THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING PORTRAIT
Continuation of 2021
Gallery Ava Riss
It was the day before Sinterklaas that Phlip ushered Teddy Rockwell into the gallery where he would meet his angel on Earth: Mieke.
Dina and Mina had carefully chosen Mieke’s long-sleeved silk dress—soft foam-green with a white cloudlike print enhancing her hazel eyes. Her dark brown hair, parted in the middle, was pulled back into a chignon—showing off her oval face.
Mieke stood in front of the lit fireplace holding in both hands her white fan when the two men entered. Tony and Mina rushed up to welcome them. Poldie and Dina joined Mieke. Johan came with a tray, offering Mosel. They cheered Teddy’s “homecoming”. Tony told him how much he had enjoyed reading about angels and the afterlife.
Mina guided the party to the back room decorated with yellow-painted wooden shoes filled with hay and green apples. Phlip was showing Teddy a canal scene on the easel, Johan’s oeuvre, when, out of the blue, Kasper showed up with a red-and-gold-wrapped parcel.
“Mieke!” Kasper shouted. All smiles, he came and kissed her on both cheeks. “I have a present for you. Happy Sinterklaas!” and he gave her the parcel.
All eyes turned to the couple.
Phlip put his hand on Teddy’s arm and said, “Dina told me that Kasper comes often to Laren for a chat with Nico. He, also, has grown very fond of Mieke, Dina said. She hopes he’ll propose one day.”
Teddy looked at his watch. “I’ve a meeting with a Dutch art collector in fifteen minutes.” He waved at the party admiring Kasper’s gift. “I’m giving a dinner party tomorrow at my hotel. Phlip, please invite Mieke, her mother and uncle, so we can chat at leisure.”
Phlip stood at the window watching Teddy enter the hired automobile. Dina joined him.
“Your scheme worked like a charm,” Phlip said in a low voice. “Tomorrow we have dinner at hotel Amstel.”
“Wonderful,” Dina said as she squeezed his arm. “Kasper will be thrilled to get his dream fulfilled. I’ll sign the document before he says goodbye forever to our Mieke.”
“I agreed to help you, Dina,” Phlip said, “because Teddy and I have formed a deep friendship. And Mieke will cement the bond.”
“I need to be alone with Kasper and Mina.” Dina went to the back room. “Please Phlip, take Mieke, Tony and Johan to our café.”
At the office, Mina sat behind the desk on which was a handwritten document. To her left, Dina and Kasper smiled at each other—like parakeets ready to pair.
“Kasper,” Mina said, “I understand that you met Adam da Costa at law school in Leyden.”
Kasper nodded. “Adam is from a prominent family in Curacao. They run a law firm in Willemstad.” He took Dina’s hand. “Adam offered me a partnership. When I told Dina, she suggested I fulfill my dream.” He pointed at the document. “Adam was forthcoming. He told me that a down-payment of half the amount would be agreeable and the remaining sum to be paid in five year installments.”
“Yes,” Mina said, putting a finger on the document. “Dina, how were you able to sign over two hundred thousand guilders?”
“Phlip loaned me the money.” Dina smiled. “We have a private agreement how I’ll pay him back.” She looked Mina in the eyes. “I told you so when we discussed mother-in-law . . . benefits.”
Mina chuckled. Nodding, she rose, and said, “Dina, sit and sign.”
With a flourish, Dina signed. She rose, and waved at Kasper to sit and sign.
Mina came with a tray and served Moet & Chandon.
The women toasted, “Kasper . . . here is to your great future in our Dutch West Indies!”
At Hotel Amstel
Poldie told Mieke, without blinking an eyelash, that Kasper’s gift had been a farewell token. Kasper was leaving for Curacao to practice law because Moeke had told him, point blank, that she would not let her eldest daughter leave home for married life in the West Indies.
Dina thought it prudent to prime Mieke—for her dinner debut—how to bewitch Teddy. He should be fascinated by her captivating smile. She should catch his eye and smile often; hoping he noticed that she resembled his mother.
Dressed in angelic white, Mieke sat to Teddy’s left and next to Phlip. Dina, in proper navy blue, sat between Teddy and Poldie. The dinner conversation started with the host graciously asking Dina to select the main course. Her eyes, glued to the page with “viandes,” lit up and, looking at Teddy, said that her favorite dish was Roast stuffed Rib of Veal and was listed as Carré de Veau a la Duxelles: specialty of the house.
As if yielding a baton, Dina voiced her charm telling stories of her youth—Teddy understood Dutch—making him laugh. Mieke, all smiles, occasionally put her hand on Teddy’s arm so he would pay attention to her. When the table was cleared, Teddy asked Mieke to choose their dessert.
Mieke turned to Phlip and asked him if he remembered the dessert his sister Eleanor had served the previous summer. Phlip smiled, saying that pious angel mousse was also his favorite. The maitre d’ said that the pastry chef daily made this mousse as his own wife craved it. Broadly smiling, he said, looking at Teddy, that this mousse was laced with rum and cognac. Teddy laughed loudly, saying his tipple was whisky; therefore this dessert would be his favorite as well. He turned to Mieke, asking if she’d like champagne with her angel dessert. The sommelier recommended Roederer Rosé.
Face flushed, Teddy asked Mieke how old she was when Phlip came into her life. Giggling, Mieke told him that she was five years old. She met him in a park in Paris where he was painting a flowering apple tree. She joined him and they started talking in Dutch! Her parents, she explained, had taken her and her brothers with them when they visited Paris.
Dina put her hand on Teddy’s arm and said that she and Nico had been celebrating their 7th wedding anniversary. She gave a vivid account that in 1910 traveling from Amsterdam to Paris with three small children had been an odyssey: packing diapers; baby food; toys, and the twin baby carriage; and so on.
Teddy stared at her; then he asked why the boys had to come along. Dina replied, folding her hands as if in prayer, that none of her siblings had offered to look after them. She nodded at Teddy when she said it was a promise Nico had made, because at the time of their marriage he couldn’t afford this trip.
Phlip put his arm around Mieke who had closed her eyes when her mother “relived” the family odyssey. When Teddy wanted to know where the boys were, he replied that the youngest had died of whooping cough; and the older boy was in a private home for handicapped children because he had fallen in a canal, hit his head on a boat, nearly drowned, but was rescued. The poor boy’s brain had been permanently damaged. Phlip wiped away a tear telling the sad story. Teddy was visibly moved and took Dina’s hand, squeezing it. Poldie then told a story about the time when Mieke and Nikolay were playing on the beach at Zandvoort . . .
When the party left the hotel, Teddy, in high spirits, embraced Mieke and kissed her on her cheek. He put his arms around matronly Dina and accepted her luncheon invitation to join them in Laren four days hence. Phlip and Poldie smiled.
As the men escorted mother and daughter to the gallery, where they were staying with Mina, they agreed that Dina had wrapped the American around her little finger. Phlip whispered in Mieke’s ear if she could imagine being married to Teddy. Then he told Poldie that he wouldn’t be surprised if Mieke would soon become Mrs Rockwell; to be shown off to gossipy Pittsburgh society. Poldie smirked when he said in a hushed voice that the jilted suitor returned with a 20-year-old, beautiful Dutch wife.
The following day early morning, Phlip and Poldie showed up at the gallery. Poldie took Dina for a stroll and told her it was necessary for Nico to return home immediately as Teddy might propose marriage. He suggested sending Nico a telegram that Phlip had told her: No Nico, no proposal. Mincing no words, Dina said that Gigi would cry her eyes out if Faty would not celebrate Christmas with her and mummy. Nana would need a “plaster”: benefits. Her dear brother should mention this to Nico, who should offer Nana two thousand guilders as a gift from Gigi’s sisters Mieke and Phina. Dina and Mieke returned to Laren.
Dina had made the acquaintance of Eva Brughes, born in New York City of Dutch parentage, housekeeper at De Wilde Zwanen, some years ago. She knew that the American painter and his wife were celebrating the holidays in Boston. So Dina, wanting to surprise Teddy with a memorable luncheon, went to consult Eva about Yankee cuisine.
