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Motherlode

A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience

CarolyneVan Der Meer

Publication Year: 2014

Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience is Carolyne Van Der Meer’s creative reinterpretation through short stories, poems, and essays of the experiences of her mother and other individuals who spent their childhood in Nazi-occupied Holland or were deeply affected by wartime in Holland. The book documents the author’s personal journey as she uncovers her mother’s past through their correspondence and discussion and through research in the Netherlands. Motherlode also considers mother–daughter relationships and the effect of wartime on motherhood.

Motherlode is not about recording precise historical data; rather, it attempts to recover and interpret the complex emotions of the individuals growing up in wartime. The book is based on interviews with the author’s mother and other Dutch Canadians, interviews with and letters from Canadian Jewish war veterans, and information provided by individuals with direct or indirect experience of the Dutch Resistance. The creative pieces explore onderduik (going into/being in hiding), life in an occupied country, the work of the Dutch Resistance, liberation, collective and individual cultural memory, and the way in which wartime childhoods shaped adulthood for these individuals.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

This collection of poems, short stories, and essays was initially inspired by stories I’d heard as a young girl about my mother’s childhood in Nazi-occupied Holland. But the book you now hold, Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience, grew into much more as I wrote it, and now examines the Dutch experience during the occupation from myriad perspectives,...

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Prologue

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pp. 1-6

The letter shakes between my fingers. I set it down on the counter and drop a tea bag into the cup as the kettle begins its impatient whistle. A brief flavouring of sugar and I pour the steaming water. The pages continue to beckon. It’s from my mother, and hopefully it explores another chapter of her childhood during the war....

1: Finding the Motherlode

Journal Entry – 18 July 2010

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p. 8-8

Going Home

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p. 9-9

Parched

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p. 10-10

Journal Entry – 19 July 2010

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pp. 11-12

Letters from a War Child

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p. 13-13

Nine Ways to Happiness in Wartime

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p. 14-14

Marijke’s Song

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pp. 15-19

Journal Entry – 20 July 2010

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pp. 20-23

The Poem about Hiding Jews

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p. 24-24

Cat Got Your Tongue?

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p. 25-25

How Do You Know?

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p. 26-26

My Education

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p. 27-27

Journal Entry – 21 July 2010

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pp. 28-29

The Librarian

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p. 30-30

The Hiding Place

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p. 31-31

The Hunting Game

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p. 32-32

Negotiating with the SS

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p. 33-33

Journal Entry – 22 July 2010

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pp. 34-39

Motherlode

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p. 40-40

My Mother’s Voice

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p. 41-41

The Root Cellar

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p. 42-42

The Hunger Winter, 1944–45

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pp. 43-44

A Conversation

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p. 45-45

The Walls Have Ears

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p. 46-46

Where We Hid Them

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p. 47-47

Journal Entry – 22 July 2010

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pp. 48-50

Stimpie Stampie at the New Dorrius

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p. 51-51

The Bartender

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p. 52-52

The Red Boots

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p. 53-53

Listening to the Radio

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p. 54-54

The SS Came at Night

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p. 55-55

Journal Entry – 23 July 2010

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pp. 56-57

Speculaas on the Prinsengracht

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p. 58-58

Alarm

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pp. 59-62

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Journal Entry – 24 July 2010

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pp. 63-64

2: The Children

The War Begins

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p. 66-66

Onderduik, 1944

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p. 67-67

We All Took Part

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p. 68-68

The Risks He Took

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p. 69-69

Learning Curve

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p. 70-70

Soldier Boy

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p. 71-71

Christmas Eve 1943

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p. 72-72

The Beef Tongue

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p. 73-73

Wool Was Hard to Get

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p. 74-74

The Collection

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p. 75-75

The Walnut Tree

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p. 76-76

The American Soldier

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p. 77-77

What Lisbeth Knows

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p. 78-78

No Visible Injury

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p. 79-79

God in de Hemel

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p. 80-80

Bittersweet

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p. 81-81

The Bouquet

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pp. 82-85

Liberation in Nijmegen

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pp. 86-87

Institut Henri Jaspar, Brussels

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p. 88-88

3: The Survivors

Manna from Heaven

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p. 90-90

A Dutch Jew Looks at the Facts

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pp. 91-92

Real Estate Value

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p. 93-93

Riches to Rags

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p. 94-94

Staas

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p. 95-95

Teaching Kindergarten

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p. 96-96

Accuracy

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p. 97-97

Thunder and Lightning

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p. 98-98

The Department Store

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p. 99-99

War’s Insidious Bite

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pp. 100-101

Altje, 1942

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pp. 102-104

4: The Fighters

The Story Wasn’t True

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p. 106-106

Girl in a Flowered Dress

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p. 107-107

Lotte’s Journey

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p. 108-108

The Namesake

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p. 109-109

Dear Folks, Love Ralph

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p. 110-110

The Outline

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p. 111-111

Homage to a Canadian Soldier

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pp. 112-113

Stationed in Veghel

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p. 114-114

The Soldier Watches Retribution

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p. 115-115

Occupation Duty

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pp. 116-118

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Afterword: The Complexity of Belonging

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pp. 119-122

In her groundbreaking book of essays about belonging, Losing North, Canadian- born novelist Nancy Huston defines the French phrase perdre le nord (“to lose the north”) as “to lose your head, to lose track,” and even “to lose your marbles.” The phrase takes some of its meaning from the geographical notion of finding “true north”—a point of reference that can help you find...

Acknowledgements

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pp. 123-126

Glossary of Dutch Terms

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pp. 127-128

Series Page

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pp. 129-132


E-ISBN-13: 9781771120067
E-ISBN-10: 1771120061
Print-ISBN-13: 9781771120050

Page Count: 146
Illustrations: 6 b/w
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Life Writing

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, Dutch--Literary collections.
  • Netherlands--History--German occupation, 1940-1945--Literary collections.
  • Van Der Meer, Carolyne A.,--1968---Family--Literary collections.
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