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The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................ ( Archived) (30)

May 18, 2014 3:16 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
My own story..............
The War with Germany has started.

The war broke out in ‘40. I was three years old, having been born in September of ‘37. “My dad went to Germany he would not be back for several years. He went there out of his own free will, believing that he could do more for his family that way.
My dad loved the German people and they loved him. (Not the nazi’s)
Dad was able to send money home and other people who were
forced to work for the German Nazi’s, were not able to do this.
It was up to my mom now to take care of her two children my sister Greetje and I, and find food for us all.
Living in the North of Holland, only several hours away from the farmers, the first few years were not too bad for us, but that
watch and sewing machine for food.
The farmers did not care to receive money as it was worth nothing, so anything of value had to go. A bottle of oil, a very valued commodity, would sell for $250.00 guilders.
My mother would bring home dried fish that stank something awful. We had to eat it anyway.
Looking back it still amazes me how resourceful people are when they have to be.
I would go to where coal was loaded onto trains, and take with me a small broom and dustpan and bring home coal dust. We would chew tar and turned it into chewing gum. It also whitens your teeth.
You could do the same with grain. We kids would go to where the grain was being loaded onto trains, and we would pick up what had fallen on the ground. It takes a long time to chew that grain, but believe me it will turn into gum.
Sometimes we were lucky and had a piece of real chewing gum. We kids would take some sugar to give it some flavour again after we had been chewing it for some time and all the flavor had left.
At night we wound it around the iron bed post.
If friends had gum and asked if you wanted to come out and play
with them, you would tell them: “sure if I can have your gum.” “Okay but only for awhile”
Later came bubble gum, and because of the sharing, we would all have sores around our mouth.
Would you like to know what happens to gum if you chew it for days? It crumples up into nothing. (it does take several days)
We may have been kids but we did things that were beyond our age.
We would jump onto trucks loaded with sugar beets, and throw them off the truck so people could make sugar.
I remember that one day I was about six years old, when I was sent shopping at the corner store for groceries. I could see from the store the school the Germans occupied, as it was around the corner of our street.
I saw a truck heaped high with coal. I saw no Germans, so I climbed onto that truck and started to shove the coal down.
What was amazing was how quick people realized what was going on. They came with buckets and pails to scoop up what they could. When others took over from me to shovel more coal down, I ran home to tell mother at home to get some for us too.
The Germans let us be for a while they must have known what was going on.
Most of them were mere boys.
We were also sustained by the soup kitchen. One of our neighbors called to say that there was meat in the soup that day. Quickly I was sent to get some of that good stuff. In the meantime, our neighbor had found the source of the meat it was the tail of a mouse. I can't remember if we ate that soup.
During the German occupation you were not allowed to have a radio, they were all confiscated. Mother kept hers and it was connected together with a neighbor. Someone must have turned them in for the authorities came knocking one day. They asked her first how long she had that radio. She said the first thing that came to her mind, six months. They went to the neighbor next and asked him the same question. Unbelievably he gave the very same answer. Because of that, they were let go, after the radio was taken of course.
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May 18, 2014 3:17 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
Mother was hiding two girls in our home why, I can't recall. I was told that when the doorbell rang and I saw through the little door window’s two hats, not to open the door, but to call mom first. I was very, very scared every time the doorbell rang. The two men with hats I knew were authority, detectives, I found out later.
Well lo and behold, one day it happened two hats were visible at the door window. I froze! They were here! I called out to mother who took her time to open the door, the men stormed passed her up the stairs.
They shouted at mother wanting to know where the girls were. She told them she didn't know.
I stayed with mom who kept the men talking. In the meantime the girls had jumped from our balcony onto the garages of the people below, over back fences they went, until they came to the school, were I went to Sunday school, and escaped that way. My sister watched it all happening.
In ‘44 food was so scarce, that mother decided to leave the city and go to her sister and her husband. They lived in the country, closer to the farmers. She loaded up a pushcart with some of our belongings, and then found a boat that would take us to my aunt’s place, some twenty kilometres away from our city. The town was called Appingedam.
When we got to their place, we found my aunt in bed. She had contracted tuberculosis. Mom thought that she got sick by neglecting her health by using the milk to make butter, and then selling it.
I still see that large jar of milk behind the stove to see in a few day’s, blobs of butter floating on top.
We were at my aunt's house only a few weeks, when the German’s ordered everyone in the village to evacuate the town. We had no choice we were once again on the move. Where to now?
We started to leave the town and walk. Soon we came to the outskirts.
Here a lot of the land was flooded, and I was petrified. I was afraid of water then and to me this looked like an ocean.
Water, water, as far as I could see.
