A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-62

Exciting Projects

Very often I can’t wait to start my day. So many things take priority over the projects that I am excited about. When we get up, I dress in something warm, we have a cup of coffee, then I walk the dog, take a shower, dry my hair and get dressed again. Then I need to get in the car to get breakfast at the Club (granted, I do not have to make it), we have breakfast, I feed the dog, clean up the kitchen, then back to the bathroom to dole out our morning vitamins and brush my teeth, and then it is finally time to start my day. Unless, on Monday and Thursday, I dive into the laundry, or we have to get ready for a trip to a doctor or the like.

I have a 93-year-old Indo friend, Hannie Blaauw. If you have my 2014 book Survivors of WWII in the Pacific, you know his story. He lives alone since his little puppy died, with only a cleaning lady to come once a week. I asked his permission to publish his story in one of the Indo magazines. The first one is a website, The Indo Project (theindoproject.org) or TIP. On it, they post stories and pictures, mostly black and white pictures of “Tempo Dulu”. The other one is a magazine, Moesson International, that just came out in January. I subscribed and accidentally received two copies, so I sent one to Hannie. He was so excited to read all these Indo stories in English. And when I proposed to try to get his story published, he was delighted. I had two pictures of him, at 86 and 89 years old, but he had no old pictures left of himself. Except…he called me back: “I have one picture of me in uniform, in New Guinea, after the war, with the KNIL (Netherlands Dutch-East Indies Army).” I asked him if he could get it to me. Five days later, he sent it to me on my iPad. He had taken it out of the frame and his cleaning lady had sent it from his iPad to mine. “Great job Hannie!” The picture is back on the wall and I sent it to both Indo publications. I had not known about his New Guinea time, and the most important part, that he was the assistant of the Commander Sjoerd Lapré for three years. I happened to know Sjoerd Lapré RMWO personally. He gave me permission in 1990 to use historical information for the Historical Setting in my first book In the Shadow of the Sun (and subsequently in Rising from the Shadow of the Sun).

Now I am keeping my fingers crossed. I have asked both publications to try to publish his story before April 1, when Hannie will celebrate his 94th birthday. Just imagine it will appear on a website AND in a magazine! What a surprise that would be. And a birthday gift coming his way in the form of a subscription to Moesson International will make his day extra special.

Facebook encounter

On Facebook, recently, I found the name of my first piano teacher in Soerabaja: Tino Kerdijk. I messaged him and got to know the whole family. This Tino happened to be the old Tino’s grandson, and his Dad, the baby that was born when I was taking lessons, is now 71. They all live in the Netherlands and have families of their own, and one lady lives in Den Pasar on Bali. What a small world this is! Exchanging news and pictures was exciting and though I could only understand a few words in Indonesian, I could guess what they were talking about with the family on Bali. When I retire, I would like to refresh my knowledge of Indonesian. I now have three Facebook friends on Bali and one in Soerabaja, so I can practice with them. It is so comforting to know what happened to Tino and his family after I left Indonesia for the Netherlands.

Another encounter

From the Contact page on my website came an email from a long lost cousin, the son of my dad’s younger brother. He is doing genealogy about his family and came across my first book In the Shadow of the Sun, which he had had since 1993. He mentioned some names and places, so that I would know it was him. How interesting. He is some twenty years younger than I but we have the same grandmother! I am waiting to hear the “long story” he promised me in his following email; which, he asked nicely, he will write in Dutch. Even though his English was very good.


And so it happens, I thought the other day, that some people come into your life and others leave. From the Survivors of WWII in the Pacific that I interviewed, only two are still alive; two passed away last year, one with heart problems and old age, one from dementia. Two of them passed away when we still lived in Prescott, Arizona: one committed suicide and one, a Pearl Harbor survivor, fell out of bed, broke his hip and passed away soon after that. But then, through website and Facebook and LinkedIn, new friends appear, who hopefully will stay awhile. Especially after a whole year without communicating in person with people because of Covid, I feel it is so important to connect again, throughout generations, all over the world. People need people.

Another project

And the most exciting project I am working on is to get, for Kirkus Reviews, a Bio and information about my books with sample chapters together, for their Website for Movie Producers. Kirkus Reviews is offering this, since they are going to do the ad campaign for my book Rising from the Shadow of the Sun from March 15 until June 4. How exciting is that?!

The last-but-not-least project

Our tax return project has been moved to the back burner because of all those other fun things to do, but I now got the forms in the mail with which we should be able to continue our return. I just need time! And all these happenings are the reason that I am not ready to really, really, fully retire.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


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