Column: escaping the Germans, a goat and healing a broken arm

Observer columnist Bert De Vink on his childhood trials and tribulations in the Netherlands

After I took a dare to cross a fenced little meadow and was hit in my bum by a mean old billy goat, I was lying in the grass in excessive pain and bleeding while the goat was staring at me.

Then, a man appeared, who drove the goat away and lifted me over the fence. He took me to the doctor’s office just past the school, riding on the luggage rack of his bike.

Since Yselmonde was a village built along both sides of an old dike, the doctor’s office stood out because it had an office and small waiting room added.

The doctor carried me into the office and put me on a bench, face down. He then asked the man who got me there to help him keep me down.

A moment later, I thought I went through the roof. I know I screamed and tried to hit those who were subduing me. It took a while, and then the pain started to subside.

The doctor bandaged me up, and the kind stranger got me home on the back of his bike. Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was crying again – riding on the luggage rack of a bicycle with a very sore bum will do that.

When my mom saw me with my bloody pants and leg and holding the hand of a stranger, she screamed and cried. The strange man explained the whole story, including that the doctor’s office had been raided by German soldiers just before I got there. The soldiers took all the pain medication, from aspirin to drugs, for their wounded comrades. My wound was cleaned with iodine and only a little bit of disinfectant, and that was why the person who got me there had to help hold me down.

The man had coffee with my mom and I got milk, and that is how the stranger eventually became Uncle Jan.

My dad went to Rotterdam again and came back with the good news that the last place we lived was saved except for all the window glass. The place could only be reached with three-wheeled transport bikes that had big wooden boxes.

My dad was upset because the Rotterdam he knew was totally gone, with sunken boats and demolished cranes in the harbours.

Eventually, our home in Yselmonde was home again with our own things. This included my scooter with real rubber tires. It was a little too big for me, but I could handle it.

In our yard was a clothes line with a post three-quarters down the yard. I used to race my scooter around the post, until one day the scooter skidded and I fell with my right arm against the pole and broke my arm. My mom took me on the bus to the doctor. My arm was hanging in a 90-degree angle just below my elbow.

The bus stopped right in front of the doctor’s office, and when the doctor saw me, he said to my mom: “I don’t think this kid will get very old. This is the second accident within two months.”

Bert de Vink is a regular Observer contributor. Part 1 of Bert’s story was published in the April 4 edition of the Observer, and part 2 was published on April 25.

Just Posted

British Columbia Rodeo Association releases tentative 2019 schedule

The BCRA season opens with the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo April 26-28, comes to Quesnel July 19-21

Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre wins $500 for Deeds Well Done

There were 28 nominations to the campaign in Quesnel

Quesnel Thunder Peewees win silver at home

The host hockey team beat squads from Northwest District, Kamloops, Smithers and Prince George

Quesnel’s 27th annual Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run attracting mushers from as far as Montana

Participantss will be sworn in as official Canada Post mail carriers Jan. 25 in Quesnel

Protecting your operation from wildfire the focus of upcoming workshop in Quesnel

The BC Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative hosts a risk reduction workshop Jan. 31

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read