I was screaming in terror. (The Dutch had blown up some of their own bridges and flooded the land, to try and stop the Germans from advancing)
My younger sister was sitting on the carrier of the bike my uncle was pushing. Mother finally couldn't stand my wailings any longer and put me on her bike. The bikes we have in Holland all have a carrier on the back of the bike. They are strong enough to hold an adult.
We came to a farm. A good farmer and his wife lived there. They allowed the sick, including my aunt, to go inside the farmhouse and the others had to go to the barn and sleep in the hay. There were quite a few of us, all making a place for ourselves as best as we could. It was not easy sleeping with all those strangers, their noises kept me awake for a long time.
The next morning several men including my uncle helped the farmer milk his cows. We were allowed to drink the milk. As much as I love milk, I sure had to get used to drinking milk still warm from the cow.
To feed the family, mother and my uncle and sometimes with others, would walk back to the village and take all the food they could carry.
Then from bricks the people build fireplaces so they could cook. The only meals that I remember eating there were pancakes.
It was dangerous going back to the town, as the Germans were shooting at the Canadian soldiers that were in Holland defending the Dutch. From where we were staying on the farm, we could see that the town was burning.
But my mother went back day after day, with several other brave souls.
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May 18, 2014 3:18 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
If they found no food in one house, they would go into another. It was not thought of then as looting or stealing, but survival.
One day, mother went back to the village, with one of the men staying at the farm. She found what she had come looking for, and was ready to go back to the farm.
She called out to the man, and just as he stood in the doorway, a shell hit him, instantly killing him.
Time and time again people went back to the town, what else could they do? You had to go, if you wanted to eat and take care of your family.
In the North of Holland the war was over in May of ‘45.
A walk was organized from the farm to walk back to our city, twenty kilometres away. The town was too burned for many to go back there.
I never forget seeing some Canadian soldiers across the street and they were laughing.
For some reason I looked down and there on the street were five large cookies, laid out in the form of a five. I knew it was the soldiers who had put them there. They now watched to see who would find them. We had walked several kilometres, when mother spotted army trucks coming our way. She walked to the middle of the road and held up her hands for them to stop.
"Mama you can't do that," I told her. She did, and they stopped.
The soldiers said that they would take the people to a school in the city. They took the sick, the old and some of the children.
When we had walked about ten kilometres we came to a small village called: “Ten Boer.” The rest of the people stayed there sitting at the market square, while my mother and my uncle got hold of a pair of bikes without tires just riding on the rims, with my sister and me on the bike carrier and so we went to the city.
The authorities were notified that a group of people were in need of being picked up from the market square. They also ended up in a school in Groningen.
I went to visit with the people several times, and will always remember the certain smells that permeated that place.
When we returned to Groningen, we stopped at my aunt's place. We found my grandmother staying there. She told that the Germans had killed her daughter, my aunt. My aunt had spotted German army trucks unloading at a school and when she saw it was food, she took some.
The Germans saw her, but did nothing. Not believing her good fortune, she called her neighbor and together they set out to get more food.
This time the Germans shot in the air to warn them, my aunt did not believe that they would shoot, for she knew that they had let her take food earlier.
So she went on taking things and they did shoot her, killing her instantly.
She left a husband and three boys motherless. My mother’s brother was killed also. He was in a prisoner of war camp, in Germany.
The German’s knew by then they were losing the war, but they did not want to hear it. My uncle did tell them and was promptly shot dead for his efforts.
Not all the German people were bad.
It was the Nazi’s that were the real bad ones, not the common people, they too suffered through happenings from the war.
So many of the soldiers were just boys, they could be heard to say; “Ich habe der krieg nicht gewilt: (I did not want this war)
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May 18, 2014 3:20 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
The German’s knew by then they were losing the war, but they did not want to hear it. My uncle did tell them and was promptly shot dead for his efforts.
Not all the German people were bad.
It was the Nazi’s that were the real bad ones, not the common people, they too suffered through happenings from the war.
So many of the soldiers were just boys, they could be heard to say; “Ich habe der krieg nicht gewilt: (I did not want this war)
One of my nephews died of tuberculosis. This happened shortly after the war the direct results of bad food.
Because we had left our home unlived in, people from the N.S.B party had moved in.
These people were Dutch, but they had joined the enemy, they were traitors to their own people.
Mother went inside our home and told them we were back.
The first thing she noticed was the pictures of the Royal Dutch family where taken of the walls, where she had hung them.
She opened some drawers and found them there. Surprising the people had not destroyed them.
Mom pronto nailed the pictures back to the wall, telling the people not to touch them again and they didn’t.
All but one boy and girl moved out soon, they stayed for several more weeks.
The neighbors thought that we had invited these people into our home,This was not true, what could we have done about it?
