?  In hindsight these sort of thoughts may be shortsighted or ignorant, but at the time it was that way.  After some convincing however, seeing how I was dead-set on going, he at last consented and signed the papers, and so the trip was on. 

On January 9 -1957 I boarded the Ocean liner the New Amsterdam.  And standing on the lower deck where one can see over the railing, it seemed like a hundred stories down to the water, and so I figured the waves will never get up to this point.  But on the third day having left Southampton England the waves became larger and larger, and standing at the rear of the boat as the tail-end would go down I had to hold on to the railing in the near zero gravity I felt under my feet.  And while going up on a stairway to the upper decks feeling a bit woozy, I thought by myself, no I am not getting seasick am I?  And yes I became seasick, and continued to be seasick for eight days on a row, taking nothing to eat but an apple or a cracker, and lemonade for drinks.  No wonder that I was as white as a sheet, and skinny when we came into the New York Harbor.

We went through quite a hurricane, and the waves came easily up to what I had though they would never come up to.  In mid ocean that large ocean-liner seemed little more than a peanut shell tossed up and down by the waves. And when on the fifth day in the middle of the night the engines stopped, there was panic and a number of people got hurt on the stairways, as the boat rolled and cracked as if it were to split in halves, but four hours later the engines came back on.

I shared a cabin with a traveling salesman, whose wife and children I had met when we left port.  It did not take him long to find himself a subject for extra material affairs.  And while I had the upper bunk, and was asleep long before he ever came to bed.  I was awoken several nights, not from the movement of the boat but from the affair going on below me that was in full view of me by way of the large mirror on the wall.  One day while at end they were putting their clothing back on, and she remarking to him, "Are you sure he is asleep?"  He remarked.  "O this guy sleeps through everything," while padding me on the head, so I took that opportunity to act as if I just then woke up.

That lady then had a younger friend, and when on occasions I was on deck, and introduced to them, the younger one looked at me, wondering when she could get into bed with me.  But I was of no mind to have anything to do with whores, yet I can still picture you the outline of her body.

Arrival in New York

The snowstorms and high waves having passed on us we finally arrived in New York. And while the statute of liberty drew my attention, there was an even greater sight to behold, namely a highway on the shore, and it had automobiles on it, one after the other. It was like I had arrived in another world.  We arrived early in the morning, and at about 08:00 am I disembarked and was to have a seat in what I now suppose was a coffee shop and to wait. 

And so I waited from eight O clocks that morning till five in the afternoon, with no news, and no idea as to why I was put there on hold. I recall that during that waiting period a number of persons offered me food and drink, But not actually knowing what they were saying I refused every offer, afraid of the fact that the twenty dollars which I had as the grand total of my wealth would be gone on a single meal, and then what would I do?

Around five PM however, a lady showed up that spoke my language, telling me that I was to follow her, because we were going to the train.  Her Dutch was a bit broken with an accent, but I was able to understand what she had in mind.  This woman now was very beautiful, and having waited so long, she truly was a sight for sore eyes, and in her kindness to me I truly admired her, so much so that she could have taken me anywhere, or done anything with me.  This is typical of what one would call a man in the power of a woman, or a man captive in the power of his admiration for a woman.  For that which is written is very correct; Quote.  Women will forever rule king and beggar alike.”  And I am no exception to that rule.

I vividly recall even the details of that day, yet I do not remember how or by what way this women and me went from Hoboken where I disembarked to grand Central station, whether we walked or went by bus or taxi I do not know.  All I remember is I could hardly take my eyes off of her, and I stayed as close to her as I possibly could. She told me, or at least so I understood from her, that we were going on a train to meet with my sponsor, which was supposed to be a potato farmer in Long Island, this was pre arranged by the Church World Service.

Arriving at what I later came to know was grand central station, and everything looked bigger than life to me. And so she brought me to the train at which time I came to understand the sad news that she and me were going to part, she was putting me on the train but was not going with me.  She however arranged it with the conductor that he was going to let me know when I was to get off the train, and that the people I was to meet would be waiting there, their name written on a piece of paper.   And so I boarded the train and never again saw that beautiful kind lady.