As the two women sat in the spacious kitchen of the Singer villa, Dina told Eva that she wanted to impress an American who had bought a portrait of her Mieke at Gallery Ava Riss, managed by her best friend Mina. She got up, and eyes shining, whispered in Eva’s ear that he might turn out to be a suitor. Eva chuckled and put a finger to her lips. She said that she once worked in the kitchen of a German restaurant in New York City: Luchow’s was a Yankee magnet. Typical Yankee cuisine would be Boston baked beans with frankfurters called hot dogs. New England fish chowder was also a favorite dish, especially in winter. Her employers liked roasted chicken with cranberry sauce. Eva suggested that Dina also prepare a Dutch dish like smoked eel. She offered to help her at the luncheon; saying she was eager to meet the American “bidder.”
When Dina left, Eva gave her not only recipes but also 4 cans of baked beans and a canister with dried cranberries.
The next day, Dina, Mieke and Phina went menu-shopping; returning home carrying baskets loaded with produce. In the afternoon, Mina arrived. Eva dropped by, enquiring if the ladies needed tips about how to prepare the fish chowder. Mina quizzed Eva about her employer; and when Eva told her that William Singer was from Pittsburgh, Mina, now worked up, told her that their guest of honor was also from Pittsburgh. Eva laughed and wondered if the men knew each other. She promised to come over after breakfast and keep an eye on the range while they were feasting.
When Dina closed the front door, thanking Eva for her kindness, she took Mina by the arm and they returned to the kitchen. “Mina,” she said in a low voice, “the widow was married to a Singer. I don’t want Teddy to hear that name. You understand?”
“But why did you ask her to help?” Mina crossed her arms.
“She offered,” Dina said, leaning against the door. “It would have been downright rude,”—her bosom heaved—“she would become suspicious, if I had told her to stay home; that she can’t come because,”—Dina swallowed—“because that name is banned in this house.”
Mina sat down, and pulled out the chair next to her. “Dina . . . let’s have a little talk.”
After breakfast, a cab pulled up at villa Uhrbach. Phina and her girlfriend Truusje, bundled up, ran outside, followed by Eva. They were going to attend a circus performance near Amsterdam; followed with a late lunch at a fancy restaurant recommended by Eva. She was promised to meet the “future husband” at their engagement.
Dina and Mina waved the party goodbye; then, laughing, they embraced. Shivering, Mieke stood at the front door watching them. When the two friends turned to enter the villa, Mieke wanted to know why Phina was sent away.
Mina took Mieke by the arm and went inside, saying that her little sister shouldn’t be exposed to silly conversations when men drank too much. As they entered the kitchen, Mina pointed at the bowl of home-made advocaat on the side-board. “More than ten years ago,” she said, “I attended a party where advocaat was served and my husband made a fool of himself.”
“Kokkie,” Dina said in a smooth voice. “It was the last time she made us dinner.”
“Peef-puff-poof omelet,” Mieke said with a laugh. “That’s when Faty and you met Father and Queenie.”
“Mieke,”—Dina took her hand—“remember that we met Phlip in Paris.” She winked at Mina.
“Mieke, let’s get dressed for this momentous occasion,” Mina said.
The wall clock in the hallway struck twelve. Mina was in the kitchen, looking out the window, when a dark gray automobile parked at the studio. “Dina,” she shouted, “our aspirant has arrived!”
Dina, in navy blue, opened the front door and waved at Teddy, Phlip and Poldie, who carried a potted plant. Poldie passed her and went straight into the dining room where he put the white cyclamen in the cache pot that stood in the center of the table with six place settings. Then he went into the kitchen.
In the meantime, Dina ushered Teddy and Phlip into the parlor where a fire crackled in the chimney. Phlip took Teddy by the arm and guided him to a set of armchairs near the windows. They set next to each other. Dina sat across from them and started her chit-chat.
The door opened and Mieke let Mina, in a black skirt and long-sleeved white blouse, enter. She was holding a tray with six goblets and was followed by Poldie with the bowl of advocaat. “Long live our Dutch potion!” the duo sing-songed in unison. Teddy rose and offered to help Mina. She blew him a kiss, and put the tray on the coffee table. Grinning, Poldie put the bowl next to the tray.
Dina rose, and joined Mieke; who wore a two-piece rose-colored dress. Holding her daughter by the arm, Dina steered her toward the blue velvet sofa in front of the chimney. Teddy stepped up. Smiling, he shook hands with Mieke, saying she looked angelic. Phlip put his arm around Mieke and whispered in her ear that she looked enchanting. She smiled at Teddy.
Then Phlip sat next to Mieke on the sofa. He touched the pink and fern-green bow of her ponytail, saying in a low voice that Mina had a seductive touch.
Poldie spooned advocaat in the goblets; and Mina passed them around. She held up hers, saying, “Welcome, Teddy! Let’s toast to a warm relationship.”
“Mina and Dina,” Teddy said as he raised his goblet, “here’s to our friendship.”
“I hope you’ll like our Dutch treat,” Dina said. She took the little spoon that was on the side of the goblet and started to eat.
“Outstanding!” Teddy said. “Has this treat a special name?”
“How about,” Mieke said, chuckling, “pious angel nectar?”
Teddy held up his empty goblet, winking at Mina.
Poldie took the bowl and went around, filling up the goblets. Phlip returned to his seat next to Teddy. Poldie joined his niece on the sofa.
Like a contented cat licking its whiskers, Teddy looked at the tray with empty goblets.
Poldie took Mieke’s hand, rose, and pulling her up, said, looking at Dina, “It’s time to eat!”
Mina put a plate with peeled, sliced eel and thin slices of white bread in front of Teddy, saying that in Russia people started their meal with caviar but in Holland it was smoked eel. Poldie held two carafes and asked Teddy if he preferred Dutch eggnog or Mosel. Teddy pointed at the eggnog, saying it looked like nectar. Poldie put the carafe next to Dina, and served Mieke Mosel; she sat across from Teddy.
The fish chowder got high accolades; Teddy saying it was as good as at Bookbinder’s restaurant in Philadelphia.
Then Mina served him a plate with Boston baked beans and a hot dog, saying that he’d be at home with this Yankee dish. Teddy’s face lit up. He ate with gusto. Dina made sure to replenish his goblet with the milk diluted nectar that Poldie had infused with cognac.
Finally, Teddy put his hands on his stomach, saying to Dina that this was a memorable meal. She put his hand on his arm and told him that her husband would be home for Christmas and that he’d be more than welcome to join them for roasted chicken with cranberry sauce; another favorite Yankee dish.
Face flushed, Teddy put his arm around Dina and then . . . gave her a smacker on her mouth! Phlip and Poldie, looking at each other, winked, and Mieke, holding hands with them, was all smiles . . .
Mina had left and returned with a bottle of Roederer Rosé. “Let’s drink to a warm reunion at Christmas,” she said.
While Phlip got the champagne flutes, Poldie uncorked the bottle.
Dina, with one hand on Teddy’s arm squeezing him, raised her flute. “Tot ziens, Teddy,” she said, blowing him a kiss, “until we meet again on Christmas day!”
The gray automobile returned to Amsterdam with not only the three guests but with Mina as well. Dina had instructed her to get inside information regarding Teddy’s situation in The Hague. While she had been refilling his goblet with “eggnog”, he had revealed to her some intimate knowledge that had to be confirmed: it would involve plotting her Christmas dinner. Dina also gave Mina instructions what to do in case her hunch had been accurate. And then came the bomb-shell news that Poldie got “infatuated” with an American woman with a 3-year-old daughter; this American had once been married to a Dutchman. She had been looking for a smaller apartment; that’s how Poldie had met her.
So when Mina arrived at Gallery Ava Riss, she first had an “intimate” conversation with Tony. She told him that Phlip was moving to France; that he was worried about Johan being by himself, alone; that he had suggested to her that he, Tony, should take over; that it would benefit them both. Tony’s face lit up. They celebrated with a bottle of Roederer Rosé.
