motherlodeSeventy-four years ago today, Holland witnessed the outbreak of World War II. I posted about this topic before, in a Letter From my Grandparents to my Mother. That post was spotted by Carolyne van der Meer from Canada, who was in the middle of writing a book about the Dutch experience during that dark period. She asked my permission to use my post – or rather my grandparents’ letter – as a source for her book – a request I could hardly refuse.

Carolyne’s book was published in January of this year under the title Motherlode, is well worth a read, and available on Amazon. I’m proud to quote the poem that was inspired by my grandparents’ letter:


Today, margarine fell from Allied airplanes.
Last week, we got
one hundred grams of oil and two kilograms of barley flakes
from the Janssens,
a tin of milk
from the Vissers, and
half a loaf of dark bread
from the Altenas.
Just last night,
Marinus brought
two kilograms of barley
and Cas another
kilogram of oatmeal.
Bitter when we mix it
but we get a good-sized pancake.
With the borrowed milk,
we got to have a nice cup
of coffee substitute
last Sunday.

There’s been an outbreak
of typhus,
some suffer from
hunger edema.
But us,
we are managing.

Motherlode, page 90.
Carolyne van der Meer.
Wilfrid Laurier University Press. © 2014.
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

2 thoughts on “Motherlode”

  1. Hi Pier,
    Thanks for your promotion of Motherlode and for citing the poem! Delightful! Your support means so much!

    I don’t know why, but I only saw it now… or I would have written earlier.

    Hope all is well with you!

  2. Hallo Pier,

    Ik wist niet dat je je met dit soort onderwerpen bezighield! Ik ben bezig alle oorlogsbrieven uit te typen. Misschien iets voor een gezamenlijk project?

    Met liefs van Minke.

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