The train made numerous stops, but each time no it was not my turn, till finally he motioned to me that here I was to get off, and so with my one small suitcase I stepped off the train on what was a long concrete raised walkway with no building nor trees, but very well lighted. And that was the only light since it happened to be a very dark night.   But then came one of the hardest things my soul ever did experience. As I stepped off and the train left I looked around I was the only person there, in the middle of what seemed to me nowhere. And as I walked a little and saw no one my heart sank very deep within me thinking in myself.  They have dumped me and now what shall I do?  

I then kept walking on that concrete platform to find a way off of it, which finally led to a stairway leading down, And as I was about to go down All of sudden out of nowhere there appeared a man, and as I gathered he noticing my confusion was asking me if he could be of service to me, I then showed him the paper and I think he must have known the person that I was to meet, and I surmised he offered to take me to them.  But I was not about to trust or go with any stranger and at my refusal he went down the stairs. At last then I started to go down the stairs, and being halfway down a young man came walking up calling, my name. And speaking fluent Dutch, this man was a Dutch Indonesian and for the next two weeks was interpreter for me. And arriving at the road was a very kind gentleman and his wife my sponsor so I was given to understand.

But now I must relate what had occurred that day for this sponsor was not the potato farmer as I was expecting.  These people that were now my sponsor had sponsored a fellow from Germany, but as they came to Hoboken to pick him up, they were told that he did not get on to the boat, because the paperwork to allow him onto the boat was mixed up with my papers.   And as to my papers I did not have the paperwork to prove that I had a sponsor.  Accordingly upon their question to the authorities as to what was to happen to me, they were told, that I was to be send back on the very next boat.  They then offered to sponsor me as well if that was acceptable to keep me in the USA, and yes this was acceptable but they had to obtain all the approvals etc.  And so they spend the entire day doing that on my behalf, and accordingly I was released into their custody.

When therefore late in the evening I arrived at their house, there was another sight I had never seen, a table all dressed up with a big turkey and all the trimmings. And so we sat down for dinner.  But as I vaguely recall I did not eat very much of this rich food even though I had not anything to eat or drink that day, nor did I have a meal for nine days already, having been seasick all these days.

Settling in the US of A

The next ten days after that entry into the US were a grand affair. My sponsor Mr. Williams went to work, but Mrs. Williams took us, the Dutch Indonesian fellow and me, for a tour through the countryside and New York, at one time sitting in the Lincoln tunnel for an hour in busy traffic. And that in itself was something for me to experience.    She took us to see the Empire state building, and since there was no place to park she kept driving around the block while we went to the top of the Empire state building. 

Mr. and Mrs. Williams had it in mind for me to stay there with them and they found me a job at a flower shop and nursery, but sadly enough this was not to be, even though I would have liked to stay there.   The culprit to this was my interpreter. This fellow had friends or relatives in Southern California, San Diego or so I believe, but he did not want to travel alone, and so with lies and deceit he told me, that I could not stay with these people, and if I had anybody to go to in California.  And yes I did have an uncle there and an other distant relative of my father.   It then did not make sense to me how Mrs. Williams had found me a job, and yet they did not want me.  

And so the day came that we boarded the train to California which took three days, and I received an additional 20 dollars from Mr Williams.  On my four hour stopover in Barstow California, I waited in a coffee shop, and with me came to seat three other men, all three of them of a different race, one of them was an Indian. And I recall from the conversation they attempted to make with me, how "This is the USA,  men from different races in one land.  This only I recall from our conversation, and I believe that I accepted a cup of coffee from them.

Arriving in Escalon California, Mr. Verschoor was very kind to me. In the first week already in staying with him and his wife Betsy, he told me to take his pickup and drive it up and down his driveway, so as to learn how to drive a vehicle.  And if I am not mistaken I believe it was a day or two thereafter, as it was typical for him,  after breakfast in the morning he said,  let's go and get you a license today.  And who was I to complain or resist even though I could speak no English let alone having learned anything in the way of passing for a driving license. 

So we went down to the DMV, and I suppose he told the officials that I could not speak English, but he could translate it for me in taking the test.  And so I took the test, He explained the options on each of the questions and what to mark, on which I was to give the right answer.  And so I passed the written test,  and as for the driving test, handling the automobile was much simpler than operating the various farm equipment that I had been used to.   And as for the rules of the road,  I had a license to drive a motor cycle in Holland, and my runs up and down the driveway was enough to qualify me for the automobile.