Next on Mina’s plate was inside information about Pastor Rose. She asked Tony for help. He went to visit Friso and Daniel in The Hague; he returned with some juicy news.
Her brown eyes glistening, Mina wrote Dina that her hunch had been well-founded. Tony, she wrote, would also help her getting additional news on Poldie’s “client.”
When Nico arrived at villa Uhrbach, he and Dina went for a stroll to discuss the “pre-nuptial” event. He suggested reserving a private dining room at hotel Hamdorff; and she should ask the chef to prepare the Yankee chicken from the recipe she would provide. With a sly smile, Dina suggested that dessert—pious angel mousse and pious angel nectar—be served at their home. Dina said she would reserve rooms at the hotel for Teddy and Pastor Rose. Nico should write a warm Christmas invitation and she’d post the letters the next day.
In the evening, while Nico wrote the invitations, Dina eyed Mina’s letter regarding the juicy news Tony got from Daniel.
The following day, Dina paid a visit to Eva Brughes at De Wilde Zwanen for advice; saying that the big day was approaching, and that Phina might spoil it; the little girl had a selfish streak, wanting to be the center of attention. Eva’s eyes lit up as she nodded. Dina then asked Eva if she would be so kind as to come up with a solution.
Dina danced in the living room when she read that Teddy and Pastor Rose accepted with great pleasure the invitation spending the Christmas holidays with them at Laren. She sent Poldie a telegram to come immediately for an important talk regarding his future. Without delay, Poldie arrived. Mieke and Phina were thrilled to see their uncle. Nico, remembering the free lodgings he had in Amsterdam during the war, welcomed Poldie with a hearty embrace.
Brother and sister went for a stroll so they could chat in private. Dina enquired after “Amelia.” Poldie raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders. She presented him with an “idea” on how to improve his financial situation; painting a rosy picture of also moving to Fontainebleau; of setting up house with Amelia and Geena. Once Mieke was married, he could become the sole agent buying properties; and eventually manager of Rockwell Estates Worldwide.
After much give and take, Poldie was also good at bargaining, he agreed to come to Laren for the holidays by himself. He’d stay with Teddy and the pastor at the hotel instead of rooming with Phlip at his studio.
It was Wednesday, December 23, 1925
With fanfare, ringing the old-fashioned carriage bell, Hans parked the star-decorated landau at villa Uhrbach. Poldie dashed from the studio, and Mieke and Phina emerged from the villa, followed by Dina, Nico and Eva.
With a big grin on his face, Hans came down; they elbowed each other to greet him.
Hans opened the carriage door and a boy stepped out. “This is Jaap, my eldest son. He’s seven,” he said.
Phina shook the boy’s hand. “Jaap, I’m Phina. Thank you for inviting me on this trip. I can’t wait to see the stars at castle Bree.”
Hans patted Jaap’s head. “All he wanted for Sinterklaas was meeting his godfather, Count Jacques de Bree,” he said with a smile. “The count had been very generous to my family. I was honored that he would be godfather to my first born son.”
When Dina offered hot cocoa, served in the kitchen, he declined, saying he wanted to reach Belgium before it got dark. Nico gave him two small duffel bags. Phina and Eva joined Jaap.
And with much fanfare, and hand-waving, the landau, hood down, departed.
Dina held out her arms invitingly—Mieke and Mina linked.
“And now we have to concentrate on the arrival on Friday of our unconventional pastor, and most importantly . . . our candidate”—Dina nudged Mina as she chortled—“or aspirant.”
TO BE CONTINUED
SCRIBA SUM ERGO SCRIBO
Writing is thinking on paper
BOOK OF REVELATION—5:1
I saw upon the right hand of Him that sat on the throne A BOOK
At villa Uhrbach
Christmas Eve, 1925
In the center of the parlor stood the small evergreen tree topped with a gold star and decorated with red bells and silver tinsel.
Phlip and Mieke, the parakeets, were sitting on the blue sofa, Poldie and Mina settled down in the two armchairs fronting the windows and Nico and Dina were in chairs near the door to the vestibule—everyone eating advocaat.
“I’m glad,” Mina said, holding her spoon in the air, “that I advised Tony to console Johan.” She pointed the spoon at Nico. “I know that you are very fond of Johan,”—she nodded—“but in my opinion, he has become a liability”—she pointed the spoon at Dina—“to our future,”—she then pointed at Phlip—“especially Gallery Ava Riss, where I manage the sale of your paintings, Phlip.”
“Anton likes Johan,” Phlip said as he put his goblet on the side table.
Poldie looked at Phlip. “What if Anton tells Johan that you used his father’s canvas to paint Mieke’s portrait?” He looked at Nico. “We all know that Johan is a busybody. One day he’ll have a slip of the tongue . . .”
“And ruin Mieke’s future,” Dina said, pointing her spoon at Phlip.
“I shall miss Johan,” Mieke said as she held out her goblet so Dina could take it. “I remember the fun times at the apple orchard.” She elbowed Phlip. “You two had a competition sketching me.”
“I’ll take care of Johan,” Nico said, looking at Phlip. “I owe him much. He taught me how to paint a wheat field when you were at Boerenerf.”
Phlip nodded. “When Cees and Hendrick passed away of the flu, you became my torchbearer.”
Mina clapped. “That’s settled, then,” she said. She turned to Poldie. “Tomorrow you move to hotel Hamdorff and welcome our guests. Keep them full of zest, in great spirits, until we arrive for our Yankee dinner.”
The first essential is to know who THE GOD of HEAVEN is since everything else depends upon that: On a right idea of God the whole body of theology hangs like a chain on its first link [Emanuel Swedenborg]
Nothing is so hostile to religion as other religions [Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan]
There will be no peace among nations without peace among religions and there will be no peace among religions without dialogue among religions
[Swiss priest and theologian Hans Kueng: [1928--2021]
THE CANDLES ARE MANY BUT THE LIGHT IS ONE [Rumi]
Friday, Christmas Day 1925
At hotel Hamdorff
Face flushed, holding a cocktail glass, Teddy Rockwell rose from his chair in the cocktail lounge when the Uhrbach party entered. Poldie rushed up to offer Mieke his arm; she wore her white silk dress.
Nico and Dina, the hosts, warmly welcomed Teddy and Andreas. Mina, on the arm of Phlip, gave them her brightest smile. When Mieke’s turn came, Teddy put his cocktail glass on the table and embraced her. Poldie nodded at Andreas.
As they sat down at the table for eight, Dina pointed at Teddy’s glass, saying, “Is that the Yankee whisky sour?”
Teddy took his glass, smiling from ear to ear. “Yes. It is my favorite cocktail!”
“Poldie,”—Nico pointed at the bar—“we’ll join Teddy. Let’s all have a whisky sour.”
Mieke clapped her hands as she said, “I like the exotic saucer glass. Look at that stem, so elegant!”
“It was designed so ladies think it’s all right to drink whisky in public,” Teddy said and raised the glass to his lips to finish his drink.
Poldie returned with a waiter carrying a tray with eight whisky sour cocktails.
“Ooh!” Mieke squealed. “I like the red cherry!”
Teddy laughed. “To make the ladies feel happy, and entice them to drink.” He took the cherry. “They’ll munch . . . so they can drink and drink.” He popped the cherry in his mouth, eyes twinkling.
“Cheers!” Nico said, raised his glass, and put the cherry in his mouth.
Laughing, they had a great time sipping the Yankee cocktail.
Grinning, Poldie left; he returned to announce that Christmas dinner was now served in their dining room.
When the party entered the “cozy family-style” dining room, Poldie laughed and pointed at the lit chandelier above the table: mistletoe around the crystal lights. “Pastor, after your dinner blessing, we should kiss each other. After all, Jesus said that greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
“Indeed,”—Phlip nodded—“Jesus said, This is my command: Love each other.”
