And I had to look after the dining area. And the dog had better food than me. So I licked his food as if it was a dog. Can you imagine? CB: Extraordinary. CB: And the dog belonged to who? The Germans or to the owner? That was from the house.
But they were pro Germans anyway so. TC: Well, they had the German religion. What sort of [pause] Were they orphans or what were they? So they stayed in that home. So that was eventually where my brother found me a place. Go back to the lodgers. We had a lodger and his name was Mr Somners.
And Mr Somners was fantastic. We used to call him Mr Ringaling. He had gold rimmed glasses. And he had a secretary. She was a beauty. And she stayed with that policeman upstairs. And then suddenly they decided they loved one another and they would like to live together.
So they decided then that he would move with the girl but the Germans got hold of that and they arrested her mother. So she, the moment that she kissed him he got arrested there and then. And so did she. And then they were taken to the Gestapo headquarters and then Mr Somners walked in. They got a fright because amongst the Germans were Resistance workers undercover.
Five minutes. The house was already then confiscated. And then what I found out from Willie here what Mr Somners did and also consequently my father. They were involved in smuggling Jews to Spain. Or for that matter to Norway. I think. Those two. So, and they recognised him by his teeth afterwards and she was [unclear] to death. And her mother never heard of any more. Also died. So you can imagine that was for us suddenly the end. I come from school. Then what do you do with a girl of my age?
What do I do? I matured. There was no childhood for me anymore. So I, and then I went from the vicar. He had two girls who ran a farm so he took me to them. One was a teacher and one was a nurse so at least I got eventually a little bit of education. And then of course they had the mill next door with seven kids but I was not allowed to play with them. Then they got diphtheria so that was danger. Try it. And thanks to my brother, you know.
As I say, you know he just carried on. But then of course my brother, my father was then also being spotted, you know through this arrest of this Mr Somners. So he had to find [pause] Can you just switch it off a minute? TC: Talk about my father. My father had then been given a new name. My brother, my little brother lived with my mother. Sometimes they met with my father as well. Not very often. So, but then my father had a new passport. Where again the RAF came in useful with the Peace Palace because behind the Peace Palace was a huge villa with all the ins and outs of the population of Holland.
Register Centre. And they were asked to flatten it and they did. And that is where people like my father finally had now a chance to have a new passport. And the beauty of it is you see he puts a pair of specs on. His hair is slightly different. And then he, yeah he was well you can see he was really very scared but the beauty is his date of birth could not be traced because they made him a false passport with his birth on.
Birthplace Surabaya in Indonesia. So at least he had a little bit of freedom of moving about. Very precious this. CB: So your sister Willie was ten years older than you. CB: So her perspective was quite different and she was more mature. So what was her position?
TC: She was very very heavily involved in the Resistance. Together with my father as well. But it has, but Willie has used it and she got somebody out of prison in that uniform. So a young chap that otherwise would have probably been executed or whatever.
But in the end, as I say she was so heavily involved that Queen Wilhelmina invited her with about twenty other Resistance youngsters and she was invited to stay in her palace for about nine months to recuperate. That was quite a crown on the [pause] jewel on the crown or whatever you call it and, yeah. CB: How did she come to be in a position where the Queen invited her to do this?
That must have been from the group that she was working with for the Resistance that they recommended her. Or that there must have been something like that. CB: So, what sort of recuperation? She would have been short of food but mentally was she exhausted? TC: I think that that was the case. She was a very intensive person. And Queen Wilhelmina obviously. Even though she lived in England she decided with the Arnhem business to go on to make sure that the Dutch went on strike with the railway.
Oh, here it is. I think it is the 29th of April. Well, you can imagine. CB: Let me just stop you a mo. At the end of the war. CB: What is termed over here Operation Manna. TC: It could be. Because they were dead against the RAF flying over to drop food and they said we will give you a channel and this is the channel that they were allowed. If they were slightly out they would be shot dead.
Shot down. And here are the areas where the food drops would take place. The red is from America and the other ones are with the RAF. CB: So what were they dropping? What sort of things were they dropping? TC: Gee whizz. This you saw. You sort it out. TC: This is one drop.
So that. This is a photograph of a field. Near Rotterdam. And so the challenge with the bags was whether they would burst. TC: Some did. CB: On landing. And then of course they needed so many people to collect it all. And do you know nobody stole. Everybody was starving hungry. It was all centred at the place where then it was properly distributed. Which I think is admirable because if you were starving hungry well — you eat.
Well, like me eating the dog food. CB: How was the food distributed after it was collected? Was your father involved with that? You had to queue. Oh God. When, for the Swedish bread the Germans stopped that. We sometimes queued for two and a half hours. Two or three hours for one loaf of bread. Other: God. TC: And it was worth it because you were so, so hungry.
