Sunday January 18th. Mass in St.Patrick New York

Written by Jack van Ommen on January 18th, 2015

Soon I’ll put in for the most traveled church attendant. But one thing I have learned that finding the Lord and be moved by His Spirit does not necessarily take a St. Patrick in New York or the St. Peter in Rome. I can remember a number of churches like the one in Arue on Tahiti, with father Gary Weisenberger in his small parish in Fife, Wa., etc.


But being here today, for a Catholic, with all the pomp and splendor does feel like being an American abroad and see one of the newest aircraft carriers show the flag.  The service was televised and the sermon was obviously directed at a larger audience. The theme was on the protection of Life in view of the upcoming  Thursday Washington March for Life. A wonderful message. I came upon the icon of the Virgin which was brought back from the Holy Land by St. Helena in 325 a.d., the mother of the first Eastern Orthodox Pope, Roman emperor Constantine. I just finished my chapter, in Soloman, on visiting the island of St. Helena, which was discovered and named by the Portuguese and named after an Eastern Orthodox Saint.

I’m in the Newark Airport and watching the first part of the Seahawks-Green Bay Packers semi final game.

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan on top left

Cardinal Timothy Dolan on top left

Knights of Columbus honor guard

Knights of Columbus honor guard



Saturday January 17th short visit in the Big Apple

Written by Jack van Ommen on January 17th, 2015

I am visiting my friend Christine. The firs time we met was in Holland in the fall of 2009 at the Nieuwboer botteryard in Spakenburg, because of a connection to the “Groote Beer”. The second time she was my tour guide, together with her brother, at Easter time 2012 in Athens. Now she is my tour guide in her home town. She is an art historian and worked 10 years for the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so what better company to show me the Met? We walked a few miles through Central Park to Rockefeller Center and went up to the top, the “Rock”. On the walk she pointed out many of the art in the Park, statues, monuments, architecture and on and around the buildings, that probably go unnoticed to most of the casual visitors. A real treat.

Empire State Bldg left center, Trade Center Bldg in distance on right center

Empire State Bldg left center, Trade Center Bldg in distance on right center

Rockefeller Center.

Rockefeller Center.














Yesterday morning I left Virginia on the Amtrak train to N.Y.. Good way to travel. There is WiFi on te train and I was able to work on the book while watching the bright cold winter landscape slide by.

Philadelphia skyline from train, reflecting sun.

Philadelphia skyline from train, reflecting sun.

Thursday evening I said good bye to the Virginians. I’ll be missing these two girls.

Madison 4 and Lily 3, great granddaughters

Madison 4 and Lily 3, great granddaughters






Tuesday December. 30th Festival of Lights in Norfolk Arboretum

Written by Jack van Ommen on December 30th, 2014

The thermometer  fluctuates between freezing and high sixties since I arrived here two weeks ago. Yesterday was a typical NW rainy mild day, today misty and near freezing.

This evening we went with my three great grandchildren through the Norfolk, Va. Arboretum to enjoy the fantastic display of the Festival of Lights.


Mary, Mary quite contrary.....

Mary, Mary quite contrary…..

The "George Bush" newest aircraft carrier, currently in Norfolk.

The “George Bush” newest aircraft carrier, currently in Norfolk.

Tomorrow we all go bowling on the navy base. It is difficult to get the three great grand kids to sit still to get their picture taken. I still claim that my great grand kids are cuter than yours.

L.R. Madison 2010, Mark 2008, Lily 2011.

L.R. Madison 2010, Mark 2008, Lily 2011.

Last Sunday I went with Jeannine, my daughter, to the 8.30 service at Ste. Thérèse. And I herewith render the customary proof.

Father O'Brien

Father O’Brien














Boxing Day December 26th. Virginia Christmas

Written by Jack van Ommen on December 26th, 2014

We were eleven at Christmas dinner, the entire family and relations of my daughter #3, Jeannine.

Clockwise the patriarch, Gabrielle, Sean (son in law) Jeannine, Katie (wife of grandson David) with Madison, David with Lily, MarkII with MarkIII, Tejah (Mark's fiancee)

Clockwise the patriarch, Gabrielle, Sean (son in law) Jeannine, Katie (wife of grandson David) with Madison, David with Lily, MarkII with MarkIII, Tejah (Mark’s fiancee)


Sean retired from the Navy as a “Nuke” Chief Petty Officer in 2012 and works as a Ship Test Engineer at the Newport News Shipyard. Jeannine runs a cleaning business. Mark is an architectural draftsman in Texas. David and Katie work in Jeannine’s business. Gabrielle is following her dad’s nuclear carrier’s wake in training in Charleston N.C.

A warm front pushed the thermometer to 67 F (19,4 C) on Christmas eve. We went to mass in shirtsleeves at Ste.Thérèse. High pressure from the North dropped the temperature to freezing during the night and it is a glorious bright sunny day. The West Coast is reporting snow on Boxing day.

With the three great grandchildren between three and seven there were 67 gifts to unwrap on Christmas day morning.  The three Texans will be here until New Years day. 



Tuesday December 16. Christmas 2014

Written by Jack van Ommen on December 16th, 2014


Merry Christmas


To everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I arrived last night in Virginia to spend Christmas with daughter #3 Jeannine and her family. We will be with my granddaughter Gabrielle my two grandsons, Mark and David and their partners and my three great grandchildren on Christmas. I have a one way ticket here and plan to return to the West Coast in mid/late January.