Dina asked Teddy to sit on her right and Phlip on her left, next to the pastor, who sat next to Nico, the host; Mina was on his left, then Poldie; Mieke was enthroned between him and Teddy.
“On this day,” the pastor said, “we celebrate a special birth. The gospel of Matthew announces that a virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son to be given the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” He looked around the circle.
“Let’s bow our heads.”
They bowed their heads as Pastor Andreas said his blessing. When he said: Amen, they looked at him. All smiles, the pastor said, “After dinner I shall wait at the door”—he nodded toward Poldie—“and everyone will receive from me the kiss of peace.”
Waiters entered with platters of roasted chicken, saucers with cranberry sauce, bowls with mashed potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. The sommelier served Roederer Rosé.
Two cabs brought the party to villa Uhrbach where they continued Christmas dinner. As they entered, Teddy rubbing his hands together, said, “Dina, I’m looking forward to eating your delicious pious angel mousse.”
“Then let’s go straight into the dining room,” she said, laughing heartily.
They shed their coats and hats.
Teddy took Mieke by the hand and went to the chair that he had occupied at the luncheon. He pulled out the chair next to him for Mieke and then sat down. While Dina and Poldie went into the kitchen, Nico, Andreas, Phlip, and Mina also sat down, their faces flushed.
Poldie came with a tray. “I made champagne cocktails,” he said, passing the goblets. “An American woman who lives here in town gave me the recipe.” He chortled. “Don’t forget the cherry and a slice of orange, she said.” He looked at Teddy. “Please taste it and tell me if it’s original Yankee.”
“Ooh!” Mieke pointed at the cherry. “They are delicious!”
Teddy laughed. “Open your mouth, Mieke,” he said, and slipped the cherry between her lips. He then took a sip, and nodded at Poldie. “You’ll make a fine bartender.”
Dina opened the door and waved at Mina to come. A minute later they returned with trays and everyone was served, in crystal compote dishes, a generous portion of the mousse.
Nico rose, raised his champagne goblet and said, “May we celebrate again together next year in good health. I wish you a very merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas!” they chimed.
In silence they savored the dessert.
Folding his hands, Teddy broke the silence, saying, “Dina, I’ll be back!”
They clapped their hands, shouting, “Yes!”
Nico rose. “Let’s chat in the parlor.” He offered Dina his arm.
The small Christmas tree had been moved to the corner between the blue sofa and the armchairs fronting the windows so that the round table occupied again its rightful space.
Nico and Dina went to the blue sofa and sat down. Phlip and Andreas occupied two of the three armless chairs against the wall near the door. Mina took Mieke by the hand and they sat in the two armchairs.
Teddy and Poldie stood at the door. Beaming, Teddy put his arm around Poldie’s shoulder and whispered, “Bartender, how about making me your famous Dutch eggnog?”
Poldie snickered. “Good idea,” he said in a low voice. “Mina will serve them coffee and you’ll get Dutch poison. I suggest you sit in the corner chair next to Mina.” He gave Teddy a soft push, and waved at Mina to join him.
Dina was chit-chatting with the pastor so Phlip joined Mieke, who was conversing with her father; he and Teddy talked about Paris.
Phlip returned to his seat when Mina and Poldie arrived with trays. Poldie, eyes twinkling, gave Teddy a large mug, snorting that he added cognac to the coffee so that everyone would feel “happy.” Teddy shook with laughter. Poldie went to sit in the free chair next to Phlip.
In the meantime Mina, having served coffee, told Mieke to sit in the chair next to Teddy so she could chat with her Faty.
They were sipping coffee and chit-chatting lightheartedly when Pastor Andreas piped up as he patted Phlip’s knee, “Is it difficult to sell paintings by unheard-of artists?”
Face flushed, Dina said, “Ask Mina,”—she nodded toward her friend—“she sells paintings every day!”
“Selling paintings is an art I learned from Tonya,” Mina said. She swallowed, whispering, “The flu took her.” She sipped cognac-laced coffee. “Of course, it’s easier to sell unknown oeuvres when someone finances his . . . success.” She beamed at Nico. “A Maecenas makes all the difference.”
“Every artist needs a torchbearer,” Dina said. She kissed her husband’s cheek. “Phlip is grateful that Nico believes that he’ll make his mark in the painters’ book of records.” She nodded at Phlip. “You’ll be a brilliant success!”
Teddy rose to put his mug on the coffee table, he stumbled—and fell on his knees in front of Mieke. They locked eyes. He folded his hands, holding them up. “Mieke”, he said in a low voice, “Mieke . . . will you marry me?”
All eyes were glued on the couple.
“Faty . . .”—Mieke looked at Nico.
Dina gave Nico a push; he rose and said, “You have my permission.” He went to Teddy, pulled him up, and embraced him.
Poldie, sitting next to Phlip, said, “Our flame of hope will be burning everlasting.” He nodded at Teddy and Mieke embracing. “The torch has passed to Teddy.”
“Mieke’s portrait,” Phlip said, “was Teddy’s first painting. She started his thirst for collecting.” He smiled at Poldie. “I perceived that he could use a guiding hand.”
Mina entered with two bottles of Roederer Rosé. They served Mieke’s favorite bubbles, toasting to the happiness of the couple’s future.
The next day, Teddy, Andreas and Phlip left for The Hague. Teddy was eager to select an engagement ring for his Mieke. They planned to return on Sunday for a festive party at hotel Hamdorff.
Sunday early morning it started to snow; by lunch time a white mantle covered the rooftops and evergreen trees. An employee of the hotel rang the doorbell at villa Uhrbach to inform them that Mr. Rockwell had telephoned that he postponed his return until the roads were cleared of snow.
It was early afternoon Tuesday the 29th, when the landau pulled up at villa Uhrbach; Hans ringing the carriage-bell. Poldie rushed out of the house and opened the carriage door. Screaming with laughter, Phina jumped out and ran inside, followed by a boisterous Jaap. Eva laughed as she took Poldie’s hand to get down, and walked toward Dina, Mieke, and Nico waiting at the front door. Hans told Poldie that he would take the carriage to the back yard so the horse could rest. Then he and Poldie went inside to join Dina, Nico, Mieke and Eva in the dining room. The children were in the kitchen where Mina was preparing hot cacao. Nico offered Mosel. Hans laughed when he said that the bottle reminded him of getting Mr. Jonkheer his beloved beverage from the vineyards in Germany.
When the doorbell rang, they looked at the vestibule.
“Teddy! Andreas! Phlip!” Poldie shouted as he opened the front door. “Mieke will be thrilled that you could make it!”
As the men were shedding their coats and hats, Dina whispered in Eva’s ear, “Teddy proposed. He went to The Hague to get Mieke an engagement ring.”
Mieke went to the vestibule to welcome Teddy. Hans vanished to the kitchen, taking his goblet with Mosel. Nico was introducing Eva to Teddy when Phina threw open the kitchen door, rushed up to Phlip and embraced him; babbling about her trip.
“Phina,” Dina said, taking her daughter’s hand, “Mieke is engaged to Teddy.”
Phina looked at Teddy. “No surprise,” she said with a giggle, “you fell for her portrait.”
Andreas gasped; Poldie elbowed Phlip.
“Phina, you are an enfant terrible!” Teddy shook his head as he put his arm around Mieke. “We’ll be celebrating our engagement this evening at hotel Hamdorff.”
Phina gave Teddy her biggest smile. “Can Eva also come to the celebration?” She took Eva’s hand. “We had such a wonderful time in Belgium at castle Bree.”
Nico nodded at Dina. “Teddy, Count de Bré spent the war years in Velp where Phlip met Hans. The count invited Hans and his son Jaap to spend Christmas with them.” He smiled at Phina. “And Jaap invited Phina to join him. And Eva,”—he took her elbow—“was Phina’s chaperone.”
Mina opened the door and said, “Hans and Jaap are waiting at the kitchen back door. They would like to say goodbye.”
They waved as the landau left for Velp; Hans cracking his whip, and shouting, “Au revoir!”
