75 How to cover a lifetime in a few hours

Trip Start Apr 21, 2013
Trip End Aug 28, 2013

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Flag of Netherlands  , Utrecht,
Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day 75

July 4 2013

How to cover a lifetime in a few hours

There is a Dutch website called Schoolbank.nl ,(Ted made the right comment below- yes it was Facebook)  translated this means Schoolbench.nl The site lists just about every school there is / was in the Netherlands; ranging from preschool to University and everything in between. When you join, you enter the school names and location  you attended and register the year you left or graduated.  I joined this website about 10 years ago and already had made contact with several old schoolmates. Earlier this year I noticed a new name, Ted Wesselius and wasted no time to contact him; we had not only shared grade five with but he had also had been my school bench buddy, literally, as he and I shared the same seat. We were friends after school hours as well and visited each other's homes however after we moved to grade 6 things faded as grade 6 was split in grade 6A and grade 6B. The kids with the clever brains were in grade 6A and the others (or rather the ones who became clever later) were in 6B.  Ted was a destined for 6A, which was right as he continued his education on a university level later. I praised myself lucky as class 6 A was run by the headmaster/tyrant and 6B by the same, very popular teacher we had endured in grade 5. 

No doubt Ted and I saw and talked to each other sometimes but probably moved on the new friends. After we left school we never saw each other again until…today. Ted and I made contact in February via the school bank website and had shared many stories and anecdotes over the last few months. Ted’s sense of humor is even more sickening than mine so we have already shared many belly laughs via Skype during the preceding months.  We had more contact during my journey as regularly I received comments on the blog site and also Ted, who has a Vietnamese wife, wasted no time getting in contact with Eddie Verdriet and his wife during the Hanoi crises with their very sick baby and supported to fundraising.

Ted lives in the town of Weesp  ( correction: Woerden) , one of very many medieval towns you find around the Netherlands. Many of these towns still have part of their old city walls which till around them or are now in the middle of town.

My GPS showed me the way to cover the 90 km and to got me hopelessly lost during the last 150 meters as Ted lives in a warren of oddly connected streets. In the end I had to ring him to get me home. And there we stood shaking hands and bridging nearly 55 years and 5 seconds.  I followed Ted on his pushbike through the "pedestrians only" street  (hence the GPS confusion).  At home he introduced me to his wife after which we first had coffee and then were off in the car to a nice place near a golf course overlooking the green pastures and cows in the distance. Our conversations went all over the place and were illustrated by a old photo album Ted had brought along.  Ted took notes of things which suddenly came to mind to be addressed later to keep some order in the way we were recollecting the past. After a while we just had to say let’s start at the beginning, what is the earliest you and I remember of each other.  Anyway all interesting and exciting for us but boring for you so I leave it at this.  We shifted to another location for a cup coffee and went home where wife Nga had prepared an excellent Vietnamese meal which we shared with their still young son and daughter. How do you cover 50 odd years in and afternoon and evening- well you can’t. Tomorrow we continue by means of travelling back into time. We take the car and drive to Haarlem to visit the places where we grew up, went to school, went to play and probable look at other places we both know where other schoolmates lived etc. I am looking forward to it. As I mentioned before, Ted’s sense of humor is as sickening as mine if not worse, meaning that we have shared a hell of a lot of laughs already and no doubt there are more to come.
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Ted Wesselius on

Hi there, during the heart warming stay of Richard at my place the two of us had also some intereseting discusssion about the 'short time memory" of each of us. That is; if I remember well of course ;-( However, the funny thing is that Richard refers to the fact we met at the schoolbank website. Hmm, we didn't ........You found me at Facebook. Forgot ? Anyhow, that is totally unimportant. As unimportant as the fact I am living in Woerden and not in Weesp as you wrote !!! Just kidding Richard......

I am tremendously happy that you not only remembered my name but also took the initiative to contact me, some months ago. We exchanged a lot of info about our lives which- whether it regards positive or negative episodes - is always a fantastic experience for open minded people.

Richard is a good guy. Me and my dear Nga are glad that he passed by. Let us keep in touch please.

Eddie on

Wonderful to read. Those kind of meetings are unforgettable and bring more. My meeting with wonderful Richard brought us in contact too and that's how you got a close view if our life as a NL-vnese couple living in Vietnam. All perfect and I hope to see Richard again n August when I am back in Deventer. Thanks Richard, Ted and Nfa.

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