80 years of ^ around the world

When on Sunday 21.12.1930 the family doctor, who had come off the icy road, knoc-ked at the van Belle residence in Brussels, Jean-Jacques was just half an hour old. His Dutch parents, francophile and nature lo-ving, had named him after Rousseau. An eye infection, caused them in 1932 to move to Kijkduin, a seaside village near The Hague. To his parents’ great relief the infection disappeared and JJ was able to see the Zep-pelin Hindenburg, with a passenger list emulating Who is Who, cruising towards its horrific inferno, just before landing at Lake-hurst New Jersey! In May 1940, he witnessed a nasty, unfair match, Germany vs Holland. the outcome of which was overruled by the Allied Forces in May 1945. In 1942 JJ set fire to the Mookerheide, a stretch of heathe, and famous battleground, of April 1574, against the Spaniards. The German FLAK had placed anti aircraft guns at a high point, and when an Allied plane, dropped on the house of JJ’s class mate, he set fire in three direc-tions, to the bone dry heather. All the guns were lost and the culprit was never found!!

The last 20 months of the war, JJ worked on a farm, seven days a week, just for food. After the war hewent to work at AMROH, American Radio House, manufacturers and importers of radio equipment, going to school at night. In 1948 he was invited to visit his penfriend Paul Flemming, in Copenhagen. He sold his radio at an auction in Amsterdam. During the bidding, it played beautful music, rather laudly, which might be the reason that it fetched 200 Guilders. Which was sufficient to finance his trip, and have a marvellous time in Denmark. Not knowing then, that his friend’s father, who owned Soldat, Scandinavia’s first advertising agency, was to be of great help 11 years later. Prior to being drafted for military service, in 1950, JJ spent three weeks in France. Hitchhiking to the Mediterranee and spending a week in Paris, he was back in time to start his two year tour of duty in the Regiment of the Grenadier Guards. At a parade in The Hague, not looking old enough to be in uniform, Queen Juliana, shaking his hand, inquired about JJ’s age. Due to an accident, he was “released” a year earlier than his comrades. On his 22nd birthday JJ embarked upon a freighter to New York, with his entire fortune of $ 200.- Through a bulbgrower and exporter, where JJ had worked during a vacation, he got his passage at 50% discount. In New York he stayed at the YMCA, and found a job at Schraft’s on Times Square, selling Ice Cream and Cookies.

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