Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

To Remember

The invincibility of Youth

My parents experiences of life in occupied Holland as kids were similar, yet at the same time, very different. He was a city boy. She grew up in a small village surrounded by idyllic countryside and farms. I loved to listen to her stories. She had a piglet, she raised like a dog. It lived in the house, and had a bed by the fire. Though they didn’t have large farm animals of their own, they were surrounded by farms and livestock. The horse next door, fell into the narrow ditch surrounding its pasture on a regular basis. The canals and ditches by my mother’s home were similar to box drains. Once an animal slips in, it can’t get out. All the local kids would get together, to pull the hapless horse out. My mother loved being able to help that horse, or cow, or sheep. She loved all animals. I always grinned when she told the story of the horse, because it was white. It would come out of the water all dark and muddy, just like a childhood joke. Want to hear a dirty joke? A white horse fell into the mud.
She had a way with animals, all animals. I remember how the neighbours Shetland pony, Chief would crawl under the pasture rail, and go visit my mother. She would sit on the front steps, sipping coffee, Chief contentedly standing close enough for pats and scratches. But I digress. This is a story about my mother, as a young girl.
At the beginning of the second world war, her father was working for a farmer. He was killed in an accident between the team of horses pulling a farm wagon that he drove, and an oncoming car. At eleven years old, and with the danger of war, she was left fatherless. The youngest in a big family, she and her mother were soon on their own, as older brothers fled far into the countryside, to escape being forced to fight for the German army. Her older sisters fled with their husbands. It was wartime, and they were alone.
Despite that, my mother still had many wonderful memories, which is testament to the resilience of children. When the bombs dropped, they would run into the house, and stand in the hallway away from windows and doors. They knew to run, when they heard the whistle of sound, and covered their ears to the boom of explosions. As soon as the present danger subsided, the kids would play in the crater. A bomb even dropped in the backyard, blowing in windows and doors. Though she was told not to, of course my mother couldn’t stay out of the crater.
It wasn’t very long, before the general population was beginning to starve. Aware of the dire situation, the Allied forces dropped care packages to the people. They were dropped over empty fields so they could be easily found. The problem with that was, the occupying army also watched where care packages came down. It was a race to see who would reach the drop first. The local kids would run as fast as they could, bury the packages, then hide from the solders who were definitely going to arrive. Under the protection of pitch darkness, they would creep from their homes late at night, to dig up and bring home, the much needed supplies.
I can only imagine how dangerous a task it was, yet my mother told the story, as if it had been an exciting adventure. She was only a young girl when the war started, yet she kept her kind nature and sense of humour. My parents were incredibly brave when children.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB