Mary's Wedding
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Mary's Wedding
Pacific Opera Victoria: Mary's Wedding Memory Project
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truus meijer drees

War memories are often very sad. Mine are happier and belong to my parents, who were children during WWI in a country that was neutral. Holland was spared the battles and the deaths, because the queen at the time was a neighbour and young cousin of the Kaiser, and he did not see the importance of involving her in the conflict.

However the country became involved as a haven for refugees. Many were children and were allowed entry and safe homes during the war years. My grandmother was a nurse and she accepted two undernourished Austrian children in her household, Gretchen and Dieter. They were preschool children and the family made them feel at home by trying to speak German with them . This was of course a novelty for the children in the house, who were age 3 and 5 and 8 at the time. From that period stem the words "Kaseleweet", a family expression still with me today . It was meant for the dog, and properly expressed was "gehst Du mit ?". The German shepherd knew very well that that meant a walk.

In my father's home stayed a Belgian teenager, a trainee in a weaving factory, Jules. My father was 15 at the time and knew some French from his high school classes. Jules, besides teaching my grandmother how to weave, perfected my father's French with him and from that time stemmed my father's  lifelong love of the  French language. Today I read his French history books, about the mistresses of the French kings, the naughty medieval stories of Rabelais and all the other books in his French library, because he read them to us on Sunday afternoons during tea time. It made me curious and I wanted to know exactly what those books contained.

So wars have many consequences  reaching through generations – never to be forgotten.
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