At villa Uhrbach
Nico, Dina, Mieke, Phina, Eva, Poldie, Mina and Phlip were in the parlor waiting for the cabs to take them for a late dinner at the hotel where Teddy would present Mieke with his engagement ring.
Sitting next to Nico, Phlip, cupping his hand, said in a low voice, “I forgot to tell you that Teddy is leaving in three weeks, visiting missions in South Africa.”
“What!”” Mina’s brown eyes widened. “He’s leaving his bride so soon!” She perched on her chair. “For how long will he be gone, Phlip?”
“Andreas told me for at least six months.” Phlip looked at Dina—sitting across the room talking with Poldie—and waved at her to join him.
“Dina,” Mina said, “Phlip just informed us that Teddy’s going to South Africa for six months. Did he tell Mieke?” The two friends locked eyes.
“Mieke!” Dina shouted at her talking with Eva and Phina.
“Yes Moeke?” Mieke stood.
“Do you know that Teddy is leaving for six months for South Africa?”
“Ooh,” Phina squealed. “I hope he’ll send me lots of postcards!”
“I wonder,” Poldie said, putting his hand on his sister’s shoulder, “can it be that he has kept this ace up his sleeve . . .”
“To surprise you,” Eva said with a chuckle. “That’s what Americans are good at.”
“It smells fishy to me,” Nico said aloud, his eyes skipping toward the vestibule.
“I know why,” Phina said with a big smile on her face. “He got on his knees first and now he’ll carry her away, and take her to South Africa for their honeymoon.” Giggling, she twirled around the parlor.
“This girl is as sharp as a needle.” Eva laughed. She turned to Dina and winked. “Our kidnaper is thin as a toothpick, and as we say in the country, a good rooster is never fat.”
Poldie broke out in laughter and pulled up Nico to embrace him.
Mieke took Phina in her arms and said, “Once Teddy has given me my ring, you can remind him about the honeymoon.”
All smiles, Dina and Mina clapped their hands.
Teddy and Andreas were pacing the foyer when the party of eight arrived at hotel Hamdorff.
Mieke entered on the arm of her father, Nico, followed by Dina and Poldie. Mina, Eva, and Phlip holding Phina by the hand jostled behind them.
Teddy and Mieke embraced and kissed each other on the cheek. After welcoming his guests, Teddy asked them to follow him to the reserved dining room. An employee took the coats and hats.
The rectangular table for ten was draped with an emerald-green damask cloth offsetting the gold-rimmed white china plates. Red linen napkins enhanced the festive holiday mood. The two crystal candelabra with white candles were lit.
Teddy asked Nico to sit at one end –with Mina to his right and Eva on the left. He pulled out Mieke’s chair next to his and then offered Dina the seat on his left. Phina and Phlip were between her and Mina; Andreas sat next to Mieke and Eva was wedged between him and Poldie. Before Teddy sat down he took a small navy blue satin box from his coat pocket and put it in front of him on the table.
A waiter served whisky sours. Phina was allowed to take a sip from her mother’s glass and eat the cherry. They were chit-chatting about the coming New Year and the festivity offered at the hotel when, face-flushed, Teddy asked the maitre d’ for another round of whisky sours.
Poldie snorted, saying in a low voice to Eva that the groom needed courage. She replied that what a sober man has on his mind, a drunken man has on his tongue—and chuckling, she elbowed Andreas. The pastor tittered and nudged Mieke, saying it was time to start dinner. She smiled and asked him to say the blessing.
As he looked around the table, Andreas said, “The family that prays together stays together. Let’s pray for the happiness of our couple.” The pastor bowed his head. “Oh Lord, grant them good health and that they may have the blessings of raising many children who will also worship you. Amen.”
Phina looked at Teddy. “I’m glad you are as thin as a toothpick,” she said, “because a good rooster is never fat.” She gave him a big smile.
“Really, Phina,”—Phlip put his arm around her—“you mustn’t eavesdrop and repeat what grown-ups say between themselves.” She grimaced when he pulled her ponytail.
Phina looked at Mieke and put the tip of her tongue between her lips. Mieke frowned, pressed her lips firmly, and shook her head slightly.
“What’s going on,” Teddy said, putting his hand on Mieke’s arm. “Is it a secret message?”
“I think you are going to kidnap my sister.” Phina rose and went to Teddy. She put an arm around his neck. “And then take Mieke for your honeymoon to South Africa.” Her mouth brushed against his cheek. “Please, Teddy, send me lots of postcards. My friends will be jealous.”
Silence hung in the air; everyone’s eyes were on Teddy and Phina.
Raising his eyebrows, Teddy looked at Pastor Andreas. The pastor folded his hands, held them up as a beggar would, and closed his eyes. Teddy nodded. Then he said with a smooth voice, “Phina,”—he pushed back his chair—“sit on my lap. I have a job for you.”
Face aglow, Phina sat on one of Teddy’s knees.
Teddy smiled at Mieke and took her hand. “I intended giving you my ring after we finished dinner.” He looked at the blue box. “But now that Phina has spilled the beans that I’m off for South Africa,”—he stroked the girl’s head—“she’ll do me the honor and present it to you.”
“When are you leaving, Teddy,” Nico said, “and when do you plan to return?”
Pastor Andreas addressed the question: “We are leaving in three weeks.” He smiled at Teddy; then he looked at Nico.” We’re going to set up a mission in Natal and intend to stay six months.”
Nico put his hand on Mina’s arm. Smiling, Mina nodded at Eva.
“Three weeks,” Eva said, nudging Pastor Andreas, “plenty of time to get married.” She nodded at Phina on Teddy’s knee. “Phina, you told me at castle Bree that you are a starlet. Do you want to be a flower girl at your sister’s wedding?”
Phina flung an arm around Teddy’s neck, and kissing him, squealed, “And later,”—she grinned at Mieke—“can I be godmother to your baby?”
Teddy laughed. “Not that fast,” he said as he reached for the blue box. “Get off my knee, girl.” He rose, holding up the box for everyone to see, and looked at Nico—who nodded.
Teddy kneeled, and opening the box, clarion-voiced, “Mieke will you marry me?”
“Ooh,” breathed Phina, standing behind Mieke, looking over her shoulder, “such pretty stones. What are they, Teddy?”
Nico rushed up and took his youngest daughter by the arm, but Phina shouted, “I want to know the name of the stones!” Grimacing, she slapped her father’s hands.
Dina came up and, putting both arms around Phina’s waist, dragged her away, passing the waiter, as she hissed, “Don’t you dare stage a tantrum!”
To Be Continued
Map of Natal, South Africa
Wednesday, December 30, 1925
Teddy Rockwell and Pastor Andreas Rose were having morning coffee in the main salon.
“Eva Brughes is a busybody,” the pastor said. “She insists that there’s time for the nuptials,”—he folded his hands—“so you and Mieke can go to Natal.” He grimaced. “That brat Phina more or less ordered you to go there for your honeymoon.” The pastor put his thumb down. “How will you manage without me regarding the school in Eshowe?”
“Who says you can’t join us?” Teddy said, a smile hovering on his lips. “Go ahead with my plans.” His eyes locked with the pastor. “We’ll go sightseeing; I’ll show Mieke around. And while she relaxes, we can continue discussing my project.”
“What if her parents object,” the pastor said, “with this arrangement?”
“Who pays?” Teddy reached for his coffee cup.
Pastor Andreas smiled from ear to ear. “Before the vows,” he said, “Mieke should be baptized by me. After all, as you are a theologian, your wife should be of your religion before your marriage.”
“I agree wholeheartedly,” Teddy said. “We’ll discuss this at lunch.” He looked at his watch; then he rose. “Let’s discuss this with Phlip. He was baptized in the States while painting portraits.”
The two men donned coats and hats.
As they walked at leisure to the studio, the pastor said, “Teddy, you must think about conjugial love. According to number two hundred ninety six, you have committed yourself, and Mieke did the proper thing and consulted her parents, and they gave their consent in front of witnesses.”