That evening after dinner he said let’s go. We are going to buy you a car.  Accordingly we drove to Modesto, where he bought a 1949 Chevrolet, and told me to drive it home.  That was my first time with a vehicle on the road other than the pickup I drove around the block for the DMV.   What impressed me the most, and it being different from a tractor that the driving seat was not in the center of the vehicle, and I was a bit uneasy with all that vehicle that was to the right of me in passing any other vehicle. But I got used to it right soon.  The cost of that Chevy was $ 200.00, and since I had not any money to pay him back, he said, not to worry but you can pay me whenever you do make some money.

My first jobs were mowing the laws for some dairy men. But after a few months, I finally got a full time job at a dairy milking cows, which I was to start on a Monday morning, it being the Friday of the week before.  And previously having arranged to visit my Uncle in Hanford, I told the farmer that I was due to visit my uncle in Hanford and I would be back Monday morning.  In hindsight I still remember the words of that farmer, he was worried about me visiting my uncle if indeed I was coming back.  To which I ascertained him that indeed I would be, it being only a visit and as such I gave him my word.

The next day, it being Saturday, I drove down to Hanford, while on the way there was a turtle on the road for which I had to stop, which I put in my car taking him along to Hanford with me.   Arriving at my Uncles farm, my uncle’s comment regarding the turtle was, what are you doing dragging a turtle along with you, but my aunt said O well let him lose in the field , and so I did, and never saw the turtle anymore.

I spend the Saturday in the company of my aunt and uncle and on Sunday to the church where I was shown off to many other parishioners.  Then in the afternoon, there was a phone call and my aunt answered, it was the dairy man inquiring what time I would be back on Monday to start my job.  My aunt then without as much as consulting me told the dairy man. “O no he is staying here, no question about it.” And so put him off. 

I now overheard these last words, and I replied to my aunt, that I had a job, and that I promised him to be back to start my job.  At which she replied in here usual domineering attitude.    Out of the question, you are staying here, we will take care of you.   And naïve as I was I did not reply nor knew how to reply to them, Yet I felt very bad for the fact that now thanks to my aunt my promise was broken, for she had certainly angered that dairyman, and I remember considering how I could possible reconcile myself to him, and so I laid myself down with the decree of my aunt.

After some time living in by my Uncle, and each day working in the field, my aunt at last made me go upstairs to my room in my underwear, for she was overly clean, there could not be any dust in the house.  At last I moved out and boarded with a Dutch family whom I on occasion took on trips. But my earnings of $ 0.90 per hour was not getting me anywhere, and having been told that I could earn as much $ 2.00 per hour or more milking cows, I decided to quit. But for my uncle you just don’t quit, you have to be fired.

My Uncle getting wind of it, on a morning told me to cut down the weeds around the barns, which was a very large area, so I took the tractor, and started to cultivate the weeds under.  My uncle had gone down the road with his pickup, and no sooner had I started or he returned, knowing I would use the cultivator.  He then said to me,  What are you doing, I told you to do this by hand (which by the way he never told me)  My reply to him was, “That’s insane, such a huge area, but I was going to quit anyway so I might as well quit now." No sooner did these words leave my mouth, or he said; “You’re fired.”  Accordingly he got his way but I beat him to the punch. Then he remarked how he was going to do the farm over to me and I was ungrateful, to which my reply was something like, well at  0.90 per hour it will take a lifetime to pay for it.”

The dairyman friend that I had in Escalon and his parents had promised me that if I ever wanted to come back and milk cows, I could come by them and they would teach me,.  Accordingly I left Hanford and went to them in Escalon, only to receive excuse upon excuse, after which I decided to drive down to Artesia, where I found a boardinghouse, and started to look for work.

The dispatcher of the milkers union (a Dutchman) then provided me with day labor here and there to fill in when other milkers took a day off. I then became good friends with him and his family. But having too much free time on my hand I also got into selling pots and pans. And one day his wife wanted to see the pots and pans, and as I was showing them to her, he came in and started raving against me and his wife, at which point I packed up and left,

Now since that day he made certain that I would not be able to find any work anywhere. After a while however going from dairy to dairy I found a permanent job to start 01:00 am in the morning,  So I set my clock to wake up by 12;00, but one of the boarders intentionally shut off my clock, and awakening at 06:00 Am, I hurried to the dairy, only to find a very angry man who would not listen to any part of my dilemma. And returning to have a word with that nasty boarder, he had left the boardinghouse moving elsewhere.

