Last weekend I received a message from my niece Lisa, the daughter of my brother who lives in Canada. Lisa got interested in her family history lately and she asked me if I knew something about it and if I could share some stories…
When I picked up scrap booking (back in 2006) I started by scrapping my family tree and I asked my family for old pictures… it turned out my parents as well as uncles had quite some old photos and I scanned every photo I could lay my hand on. There were a lot of background stories with the photos as well, that I got to hear from my dad and uncles. (I recommended Lisa to email my dad – her grandfather – as he knows a lot about it.)
Lisa’s question brought me digging into my old scrapbook-albums and blog – and I came across an old layout ánd story that I posted on my blog in February 2009. I think it is nice to share it again… so here’s for you Lisa!
Watching the world go by…
… that’s what he did, Jan Maljers.
My great great grandfather.
(Yep, that’s two times “great” and not a typing error)
He sat there in his chair and watched the world go by…
Meet my great great grandfather Jan Maljers. (1845 – 1941)
On this photo he’s one old dude, and he just seems to sit there…
…but when you take a closer look, he smiles at you! In his hand he holds a pipe and he has that twinkle in his eye…
he was very much alive still!
A LITTLE SOMETHING ABOUT JAN MALJERS
After I posted this layout in 2009 I received an email from my dad with additional information about Jan Maljers. It’s a fine little story about Jan!
First, here’s a short version of the family tree that includes the people this story is about so you can take a look at the connections too…
The things my dad wrote about Jan Maljers:
(first in Dutch, translation in English after that)
“De bijnaam van Jan Maljers was Jan Kuper (of de kuper) Hij werd 96 jaar, stierf in 1941, ik zag hem nooit. Tante Jans kon er mooi over vertellen. Ze deed daarbij haar ogen dicht, waarschijnlijk om binnenin te kunnen kijken. Jan was timmerman, vandaar mogelijk zijn bijnaam kuper, een verzeeuwsing van kuiper. Iemand die houten vaten maakte of repareerde. Jan kuper ging op zijn negentigste jaar nog mee jagen. Jagen was toen nog niet omstreden en deel van het boerenleven.
Op zijn tachtigste jaar kocht hij bij zijn schoonzoon (Eine Brasser, bijgenaamd Eine Kaan) een driewielfiets. Eine Brasser gaf aan mensen die een fiets bij hem kochten desgewenst ook fietsles, maar dat wilde de oude Jan niet, vandaar de driewieler. Die fiets had hij nodig om zelfstandig naar Biggekerke te kunnen rijden en aldaar zijn dochter Maria te bezoeken.
Het verhaal wil dat hij altijd middenop de weg bleef rijden. Ook wanneer hem soms een auto achterop kwam, of de bus bijvoorbeeld, hield hij zijn koers vast. “Ze rien je zommè nie dôôd” was desgevraagd zijn commentaar. Er is nog een mooie foto van hem met die fiets voor de winkel van “oba” Brasser.” (En ja, die heb ik hier, zie einde blogpost)
“The nickname of Jan Maljers was Jan “Barrel”. He died in 1941, when he was 96 years of age. Aunt Jans could tell great stories about him. When she did, she closed her eyes. Probably to look inside herself. Jan was a carpenter. That possibly explains his nickname, “Barrel-maker”, someone who makes or repairs wooden barrels. Jan still went hunting when he was ninety. Hunting was not questionable and a part of the farmer live in those days.
When Jan was eighty, he bought a tricycle from his son in law Eine (who was a cycle repairer). Eine gave people who bought a bicycle also lessons (if desired) in how to ride a bike but old Jan didn’t want that. That’s why he bought a Tricycle. Jan lived in another village, and he needed the bike to ride to Biggekerke independently to visit his daughter Maria.
The story goes that Jan always rode in the middle of the street. Even when a car or a bus drove right behind him he hold his course. “They won’t bump up against you just like that…” he commented in Zeeuws. There still is a nice picture of him with his tricycle in front of the store of grandpa Brasser somewhere…”
I have exactly that photo!
I hope not only Lisa, but you too liked this ‘buried treasure’ – it’s a ‘golden oldie’ indeed!