“I’m glad you reminded me, Andreas,” Teddy said. “Every Christian has read Genesis two, where it says that a man must leave his parents and be united to his wife so they’ll become one flesh.” He put his hand on the pastor’s coat sleeve. “Emanuel wrote that in heaven a married pair is spoken of not as two angels . . . but as one angel.” He linked arms with Andreas. “Now, that’s love truly conjugial.” He squeezed the pastor’s arm. “One of our bishops reminded us that according to Emanuel heaven has no boundaries.” He sighed. “But the Christian world says this is an abomination . . .”
“Because if the universe is not finite, where would heaven and purgatory be located,” Pastor Andreas finished Teddy’s sentence. “Isaiah sixty six, verse one: Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool.”
They had reached the studio and Teddy knocked on the door.
Poldie shouted, “Phlip, we have visitors!” as they stepped inside.
They were shedding their coats and hats when Poldie said with a snort, “Who wants eggnog?”
“I need encouraging,” Teddy said and rubbed his hands. “We came to discuss with Phlip Mieke’s baptism.”
“And we believe,” Pastor Andreas said, “that you, Phlip, are the right person to explain to her about our religion.”
Phlip pulled up two chairs and with a wave of his hand invited them to sit down. He sat on the brown sofa across. Poldie passed goblets with eggnog; and then he sat next to Phlip.
“I was told that,” Phlip started to say, “people who think of three divine beings and then say aloud that these three are one . . . well . . . that they cannot be admitted into heaven because heaven, in its whole complex, resembles one man.” He took a sip. “Tony once informed me that this idea, of one man, is similar to the Jewish Kabala’s ten Sefirot.” He looked at Poldie. “Angels know this, Emanuel wrote, and call heaven the Grand and Divine Man.” Phlip took a deep breath. “You see, in Genesis God created man as an image and likeness of God Himself. And since God’s life is eternal . . . therefore all who receive that life are also eternal.”
Poldie elbowed Phlip. Pastor Andreas clapped. Teddy nodded.
Phlip continued: “A heaven from the human race . . . that was the divine purpose in creation.” He locked eyes with Poldie; who nodded. He then looked at Teddy. “And that without the human race, heaven would be like a house without a foundation, and that the human race apart from heaven would be like a chain without a hook.”
Teddy clapped his hands and the pastor smiled from ear to ear.
“I was asked if I believed in this teaching,” Phlip said, “and I replied that I did. And then I was baptized with water.” He took a sip of eggnog. “In those days, a fish stood for conversion to the Jewish faith. The priest was known as the fisher, and the candidate was the fish. That’s why the early Christians had a fish painted on their houses.”
Pastor Andreas smiled from ear to ear when he said, “According to the apostle Luke, Chapter five: The Calling of the First Disciples, Jesus said to Simon: From now on you will catch men.”
“Poldie,”—Phlip looked at him—“will Mieke grasp this idea about her conversion?”
“The way you explained it, she’ll have no problem understanding,” Poldie said as he grinned at the pastor.
Teddy raised his goblet. “Let’s toast to that, Phlip,” he said and took a sip. Then he rose. “Make sure Mieke knows,” he said with a nod at the pastor, “that heaven is closed to people who commit adultery.” He waved at Phlip. “Let’s go so you can evangelize,” he said, laughing. “And then we’ll have lunch and celebrate.”
Nico, Dina, Mieke, Mina and Eva were in the dining room when the four men entered the villa. With much ado, they shed their coats and hats. Mieke linked arms with Teddy and they entered the parlor and sat on the blue sofa.
“Where’s Phina?” Teddy looked at Dina, who sat on the chair near the sofa.
“She’s staying with her best friend Truusje.” Dina crossed her arms.
“Phina got the family Bible and made her parents swear an oath,” Eva said, “that she’ll be the flower girl,”—she chortled—“and, Mieke, she suggested that I’ll be your maid of honor!”
Mina burst out in laughter.
“I approved,” Nico said.
“In that case, it’s a done deal,” Poldie said and sat next to his sister, squeezing her shoulder. “Mieke, you’ll have an old-fashioned home wedding with family as witnesses.”
“Eva, may I have the honor of you as my witness?” Teddy rose and bowed; then sat down.
Broadly smiling, Eva nodded. “I hope that our pastor,”—she turned to him sitting next to her—“can give me advice on the ceremony so I’m prepared as witness.” She locked eyes with him. “My parents are Jewish. I became an agnostic from necessity.”
Pastor Andreas’s Adam’s apple twitched. “You are a guest at the wedding,” he said in a low voice, “and all you need as a witness are . . . eyes and ears.”
“My parents said that we cannot eat meat that has its lifeblood in it,” Eva said. “What I want to know is . . . are you going to offer the couple the wine and waver at the ceremony?”
With a horrified look in his eyes, Pastor Andreas turned to Teddy.
“Mieke will receive the Eucharist at her baptism.” Teddy put his arm around her shoulders. “The apostle John wrote that Jesus said: I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” He looked at Eva. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood,”—his voice rose—“has eternal life!”
“Our rabbi called it cannibalistic,” Eva said. “He said your ceremony is a feast of the dead. On Friday, the day Jesus the Jew died, you eat fish, and on Sunday you eat ham. Jews cannot eat pork! Jesus was a circumcised Jew and so were his apostles.” She put her hand on the pastor’s knee. “God said to Adam: By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground. For dust you are and to dust you will return. And Isaiah, the Jewish prophet, said about death that . . . maggots are our bed and worms are our blanket: we become food for creatures that live in darkness. To eat and be eaten is nature’s motto.” She stared at Teddy. “Do you still want me as your witness?”
“Perhaps Mina?” Eva looked at her.
“No,” Teddy said loudly. “You are my witness.” He rose, and pulled up Mieke.
Dina,” Nico said and rose, “shall we go to the dining room?”
Thursday, December 31
Teddy Rockwell and Eva Brughes were having morning coffee in the main salon.
“While we are having our talk,” Teddy said, “Mieke will be baptized by our pastor, guided by Phlip. He’ll also be her witness at our wedding.” He sipped coffee, staring at Eva; and then, nodding as he put his cup on the side table, said, “Mina is a close friend.” He stopped; and then continued: “Of my future mother-in-law. That’s why I prefer you, an outsider, as my witness.”
“Teddy, I’ll be honored.” Eva folded her hands as she said, “Especially as I’ll be Mieke’s maid-of-honor.” She smiled. “I was thinking of having the wedding at villa De Wilde Zwanen where I’m the housekeeper.” She took her cup and sipped coffee. “I’m sure that my employer will not object. They’ll be home January the ninth.” She put her cup on the side table. “They’ll be honored hosting a Yankee wedding.”
“What’s your employer’s name?” Teddy crossed his legs.
“William Singer. He’s a painter.” Eva gave him a wink. “Phlip hasn’t met him but I’m sure they’ll get along fine.”
Teddy uncrossed his legs. He leaned forward to look at Eva, saying, “Is Mister Singer from Pittsburgh?”
“Yes.” Eva smiled brightly. “He’s a member of a well-to-do family; I believe they are in the oil business.”
Teddy looked at his coffee cup. Then he summoned a waiter and ordered a whiskey sour cocktail for both of them.
“Eva,” Teddy said, “your offer has touched me, but I’m booked passage for South Africa on the twentieth; how about January sixth for our nuptial?”
Eva leaned forward and, looking Teddy in the eyes, whispered, “How about after the clock strikes twelve tonight?” She giggled and nodded when she said, “Pastor Andreas can say his blessings at the start of the year twenty six. I’ll have an overnight bag put in your room so you can start married life right away.”
Broadly smiling, Teddy raised his voice: “Waiter . . . please two more whiskey sours!”
When Eva left the hotel Teddy was all smiles. He arranged with Jan Hamdorff to have a small dining room turned into a chapel for his wedding past midnight. To serve as altar, there should be a pulpit with on it two crystal candlesticks with white candles and a silver vase with two white roses. Pastor Andreas Rose would provide their Bible. The party would consist of two witnesses, one flower girl, three family members, and one family friend. After the ceremony, the bride would spend the night in his room. Jan was delighted, saying he was honored.
