Last night we were all invited to read a small booklet made by Aunt Dot that has a segment of Papa’s story. It gave all of us some context to our day trip today to Overschie and Rotterdam. It was so fun to see everyone sitting around reading it and hearing how it shaped their thoughts for today.
We ventured about about 10 am this morning and stopped in Delft before we met up in Overschie. I was with my Dad and Mom and Sonta and Peter. We set out without a specific plan and soon we were climbing 370 some steps all tightly compacted into a spiral staircase to the top of the church tower. Although the two youngest made it all the way to the top, the rest of us were just shy of the top tower and still got a glorious view of the city.
We then met in front of 52A on the corner of Schielaan and Chalonsstraat in Overschie. It was there that our walking tour began. It was a time of remembering and learning. Of hearing stories of the days of war and the years following, of the impact on a city, a community and a family. To see the house of the German headquarters across the street and hear how about 7 miles away Rotterdam was bombed at the harbor, brought a very small sense of what was real as we stood in the streets where this all unfolded during the war.
We walked the streets and talked with a few of today’s neighbors and learned the man who lives in 54b has a Borgdorff for a plumber.
The kids had questions about Papa’s life as a young boy and there was curiosity about where his uncles and grandparents lived, what it was like to go to live in the community and the impact of the war. It was fascinating, reflective, powerful and so sweet to see my Dad share his story and to hear the kids absorb it each at their own level.
It is such a joy to be in this land with these people. God is faithful and as we witnessed that today in a very real way. I am thankful for the life of my Dad. For the journey he has been on from the start of his life at Schielaan 52A in Overschie and then their immigration to Canada, through Calvin and Seminary and onto his impact all over the world through his work with the Church. Today we are all more aware of this journey and thankful for this man who in our very small community is husband, father, Papa, brother in law and friend to us all. We love you!