They moved in while we were gone.
These traitors to their own people were going to be punished some day for going over to the enemy, but that would take time.
For many years the kids in the street called us N.S.B’ers. These initials stand for: “National Socialist Bond”
It was years later when I told the kids what has happened and the name calling stopped.
When the war had ended, citizens grabbed some of the girls that had befriended German soldiers, (mostly for food and cigarettes), shaved their heads and painted a swastika on them. Some people had to eat tulip bulbs, and who knows what else, so they were angry with these girls, they looked better fed than most of us.
There was also great joy and people dancing up a storm.
In our street appeared a long table with all kinds of food, where all that came from I don't know, but it was a feast.
Sweden sent bread that was white as snow, something I never had seen before, or since. And the slices were so large!
Even today, if we children would say to our mother that we were hungry, she would get very upset with us. She would tell us that we had never been hungry, that there was always something to eat, even if it was many times a dry piece of bread.
“I don’t ever want you to use the word hunger again.
You can have an appetite,” she would tell us.
Mother had risked her life many times; she had to give up her valuables for food. The word hunger triggered something in her that is for sure.
Sometimes I try to make gravy from mustard, as mother did during the war, it taste really not bad at all. People have told me that they cooked and ate poison ivy and that it tasted just like spinach.
The German’s knew by then they were losing the war, but they did not want to hear it. My uncle did tell them and was promptly shot dead for his efforts.
Not all the German people were bad.
It was the Nazi’s that were the real bad ones, not the common people, they too suffered through happenings from the war.
So many of the soldiers were just boys, they could be heard to say; “Ich habe der krieg nicht gewilt: (I did not want this war)
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May 18, 2014 3:21 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
The German’s knew by then they were losing the war, but they did not want to hear it. My uncle did tell them and was promptly shot dead for his efforts.
Not all the German people were bad.
It was the Nazi’s that were the real bad ones, not the common people, they too suffered through happenings from the war.
So many of the soldiers were just boys, they could be heard to say; “Ich habe der krieg nicht gewilt: (I did not want this war)
One of my nephews died of tuberculosis. This happened shortly after the war the direct results of bad food.
Because we had left our home unlived in, people from the N.S.B party had moved in.
These people were Dutch, but they had joined the enemy, they were traitors to their own people.
Mother went inside our home and told them we were back.
The first thing she noticed was the pictures of the Royal Dutch family where taken of the walls, where she had hung them.
She opened some drawers and found them there. Surprising the people had not destroyed them.
Mom pronto nailed the pictures back to the wall, telling the people not to touch them again and they didn’t.
All but one boy and girl moved out soon, they stayed for several more weeks.
The neighbors thought that we had invited these people into our home,This was not true, what could we have done about it?
They moved in while we were gone.
These traitors to their own people were going to be punished some day for going over to the enemy, but that would take time.
For many years the kids in the street called us N.S.B’ers. These initials stand for: “National Socialist Bond”
It was years later when I told the kids what has happened and the name calling stopped.
When the war had ended, citizens grabbed some of the girls that had befriended German soldiers, (mostly for food and cigarettes), shaved their heads and painted a swastika on them. Some people had to eat tulip bulbs, and who knows what else, so they were angry with these girls, they looked better fed than most of us.
There was also great joy and people dancing up a storm.
In our street appeared a long table with all kinds of food, where all that came from I don't know, but it was a feast.
Sweden sent bread that was white as snow, something I never had seen before, or since. And the slices were so large!
Even today, if we children would say to our mother that we were hungry, she would get very upset with us. She would tell us that we had never been hungry, that there was always something to eat, even if it was many times a dry piece of bread.
“I don’t ever want you to use the word hunger again.
You can have an appetite,” she would tell us.
Mother had risked her life many times; she had to give up her valuables for food. The word hunger triggered something in her that is for sure.
Sometimes I try to make gravy from mustard, as mother did during the war, it taste really not bad at all. People have told me that they cooked and ate poison ivy and that it tasted just like spinach.
Not many people had doors left inside their homes. They had used them for fire-wood as coal was scarce.
One day, I was about a twenty minutes walk from my home, when I came to a bridge and looking down saw wooden beams lying in a boat. The men guarding them saw me looking and yelled; "Hey little girl want one of these?"
Did I want one? Did I? First I had to see my mother and tell her what was happening. She was working in a school.
I usually went to see her there so I could take coal and soap home that she “borrowed,” and I would hide under my cape, carrying it in little pails. I started for home dragging that heavy piece of wood.
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May 18, 2014 3:22 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
I was only a few blocks from home, when a bunch of kids in a side street spotted me and came running. Lucky for me, my neighbour was right behind me and rescued my beam. That night mom was sawing away, very happy to have something to put in the fireplace.

