This is a translated copy of a letter written to Adriaan van der Sande in Dutch, by his brother-in-law Jan Schot. Jan was married to Adriaanís sister Maatje van der Sande. It is in response to a letter written by Adriaan for a copy of his birth certificate so he could apply for citizenship. The original letterís whereabouts is unknown. The letter was translated by a friend of David Vander Sandeís, ďA.R.Ē on 15 Mar 1984. The translatorís notes and comments are attached at the end of this file. This original was received from David Vander Sande 1 Apr 1999, enhanced & scanned by Scott A. Vander Sande, 4 Apr 1999.
Remember when you write back, our house-number is now 82.
20 December 1937
Dear brother-in-law and sister
Through Godís mercy received your letter in reasonable well being on 25 November and learned from it that both of you too are still enjoying good health for which we thank God. We had already often said to each other one just doesnít hear any news from America, who knows, maybe & Adri is still alive. And then we received your letter on 24 November, your sister Maatjeís birthday, she turned 76 years old. You had not been aware of that or did not know it because you did not mention it in your letter but we will overlook that.*
Well, dear brother-in-law, and sister, it is a privilege for all of us to still be alive and reasonably healthy, Maatje still does her work, sheís much bothered by rheumatism but, as they say, old age comes with infirmities, and oftentimes that is true. Well, so far we are still doing quite well too, our children are still doing well too and still care about us quite well. Mina lives in Haarlem and is unmarried as of yet, and Arie lives in Middelburg and has 5 children and has been working in Bergen op Zoom for 16 years already, and one of Pietís boys is shipís carpenter, and Jan, that is the oldest, is fisherman and is doing well too. Heís already 50 years of age and has no children.
So donít think we are not getting old. I, your brother-in-law, am 77 years old and am terribly deaf, can hardly hear a thing without an aid. And your brother Jan just turned 85 years old and is still quite healthy too. We visited him that evening and had a nice evening. And your sister Janne too is still doing reasonably well. Rather often she has to send for the doctor from time to time, but from time to time things are not too good. (sic)
Well, Lucasí old aunt Geert died this past summer, she was 89 years old. She died peacefully. And your brother-in-law Flip Wessel is also still alive, he is also very old and still doing well. So now I have written you how things are with our family. Well, brother-in-law, you also wrote that, once you turn age 65 in America, that you are no longer allowed to work for someone else. Well, itís the same thing here, you get old age pension then and that is better where you are then it is here. Here it is f.12.00 (12 guilders) per month. Well, you wrote that your wife also earns 48 dollars per month, so you are fortunately doing fine, and it is fortunate that you have such a good wife who is good for you in your old age. Well, you should respect her and be good to her, as you have a home.**
Well, you hope we will excuse you for having waited so long to write, well, fortunately you are still alive, and do it (i.e. write) more often in the future. And how close we are again to the end of the year and I and the family shall wish you both a Happy New Year and may the Lord save you both for and with each other for many years to come.
Well, brother-in-law and sister, we wish you Godís indispensable blessing for time and eternity. And it could well be the last time we are writing you as there is but a step between us and death. Well, I wrote you one thing and another and hope it will please you. Well, brother-in-law and sister, excuse me for not having written sooner. We are sending you now a photograph of your brother-in-law Jan Schot and your sister Maatje. I think you will not recognize us any more. I think it (the photograph 1 ) will please you. Well, furthermore we hope you may receive this in good health, furthermore from everyone greetings and kisses and a blessed New Year, and greetings especially from our children and us both and the best of health.
Second letter written by Jan Schot
Tholen 21 February 1938
Dear brother-in-law and sister
Received your letter that you wrote on 4 February in good health and through Godís mercy in reasonable well-being on 17 February and saw in it that you both too are enjoying good health which pleases us all.
