Boukje Kooistra: Birth: 6 OCT 1904 in Uithuizermeeden, Groningen , Nederland. Death: 30 JAN 1992 in Groves Memorial Hospital, Fergus, Nichol Twp, Wellington Co, Ontario, Canada
Note: Elsje had at least three children, Boukje (Beatrice), Bien and Derk (Dick). It is speculated that Boukje was born out of wedlock in 1904. The identity of her biological father is unknown. It is also speculated that Bien was born out of wedlock in 1907 and may have shared a common biological father with Boukje. Elsje married Harm Trienzenberg in 1910 and Derk was born in 1915 Boukje was fostered in the home of H. Soldaat & family until her marriage in 1926. It is unclear how well she knew her half-sister, Bien. They were only 3 years apart, so it can be assumed they knew each other as children to some degree. There is a photograph of Boukje as a child with another young girl. It is assumed that the other young girl is her sister, Bien. Approximately 11 years separated Dick and Boukje. Boukje was pretty much on her own or with her foster family by the time Dick was born. They did not actually meet as adults until 1979 when Boukje was 75 years old and Dick 64. He had spent the later years of his life searching for his lost sister. Sadly, he past away about 6 months after the joyful reunion. What became of Bien is unknown. Beatrice passed away in 1992 at the age of 87. Harm, Elsje, Jan and Derk emmigrated from Rotterdam to Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA; June 9th, 1920 aboard the S.S. Noordam Elsje's obituary claims she had 2 brothers and 2 sisters surviving in Nederland. *** That Cold October Morning by Marty Bootsman Don't cry for me--I'm off to Kalamazoo! Sounds like the title of some sleazy off-Broadway musical, but it's actually a destination for true. Next week, I will make the 12-hour roundtrip journey from my home in Ontario, Canada to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Why? To answer this question, travel back with me to 1904. * In February 1904, the USA wisely and meagerly spent $10-million to gain control of the Panama Canal and thus a stranglehold on the world�s flow of travel & trade. * From April to August 1904, St. Louis, Missouri - in its modest splendour - simultaneously played host to the World�s Expositive Fair and the Games of the III Olympiad. * In the first week of October 1904, a baby girl (my grandmother) was born to a 17-year-old unwed teenager in the tiny village of Uithuizermeeden in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. All front-page news, excepting the birth of my grandmother. The details of my grandmother's conception and birth were never made clear for fact that she herself did not know them. She knew only that the austere and dogmatic foster-family that had raised her was not her own. And she was "raised" only in the sense that her childhood years fleeted by in a flurry of arduous chores and thankless domestic-service. Without genuine nurturance, what kind of adults do children become? It would seem that this question is one for the ages; its answer as random as the very fibers that somehow wove themselves into my grandmother's benignant soul. My grandmother's life took a fortuitous turn in 1926 when she married my grandfather. Three years later, they would immigrate to Canada and begin a pioneer life equivocally difficult as her own unfortunate fostering, but with incalculably more joy and love. To my memory, this said joy and love was evident in all aspects of my grandmother's life, save her own childhood memories and the distorted image she had churned of her biological mother. She held joy nor love for neither. In 1992, my grandmother passed away, harbouring I am sure, a restless discontent for her forsaking bio-mom. She knew nothing of her. She miffed at any speculation that her mother might have loved her; might have done what she thought was best for both of them at the time. Circumstances change with the times, but perhaps intentions and motives � good or bad � never do. We can not know. I am going to Kalamazoo next week to find the grave of my great-grandmother; the teenaged girl that my grandmother - simply or complexly - could not love. Her name is Elsie and she died in 1941 at the age of 54. In her whole life, she shared nothing with her daughter except some DNA and the fact that she was equally forsaken that cold October morning in 1904. Marty "People pay for what they do, and still more, for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it simply, by the lives they lead." ~Edith Wharton 1862-1937
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