The need for education starts early in life, and we learn a lot of useful information before we are even enrolled in an official school. For instance, I learned at an early age that metal knitting needles stuck into an electric wall outlet can give you an amazing boost, especially from 220 Volts. I stopped crawling immediately after that, and walked everywhere, quite energized, from there on in.
From an early age, we need guidance from our parents. School is also geared to provide guidance. Some teachers give more than others, but they all must do their part to shape our lives for the good of all. To some extent, we must cooperate with those who instruct us in the important things in life.
Wanting to be of help to my first grade teacher, I felt a need to introduce biology into our curriculum. So I brought a friend to meet my teacher and classmates. Freddie, my frog, was pleased to leave my pant pocket, but my teacher just screamed. It must have been with delight in seeing Freddie.
Because of my good intentions, I was allowed to continue with my education ... I was going to say without any further incidents, but that would be stretching the truth a little.
As young boys we understood enough about the war that we had to help in the fight. Some of the older boys in the neighbourhood had a plan that would involve a number of us warriors. The plan was that we would remove ammunition from the German supplies and store it for safekeeping in the graveyard. This would cut out the middlemen or the ‘intended victims’. The older boys would steal the ammunition under the cover of darkness and later we younger fellows transported it to the storage place. We carried load after load as if we were playing a game and by slipping through a fence, deposit our precious cargo in our hiding places. With so much ammunition passing through our hands I started a collection of the various sizes and calibre of live shells that I kept under my bed. It was by all accounts a nice collection of some souvenirs with deadly purposes. One day my father called me to account for my activities, apparently Riet our maid had been trying to impress my mother by cleaning under my bed and she had discovered my cache. Now it was my father’s turn to not be impressed with my actions. Very carefully and in detail he explained what I had done and that it could have caused some very unpleasant consequences. The next day most of my collection was disposed of in an appropriate manner without incident. This episode left an impression on me that I have never forgotten.
After that I learned another lesson from my friend Rens who, also like me, had been involved in the ammo caper. He was curious about the reaction that heating these bullets from Germany would have; he took a handful of them and tossed them in the potbellied stove that was used to heat the room and also cook on. He didn’t have to wait long for the results, the stove exploded promptly and left a chunk of cast iron embedded in his body. He quickly got to see the emergency hospital from the inside but lived to tell the story.
Recently I got news that my book "When Reality Hits" is a finalist in the Bookbzz 2015 prize writer competition, this is good news to me.!! To be shortlisted with nine others in the Non-fiction genre is an honour for this first time book of a novice writer.
I don’t want to brag but, this means there are people that do not know me, have read my book and think that it isn’t too awful, which is quite encouraging to say the least.
Now to you who have done me the favour of reading the book would you be willing to vote in the book “competition” for or against “When Reality Hits.”
When life is good, it’s great. When the rhythm of a regular job harmonizes with life at home, life is good! When living in a comfortable home, near a good church, in a nice community, and working where appreciation and fairness are shown, life is great! With family life, social activities, and work under control, things couldn’t be better. Oops. Without realizing, I used the term “under control.” What I meant to say, was “under my control.” But it wasn’t always like that. Growing up in Europe, my life was anything but “under my control.” Life, such as it was, had its limitations and they were affecting almost everyone.
Working at a job was allowed at a young age. Starting at 14 years old, a youngster could earn a set wage, increasing each year per scale increments.
Wages were set by a government agency, to a rate that could only vary slightly by area. There were no incentives for self-improvement, as there was no possible way to earn a self-supporting living until reaching 21 years of age— thus most (if not all) teenagers and young adults were left dependent on parents or family. So it was the parents who provided the incentives: “Go to night school and learn enough to support yourself!” Can you blame them?
This kept the population under some control, but it didn’t end there because housing was kept out of reach. Most young couples, while earning a living wage, would be living with parents. Some of my friends spent several years on waiting lists for apartments. For the average young man, that living wage would only come after a compulsory stint in military service, where part of the training was learning to live on thirty-five cents a day—not even enough for a pack of cigarettes or a bottle of Coca-Cola. This type of training can be good, and military training has had a very positive impact on many young men in need of personal discipline. Military training is an important element of a country’s overall defence structure, and important for the wellbeing of its citizens.
Ahhh … growing up and all the changes that come with it. Looking back, I loved visiting my grandparents, who lived in another city reasonably close by. My grandparents owned a very nice home in a great area. They were privileged. When either Grandpa or Grandma had a birthday, the place would be buzzing with celebrating family members and friends. It would be almost like a national holiday. The garden, bursting with colours and scents, was always a lovely setting in which we youngsters could play and enjoy the goodies that were served in the gazebo. There was a pond with a little island one could access via a bridge; it had a plum tree, and was a delightful place to play and explore.
To us, the children in the family, everything was wonderful … but was it?