And as I say I was so underfed that they had to spoon feed me with a teaspoon. And I was, well near death really. So as I said then and that was [unclear] where Willie had her first job. But originally it was from a Jewish barrel maker and that is where my father then found refuge when he needed it after, obviously he was looked for. When he was more or less after this incident of the [pause] Yeah. CB: Which had been bypassed by the allies as they moved — North Holland and into Germany and the population was starving.
At what stage did they shortage food really start to bite? TC: That started already quite early. Here, you see this is the last bit that was still being occupied that because this of Holland was already liberated. The eastern side and the south. TC: And then of course you get Arnhem. TC: The big battle of Arnhem with the disasters of that one.
And then. CB: As they pushed past that. TC: Twenty two. Twenty two thousand people died. And nine hundred and eighty thousand were classed as malnutrition and I was one of them. But this drop of food is six months after that in April. Twenty two thousand dead. Back to [pause] why did I? Obviously, you read that too. CB: So my question really is that the distribution of food had already become difficult. CB: But when did it become extremely serious?
Do you remember? TC: That must have been, oh [pause] the year before, I reckon. That is when it really started to bite. CB: As the west of Holland was isolated by the allied forces pressing on past the western part of Holland.
TC: On this tin. CB: Doing the cooking. TC: The home-made tin. A plaster tin. You know, the plaster was inside. You just — CB: Yes. But what did you put in it to cook to create the heat? TC: A bit of wood. But where did you get the wood from? TC: Find it everywhere. Tiny little bits of wood in [pause] well anywhere. Maybe in the shed or — but they were no bigger than so. And did you increasingly then have to forage around for wood to burn because it must have run out in the local area?
CB: So what did you do then? TC: We looked for it. Go for walks. CB: Did you go out in parties of walking? Or look in the sheds. Anything that would burn you made to size and then burned it in that. TC: I wish that I had bought one. A cousin of mine has got a real one. CB: And then no electricity so how did you see in the night? CB: In the evenings. CB: No candles. Candles were very scarce. Begging for food. CB: So, tell us about the food.
How did you get hold of food? You, you queued for hours if there was any in the shops. But there were no more potatoes. The only one was stinging nettles, tulip bulbs and sugar beets. CB: So, how did you cook those stinging nettles? TC: Well, they were mostly raw. You put it in hot water and then it softened it a bit.
Nothing to eat. CB: You mentioned begging. So how did that work? TC: Knock on the door. CB: Adults did it as well. TC: Adults did. Even first food aid from Sweden. That was white bread. CB: So this was the beginning of TC: That was February. It was whiter than white. And then of course the Germans stopped that one. CB: So where did that come in from? How did that come to Holland? Certainly not by sea. First aid from Sweden must have come by road. CB: Through Germany. TC: Through Germany. TC: Because the Germans had to agree to that and they did.
TC: And then the Germans were food dropped because they were afraid that they could be combined with bombs. Which is logical. CB: Supplying. TC: And the Operation Manna starts there. Oh God, that was — I can still see them. Oh, that was a miracle. Absolutely fantastic. CB: This was in Lincoln when some of the aircrew were there. And the flag was forbidden but we put flag on.
Thank you, Tommies. Or we just waved. Oh gosh. CB: The man I interviewed the other day said how the Germans were shaking their fists at his aircraft flying at a hundred and fifty feet. TC: I can well imagine. But we were kissing. CB: Exactly. And he then went on to the Dutch people waving.
TC: Really? Oh yeah. And sometimes you really took a risk. And that was the same when we had the Liberation in Amsterdam. TC: Higgledy piggledy. And so when the war was declared finished they thought hooray. So the heart of Holland is the Dam in Amsterdam. But everybody gathered together and they were all standing there, you know, pale and hungry and very tightly together because the air force err now the allies were coming in their tanks.
And when they came around the corner full of flowers and girls and what have you and the whole of the mass of people went berserk with hooray. We had all dyed some pieces of material in orange or whatever. But the big buildings around this square there were still German soldiers on there. CB: On the roof. TC: On the roof. And what did they buggers do?
They shot on the main, on the people. Why did you do it? The nerve. And the tanks were immediately closed and, oh that was horrendous and we all had to fled, flee down side roads. And there were nineteen people killed. And that was Liberation. You never learn do you? CB: What happened to them? So clearly they survived. CB: No. TC: They were still the enemy. And we had the liberators coming in. Oh, I can still remember this. That was frightening. And we were standing all like this because it was packed.
Absolutely overpacked. Amazing how little flares of — CB: Memory. TC: Memories come back. CB: So you were still starving effectively. TC: Oh yes. CB: How did the food get distributed then? At the time of the celebration was there, were there food trucks with the tanks or did you get the food later? TC: Later. It was, it was a slow coming of food.
