As it was then.

The more pleasant memories of an earlier life welling up lately are connected to my paternal grandparents.
They lived in what was then a beautiful leafy part of Holland. It was called Blaricum. Perhaps just an hour or so southwest of Amsterdam. Here is their rather grand house with thatched roof.


The little girl sitting on the fence is my father’s sister Ank with her sibling brother and sister standing underneath. At about the same time this photo was taken I also spent some time there. It would have been soon after the war. The only memories I still have is the smell of turpentine. My grandfather was a painter. When I did some searching on the internet I discovered he did many religious murals, both in Holland and Germany. Here is a lovely photo taken of him from outside in the garden painting while framed inside the widow. In the foreground on the left you can see a fleeting image of my grandmother carrying something. There might have been a group of people in the garden and perhaps she was bringing tea? In any case. A lovely photo with him painting and smoking a pipe as well.


It is rather idealistic, isn’t it? I am sure I have seen a similar shot of either Cezanne or some other French painter and perhaps the photographer was inspired by that photo. A pity I don’t know who took the photo. It would have been one of their six children, perhaps my father. He did have a camera. It was one of those concertina type of Leica cameras. It could also have been one of his sisters who became quite a photographer.


This last photo would have been taken towards the end of their lives after my parents migrated to Australia in 1956. My parents never saw them again. Both my grandfather and grandmother are wearing slippers, both somewhat stooped.

And so it goes.


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7 Responses to “As it was then.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    Very interesting recollections. Gerard. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    You may be interested to have a look at Peter’s post about his father. He (Berlioz) added some interesting old photos. He published this post only two days ago.
    It’s amazing how many old photos Peter inherited after he death of his mother. Some people do not want to keep all the old photos and throw most of them out. But we would never do this, even if they have been scanned and can be found in the internet.


  2. Lottie Nevin Says:

    Wonderful photographs, Gerard. I bet they give you goosebumps when you look at them. I particularly love the one of your grandfather painting at the window and the last one also, it has something rather special about it – both lost in their thoughts. I lost an entire suitcase of photos of my late mother – they were in the back of my car which was stolen – I didn’t give a damn about the car but I was devastated about the photos.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I love to ponder on those photographs, especially the last one. They both seem lost in thought as if still trying to make sense of it all. On the other hand, perhaps they had just fed the pigeons and are looking at them.
      I slept in the upstairs part of that house just after the war. I remember pulling at the edges of the wallpaper when I was lying in the bed.


  3. adri marshal Says:

    Een mooie terugblik uit jou leven , mooie foto’s


  4. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Beautiful pictures and the sepia colouring makes them very restful too.


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