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Our cottage has a second bedroom (on the street side) and a sunroom (in the back) connected to the living room by a half wall. The sunroom has a door to the patio and overlooks a lawn and the Divide, which is the treed area between Waltonwood and Wimbledon, the next door neighborhood. Currently, the Divide is pretty much see through, but in summer it is densely forested.

Because I am often in my office if I am not running errands, Mike felt lonely during the day and suggested to change my office to the sunroom, and use his desk. He does not use his desk anymore, and so we thought we should give it a try. Our son came over and moved the computer, light, telephone and all cords over to the sunroom five days ago and one thing that I loved was watching a movie on the computer with my earphones in while Mike watched the progression of the War on TV in the living room. I am planning to make my old desk in my office the puzzle table as soon as I have finished the one on the breakfast table that I am doing now. After all, I don’t spend hours doing the puzzle, only do a few pieces at a time. But I love spending time at my computer and I have another good book. However, reading my book in my recliner or in my new office, and writing letters or Blog Posts while the war’s blasts and interviews are going on behind my back are very disturbing. I’m not sure I like the new arrangement. But we decided we would give it a try, and so that’s what we are doing.

Free Audiobooks

Thank you to all who have ordered a free copy of my Audiobook Rising from the Shadow of the Sun. My WWII story is literally being listened to all over the world, even though I am retired since September! I have about six copies left to give away, so if you should know someone who reads audiobooks and would like to read mine, let me know.

Highlights of Oscar Night 22 

I love the Pre-Oscars Red Carpet Show. All the beautiful and the impossible gowns! Some were so elaborate and cumbersome that the ladies wore them only on the Red Carpet, and changed into something else for the party afterwards. Many of the gowns were pencil straight this year, and I envied the slim figures. I thought for sure that boobs were out, but I was wrong. They were back in multiples. Almost all of them for 90% exposed, more natural than before, thank goodness, not as enhanced. There were two very similar dresses with plunging necklines that almost bared all. A joy to watch, with high expectations.

Will Smith, such a fantastic actor, finally earned an Oscar. His wife, despite her problem with alopecia, looked stunning in an amazing emerald designer dress. I think Will’s “slap” was justified. He was protecting his wife from a “jokingly” snide remark. The Academy however, is deliberating on the seriousness of the slap in the face and what to do about it.

Oscar night is probably the one night we stay up late. I was never on the Red Carpet, but I was involved in the modeling and Acting World. Next to fashion modeling, print work, commercials and some Stage in the greater Los Angeles area, I had parts on the set of General Hospital, on Archie’s Place, and, on the backlot of Universal Studios in a scene with Jennifer Aniston, and of course with Jessica Lange in the Pilot of a black and white movie Killer’s Matinee. Fun years!

Health Awareness

When one of my latest blood draws showed a low protein level, I went shopping for food items with protein. Funny, for many years I looked at the Calorie count of products. But now, hoping to boost my protein level, we are eating Tuna sandwiches, cottage cheese and Greek Yoghurt. Three months from now we’ll see if it has worked. We have a blood draw every three months. So far, all levels were good, with the exception of that one, protein. Red wine, we heard recently, does not go well with aging people. They used to say: one glass of wine a day, 2oz for women and 5 oz for men, would be healthy. Mike stopped drinking wine a while ago (but then he is older than I :-)) and I decided to drink wine only at special occasions. I will just make sure there are many special occasions!

May your days be healthy and happy

Until next time,


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Books: an Amazing Endeavor in Alberta, Canada

Last week, I read a post of someone (not one of my FB friends) who wanted to open a book store in the town where she lives. In her town, in northern Alberta, Canada, a town with only 6000 people, there is not a single book store. Can you imagine? I think of the long, cold, dark winters in that area. It would be wonderful for the people to be able to curl up by the fire after work, with a good book. If anywhere, definitely up in Alberta! To me, it sounds like the north pole!

Not only is this lady an entrepreneur, she is also a survivor. Of breast cancer. She was asking on Facebook if there were any authors who would be interested in sending her some autographed books she could sell. 60% would go to the author, 40% to her store. I was so happy that I still have books in the house! Three different editions. I found a box that fit a total of 8 books, autographed them, included business cards for advertising, and told her she could keep all the proceeds for her store. I mailed the box on Monday morning with UPS and was told they would be there in a week. In time for a grand promotion she is planning on April 9.

Donating the books and donating my Audiobooks made me feel very happy. What a coincidence this all happened in the same week!