I have posted on this web site a chapter out of the “The Mastmakers’ Daughters” en de “De Mastmakersdochters” about the Christmas our mother and her prisoner friends spent in Dachau, exactly 70 years ago. It is a story of fear, despair and hope and also of a hilarious incident and a very clever escape.

You can find it under item 9) in the index, which gives some of the background of the events leading up to it, or go directly to: www.ComeToSea.Us/albums/Christmas1944inDachau.docx en www.ComeToSea.Us/albums/Kerstmis1944inDachau.docx



Saturday November 29. First snow of the season

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 29th, 2014

I woke up this morning to the first season’s snow fall. I am staying at the home of Rose Marie and Donovan in Federal Way. They will be returning from Baker, Oregon tomorrow, where they spent Thanksgiving with Donovan’s family.

Lisa and Harry cooked my Turkey and Beef roast dinner on Thanksgiving day. My youngest son Seth came up tot Tacoma to join us accompanied by his mom, Laura. I am working hard on “Soloman”, in a nice warm home. I’ll stay here until I leave for Virginia on December 15.

Somebody, please, take a picture of “Fleetwood” covered with this snowstorm.   Don’t forget my presentation on Sunday the 14th in Gig Harbor.


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Wednesday, November 26. Thanksgiving Eve. And an invitation for you.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 26th, 2014

Wishing all a very Happy Thanksgiving Holiday. Even though  I did not grow up with this celebration, it has become my favorite family holiday.

There is no end to the long list of blessings, particularly this year. A year ago I was licking my wounds on the island of Ibiza. I had lost everything in the November 16 shipwreck.  A miraculous rescue. If the boat would have come to rest just 20 feet from the spot it did, I would not be writing this. God had a new plan for me. I walked off the boat with the clothes I wore and a week later I was the best dressed shipwreck survivor. Help came from everywhere. Thanks to people who cared and their generosity. I was homeless but soon I had an oceanfront furnished flat for $18 per day on Ibiza. Later the free use of a friend’s  luxurious condo on Mallorca. Then three months in Holland looking after a friend’s home, with the   use of a car and weekly cleaning lady. Then the unexpected opportunity to replace “Fleetwood” with  an identical boat, that happened to be well within my savings and a better boat than the one I lost. The list I put out for the items I need to continue my off shore adventure shrunk steadily with donations from dock neighbors in Gig Harbor and beyond. I have been spoiled by old friends here in Gig Harbor and made many new friends. The recent surprise to bestow honorary membership in the Gig Harbor Yacht Club. The list goes on and on.

I have mentioned it in this blog before but this happens to be the reason/season to repeat it. Knowing Who your Donor is and directing your gratitude makes the experience of Thanksgiving so much more meaningful. Thanks be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

The Invitation: go to :

I am giving a presentation on December 14th from 1 p.m. in the parish hall of the St. Nicholas church. Check the above link for details. You will not have any regrets that you missed the Seahawks game against the 49ers. Guaranteed. The next day I fly to Virginia to spend Christmas with daughter # 3, Jeannine and her family (three grandchildren and three great grandchildren…) I expect to be back in mid January. I will staying with Rose Marie (daughter #2) and her husband in Federal Way till my December 15 departure and celebrate Thanksgiving with Lisa (d.#1) and her family and son Seth and his mom. I look forward to share my story and slide shows with you on December 14. Spread the word!. You can print out the flyer or forward it to your friends. All are welcome!




Wednesday November 26. I lost a dear friend.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 26th, 2014

Roger Rue passed away on Monday after a long struggle with cancer. We met in 1978. The beginning of a long memorable friendship. One of the reasons for coming back to the Northwest from Holland last April was to be able to celebrate Rogers’ 80th birthday. We knew for some time that the end was near but he surprised everyone for longer than the predictions with his wit and firm handshake. But still I, apparently, was not quite prepared for the reality. He has been such a good friend. He encouraged and supported my adventure. His generous gift paid for my Monitor windvane. He made me part of the “Old Salts” crew that went out with him on “Grand Central” on Thursday evenings sails and a stop at a favorite drinking hole on the Tacoma waterfront. I crewed with Roger to sail the boat from Tacoma to San Francisco and on an other occasion we buddy boated with Larry Burcars’s “Siren” to San Francisco. I could go on with the anecdotes and adventures I have had the privilege to have shared with this man and his friends.

To know Roger read his obituary at: 19id=173287595&fhid=23431

May Roger rest in peace, the winds be gentle and his final moorage be secure.

Roger the Pilot

Roger the Pilot


Sunday November 16. On my way downhill again.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 16th, 2014

I have brought my things back to the boat, with the car I have been able to use these two weeks. I’ll miss my three four legged friends and a nice warm house. The animals survived and the house did not burn down, this will be a star on my resume. Put the word out. There have to be others here in town who are going on a winter vacation. As you can see from the below picture not only did the animals survive but I trained Calley to be affectionate with Lily the white bibbed cat.

I would have made a lot more progress with the book if it were not for the frustrating loops Windows-8 makes me jump through. Went to 8.30 mass, the best place to cure my digital frustrations.

my work area for the last two weeks

my work area for the last two weeks



Friday November 14. Good Cold Morning America.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 14th, 2014

I got up early this morning. It is a cold winter’s day. My new lens for the NIKON has not arrived yet. But here is what Gig Harbor looks like this morning, from just a short walk below the house I am staying.

The storm covered the grounds here with tree branches and leaves. I got my exercise  yesterday raking, supervised by the dog and the one (good) cat.