It has been un-seasonally cold this week. You can see from the way the revellers are dressed compared to the pictures I took of previous royal birthdays, in the same last week of April. This dampened the mood and the turn out.
This was the first time that I attended the annual memorial service for the victims and the ex-political prisoners of Ravensbrück. Sort of an early Mother’s day attention. Friday I visited her grave, Saturday the Dachau memorial and today the one for the second concentration camp she passed through. Winter weather is back. It wet snowed on the outdoor gathering at the monument. Yesterday it was the KLM who hosted the coffee prior and the lunch after the ceremonies and today it were the Russians of Gaz-Prom who hosted the participants. The Ravensbrück camp was liberated by Russian troops. Yesterday there was just Willemijn van Gurp as the last surviving attendee. Today there were at least six women survivors. I will add the names to the below photograph as soon as I can locate them.
For her who continued to say “No” to the very end to Fascism
It was a cold Spring day for the commemoration of the 1945 liberation of Concentration Camp Dachau. This was the fourth year in a row that I was able to attend. Every year there are fewer survivors of the camp. Today there were three. My guess is that the weaker sex, Willemijn, will be the last one to turn the light off. Then it will be up to my generation, the children of the former political prisoners to keep their example and message alive.
I am posting a few pictures with names that I took this afternoon and I have posted these and more in my drop box where anyone can help themselves to download any of these at full size.
My plans here in Holland:
I arrived here last Saturday on the 16th. Wednesday night I had my first rehearsal with the choir for the May 4th concert. I am very excited about the choices of the program. (See my previous blogs for details) And I was welcomed back with open arms by the whole choir. If nothing else would happen this alone would be worth the trip but I am sharing many other blessings. My hosts, first my sister and brother in law and now I am being spoiled by Theo another choir tenor and his wife Carla. “Zeilen”, the most read Dutch sailing magazine, just appeared on the shelves with their May issue which has a plug in it for me giving presentations on my circumnavigation and to promote the sale of “SoloMan”. Until now I have made just one commitment on May the 16th. Tomorrow is the annual commemoration and laying of the wreaths at the Ravensbrück monument in Amsterdam, I shall attend. Another rehearsal on Thursday and I shall be in Brussels on Friday and Saturday and possibly Sunday, to see my granddaughter Corrine and husband Euan and the Godmother of (daughter #2) Rose Marie, Collette and her sister Yvette, who we reconnected with last year and have not seen since 1970. The general rehearsal on May 3rd for the 4th f May concert.
Then I fly to England on Friday the 6th to see friends near Southampton and to receive my OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) burgee at one of their rallies on the Solent. Saturday I travel to Bath to see my niece Anna and her husband and meet their twins for the first time. Then I will train to London on Monday to meet Melina Merlin and her boys and friends. Melina and I became acquainted through the happenstance meeting I had with her biological father in Zimnicea on the Danube in June of 2011. They were reunited after a 41 year search by her reading my blog after the meeting.
Zoals ik al eerder meldde zing ik mee met het koor in de Augustinus kerk ter gelegenheid van de Dodenherdenking. Het thema van het concert is “Abide with me”. Het gedeelte van mijn boek “De Mastmakersdochters” waarin onze moeder beschrijft hoe de 650 vrouwen dit zongen toen de trein in beweging kwam op weg van concentratiekamp Vught naar Ravensbrück wordt voorgedragen en in de achtergrond gezongen als de opening. Mijn eerste ervaring van dit mee te zingen, op 4 mei 2013, blijft een van de mooiste herinneringen van mijn verblijf in Nederland op mijn zeiljacht. Het kan niet op.
Happy Easter to all. Alleluia! God is alive and well in Gig Harbor. Standing room only at the three services in my parish St. Nicholas. I sang in the small choir at five Easter services since Maundy Thursday. Last night 8 boys and men were baptized. The two trumpet players playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. A contagious joy. God, singing and sailing, friends and family. Because I cannot use flash in the church the pictures appear grainy.
