Lost, then Found!

It is almost four years since my (our) mother died and we went through all her "stuff" carefully to pick up and not lose things important to her history.

But now our daughter Rachel, in packing up some of her Grandma's decorative tins, found an odd one with a lid on top as well as on bottom, making a false bottom.  This was done on purpose.  Inside was a letter:

What does it say?  What it says is important for the insight it provides.  But the hiding place and condition of the letter suggest that it was important and very personal.

The letter was well hidden, it was looked at a number of times and then put away again, or so it appears.  It had been opened, closed, and folded enough times to cause breaks in the paper.  It must have been important to Adriana.  Why?  Because of its content? Only in part.

One thing I did not discuss in the very short biographical sketch about Adriana (linked above and below) is that she and her mother did not get along.

When her mother came back from America (unwillingly) all her children came out of the orphanage and rejoined her, except one, Adriana.  My mother chose instead to go live with people who had employed her and treated her well.  Those people became just like grandparents to us kids.

Adriana married "Jaap" during the war, and two kids were born, one as a result of a furlough from his slave-labor in Germany.  (Jaap was called Jack in the US). Adriana's mother was very much against this marriage, even tried to talk her into breaking it up after the fact.  

On very infrequent visits by her mother to her home, her mother treated her poorly, making demands on her as if she was the servant in the house rather than the lady of the house.

Here is a photo of her mother, and one of her sisters, Agatha, on a visit to Adriana's house (Adriana is the one in the middle).

When in turn she went to visit her mother, which was not often, her mother would immediately attempt to set her to doing heavy cleaning jobs in her house.  

She was her Cinderella.

When Adriana left for America with her family her mother was not friendly at all, perhaps she hated the idea of her daughter, especially this daughter, getting to do what she tried to do years before but failed.  My mother said that if they had left her alone she would have set up shop in New York and sent for the kids, as was the plan.  She was a very astute business-woman and was not abandoning them.

A year after arriving in America, Adriana's mother died.

I had the impression that there had occurred some sort of reconciliation just before that time, but had no idea what this reconciliation had consisted of.  


Grandmother was a religious woman, she was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church and active in its community.  So the surprise is not that the letter is couched in very religious terms.  The surprise, and I suspect what made this letter precious to Adriana is that this letter is a blessing on both her and her husband, from her "loving" mother, belatedly.  It must have been written shortly before she died.  

Hence its importance, and hiding it thoroughly was her way of preserving it for herself.

So what does it say?  I am assuming that the first word starting the next-to-the-last paragraph, the darker word, Kom (=Come), is the one that belongs there.  In that case, this is approximately what it says (my translation: the very personal portions are in a larger font size):

Kom tot den Heiland toef langer niet
Kom nu tot Hem die redding in bied
Die ook  voor den Hemel verliet
Toef langer niet maar kom

Heerlijk heerlijk zal ít ontmoeten zijn
Als met harten gansch van zonden rein
Wij met de Heiland daarin zullen zijn
Toef langer niet maar kom

Kom al toch bedenken Hij is nabij
Hij is nabij
Volg dan zijn stem ook U maakt Hij vrij
Luister Hij spreekt tot U en tot mij
Kom tot Mij.  Zondaars kom

Nu Jaen en Jaap ik zal je hier wel niet
Weerzien maar ik pleit voor jullie
Eens bij der Heiland

Je liefhebbende Moeder

English translation:

Come to the Savior, stay no longer
Come now to Him that offers rescue
Who departed for Heaven
Stay no longer, but come

Delightful, delightful will our meeting be!
With hearts completely cleaned of sin
We will be in that place with the Savior
Stay no longer, but come

Come already, consider that He is near
He is near
Follow then His voice, He also makes you free
Listen He speaks to you and to me
Come to Me, sinners, come.

Now Jeanne and Jaap I will not meet you again here
But I will plead for you to the Savior

Your loving Mother

It is no wonder my mother, our mother, Adriana, treasured this letter!  It was her last communication from her mother, it was perhaps hoped for but really unexpected, and it addressed both her and her husband with love and respect.

This is a very touching find!  Thanks, Rachel!  --Dad--

Go to Adriana Biographical Sketch Page

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