Since then I was unable to pay for my board and room, I was on the street, and came to stay with a Dutchman, also a young immigrant, in his mobile home on a chicken ranch.  I then decided to learn another trade and borrowing $ 200.00 dollars from him, I went to school and stayed in downtown Los Angeles to learn to be a ticket agent for airlines.  This went on for a few months, and having completed my exam, I was to wait till the agency would find me an opening with an airline.

But apparently someone had stolen some petty cash from the chicken ranch owner, and I was accused of it, even by my own so called friend (the Dutch boy I stayed with)  in hindsight I still think he was the thief, for he was a very dishonest person.  And so I was on the street again. But to continue with this, in the months following I paid him part by part back his $ 200.00 in cash, after which he sued me for the money, and being naïve about the courts I did not answer the summons, for after all it was paid in full. But some 6 months later my account at the bank was robbed of the $200.00 plus court cost and lawyers fees.  Nice friends that I had was it not?

Shortly after being on the street again I found a milking job in Midway city, where I worked for about a year 90 cows twice a day, and I had bought me a mobile home to live in parked at the dairy.  Then I got the notice that there was an opening for me with one of the Airlines, but it paid less than what I was earning at the dairy, wherefore I made a serious mistake in turning down the job for which I had studied and accordingly stayed at the dairy.

 The part owner now of that dairy had several dairies which he ran for his greater partner, and himself resided in Bellflower Ca.   He then was always inviting me for dinner etc, at first I went, but I got to hate it since he was always bragging how good the Dutch were and how bad and lazy the Americans were, to which I did not agree. So I found excuse after excuse not to come to him anymore.

At last he found an excuse to fire me.  It is not unusual for a few cows to be sick a little and we would give them penicillin.  He therefore visiting us one day started raving at me that it was my fault that one or two cows were not perfectly healthy, and fired me for it.   The foreman at that dairy with whom I worked thought this was ridicules, and contacted the actual owner of the dairy, who came to me a few days later while I had continued working there, that yes I was right, and it was unfair, but he would not oppose his partner.

Again I was out of a job, and moved my mobile home to a none functional dairy place on Brookhurst Ave in Fountain Valley where there is now a drive-in movie theater.  The owners had sold the place and had 6 months or more to move, as they did taking every piece of junk they had to the desert.  Also another couple lived there in a mobile home, who used to have a moving company but lost everything at the Santa Anita race track.  Still he used to gamble on the horses with no more than the newspaper.

As the days past I had to sell my mobile home and anything else I could sell to buy food, while I resided in a room that was a section of where formerly the milk was processed. Meanwhile that Dutch dispatcher of the dairy union (my so called friend) continued to make sure that I would not find work anywhere.  At last I was forced to move, since the wife of that man was constantly after me to seduce me, and one day we searched all evening for her thinking she was abducted, to at end find out she had gone with someone for sex.

Now I do not remember when exactly I got to stay with a couple named Ben and Lucille Meyers, but I stayed with them off and on.   I do remember being in a coffee shop when the driver of one of the Milk-trucks hearing my demise, said, I know a place where you can stay,  with Ben and Lucille Meyers,  A very nice couple with whom I became very good friends like family, They most certainly were the some of nicest people I have ever met.

In those years previous to my 24th year of age I had a very rough time, having been cheated and mistreated by family, friends and countrymen, for the honesty and simplicity of my nature, I became as one of those called the homeless, no food, no money, no place to sleep.  For a while there I slept in barns or in a chicken coup, and for sustenance I fried an egg, and on occasion a stranger that I had befriended would give me something to eat, and now and then I would find a day’s work.  And on occasion I would buy some food paying for it with a check, and afterwards cover the check with the money I had coming in a day or two.

  In the army

Being drafted I served six years in the US Army reserve. When I was called for active duty, rather than serving two years of full time, I joined the reserve, serving six months of active duty and 5-1/2 years of inactive duty, that included 3 meeting per month, two evenings and one full day with two weeks of summer camp each year.   Frankly I enjoyed my time in the Service, we had a lot of laughs and I learned a lot in many ways.  While in basic I carved a nice swagger stick that I hid in my sleeve, The Sergeant knew about it, and admired it. But on graduation day, a captain that saw it, took it under the pretence to look at it, and then stole it from me for himself, I never forgave him for that, it was cruel.

