Visser Family Story
The Visser-story is one of a thousand similar Duth family-stories.
The father, Dirk Visser, was born in 1906 at Oud-Beijerland, a village in an island called Hoeksche Waard, south of the big port Rotterdam in Holland.
He was one of many children, please see the Visser Family Tree, and very unfortunate his father died at a very young age.
The whole family had a very hard time especially during the 1920 and 1930's, the years in which the western hemisphere was hampered by the economic crisis. Due to this reason no pictures are available of this time.
This picture of his mother shows her in the traditional local dressing. What is not shown is, she suffered from deafness. As a young child we remembered, we had to speak to her through a big copper horn. The other end of this horn was placed in one of her ears.
Dirk Visser's initial job was a shoemaker and the repair of shoes. Why is this "repair" added? Well, his was really skilled in manufactoring shoes from two or three sorts of leather and shoes with a really nice shape and colour. During the economic crisis in the late 1930's he changed his profession into that of a postman, the biggest aim at that time was a secure job.
The mother, Neeltje van der Waal, was born in a small village Piershil, at the same island Hoeksche Waard. She was one of 5 children, 4 girls and 1 boy. She had a "normal" childhood in the very countryside type of village and paid interest in nearly everything. Unfortunately no pictures were taken during her childhood. A picture of her parents is available.
Here is also the local dressing, "dracht" in Dutch, with golden ornaments at both sides of the head. The father of Neeltje van der Waal, Leendert was his name, was a very muscial type and liked to sing. He also had a lot of fun and was very optimistic in his view at things.
Dirk Visser and Neeltje van der Waal became to know each other and finally they married in 1938.
This wedding picture shows the style of picturing during that time and a special setting. But it is of good quality, even in 2001! Finding a home to live in, was very difficult at that time but they succeeded very well in finding a proper house. They never moved house.
May 1940 was in Holland the start of the World War II and the German occupation started. Initially life looked normally but gradually life became difficult, like obtaining the normal things of life. Initially food was not a problem but it became later a terrible problem. In september 1940 a son was born (Ingen). In 1944 the Dutch laborers were forced to assist the Germans in maintaining public life in Germany. To clear things up, this was not voluntary but force was put upon. Many throusands of laborers had to go to Germany and not only Dutch. FatherDirk had to go to Germany (Nurenberg) to assist the German mail-system. It was not a nice time for him, because the city of Nurenberg was bombarded heavely by the Allied forces, because is was a vital crossing in the transport of goods, mail, weapons.
He fortunately survived and returned to Holland late 1945.
His wife Neeltje had to cope with the situation taking care of her sun, her parents and her self. Life was very difficult as in nearly every occupied country. Finally the war was over in Holland in 1945, but Holland was in a very bad shape. The total infrastructure in Holland was nearly destroyed, no economy. A lot of the country-side was flooded and many cities completely destroyed, Rotterdam and Arnhem being the worst.
In 1946 a second child was born and given the name Leendert. One must realise that in Holland, perhaps in more countries, the children names were related to the Christian-names of their grand-parents. People found the name too long and called him Leo.
Before and after the 2nd World-War the familyhabit was to pay a visit to the parents every sunday. The trip to the parents in Piershil (parents of the mother) was made either by train or bike. Both children keep good memories about these visits.
In this summary the the father of Neeltje van der Waal, Leendert was his name, was mentioned. He was a very brave man and he started to learn cycling when he was already 60 years old.
One day, the story goes, he was biking and could not stop properly. He then "parked" his bike between the forelegs of a horse!
Life went on in Holland and it became better. The economy grew better and life became more interesting. In 1953 the western part of Holland was flooded by a NorthWest-gale in which more then 1800 people drowned. Also the island in which the Visser-family lived, was hit and a lot of land was flooded, but the part of Oud-Beijerland nearly escaped.
This picture, Dirk and Neeltje, sitting behind their house, was taken in the early 1960's.
In 1963 the mother Neeltje died of ovarian-cancer and family life was totally disrupted. The father Dirk Visser lived on with his sun Leo. In 1970 the son Leo married and left house. The father then moved into a smaller house, close to this eldest sun. He was
very fond of his grand-children and they loved their grand father. His most faverable hobby was fishing with his grandson nearby his house. He showed a never ending patience while he was with his grand-children.
In 1978 he showed diabetic and in 1979 he did not recover from a coma caused by this disease.
Both his children keep very good memories about their parents.
Please pay attention to the Visser Family Tree.