On the way to villa Uhrbach, Eva met Pastor Andreas who told her that Mieke’s baptism had been very emotionally when Phlip presented her with a ceramic fish encased in a small net. The blue-and-yellow fish was a token of her conversion. The pastor was elated, telling Eva that he would suggest to his bishop that they may want to add this token to future baptisms.
Mina and Dina stood at the front door when Eva approached them. She blew them a kiss.
“Everything’s arranged with Teddy,” Eva said as she embraced them. “Let’s talk in the kitchen.”
“I asked Phlip to entertain Nico and Poldie in his studio,” Dina said. “We have the house to ourselves.”
“And Phina?” Eva rolled her eyes.
“She’s upstairs,” Dina said. “Mieke is showing her the fish Phlip gave her as a souvenir of her conversion.”
“Mieke must join us,” Eva said, “so she’ll know what to expect tonight.” She wiggled her bottom. “And you two as well.”
Mina laughed. “I’ll get her. And Dina . . . we’ll plot in the dining room. Get us the bubbles for exciting”—she wiggled her bottom—“news.”
Mina and Mieke joined Dina and Eva, Mina saying that Phina promised to stay upstairs if she could play with the fish.
Dina snorted, half-closing her eyes, as she said, “We know our little Phina . . . and her promises.”
“I’ll put a chair,” Eva said as she rose, “against the door to the vestibule so she can’t open it.”
“I’ll lock the kitchen door to the vestibule,” Mieke said with a throaty laugh, “and bring the bubbles, Moeke.”
Dina turned on the lamp on the chimney mantel and the lamp-stand in the corner near the window. Mina put four cut-crystal goblets on the table. They smiled at each other. Eva joined them.
Mina pointed at the chairs facing the kitchen door, saying, “Dina, you and Mieke sit there. Eva, you watch the blocked door.”
Eva snickered as she sat next to Mina.
Mieke entered with an opened bottle; and Dina poured the libation.
“Here is,” Dina said in a low voice, “to a wonderful future for us all.”
They clinked goblets and sipped in silence.
“This is what Teddy’s planning for tonight. It was his idea,” Eva said in a low voice. And she related that he would marry Mieke after midnight in a hotel room turned into a chapel; courtesy of the owner. When she said that it was Teddy’s idea that Mieke stay overnight with him, Mieke put her hands in front of her face and Dina and Mina made the sign of the cross.
When Dina said that Mieke didn’t own yet . . . an “appealing” nightgown, Mina laughed and elbowed Eva; suggesting that the bride wear only perfume. Eva looked at Mieke when she said that Teddy had requested that she, Eva, put an overnight bag with Mieke’s toothbrush and other necessities in his room before dinner in the main dining room. Red-faced, from laughter, Eva said that she’d pack a toothbrush, hairbrush, and a bottle of perfume.
Rising from her chair, Dina shouted that Mieke had no travel wardrobe for South Africa.
Then Eva delivered the bombshell that Teddy had engaged a limousine for the morning: He had planned a honeymoon in Paris where Mieke would get her tropical wardrobe made before embarking for Durban.
Mieke sat, hands folded, eyeing the kitchen door. She leaned over the table and whispered to Mina that “someone” was eavesdropping behind her. Mina jumped up, turned around, and flung the kitchen door open. Phina ran to the back door, ready to flee.
Dina rushed up and got hold of Phina’s ponytail and dragged her across the kitchen into the dining room. She put screaming Phina in Mina’s chair. The four women interrogated the girl; wanting to know what she had learned.
Dina made a drastic decision—telling Phina that if she’d stage one of her tantrums at the hotel, she’d never, yes never, would see her Gigi again. The four women put their hands on the table on top of each other as they swore to “this promise.”
IT WAS THE YEAR 1926
Friday, January first
The wedding party assembled at noon in the lobby ready to wave the bride and groom goodbye; they were departing for Paris in their limousine. Mieke wore her two-piece rose-colored dress and Teddy a tailored gray tweed suit when they came down the stairway, followed by a bell-boy carrying their small valises and on his heels Pastor Andreas with his traveling bag.
They clapped in unison, shouting long live the couple. Dina embraced the bride, kissing her on both cheeks, and Nico shook hands with the groom. With much kissing and laughter the couple finally stepped outside. Eva stood with Phina, who was holding a pink basket with rose petals, next to the honeymoon limousine. Mieke blew her little sister a kiss and without delay Phina threw her petals, reminding her big sister to send her lots of postcards. Mina dipped her hand inside a paper bag and threw confetti when the couple entered the car. Then they all dipped into the bag, covering the roof with confetti. With lots of waving, the honeymooners departed. Then Pastor Andreas Rose’s limousine arrived, and they waved him goodbye.
The Uhrbach party returned to the lobby; they would have lunch later. Mina whispered to Eva that the bride looked “worn out” from the night’s action; whereupon Eva chortled, saying that the groom was a good rooster and that Phina would have lots of nieces and nephews.
FONTAINEBLEAU – FRANCE
The CULTURE of COVER-UP
Snakes have a forked tongue and do not have ear openings
THE TONGUE HAS THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH
Jeremiah 9:30—They make ready their tongue like a bow to shoot lies
Poldie wrote Mina that he had rented a furnished villa in a suburb of Fontainebleau. He would return to Amsterdam the end of March; marry his Amelia and move, including her little daughter Geena, in May. Phlip and Dina were in Paris visiting his family. Phina was in her element living with her beloved Gigi, father Nico, and godmother Nana. Every time a postcard arrived from South Africa she’d show it to her French friends who were, needless to say, jealous.
In April, Mina wrote Phlip that she met Anton who was Poldie’s best man at his marriage to Amelia. She, Johan and Tony also attended the ceremony. Afterwards they al had lunch at hotel Amstel. She asked Phlip to send her three oeuvres. Spring was in the air and tourists were strolling around the city buying mementoes.
Dina wrote Mina that she and Phlip were coming to Amsterdam the end of the month and take along four paintings. They would go to Laren, staying with Eva at De Wilde Zwanen. They would pack up their personal belongings and have them sent to France. Poldie would take care of the furniture: to be sold. They intended to return to Fontainebleau in May together with Poldie and his new family.
In October, Dina received a long letter from Mieke in South Africa with the news that she was pregnant. She and Teddy were returning to America where late April she would give birth to her baby. She asked her mother to join her as soon as she could.
TO BE CONTINUEDFONTAINEBLEAU – FRANCE
The CULTURE of COVER-UP
A HISTORY OF FALSEHOOD
Is LYING a necessity of life?
IT WAS THE YEAR 1927
Dina left for America by steamer. Early May she sent a telegram to Nico that they were grandparents of a baby girl named Leah Dinah; two biblical names. She sent a letter to Phina from Mieke, announcing that she and the baby were coming to France in the summer so Phina could hold her little niece in her arms.
Dina wrote Poldie that Teddy had promised Mieke that after their firstborn they would settle in France and live with her extended family. Poldie was given the task of looking for a suitable chateau with many bedrooms.
It was September 1927, on Mieke’s twenty-second birthday, that the Rockwell family moved into chateau Mon Plaisir—a stone’s throw from Mon Bijou, Phlip’s romantic chateau.
Teddy bought a large family automobile and the chauffeur was kept busy driving the families visiting each other.
TRICKSTER MAKES THIS WORLD
IT WAS THE YEAR 1928
Dina wrote Mina that Mieke would give birth to her second child in July. She wanted Mina to join them for this occasion to meet little Leah and the newborn. Johan and Tony should manage the gallery in her absence. Dina also wrote Eva, inviting her to join Mina. She wrote Anton to please escort the ladies to France. Nico had suggested that he should get the gift of being godfather to the newborn as the Uhrbach family owed his father gratitude.
