I took the train from Amsterdam on Friday morning to Brussels. My former Weyerhaeuser colleague, Beer Hogestyn, treated me to a real Belgian lunch near the Grand Place. The godmother, Yvette, of my #2 daughter, Rose Marie, and her sister Collette took me on a sentimental journey through the neighborhood we used to live in the late sixties and to the church were Rose Marie was baptized, St.Pie X, in Forest.
We had a lot to catch up on since we last saw each other in 1970. The godfather, their brother Claude Claeys, had discovered our whereabouts on my blog, just after I visited Brussels last year. He lives in Argentina and I hope we get a chance to see one another when I make it to South America the end of the year.
L.R. Claude, Joan with Rose Marie, Colette, Jack, Mme. Claeys at Baptismal Feb 1968 St. Pie-X Forest (Bruxelles)
Collete and Yvette in the same location at St. Pie X
They dropped me off at my Granddaughter Corrine and her husband Euan’s place. We walked over to Place Jourdan to have the best Pommes Frites at Maison Antoine http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/travel/in-brussels-frites-are-more-than-just-fries.html?_r=0, Worth the long line wait. Then you take your fries over to one of the surrounding cafés and order your favorite Belgian beer.
Corrine teaches at the International Montessori School. She took me to see where she works in this gorgeous setting in a farm house in Woluwe-St. Lambert. This must be a real privilege to be educated and to teach. This is one of six Montessori schools run by Rinze and Annie Hoekstra, Frisians at that. My mother’s Frisian name, Rinsje, originates from her grandfather’s name Rinze Ages.
Corrine with class picture
class room in the farm loft
Sunday morning I attended the 10 a.m. service at the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, near the Grand Place. Built in the early 13th century, a magnificent Gothic building. Similar to the Reims Cathedral and the Notre Dame de Paris. A quartet of four young ladies, all in black, sang and led the Gregorian chants, directed by a Japanese, Yuhmi Iwamoto. Beautiful organ, layed by Bart Jacobs all works by Pierre du Mage. Parts of the service was in Flemish and French and the homily was repeated from Flemish into French. My first two languages.
The weather has finally turned from the winter temperatures we had the last 10 days. Back in Amsterdam with my hosts the v/d Meers I had Carla’s home made Pommes Frites and they were at least as good as the famous fries I had Friday night in Brussels.
Updates on my schedule: I fly this Friday to England and return Tuesday the 10th. On Thursday the 12th I do a presentation and slide show at my former home on the Nieuw Meer, the yacht club “De Schinkel” at 7 p.m. and the only other presentation I have a commitment for is on the 16 th at the “Tiel Maritiem” festival, where “SoloMan” will be available.