Four months of my time I spend at forth Knox Kentucky in the winter with three/fourth of the company being Texans. And if ever you wanted to have some laughs just ask them what part Texas is of California. I laughed so much that on occasions we were rolling on the ground. 

 One day when we were freezing our buts off in our pop-tents in the snow, the Inspector General came, and of all people he had to ask me how it was. Since then I am not one to complain, the rest of the fellows got so angry with me they were ready to throw me in the river, only the river was frozen over.

During my two weeks Christmas leave I visited and stayed with my Sponsor Mr., Mrs. Williams in Ohio where they had moved to, and at last I learned what all had transpired in my first days in the USA.  How I was deceived by my interpreter, and how that fellow lasted only 6 months in the USA. As a Christmas present from the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Williams I got a scrapbook on which she wrote; "To the inventor."  And yes I recall how in these days I was always thinking of something new and useful.

Back at the base in Kentucky when it came time to clean the tanks we had three weeks to do so, the third day I got disgusted in having to clean the same barrel over and over, so I cut out to the coffee shop or barracks just about every day, only the third time that the Sergeant caught me in the barracks hiding in my wall-locker, he put me on KP, which I did not mind a bit, rather than attempting to warm ourselves on the exhaust of the tanks engines.

I now saw more steaks going out the back door by the sergeants than we got to eat, and since it became liver upon liver day after day, to this day I will not eat liver. But the boys in the barrack loved it when I had KP for I brought them trays full of cake, rather than dumping them in the barrel for the pigs.

After the active duty for five years we had two weeks of summer camp in California and later in Washington. These were like vacations to me, and a lot of fun.  One year at the usual party on the last day there would be a half dozen trash can full of beer and ice. But since I never drink beer, or gave myself to any drinking, I used to go to the SO till about midnight to escape the hassle of all the drunks.  But while I was asleep at about 2;00 AM the boys coming in said, He Van Zanten you can’t sleep, and picked me up and threw me in the showers.   Each year trying to sleep on the last day, was simply out of the question.

I have this problem that I can not turn my hands flat up like most people, accordingly I could not hold a riffle properly, and merely supported it with my left, while with my right at the side pulled the tricker.  One day in basic in front of the entire battalion I believe, everything came to a halt, because here is one guy who can’t hold a riffle. First the Sergeant then the Captain, and the Colonel, all attempting to turn my arm so my hand would be flat upright, to no avail, with me quite embarrassed before everyone.

The brass questioning what the heck I was doing in the Army etc. till at last the Colonel asked if I could hit anything, at which the Sergeant answered, that I was one of the best shots.  So then said the Colonel, leave the guy be. During one of our two weeks summer camp, everyone had to fire with a machine gun for practice,  And there were about a dozen machine guns on the hill for that purpose sometimes half of them firing at once enough to make anyone deaf.

When my turn came I completely shot out the exact center, but this was a big mistake on my part, for at evening I was summoned to the captain, who showed me the record of my practice firing, with the words, you are the best shot ever, so now you are the sergeant in charge of the practice range.  And I don’t care how much cotton you put in your ears, at the end of the day, it is a splitting headache.

Each year we were put at the top of a mountain at evening without dinner, from which we had to come down unseen to get dinner and escape being imprisoned. For two years I managed to do so, on the third however I decided O what the heck lets go to prison, and at the advice of some act as if I could not speak English.  So together with one other fellow we heading down on the road, and were soon captured.  In the prison compound being told to do pushups I acting as if I did not understand, and they made my buddy do 150 pushups.

It was expected of us to escape, after which you could eat if you were not caught again in the first hour. But that was easier said than done, nevertheless my buddy and me were the only ones that did escape without being found. There was a good size tree branch broken from a tree, which while the guards were busy with someone else I threw upon the barbed wire rolls like a ramp, then ran upon the branch jumping over the other end.  

