‘This photo was taken at a fancy fair in Mook, in 1946. The poster behind them says: ‘say it with flowers’. They had met at a wedding that year in Utrecht, where Jan lived, and after that wedding they took a walk along the Oudegracht. In the beginning they met in Nijmegen because the direct rail connection between Utrecht and Venlo, where Clim lived, had not yet been restored after the war.
They got married in 1948. Due to the housing shortage, they first lived with Jan’s parents. Clim hated that. They moved a few times in Utrecht and had seven children. Clim would have liked to go to secondary school to become a teacher, just like her sisters. But when her mother became seriously ill, she had to take care of the housework for the large family. It didn’t come from the training school anymore and she always regretted that.
Jan became a librarian. He wrote poetry and published two collections of poetry. The crowning achievement of his career: his job in the 1960s at the Academy for Expression through Word and Gesture in Utrecht. The theater training was a sanctuary for young people. Jan, already in his 50s, grew his beard and bought a denim suit. Clim didn’t like it. Beard and suit soon disappeared again.
We were a truly Catholic family with weekly church attendance. But my parents lost interest as one conservative bishop after another was appointed.
After his retirement, Jan started a family magazine with his twin brother Henk. Clim never really got over Jan’s death. We found the photo of their early happiness after their death.”
A version of this article also appeared in the September 19, 2023 newspaper.