I am planning to arrive in Amsterdam on the 16th of April, for a four week visit. The main purpose to promote the recent publication of my book “SoloMan” ( www.SoloMan.us and www.SoloMan.nl). If you are contemplating reading the print book let me offer you an option in addition to the announcement I made in my previous blog of February 23rd. The color version turns out to be the preferred choice even though it is twice the cost of the black and white print. You can take a look at the web site to get an impression of the color version at: //www.soloman.us/all-is-lost-a-books-chapter/ Besides purchasing it from Create Space for $60 plus postage I will mail you the signed book for $55 or hand deliver for $ 50, the black and white version, with a DVD of all my slide shows of the nine year voyage for $25, until I leave my last port on the West Coast in november. You can order at my e-mail address or in the contact section of this web site or the book’s web site.
Voor de Nederlanders kan ik tijdens mijn verblijf in Nederland het kleurenboek gesigneerd overhandigen voor Euro 45,00 en per post Euro 50,00 het zwart wit met een DVD voor respectievelijk Euro 20,00 en met DVD Euro 25,00 in plaats van de Bol.com Euro 22,50 voor het boek. Graag voor mijn aankomst bestellen op mijn e-mail adres of het contact op deze web site of die van het boek. Ik verwacht een presentatie van het boek op Watersport Vereniging “De Schinkel” in Amsterdam te doen waar ik de gast en later lid was tot eind 2013. Ik hoop dat ik nog wat meer lezingen kan geven voor watersport verenigingen en houd me hartelijk aanbevolen voor Uw suggesties ik kan eventueel mijn retour wat uitrekken tot na midden mei. Ik heb de centjes hard nodig voor de nieuwe boot uit te rusten voor het vervolg verhaal.
De other reason for the trip came about in the last week. The choir of the Augustinus church, I sang with in 2013, is giving another concert on the annual memorial day for the victims of the second world war on May 4th. We will sing Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem mass. The theme of the concert is the Hymn “Abide with me” . This has a special significance to me because our mother wrote about this and I recite her story from my book “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”:
We were ordered to stand in formation on the exercise field of the camp early in the morning of September 6. Everyone was given a blanket and a chunk of bread and we were then marched to the rail depot of the concentration camp. A long line of cattle cars stood stretched out on the tracks. The male prisoners had already been stuffed in the forward cars. My group, of about 100 women, out of a total of about 650 female political prisoners, from the Michelin factory detail, had grouped our selves together. Most of my group, 82 women, managed to end up in the same cattle car. These cars were meant to carry a maximum of six cavalry horses….The heavy wooden doors were shut and we heard a lock and chain being attached. We could only stand up and barely move. There was a latrine barrel in one corner and no water. The first thing we did was, with our wooden shoes, to break the wooden slats from the blinds in the small windows, to give us a little more air. We deposited all our bread rations in one corner as far away as possible from the latrine. One woman was assigned to distribute the bread. Next, we divided our group in three sections of 27 women to take turns in standing, sitting and stretched out on the floor. Now we had a plan and we felt a little more in control. The train started moving slowly. It felt as if the Lord stretched his arms out over us with a blessing when two young women softly started singing the Dutch version of:
Abide with me, fast falls the even tide.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
And the fourth verse:
I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? where, grave, they victory?
I triumph still if thou abide with me.
More and more women in our car and along the track joined in. The chorus could be heard afar.
When I wrote back to the choir member who mentioned the theme about this particular part of the book, I was asked by the choir director to have this passage read at the concert. This is a great attribute to these women of whom between 200 and 250 of the 650 perished in Ravensbrück and surrounding satellite concentration camps. Just a few of these brave Nazi resistance women ever got any attention, one possible exception for Americans is Betsie ten Boom the sister of Corrie ten Boom.
I shall keep you posted on this blog of my schedule and report on the visit. Today I make a short trip to Bellingham and Vancouver to see friends, back on Saturday in Gig Harbor. A friend and parishioner of St. Nicholas church treated me with a buddy pass on Delta Airlines for the trip to Amsterdam.
Please, keep me in mind for presentations of “SoloMan” to your yacht clubs and organizations before my Holland trip and before my August sailing. I need the money to outfit the new boat.
It’s been a long hard struggle to put both the Dutch and English version together.
I hope you will enjoy sharing the adventure with me.