And staying low by a way around we made it to a truck near the main gate, in which we hid under the canvas.  A lot of men then were looking for us everywhere, but it did not dawn on them to look under the canvas.  Meanwhile we overheard the Captain while this was going on, saying to the other guys, something like;  "You guys are a joke to first let them escape and now you can't even find them, but I tell you this much I am going to make Van Zanten a sergeant."  And so I got my sergeant stripes.

Back home in California.

I took the airplane back from Fort Knox to California rather than the bus, only to be back in a one room shack on the old farm. And not having any trade, I went back milking cows, only the second day I got the rash again all over my arms, that I had just previous to my induction in the army.  I was allergic to the fur of the cattle, while mind you I was born and raised with cattle.  After that second day I quit milking with my rash disappearing in a few days thereafter. That was the end of my farm life.

But now what am I to do for a living and there being so much unemployment, and working here and there a little, odds and ends, I became impoverished, especially since looking for work seemed to me begging, and I cannot beg, that strives against all that is in me. Wherefore at last in the month of October on the eleventh day thereof in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred sixty-one not having paid my boarding fee for three months already, I was told to leave, and so I did.

I left that evening with nothing more than a shirt and pants. And as I had barely began my walk I sensed that I was not alone, there being a spirit to my right.  And I remember a housewife outside her door, taking a very long look at me walking alone down the lonely road, and I looked at her musing in my mind how blessed you are O women to have a home while I am going to die.  

I walked from Garden Grove to Anaheim Hills up into the open country in the hills that was there at the time, in order that I might die, that the Lord would take my spirit from me, for I absolutely without any reservation refused to live any longer. I wanted to die and nothing else. Yet though I begged Him with many tears all that night to take my life from me, and for the cold of the night covering myself with the leaves of the tree. He would not take my life from me, not that night nor the following day.

On the second day in the morning being hungry and thirsty there was a lemon tree, and I ate part of a bitter – bitter lemon.  Then at the end of the day my spirit being truly humbled I became consoled to start anew.  But then something very strange happened to me, for as I walked out of the hills and saw civilization again, it was as if I knew not this world, as if this whole world was new and I had just come into it, as if just then I was born into it. And so I went forth as if into a new world, a world I knew not.

Shortly after that with the help of Lucille Meyers I got work at Lighting Maintenance Co. for Fred Stern, a Jew and very nice person for whom I worked eight years after which I began my own lighting maintenance business.  At one time some 5 years or more in the 8,  I was foreman, and whenever anyone could not fix a problem I was send to it, and never once was unable to diagnose and repair a problem. Fred Stern then used to brag about me to the customers and others, to the dislike of some other employees of his. 

A car dealer in Anaheim had a problem with newly installed lighting and three electrical contractors as well as the power company had not been able to fix the problem. My Boss attempting to get a maintenance contract from him told him of the problem, at which my boss certified that I could fix it, the car dealer then said, four contractors have been unable to fix it, but if as you say, your man can, and fixes it  you will have the contract.  As then I came there and the secretary looking at my youth, questioned me, “We have had three contractors already unable to fix it and you will fix it?” I then said, “Well let me have a look.”

So I went to the circuit board, and immediately observing the problem, I repaired it and turned on all the light.  This took only about 5 minutes, after which I went to the secretary to have my work ticket signed.  She said to me, "You just got here and you fixed the lights?" So I said to her, look for yourself, after which looking she said, "You stay right here until I get the boss." Who then came out amazed that everything was working perfectly, and said to me. "You tell your boss he’s got the contract. "

My expertise however put me at more jealousy with the fellow workers some of whom thought of anything and everything to find fault with me. And one day one of the fellows I shall not name, of the cleaning crew rearranged the work schedule I had laid out, and was backed up by the office dispatcher, This was not the first time and I decided either he goes or I go. Since therefore they did not want to fire him, I quit.

But then came a hassle before I had a chance to leave, the Boss wanted to see me, who in no uncertain terms told me, that I was manipulating him, for there is no way he is going to lose me, and I was forcing him to fire the other person.  Accordingly since I was determined he did fire him and I stayed. A year or so later when I went in business for myself, Fred Stern having tried everything to keep me, that person he was forced to fire on my account was back working for him.  

The Glassblower

Other than normal lighting maintenance Fred Stern decided to do signs as well and depended on me to execute the same. Purchasing an 80 ft crane and all, I did so including the making and repair of neon tubing. In the beginning he farmed out the neon repairs, but that person wished to sell his glass blowing shop, and told my boss that he would teach me for a whole month to take over.   