For years we kids played in the trenches left behind by the Germans, and played with the empty shells of the guns.

Slowly things went back to normal. My dad had come home and was busy starting to make more babies, four more in fact.

My mother had taught me to say in English; “Do you like me?” When I spotted Canadian soldiers, I would say that to them. They would laugh, and sometimes it would be good for a piece of chocolate. I was just 8 years old and already knew how to “work a crowd” a little con really.

The soldiers would, knowing we were walking behind them, only take a few puffs on their cigarettes and toss the buds over their shoulder. I would give those buds to dad and he would roll new cigarettes from them.

Just because the war was over, did not mean that there was now plenty of food and goods to buy, there wasn't. Everything was rationed out and all the people received coupons.

Everywhere our city had suffered bombing and it took many years before all the scars were erased.

Because there was no wool for knitting, the government would give people new wool, if they turned in old wool.

Everywhere you saw people taking sweaters and other wool clothing apart.

We did the same and one-day when we had received the new wool, I was told to take it to a lady we knew, and to sell it to her for a higher price, then what my mother had paid for it. I felt terrible doing that, but mother gave me little choice.
She would not do these things herself, but made me do it.
I was a kid, eight years old and I hated doing it. I guess I would not make a good bussiness woman
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May 18, 2014 3:49 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
Had been a great read. Moving and humbling story, thank you.
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May 18, 2014 4:24 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
Had been a great read. Moving and humbling story, thank you.[/quote

Hi CuddingSoul.
I am happy to have shared my experiences with you........
Canadians are still honored in Holland, big time. Children have learned to say; "Thank you" they take care of the graves........
Americans played a part in the liberation of Holland too.
It just so happen that it was the Canadians who saved many from starvation, that was for some just one week away.

teddybear
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May 18, 2014 4:42 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
goldengloss
goldenglossgoldenglossDublin South, Dublin Ireland5 Threads 652 Posts
Hello, I read your story and it is very sad. What a brave woman your mother was. I have watched many films and read alot about the Nazi s and the camps and what people went through. It was very difficult and I know you didnot know who to to trust. during those times, it brought the worst out in people who would trade information for food. You are lucky to didnot get Tuberculosis. It must have made you careful with money and food. The Dutch people are very careful with money and very creative, their homes are lovely, they seem to be able to make a home look beautiful even if they have little money, there is a simplicity in their lifestyle that is so different from UK, here in Ireland, and the US.
Thank you for sharing you wonderful survival story.
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May 18, 2014 4:59 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
peachmelba
peachmelbapeachmelbawexford, Wexford Ireland102 Threads 14,193 Posts
I feel privileged to have read your story thankyou teddybear
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May 18, 2014 5:28 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
Very interesting, you and your family have been through real hard times and yet remained together though separated and far apart for a long time. You come from a very brave, courageous, strong and close family.