More book Coincidences

Out of the blue I received a message on my previous Blog post (you can read it there if you like) from a grandson of my father’s WWII flying buddy Jos Vermeulen. If you have read my book, you will have seen his name in several places, because the two men happened to meet in various places over the years. Uncle Jos to me was one of the few familiar people we saw now and then after the war. His grandson in the Netherlands had found a copy of my very first book In the Shadow of the Sun, when he was cleaning up closets. That book, a gift to Jos from my Mom and Dad in 1996, four years after its publishing, was given to him by his mother as a memory to his grandfather Jos. Grandson Darja wrote that at the time he had read the book, but he was going to read it again, in this time of another brutal war.

And then another book showed up: one of the employees in the place where I live, whose second language is English (like mine), ordered a book on Amazon and asked me to autograph it. To my surprise its was a copy of the first edition of Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, and it had been signed by someone as a Thanksgiving gift “to Barbara” in 2012. I signed it yesterday, on Tuesday March 2022, ten years later. It was in mint condition. I told her I have a book from 1928,  with the signatures of eight different owners, two of whom added the date they owned it. This book, Camera Obscura by Hildebrand, the 36th print, lived through WWII, and even though the pages are yellowed and the print is very small, it is still in good condition and legible.

Just before we left Prescott for North Carolina, someone gave me, anonymously, a 1929 book of the Book League Monthly, named The Rebel Generation by Jo van Ammers-Küller with a foreword by Hendrik Willem Van Loon. The latter wrote quite a few books about the discovery of island groups in the South Pacific, and he was a favorite of my Dad’s. I have four of his books, retrieved from Dad’s bookcase after he passed away. I never found out who gave me the book in Prescott, but it is fascinating, because it tells about Leiden University in those early years. Leiden University is where I got my English Literature Bachelor’s Degree in the year 1961. It brought back many memories of a wonderful time.

May your days be happy

Until next time


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Extra Edition! Audiobook Giveaway! Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, A Story of Love, Survival and Joy

I am receiving more than the usual requests for copies of my book. So I decided to give away copies of my Audiobook Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, A Story of Love, Survival and Joy  

Anyone who sends me ( in an email or private Facebook message) their name, email address and where they live, will receive instructions on how to download an app and I will send them a link with which to redeem a copy. You can start reading immediately. All I ask is to let me know whether the instructions and the redemption code worked, and, a little later, how you like my book.

Happy listening!

Ronny Herman de Jong

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Whoever thought that going to bed early was a punishment?

Not I! And certainly not these days. Going to bed early is a reward! I like to get nine hours of sleep every night, and if I  do not set my alarm at 6:00 a.m., I may not wake up until an hour later! Most definitely this week I am turning in early, and that after a two-hour nap in the afternoon! I had my final surgery last Thursday. It was more invasive than my previous skin surgeries, which have just healed in four weeks time. All went well and I am managing a schedule of pills for pain control and taking it easy during the day. A friend walks the dog, and help is available for kitchen, laundry and the like. I never had it so good!

Yesterday was my first time out: to the Theatre in the main building, for a memorial service of a dear friend in one of our twelve cottages. Always bouncing back after many surgeries, he finally had to let go. A day before he passed away, another good friend in the cottages died after a long fight with a brain tumor. Sad occurrences of friends close to home. How happy I am to be alive and well!

May the war end soon and may your days be blessed

Until next time,



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Federal and State Taxes approved!

After one hiccup, when I could not e-file because they said there was one more update available, I could file both taxes. The State was approved on the same day and the Federal a day later. Mission accomplished – early!

The War is raging on.

How is it possible that anyone can destroy a whole country and kill thousands of innocent people without being stopped? If I was in charge of the United States and NATO, I would close the air space over Ukraine, like President Zelenskyy is begging us to do. They are expecting an all-out Third World War? For all the people involved, this IS an all-out Third World War. They are powerless as long as Russia can bomb the country from the air. Negotiations have proven to be useless. It does not matter to Putin that he is accused of War Crimes. He is, in his isolated quarters, invincible. But I am not in charge, and that’s good!

L’Histoire se Répète 

You know, seventy-seven years ago, I was a refugee, just like these thousands, together with my mother and little sister. We had survived four years of bombardments, killings, starvation, diseases and punishments. Four years! The Japanese had finally surrendered. But we were not safe. Another war broke out, with young freedom fighters terrorizing the land, killing thousands.