His teaching than amounted to one hour and no more after which I taught myself, so as my boss used to say, and even put it on a reply to the California State Contractors Board when I applied for my State License; “He teaches himself everything.”

       The inventor

I have always been curious to know what makes everything tick. As a child I took my parents great grandfathers clock apart, and they had to discard it, since neither they nor I knew how to put it back together.  In California in my early years I did some experimenting with electrical component, and I became known as the inventor since I was always inventing something. Most of these came later on into the magazines invented by others that were either before or after me. I still have a scrap book full of these things somewhere in the office. 

One Company was impressed and came to hire me to work in research and development, my hearts desire at the time.   But just as I was to start with them I had to serve my usual two week summer camp in the US Army. And when I came back to start my job, the owner had sold the company to merge with a larger Company and the new owner did not want to take me on without working models which of course for their size and cost was impossible on my own.

When the so called energy crises emerged in the seventies I worked for years attempting to find a solution. At one time behind my house I had made a plastic container splitting the water into hydrogen and Oxygen, with a small hose feeding a lawnmower engine. At the first start I quickly pulled the supply line off since it sounded like the piston was about to blow right out of it.  Then for a second start the spark went right back into the container, the heavy lid of which blew clear over the whole house, with one side of it barely missing my two children that were playing in the back yard. That was the end of my hydrogen experiment.

For as much now as I tried to solve the energy crisis I did not succeed, until much later in the late eighties beginning into the nineties when the Lord the Almighty God gave it me to understand. And at once I realized what an enormous impact the same would have on the world of men. I therefore proceeded cautiously making sure I left no telltale signs by which it might be revealed.  And as to my steps these are written in my writings on the foundations of the world.

Also about that time or before I developed and did extensive testing on the curved impeller, and I applied for a patent that would have been granted me two years after I initiated it, except for a few flaws. The lawyers whom I paid dearly to write this all out made a shambles of it, and not having the money to have it redone, I wrote it out myself.  

Then some six months later the patent office in Washington called me, that they were ready to grant me the patent, but my description was in need of correction, and why don’t you have a lawyer correct the writing so the man said.  I of course did not have a single dime to contribute to the two thousand dollar fee that the lawyer wanted.   So I asked the person what was wrong with the writing, he than replied that the points and commas were in the wrong place. And being angry at this measly reply, I told him that he could take the patent and as men would say put it where the sun does not shine.

I gave full detail of the curved impeller to the Lockheed Corporation and a few years thereafter I heard that there had been some experimenting by them and in Japan. Now days of course at the end of the nineties the curved impellers are everywhere and used in many automobiles and other cooling fans. It is at least rewarding to see how my ideas are being used.

Building a home

In my early 40's I had purchased a house in Riverside, but in order to get away from mortgage payment  I purchased a hillside for $ 20.000.00 on which to build a house. When I told the real estate lady, "Ok, I buy it." My wife started crying saying, how are you going to build a house on this slope?

I then rented a D-8 caterpillar and backing up on the hill I started to push the dirt and gravel down where the driveway was to be, I dared not driving that D-8  lateral seeing how it might tip over on the slope with me under it. And so I graded that hillside in 3 levels, and as I went along huge boulders went tumbling down the hill, Thank God there were no dwelling there at that time.

But it took ten months to obtain the permit, since by code I was to have 50-ft of level land front and rear, that forced me to go through 2 variances to a minimum of 5 ft, front and rear, some of it is only 3 ft, but passed inspection.  On July the 5th 1979 we started to pour the slab, a very hot day, and a few days before December 25, we moved into the house. All that work nearly 4000 square fit in less than 6 months, The exterior stucco is the only part that i contracted out for, all else for 96% was done by me, My Wife and son helped me somewhat.

The material cost was 55,000.00 paid cash with the 20 to the sum of 76.000.00 and my labor, a house free and clear. But when I at the advice of the electrical inspector went into the model airplane business, abandoning my electrical trade I came deeply in debt with a new mortgage hanging over me.

Then came the time when I said to myself, when I was rich I was poor, but being poor I became rich, for in afflictions I learned to put my trust in God as one ought to. As therefore the Lord took away my home so as to teach me to look to Him, in the end He gave me back my house in double measure along with sufficient funds. Most of which I spend helping my children and grandson, that in itself is a very long story, or a book in itself.