By the way I am Canadian and it's a comforting and good feeling to hear what you said about them.
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May 18, 2014 5:37 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
RomancingSting
RomancingStingRomancingStingFort Saskatchewan, Alberta Canada6 Threads 1 Polls 723 Posts
Your account of life as a young girl in a war torn country has left me quite emotional. We take so much for granted in life, your experiences, things you witnessed and survived leaves me almost feeling guilty of some of the things I complained about growing up. In addition, what your mother did for survival, protection, and food just shows how great a mother's love is for her children and not even the face of death stopped her for providing the necessities of life. I don't think I have ever been so moved by some ones personal life story in my 51 years of age. May your life be filled and overflowing with blessings, and with all my sincerity, thank you for sharing it.
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May 18, 2014 5:58 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
Hi Miss britishcolumbian. wave hug Allow me to correct my previous sentence: It has been a great read. Moving and humbling, thank you... Most of the men in my family served in the military. One uncle was sent to battle in Africa, he survived a severe gun wound and returned stateside. One other uncle was sent over seas during World War Two, he was a tank crew member and he wouldn't say more about his tour. Fortunate here, that the other family members managed to stay stateside, throughout WW2 and Vietnam. Their positions were, Military Police (MP), and Medics.
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May 18, 2014 6:18 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
Thank you goldenglos.
My mother was indeed a very brave woman. It is difficult to know what each of us would do when we are hungry.
About money, We were raised without a credit card. We believed in paying for everything right away.
I still do will pay of my credit card every month.
What makes the home coz
goldengloss: Hello, I read your story and it is very sad. What a brave woman your mother was. I have watched many films and read alot about the Nazi s and the camps and what people went through. It was very difficult and I know you didnot know who to to trust. during those times, it brought the worst out in people who would trade information for food. You are lucky to didnot get Tuberculosis. It must have made you careful with money and food. The Dutch people are very careful with money and very creative, their homes are lovely, they seem to be able to make a home look beautiful even if they have little money, there is a simplicity in their lifestyle that is so different from UK, here in Ireland, and the US.
Thank you for sharing you wonderful survival story.
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May 18, 2014 6:59 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
Hello goldengloss, yes my mother was indeed brave.
When it comes to being hungry and what we would do to get food is somthing we can't know until we are faced with that.
I was not brought up with a credit card it was shamefull really to not pay first.

I think the Dutch home is made cozy because even in winter we display flowers everywhere.
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May 18, 2014 7:01 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
peachmelba: I feel privileged to have read your story thankyou

It makes me very happy to know you appreciated the stories, thank you for telling me

teddybear
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May 18, 2014 7:05 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
Onlyguy: Very interesting, you and your family have been through real hard times and yet remained together though separated and far apart for a long time. You come from a very brave, courageous, strong and close family.

By the way I am Canadian and it's a comforting and good feeling to hear what you said about them.


Hi only guy, I was just reflexting about this.
When you were raised and not being spoiled or had a lot of material things would you not want it all later?
No, never did.
This I do remember; I was perhaps ten years old and stood before my dad and told him; When I am all grown up I am going to buy all the cookies and candy I can and just eat and eat........
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May 18, 2014 7:10 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
Romancing please don't feel guilty.
Some things happened in my life that I had no control over.
You may be surprised what you can do when you have too.
Survival is an amazing thing and it never has ceased to amaze me the ways people find to survive.
Thank you for letting me know that my stories touched you so.
I now have tears in my eyes

teddybear
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May 18, 2014 7:16 PM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian
britishcolumbianbritishcolumbianunknown, British Columbia Canada224 Threads 1,535 Posts
CuddlingSoul: Hi Miss britishcolumbian. Allow me to correct my previous sentence: It has been a great read. Moving and humbling, thank you... Most of the men in my family served in the military. One uncle was sent to battle in Africa, he survived a severe gun wound and returned stateside. One other uncle was sent over seas during World War Two, he was a tank crew member and he wouldn't say more about his tour. Fortunate here, that the other family members managed to stay stateside, throughout WW2 and Vietnam. Their positions were, Military Police (MP), and Medics.


Hi cuddling, it must have been quite bad if your uncle would not tell you more. Yes I know others who have seen and done too much.
Those are things you will never forget.
You have a good and kind soul my friend.............teddybear
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May 19, 2014 2:29 AM CST The Dutch remember always and are grateful........................
britishcolumbian: Hi cuddling, it must have been quite bad if your uncle would not tell you more. Yes I know others who have seen and done too much.
Those are things you will never forget.
You have a good and kind soul my friend.............
Thank you miss...Yes, as far as the families have ever known, he never even talked about it to his wife.
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