CB: And that was distributed by the local authorities. TC: Shops. CB: Through the shops. TC: Through the shops. And you all had issues. What do you call them? Other 2: Ration. CB: Ration cards. TC: Ration cards. And with, and then you stand there queuing. Not just for ten minutes. CB: And how did society return to normal after that? If ever. TC: With great difficulty. But you know then once it was done and over with you know you all got together and put your shoulders on it and made the best of it.
CB: So, your family returned to your house. Because our house there, that house there that was completely occupied because you very rarely owned a house. So it was always rented. So when we came back to the Hague my father was allocated this house through the Resistance. And that was a whacking big house. Until about six months after. So, we want you out. So then the Resistance was still very very much active in that work and they found us this house that we lived in where you have been.
And yeah, that was in [pause] that had been in an area that was evacuated for a long long time so there were no roads. No pavements. That was all very, well pre-historic as it were. CB: In the countryside this was. That was a part of the Hague. CB: Oh, it was. And that is of course where I went to school and so on. Talk about going to school. When we lived in that nice house there and this was still pre, after I had just been about five or six years of age.
CB: Before the war started. Well, no. But there was an awful lot of water. You know that house with the beautiful view? There was a lot of water about and Hans my brother he almost drowned in it. So, and Willie and Wim, my brother they had to take me before school to the park where there was a swimming pool because I had to learn to swim.
And that was their task. To take me to the swimming pool regularly during the week. Every other day or so. To teach me how to swim. And I can still remember the lady who had ginger hair and her body was purple with cold because it was an open air one and but I learned to swim and once I could swim that was it. That was them finished.
The dropping of the food and what was it? What — did you see that or did you just hear about it in other ways? TC: Maybe in the distance but that was a, that is a little bit vague memory at the moment. Other: Yeah. TC: But I can remember once it was put to the central areas where it was distributed.
There was the egg powder. Oh God the egg powder. Milk powder. All sorts of vegetables and, yeah stuff really to go into the larder. That is the stuff that was generally in the bags. CB: So it was flour but was there baked bread as well? TC: There was also baked bread. TC: But very rare. CB: And how did the population hear about the deliveries of these? TC: Well, they either saw it or they knew where the Centres were and then you could go to the Centres. On your bike of course.
TC: Or walking. To collect your goodies. TC: And as I say sometimes there were little parcels, but from the pilots themselves who had wrapped it up for the kids. CB: Really? TC: You know. Chocolate or sweets. CB: So the delivery was in bags or was it in other items as well? TC: All sorts. All sorts. CB: Large. About that size. CB: Good. Thank you very much.
To remember. TC: At that time you just took it, well as a surprise. I mean, if you look at this you can see what sort of baggage. CB: This is the picture of the dropping area. Other: This is the drops. And they needed hundreds of people to collect it all. They picked it all up. Nothing was wasted. Because by that time they knew that the game was up. CB: Now, we talked about a lot of things to do with the Operation Manna drops.
We then went on to how the food was distributed. Because people are not just undernourished. So how did you start eating when the food came? TC: Because usually there was somebody in charge of a person who is that underfed that they, like for instance myself. You know, the Jewish firm that was taken over. And I stayed there a fortnight and was fine. So that was ok. And then we went to Amsterdam where of course again we were at a loss because you saw how busy that house of my aunt was in, outside Amsterdam.
Willie, in the meantime hired a room in the middle of Amsterdam South with a Jewish family. And she hired a room because sometimes there was an opportunity, no a necessity for getting your breath back. So, and that was of course also in the Hunger Winter when you were outside trying to collect little bits of wood and things like that.
So that is where we were then. In that room. And that was very very nice indeed because it was peaceful. Especially with my aunt falling ill. She could be course in her legs and in her neck and so on. It was just tubercular disease. So we were a little bit in the way then. And so now and again as I say we needed a breather. And Willie had particularly access to that. To that room. And yeah.
I, that was, that was very nice and the people downstairs were fantastic, you know. She was a Jewish. And we had yeah happy times there. From there, well, then of course the Liberation that we went to the dam with all these people. Squashed together. There was no other way to call it but squashed together. CB: And how were the people feeling at that time?
TC: What did the people we hired from? The people that went together to Amsterdam. What did they actually feel about what was going on? TC: They wanted to celebrate. There was liberty you know. And they, they wanted to well share the condemnation for the Germans. And then of course these.
I can still them on the rooftop you know. With their guns still. Must have been a mad moment in their lives. Of frustration, or what I know, whatever. But it was and then of course as I say Liberation. CB: You talked about some families being half Jewish.
So, how were they handled during the war? TC: They kept it quiet. Not — and that was another thing. You see in the beginning they wanted everything up in the open. So the Jews were persuaded to wear a star with the word Jew on it. Forget me.