We had not at all expected to receive a letter from you, but after having read the letter well, it was a request by you if we would ask for your birth certificate at the townhall. Well, brother-in-law, I did something about it and we did not know exactly how old you were, we thought 68 years, but if you may live to see it, you will be 70 years old already on 24 June. Do you know that yourself?
Well, brother-in-law, your marriage ďbookletĒ (unofficial certificate) was still at your sister Jannaís and I went to get it and took it along to townhall, so as soon as it is prepared I will send it, but itís not easy for us because that certificate has to have a seal and the cost is two guilders, especially*** the postage. Well, we shall see that weíll help you if that is to your advantage to be able to receive your pension monthly. We hope that you may receive it in good order.
You also wrote you had received our letter in good health and also the portrait of me with your sister. Were you able to recognize us, brother-in-law, you did not write anything about that? You can tell we are getting old, canít you? We are worry that itís so hard for you to write. Yes, brother-in-law, we are all approaching the evening of our life and we put the day of death far off, and yet it can be so near. (We) see that and itís experienced each moment that we do not have a permanent city here.
Well, brother-in-law, may the Lord grant us to seek that future city whose artist is God. Because it shall be true that after death awaits an eternal life or an eternal doom, there is no third way. Have you ever thought about this, brother-in-law, or isnít there a God for you in America? Well, may God open the eyes of all of us and reveal to us our needs and danger, because of our sins, to seek recourse in Jesus Christ, the only salvation for poor and shy sinners. Well, Iíll leave it at this.
Well, brother-in-law, you wrote that you are not lacking anything and that your wife earns quite a bit and you some as well for the time being. That is fortunate and adds to that good health so when you also get some pension (you) will be getting your livelihood.
Well, brother-in-law, here in Tholen there isnít plenty either, many (are) unemployed and have to live from assistance. At the moment it is also winter, with snow and cold. Well, brother-in-law, through Godís mercy we are all still doing fine, your brother, Jan, and your sister, Janna, and the children as well, You are cordially greeted by all and wished the best of health and Godís indispensable blessing.
Well, if your brother, Jan, may live to see the day, he will be 84 years old on 14 November, and sister Janna 74 years old on 27 February, and sister Maatje 77 years old on 24 November and brother-in-law Jan Schot 78 years old on 4 September. Write that down in a book so you know it. Well, you must know that our royal family was increased by a Princess; all of the Netherlands celebrated. Well, brother-in-law, as soon as you have received the certificate you must write back, that will satisfy us for the trouble weíve gone through on your behalf. Well, on your portrait you clearly look as if you are 50 years old.
Well, the letter (page) is filling up and I must end, I could write another page, but then it will be too heavy and then it will cost postage.
Well, I kept my promise again, that as long as I am able I will always write you back and in case something happens in the family I will write you, if I may live to see the day because it could also happen that I would not be there any longer.
Well, brother-in-law, receive greetings from your brother Jan and his children, also from sister Janna and the children and also from your brother-in-law J. Schot and your sister Maatje and our children. They are giants, those of ours, brother-in-law, they are such big men, I wish you could see some time!
These are the footnotes and comments by the original translator (15 Mar 1984):
*Dutch people make a much bigger thing out of birthdays, young as well as old. Celebrating and congratulating are always in order.
**Home here in the sense of haven, rather than a house.
*** I have a feeling they used the Dutch word bijzonder erroneously here; or perhaps in that part of the country (and at the time?) Bijzonder (= especially) and Uitgezonderd (= with the exception of; aside from) had become intermixed.
-Throughout, I have kept as strictly to the Dutch text as I possibly could, which at times makes for ďclumsyĒ reading. Sometimes too, the Dutch itself was clumsy.
-Sentences often ran together, some I broke up, or I placed commas, but not always. Nor did I really follow a ĒguidelineĒ or attempt to be regular in this.
-The words in parentheses are my comments or explanations. Or an extra word I put in for better (more clear) reading.
-The December letter mentions sister Janne, whereas throughout in the February letter she is mentioned as Janna.
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