HOBBY

Back home in Holland I wanted to join the air force to become a jet pilot, but with so many planes having come down during the war and even after it, my dad's reply was, "No, I do not want a son six feet underground."  So instead when I was around 38 years of age I consoled my desire with model aircraft, and built and flew just about any model

Then I was out of it for many years taking care of business, at the age of 68 I retired I had to learn all over again. But like it goes with some retired persons not having much to do, I went fully into it, at one time having some 40 or more planes, and six turbine engines, one was a B-36 with 32 feet wingspan.  But now it seems like the same thing every day, so I am tapering off.

Paramount Studios contracted with me to furnish them with the working models of the F-14 Tomcat used in the movie Top Gun, and for General Dynamics I made one F-14 with all the armament as a show-piece, that is somewhere in a museum.  I also built a model of the SR-71 for Lockheed Corp, placed in their museum in Palmdale, Ca.  And five other Sr-71 were made for other movies, several of which went to England.

The fact that my expertise was chosen to make the models for the movie called Top Gun, since also my first model worked perfectly, I had to deal with a lot of jealousy from others that turned out to be real enemies, giving me a bad name, and one of them intentionally crashing one of my F-14 models at a Byron show in front of a large crowd.  And in every way these sought means to put me down since my products worked better than theirs.

  THE WRITER

  On June 24 1966 I took a wife, by whom the Lord gave me two children, The firstborn a male whom I named after myself and King David to denote the union, or riddle perhaps, with my daughter after my mother and my wife. In these years I had not altogether left off writing my book on physics, putting everything in parts with no specific order, except for a small version (Revelations of Physics) that I came to publish at my own expense in the year 1975.

Both before and after these days I send out some articles to various journals, with no success in publication, for so I thought this gift that God has given me is for all mankind.  One Editor of one of the journals replied to me, that yes Leonard your article is excellent, but if I print it, I will lose all my customers.  Here at least was one person with honesty. 

When I send in my page on how gravity etc, the Editor of that journal (The society for the advancement of Science,) was downright angry with me how I dared to send such information. He of course had reason to be angry, since the publication of that article with all the evidence to support it, would have made fools out of all the scientists, as were they no more than babes in all their theories, and their findings.

Being quite occupied in my business, I kept telling myself by the time I reach the age of 48 I will organize and complete all my writings on physics.   I then was 49 and a half year old when that finally came to pass. After which I also began to compile and write out my book on the Lion of the Lord, and translated many Scriptural records and more. For publication I then made web-page’s, putting them on the internet, and by record I know that thousands of persons opened my pages, yet never to this day did I receive answer, or counsel, other than a few ignorant replies.  For it was to be as the Lord spoke by Isaiah.  

Testimony

Many times people have asked me how I came to my knowledge and/or the faith that I have. And what shall I answer if not by example The Lord God told His people not to listen to their parents nor to their teachers, but to listen to Him, only they would not listen therefore were they of late given into the hands of the Germans.

Or I can give this example, Abraham questioned in himself if what he was taught by his father was the truth, and accordingly sought after God, after the truth.  Even so did I, when of age I began to look for the truth, so see what it really was that  God wanted from us. 

And I came to ask of God to grant me both knowledge and wisdom, so that I might know Him, to know what in fact is truthful, and how we are to live, and He answered my prayer in abundance.

THE BUSINESS MAN

Just one example:  I purchased a model airplane from a friend for $ 250.00 because I felt sorry for him.  But since I did not care for the plane, I put it up for sale at $ 200.00 (a model having a new value of about $ 500.00) but I was going to keep my receiver I had put in.  As then the person that bought it wanted to keep my receiver with it, since so he said, that it was the main reason for buying it.

I then gave in and let him have the $ 100.00 receiver as well.  Accordingly my profit came to a $ 150.00 loss, and this was not the first nor only time I so conducted my business affairs.  No wonder I am called generous, while I see myself as naive, with no regard for riches.

 

The B-1 16 ft wingspan 12 ft long 120 lb powered by 2 P-180 turbines

This now is sufficient in the way of my memoirs, lest it become too lengthy.

Leonard

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