All the details of the book, prices, versions, e-book, color and black and white can be found on the book’s web site:
There are some excerpts from the book and a peek into the interior lay out and photographs, on the web sites.
This is another self publishing effort and I will appreciate you sharing this with your friends.
If you are in my area you can obtain the book directly from me as I will carry a supply on the boat. I am also very much interested to give presentations with my slide shows of the adventure, to your clubs/organizations.
I still plan to leave for the Panama Canal this August. I have exactly 1 year and 5 days to make my deadline of the circumnavigation within 80 years.
I am still staying with Lisa and Harry in Fife and I am exploring the possibility of making a short trip to Holland to promote the book at the end of March.
To all my East Asian Friends :
This will be a busy week, today first day of the Lunar New Year. Tomorrow Mardi Gras, Wednesday Ash Wednesday and it looks like I will have the publication announcement of SoloMan, before the week is done. I am currently uploading the different versions, paper back in color and black and white to Create Space and Bol.com in Dutch and English and the E-book to Amazon Kindle and a Dutch E-book.
We have had some extraordinary sun rises over Mt. Rainier and the Cascade mountains. I have a great view from where I am staying since I returned from Virginia, at Lisa and Harry’s home in Fife. I am dying to go skiing on a day like yesterday and today. Sunny and cool enough for the right snow conditions and we have some of the best snow here we have had in years.
Partir c’est mourir un peu, with some sadness for saying good bye, after my six week visit, to Jeannine and family and friends in the Norfolk, Va. area. The below photographs were taken from the AmTrak train on the ride from Newport News to Washington, D.C. The weekend snowfall and the sunny day made for a very scenic trip through a beautiful and historic part of the United States.
I changed my flight out of Reagan International airport in D.C. to a two hour earlier flight out of Baltimore. Just a $3.50 (senior) train ride from the D.C. Union Station, instead of the very complicated and confusing Metro procedure to Reagan or Dulles. You might keep this in mind for your next trip on Alaska Airlines to D.C. Just like the eastward flight I had a very entertaining seat neighbor.
I am staying with Lisa and Harry in Fife and later with Rose Marie and Donovan through March with regular visits to Gig Harbor.
Update on SoloMan: All the corrections are made to the Dutch version and I expect to have it published in Holland and on Create Space and Amazon-Kindle in the next 10 days. The English version still awaits the editing of two of the seven sections.
Last Sunday I happened to listen to a program “on Being” on a Norfolk NPR station that I like to share with you. The subject was “Gratitude”, hosted by Krista Tippett. You can listen to it: http://www.onbeing.org/program/david-steindl-rast-anatomy-of-gratitude/8361 . This was the first time I had ever heard of the program and then found that it is widely distributed. Gratitude is probably one of the most important aspects for my Being, together with Love and Forgiveness. Which I rediscovered after being brought down a few notches through my financial losses and in the nine year circumnavigation. It is incorporated in “SoloMan” just like mother wrote about her spiritual experience in the WW II concentration camps, as told in my book “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”.
On Sunday it was Christ the King Cathedral and today it is Martin Luther King‘s birthday weekend. I attended the 10.30 high mass at the Christ the King Cathedral. Christ is alive and well in Atlanta. This was one of thirteen masses celebrated in this church on the weekend. It was standing room only in the 700 seat church. The church serves about 5,500 families and is among the ten biggest R.C. parishes in the United States, it is the mother church of the one million member Atlanta diocese. One of the two deacons serving at the mass was Whitney Robichaux, a cousin of my long time friend Brenda. We had been in contact some time ago and this was my first meeting with him. He gave me a tour of Atlanta and I saw the Ebenezer Baptist church where Martin Luther King used to preach. Whitney treated me to chicken dumplings with collard greens and fried okra at the landmark Mary Mac’s Tea Room.
On Sunday evening I visited Ce Ce, who I met on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands in January 2009. Ce Ce came along on “Fleetwood” for the last part of the trip through France into Holland in the fall of 2012. She invited a number of her friends Sunday evening and I enjoyed the hospitality of her and her friend John. I will be returning to Virginia in the early morning from the van Buul’s home. It is bitterly cold 20 F.