And people fell for things like that. Anything for easy going, you know. Getting out of awkward situations. And why would the Germans be so anti-Jewish? Maybe because of business because the Jews were better off than they were. That is to speculate as it were. CB: You mentioned earlier about right at the end there were people eating.
But there were some Jewish people there. How had they survived all that time? TC: Just like everybody else. CB: In hiding. And hungry. Because there was nothing else. All you wanted to do was not to be arrested. Not to be shot.
Save your life. CB: On a lighter note you were cycling without tyres. At the end sometimes they had a little pillow to sit on but that, Oh God, I can still feel it [laughs] CB: What did you carry on the bikes? Was it adults and children with shopping or clothes? Or what did you carry on bikes? TC: Usually it was just to go from A to B. You know, to get somewhere because that was the only transport. There were no trams or buses or anything, trains. Now you can go. That they got away with it.
CB: You mentioned school. CB: So how, how long did school continue? TC: Oh God. There were maybe one or two hours. And in the end, and then of course was the heating. So they had to close the schools. Oh, and that was another thing.
You had staff. Suddenly some members of the staff disappeared. Some of the kids disappeared. Because they were hiding. You know they were obviously [pause] and then school was a dangerous place. TC: They did in the end. CB: They did. The money. That I took so much advantage and courage out of them that they thought I needed a treat. And that was my husband. CB: So you, you went to America to stay with friends. CB: How long did you stay there? TC: About nine months. Dallas — CB: And then you went to Washington.
Was it? TC: Washington and New York. Because that lady amongst that lot living she had a nephew living there. So she went there. So she was there and I could visit her. CB: What made you return to Holland from America? TC: Well, because I needed a future for a job and I was not there for a permanent holiday.
It was just a holiday and nothing else. And I was very grateful. Especially because they loved me so much for my courage. CB: Indeed. CB: So you travelled back by ship. The Nieuw Amsterdam. And where did that go from and to? TC: New York to Amsterdam. CB: And who was on the ship? The south. CB: Which year are we talking about now?
TC: And then I came to England. So that was about high speed I suppose. CB: What was the significance of Hull? TC: It was the only place where I could travel to easily from Holland. He was then in Lincolnshire somewhere. So, and then I taught in Hull and that is where we got married. And I lived upstairs in, in the room above. TC: And, yeah. CB: Then when you were married, where? Then when you were married where was your husband stationed? TC: Driffield.
CB: And what accommodation did you have there? TC: Quarters. And then eventually, you know we moved and put a deposit on a house and so on. So — CB: What other places did you get posted? Did he get posted to.
TC: St Athan. CB: You were in Coningsby or a while. TC: Coningsby. St Athan. Where have I got that little envelope with all the ins and outs? CB: Where? TC: That is in [pause] oh God. Where did you buy the house? TC: The first house we bought. CB: But was that in Lincolnshire? CB: Oh.
It is. And did you get, did he get a posting abroad? Germany of all places. That is where she came from. CB: What was that like? TC: To start with a little apprehensive to say the least. So I could communicate. And we lived amongst the Germans and that was actually a very good therapy for realising they were not all bad. That was, that was usually — CB: What was their reaction to the British? Or 70s? TC: Well, as long as they paid. They were after money.
And they were not particularly so anti-British. Would you like this? CB: Yes please. Thank you. TC: Three years. MATH and writing. And during Covid, the phototgraphy is really hard. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side?
And is that hard? Thea: Full Time. I am lucky to be a second paycheck. I like that you put your phone in the other room!! Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing? Thea: I volunteer at an organization that provides clothing and supplies to kids in need across the state of MA.
I do a little bit of stuff for them from home sometimes and am physically there in the warehouse one day a week. My job is to lead the groups that make sized outfit packs for the kids and make sure they know what we need in each pack and to make sure they are making packs of clothes that the kids can use. Loopy: What a wonderful service you are providing. I imagine those packs are even more needed right now.
Does she knit? Or anyone else in your family? My kids have no interest whatsoever! Loopy: Ha — maybe one day it will appeal to them! They have lots of time to pick it up later. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy? Thea: Cocktails! Loopy: I keep thinking I need a dog to get me out hiking. We all know that is not true. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
It would involve some nature, some town, some good food, and cocktails or a brewery. Loopy: That sounds wonderful! Ok — last question set: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? Sleep is for the weak, apparently. Solids — and the sheepier the better. Loopy: Yay for getting a new puppy!!
Thanks for being with us today. I hope you enjoy perusing them and picking your favorite! Then pop back over to Loopy to pick out the perfect yarn to go with your pattern. Maybe out of Stonehedge. Or Uncommon Lush Worsted. What do you think? Awesome highlight this week! Her work is amazing! Now to get my pictures posted to the Loopy Gallery. Thanks for the spotlight on one of my favorite designers.
I had to add to my collection of her patterns. Now to start knitting. Your email address will not be published.
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