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Quotes

Travelling

“Souvenir sailor dolls/puppets were sold in the ship’s store and I wanted one. When I asked for one, mom told me she had no money for souvenirs. I knew I couldn’t argue with her so I threw a tantrum, ran back to the cabin and hid in the closet to show her a thing or two. When I slammed the closet door shut, the latch fell down on the outside, locking me in. Realizing that no one knew where I was and in the event of the ship sinking, no one would come to my rescue, I panicked. Visions of water rushing in through the porthole came to my mind so I kicked the plastic ventilation cover off the door and called for help as loudly as I could. People ran to get my parents who burst in and freed me from impending doom. I was in such a state that to calm me down, Mom bought each of us a souvenir ship’s sailor doll.” (The Lindeijer Family, 1956)

“I remember that our cabin was either on the same deck or a deck up from the galley area. The smells that emanated from that galley forced most people on the same deck to walk around with cologne soaked handkerchiefs stuck to their faces. It didn’t seem to bother my sister and brother and me. We spent a lot of time making parachutes from string and tissues the oranges came wrapped up in. We’d drop the parachutes down the middle of the large stairwell used to access all decks. A rather large ship’s employee did not appreciate our sense of adventure and fun. She chased after us on several occasions.” (The Lindeijer Family, 1956)

“Our cabin is in the very bottom of the ship and at the very back. Father had to sleep in another area reserved for male passengers only, and a young, newly married woman shares our cabin. Spirits are high and everyone is talking to everyone else finding where everyone is going in their new country. Across the passage from our cabin is a small lounge and people make themselves comfortable, talking, reading, knitting or embroidering as the ship glides out of the river and heads for the English Channel. But, all does not stay calm and placid. Sometime during the night we hit rougher seas and the seasickness starts. The young woman who shares our cabin is the first to become sick, and oh horrors, uses one of the two wash basins in the cabin. In the morning the crew have to come and dismantle all the plumbing and clean up the mess. Since our cabin is in the bottom of the ship, no portholes can be opened so the atmosphere is not to pleasant for a little while, but we have left the cabin to get breakfast and explore the ship. During our stay with relatives, all their family came down with the flu, and the first day out at sea mother becomes ill with the flu and is bedridden for the rest of the voyage. I (Jan) am the next to get sick, and this is seasickness, and am unable to get out of bed for the next five days. Because of my age I am not allowed to have seasick pills and must suffer.” (Ria Wilson, 1952)

“Other than shuffleboard or badminton, there was not much to do for excitement on board the ship, so time passed by slowly. With upwards of 1700 passengers and crew milling about on board the ship there simply was no room for it. As we ran into much foul weather, the ship pitched and rolled and seasickness took its toll with many absentees at mealtimes. Looking at nothing but the giant curvature of the Atlantic Ocean can be very boring. Here and there conversations were struck up among the passengers and some interesting tales surfaced such as the man who brought five hundred lighter flints with him, thinking that these might not be available in Canada. Or, so I’m told, of the gentleman who brought his "moeskei" the nice round rock that used to hold down the lid on his sauerkraut crock. Still another one lugged a small metal strongbox along that he claimed he intended to fill with money in Canada, because it was ‘easy picking’ there!” (Hugh Timmerman, 1950)

“It was June 19th, 1953 when the Bos family boarded the "Groote Beer". It was a beautiful, big ship. We were taken to our cabins, which slept 6 people on bunks. My father and my 5 brothers had a cabin to herself, while my mother, my younger sister and myself shared our cabin with 3 other female passengers. This arrangement worked out very well, as we spent most of our time in the boys’ cabin so we could be together as a family. We had our meals in a large dining room, which were served at 3 different sittings. The food was of the best quality, and the service was excellent. There was entertainment, such as shuffleboard, films and even a library on board. Most people got quite seasick and I was no exception. After a few days, I got used to the rocking of the boat and started eating again. We spent 7 days on the rough ocean.” (Cathy Bos, 1953)