I am quoting some pages from my book Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, based on my mother’s secret journal:

“In the Salvation Army Hospital the ambulatory patients were allowed to go outside during the day, but had to be in bed at night by nine o’clock. One night a few days after my visit to the girls, we heard loud screaming outside. It was coming closer—alarmingly closer. We sat up straight in our beds and saw, dimly lit by the outside lights, a group of shouting natives wildly gesticulating and running around our pavilion. They were waving bamboe roentjings, bamboo sticks with sharply whetted points dipped into a strong poison, over their heads. Stabbed in the stomach with one, their victim would die a very painful death.
We knew that the natives, especially the groups of extremists, freed from the colonial yoke (although it hadn’t been all that bad), now considered us their enemies. We weren’t safe anymore, and were afraid that while they kept yelling and running around our pavilion, they might at any moment come storming in to kill us all. A thought flashed through my mind: Will I die here, now? So close to our reunion? And what about the children? One flash, one brief moment, I was so scared. Then suddenly the yelling stopped.

The door opened and in came the director of the hospital in her white uniform with red epaulets. She said, “Don’t be afraid, ladies. I talked to our gardener, who is with them, and they will go away.” What a relief. We didn’t sleep too soundly, however, because we understood how dangerous the situation was for us all. The director had been able, by her authority, to calm down the wild group of natives for the moment. This time. There was no Dutch government to take charge of the situation. There was no government at all; it was chaos, dangerous for the Dutch, and I was no longer in Heaven. Two days later, the patients from the camps were called together and a British officer told us the situation in Semarang had become extremely dangerous for us. We had to be evacuated to Batavia that same day! My first question was, “What about the children?” I was assured that they would be brought to the harbor too. I collected the few possessions I had. We were not allowed to take a suitcase; only very small purses or parcels were allowed. The officer who took us to a waiting truck seemed nervous and in a hurry. His nervousness was not without reason, we heard later, since he knew what had happened in Soerabaja under the same circumstances. We got in quickly. With Ghurkas, their rifles ready, in all four corners of the truck, we drove through the city to the harbor at full speed. We were in British hands, protected during that dangerous trip by Ghurkas. They were strong fighters from Nepal, dark-skinned, and wearing turbans, who formed a courageous and useful division of the British army. We safely reached the harbor district after our wild drive through town. Not until later did we hear about the bloody massacre in Soerabaja, and only then did we understand the nervousness, the rush, and the fast ride. We could have been stopped and killed by extremists.

At the harbor a large hangar with mattresses on the floor served as our shelter for the night. We would not be leaving until the next day. Going inside, my legs still swollen from edema, I stumbled and fell over a threshold less than an inch high. A nurse treated the wound with a yellow powder, which was new to me: sulfa powder. Evening came and the children had not yet arrived. We all had mosquito nets over our mattresses on the floor and slept soundly, exhausted after the commotion of the day. The next morning I stood on the lookout for my children, determined not to leave until they arrived. Finally, by noon, a truck full of children appeared. There they were, holding hands; in their other hand their few little possessions. Oh, the joy of seeing each other again! Preparations for departure were in full swing and I sat the girls down for a moment on a suitcase. An Englishman with a camera filmed them: two little war victims.”

Do you see the resemblance with the war that is raging today? I was a little girl, sitting on a suitcase with my little sister, waiting to get on board of a ship, being filmed by an Englishman with a camera. Like CNN does in Ukraine today.

In World War Two, the Japanese wanted to conquer Southeast Asia. When the war lasted too long, they came with a liquidation plan.

Among the papers that survived the fire at the headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army in Taiwan, set intentionally at the time of surrender in order to destroy all evidence, top military secret documents were found…. One, designated as Document No 2710, certified as “Exhibit O”, was the Order to kill all the POWs, commencing in September 1945. This Order was given to the Japanese Army on August 1, 1944, a year before the end of the war! ‘to…annihilate them all and not to leave any traces.'”

Had the bombs not been dropped on Japan in August 1945, I would not have been here. The Japanese planned to kill men, women and children incarcerated on the densely populated Island of Java by putting poison in the rice: A method that would not leave any traces. Think about it. Poison in the rice. It would not leave any traces.

Support Ukraine 

The only thing I can do for the war in Ukraine except pray for a quick ending is financially support these heroic people, fighting for the land that they love. And I have. Through the INC, the International Rescue Committee. https://www.rescue.org. There are several other venues through which to give. Won’t you please join me? Every amount helps. Think of all the blessings we have and of the situation these millions of refugees are in: scared to death, homeless and powerless, without possessions, other than what they could carry.

May the war end soon and may you be safe.

Until next time,










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Red Alert! 

My computer has been acting up and after a five-hour session with a technician without results, I quit. Our son took it home and restored it. He brought it back two days later in working order. but in no time at all, I could not open it anymore. Just now, Sunday afternoon, I am on it again, but there is no way I can write a whole Blog Post this week.

So please bear with me and pray that by next week the war will be over.

May your days be peaceful and may the war soon be coming to an end.

Until next time,