Introducing Henk and Hetty

Hendrik
Hendrik, my grandfather (1926-1990)

This old chap is my grandfather, Hendrik. He was born in Bredevoort, Holland, the place where he also grew up.

After school my grandfather became a marinier, serving in the US navy. He went on to Indonesia and served there at the frontline, collecting the wounded and the dead. I am quite proud of him. Together with his team they each received a medal for saving a company from the Japanese.

Hetty, my grandmother
Hetty, my grandmother

During that time of his life he met Hetty, my grandmother. She had to flee from the Japs who invaded her home in Mlang and found shelter in a barn of farmers who gave her the permission to stay there. The family that took her in hiding was very kind to her and gave her pots and pans for her to cook with in return for some odd jobs at the farm.

My grandfather noticed her in the farm while driving by one day. Not long after he surprised her with a little goat, that he gave to her as a gift.

Fast forward to some distant future. After many years, now living in Bruges, Belgium, being married and having their three children all grown up, her elder daughter Mary-Elizabeth, who is my aunty Marlies, welcomed the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints into her home. Together with her husband, uncle Jaques, they got baptized and thus joined the Church as the first members in their region. My aunty and uncle told my grandmother Hetty about their discovery, the restoration of the gospel and many other things. After investigating it my grandmother decided to get baptized as well.

But, this was much to the dismay of Henk, who was not a religious man. And when my grandmother told him that she was going to get baptized he got bloody angry. He even forbade her from joining what he called “the mormons.”

Luckily, my grandmother is a fighter. She rung her voice and argued with him, “if you may go to soccer games on Sundays, have a drink and play pool with your friends, then I may do what I want on Sundays, even if that includes going to church!”

But, when Henk found out that she was going to pay tithings as well, that’s when he exploded. “A tenth of our income being donated to their treasury!? No! No way they are taking our money!”

But, Hetty did not give in. She claimed autonomy and stood her ground. As she had her own job she told him that she was going to give a tenth of her own income, that it was none of his business. Finally the argument ended, but with her leaving him and staying with her daughter until he accepted her choice, or not…

So, my grandfather was suddenly all by himself in an empty house. Days passed. Weeks passed. And visitors came to meet them. But, she not being home, Henk had to do the chores. Henk had to explain the situation to them, that Hetty was staying with her daughter. It made him uncomfortable to say the least. And, he missed her. so, her absence became a burden which became heavier and heavier until he couldn’t bear it anymore.

In the end, Henk apologized to Hetty and asked her to come back, which she did smilingly.

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