Growing up in Holland, Europe between 1940 and 1945 had its moments. Near the end of the Second World War, there was a lot of confusion. One day, a soldier started shooting at all the boys in my neighbourhood—just being a nasty individual as far as we could tell. Being not a very good marksman, he aimed at me but missed. Instead, he shot my playmate, a girl who was right beside me. Bertie was rushed to the emergency hospital, where they were able to save her leg. Later on, it became apparent that the soldiers had been given the order to eliminate all young boys to avoid future insurgents.
Once a week, my mother would visit my grandparents to make sure they were safe. On one such occasion, the German soldiers were stopping all traffic and confiscating bicycles, and any other mode of transportation. When mother saw that, she made an immediate U-turn. She started racing home, zigzagging down the road while the soldiers were shooting at her. When she reached home, she kept breathlessly repeating, “They can’t have my bike; they can’t have my bike ...” Well my father, although relieved that she was safe, was furious at my mother. “That bike isn’t worth your life! We can do without it, but we can’t do without you!” He was so right!
Recently the political and economic events in Europe, the Middle East, and around the world (including the USA) have been intense. President Barack Obama being elected for a second term has made my concerns worse. The seriousness of the political and economic situation is shaping up to be a very big bang—and I certainly don’t mean “The Big Bang Theory” ... far from it.
After reading Glenn Beck’s book, Agenda 21,1 my emotions were stirred. The book was written to bring awareness to what the United Nations’ Agenda 21 might actually become. First presented in 1992, at the UN conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Agenda 21 considers the growing world population, resources, and a change in the behavioural patterns of people trying to cope with widespread hunger and poverty. Having considered Glenn Beck’s book as an interesting work of fiction, based on what the author gleaned from the real United Nations Agenda 21 document, and events I remembered from the past, I began to see certain patterns in the real changes that have been taking place in our countries. Looking at society’s reaction to those changes, I felt the need to research the subject further. Recording what I found in my research became the reason for attempting to write about it.
When watching the news or listening to the radio, we are constantly bombarded with stories of terror, natural disasters, mass shootings, and terrorist attacks that often destroy so much and claim too many innocent lives. Often, much of what we see happening is set aside with a comment or question.
Another time when I was walking with mother, we were stopped by armed and uniformed goons who made us stand and watch, as some prisoners were forced to dig big holes, a lengthy procedure. When the holes were dug, we had to watch the prisoners being shot into the graves they had just dug for themselves. The next “volunteers” had to cover the graves. Afterwards, we were allowed to carry on with our journey.
History tells us that the Second World War came to an end during 1945, and that peace was restored. However, the effects and after-effects would be felt all over the world for many years to come, followed by the “Cold War.” Conflicts in Indonesia and Korea would soon fill the newsreels and world peace seemed a long way off.
Living in Europe, and having survived the Second World War, I was busy with school and getting an education. For more than a decade though, the talk was often about warfare and atomic weaponry. This kind of talk made me want to shout: “Let me out of here!”
Thoughts about emigration were appealing and kept intensifying until I made the decision to go. My feelings about what war was like were being pushed aside by excitement about my move to change continents. A new location can change one’s outlook on life. For me, it changed big time as the new country, culture, language, and friends re-shaped my life. Soon I became happier and healthier, but also more complacent. Memories don’t go away; they just go to sleep, and are awakened as soon as something of a similar nature comes along. So I often say, “Oh that reminds me ...” and then bore some poor soul with my story.
When watching the news or listening to the radio, we are constantly bombarded with stories of terror, natural disasters, mass shootings, and terrorist attacks that often destroy so much and claim too many innocent lives. Often, much of what we see happening is set aside with a comment or question like, “What is the world coming to?” We may say, with some real concern, “We must make this a matter of prayer.” But for myself, I know that (most of the time) these things are becoming too easy to forget, as we continue with our daily lives. With all the changes that have taken place, and are continuing to do so, I’ll try to give a clearer picture of what I see as indications of what is taking shape, both in the realm of politics and the economy, which affect both North America and elsewhere.
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” ~Albert Einstein.
Thank you Mr. Albert Einstein, for bringing me back to a sense of reality and accountability, which is needed in the actions I take in my life.
Happy New Year
Well we are now into 2015 and we've got lots of new year resolutions flying around, one of mine is more exercise and focus on my work !! This may include a lot of things but for now I won't talk about that.
With today's computers, you can write something, file it and come back months later to continue with the story, as if you have just stopped for a coffee. This worked well as I had to do this in my limited spare time, when I got more time to work on this informal writing, more and more was added to the stories and I looked at a timeline for it all, that is when I realized that it could be more than some little stories for my kids and clan. Next we worked on editing to remove the more personal info and streamlining the manuscript and the rest I thought was up to the publisher.
This is now becoming another reality phase for me, the marketing phase is a totally new experience and I'm slowly learning.