It was July the fourteenth
Poldie and his family, and Nico, Nana, Gigi and Phina were established in Fontainebleau. The Dutch contingent—Mina, Eva, Anton—was staying with Dina and Phlip at Mon Bijou.
At their chateau, festively decorated with French flags for Bastille Day, the Rockwells gave a party attended by the extended family. All smiles, Mieke patted her abdomen. Dina said with a nod at Teddy that he would soon hold a son in his arms. Laughing, they made bets on the baby’s gender.
The next morning a telegram arrived for Teddy—informing him to rush to London as his beloved Bishop Lucius Doyle was hospitalized. The bishop, Teddy explained, had been his spiritual mentor since he was a teenager: a father figure. Dina packed his valise.
Two days later a telegram from Zandvoort announced that Nicolay Uhrbach had died. Mieke shed tears, remembering her little brother clinging to her in their bed at night; he was prone to nightmares.
The next day, July 18, Mieke gave birth to a baby boy. Nico and Phlip went to the post office and sent Teddy a congratulatory telegram that Jacob Joseph Rockwell was born. The clerk handed them a telegram just arrived from London. Teddy informed them that the bishop’s funeral was on the 25th, and he would be returning shortly thereafter.
At Mon Plaisir, Dina and Poldie were in the nursery watching Mieke feeding Jacob.
Poldie nudged his sister, whispering, “I’m worried, Dina. That little guy doesn’t scream.”
Dina stared at mother and child. She nodded. “I’m very worried, because . . .” her voice cracked.
Poldie put an arm around her. “Because of Charlotte?” he murmured, squeezing her. “Ít’s now Russian roulette?”
“Nico.” Dina’s bosom heaved. “He’ll notice. And then what?”
Poldie put his lips near Dina’s ear. ” Dear sister, all hell will break loose.” He nibbled at her earlobe. “We must trick not only Nico but also Teddy.”
Dina freed herself from Poldie’s embrace. “Let’s talk in the garden.” She waved at Mieke, who broke out in a huge smile.
They were strolling, arms linked, when Dina said visibly agitated, “The time for action has arrived, Poldie. Nico will demand a divorce and you know what that means for Phlip and me. We’ll be ostracized.”
“I asked Pastor Andreas where this idea, that heaven is closed to adulterers, came from,” Poldie said with a chuckle. “And he said that Prophet Malachi had said that the Lord God of Israel hates divorce. We know that Phlip can’t handle the truth so we must start the gravy-train.”
“But,” Dina said, with a wink and a smile, “we mustn’t talk scandal.”
Poldie made a face. “If we play our cards right,” he said, “we can pretend and conceal.”
Dina sighed. “Poldie,” she said, the smile left her face, “Nana is my biggest problem . . . how to convince her to overlook that Jacob’s future is bleak?” She squeezed his arm. “Nana will insist that the whole wide world will be notified that Nico is innocent; that the problem is our family.” Dina’s eyes brimmed with tears and she withdrew her arm to wipe her eyes. “How,” she blurted out, “to tell Teddy!”
Poldie’s face lit up. “Just like you told Nico,” he said. “that the problem may be his background.” He grinned. “Ask Teddy if . . . they have a black sheep hidden somewhere in their past. Put that idea in his mind.” He took Dina’s hand. “It will be easy to bribe Nico with money because Nana will be thinking of Gigi’s future. And that means plenty of money.”
Dina nodded. “Bribery will be easy.” She paused. “And how about Anton?”
“I’ll take care of Anton.” Poldie laughed. “His divorce will cost him money and he, also, will need extra income.” He squeezed her hand. “Teddy will never have to know.”
Dina smiled when she said,” I’ll instruct Mieke what to say.”
Poldie said with a nod, “The truth is no match for lies.”
The next day, Dina and Phlip holding a wrapped painting arrived at Mon Plaisir before lunch.
Phlip went straight for the library.
Dina went to Mieke’s bedroom. Mother and daughter embraced. Then Dina took the baby from his bassinette.
“Do you remember Claudius as a baby?” Dina sat in the chair near the bed.
“He was angelic.” Mieke held out her arms.
Smiling, Dina rose, and gave her Jacob saying, “Never cried.”
Stroking her baby’s head, Mieke said, “Never cried!”
“Mieke,—Dina sat on the edge of the bed—“Jacob is like Claudius.”
Wide-eyed, Mieke looked at her mother.
”Jacob and Claudius do not cry.” Dina swallowed hard. “Do you remember Phina crying as a baby?”
Mieke nodded, whispering, “Always hungry.”
Dina inched closer as she murmured, “You loved Nicolay and Claudius.” She stroked the infant’s head “We all love Jacob.”
“Yes Mieke.” Dina put an arm around her daughter’s shoulder.
“I’ll tell him everything he needs to know.”
Wiping her eyes dry with a handkerchief, Dina went to the library. “I told her.” She nodded at Phlip. “Now it’s your turn.”
Phlip took the painting and went to the bedroom. Jacob was in the bassinette. He looked at the sleeping infant; then at his mother. “We love him, Mieke, and we love you. Teddy will love his son.”
Phlip went to Mieke and kissed her. “Do you remember the day when I was going to paint your fan portrait?”
Phlip unwrapped the painting and held it up. “You promised not to tell a soul that I used Father’s portrait. Remember?”
“I painted this vase with flowers so you’ll never forget your promise.” All smiles, he gave her the painting.
Mieke stared; then a smile lit up her face and she shouted, “Forget-me-nots!”
“And the red ones are wallflowers.” Phlip pointed. “I want you to remember that at sixteen you were a wallflower and that the fan portrait in the salon became a holiday ticket to France.” He took the painting. “I want you to put it up where you’ll see it every day”—he put the painting on the chair—“to remind you of your promise.”
Mieke held out her arms and they embraced, Mieke saying, “Yes Phlip! It’s our secret!”
VAN GOGH ‘IRISES’
LOOK and SEE . . .
A picture-painting is a voiceless poem
PHRA ACHARN CHAH:
Watch your thoughts, for they become words
Watch your words, for they become actions
Watch your actions, for they become habits
Watch your habits, for they become character
Watch your character for it becomes your DESTINY
A FICTICIOUS STORY
MAY ONE DAY
BECOME A REALITY
INTO A MOVIE WITH
FLESH AND BLOOD “CHARACTERS”
WE LIVE IN A UNIVERSE WHERE REALITY IS
WHAT WE CONSTRUCT IN WORDS [Wittgenstein]
THE GREAT DEBATE
He was a wise man who invented God
The authors gave us their “field of view”: positions.
Anthropologist Lionel Tiger suggests that when villages became town/cities a hierarchy developed: Deity—King/Priest . . . in the Middle East/Levant—land of wheat/barley. The king’s duty was to defend their territory: the soldier became a necessity. The priest established rules and rites [RELIGION] given to him by the city deity: the ultimate ruler. The priest needed a retinue to feed the deity at his/her abode: the TEMPLE.
The civilizations [maize/corn and potatoes] of the Americas developed [more or less] on a similar pattern as did the civilizations [rice] of Asia.
Neuroscientist Michael McGuire thinks that “from the beginning” homo sapiens/people had to cope daily for survival under STRESS. The BRAIN selected happy/tasty foods [chemicals/ serotonin] to “sooth” brain feelings. [Biblical Noah sipped wine] In the past, congregations [religious establishments] provided brain-soothing [hope] feelings. In this century, mega music festivals and sport events [the Olympics; Qatar: soccer; Wimbledon: tennis] are our valves.
Attitude is everything: Get a grip on your mind [Buddha]. YOGA is “in”.
I have been repeatedly implored by a FAN to be the moderator for God’s Brain.
Herewith MY input.
So—to begin with—I thank JULIA CHILD who showed us on television how to cook “haute cuisine”.
I had to write an archaeology essay and I thought of FOOD: WHEN DID WE BEGIN TO COOK? I started [this was 1968] with the beginning and on to the Neolithic period better known as The Stone Age. And I asked a Dutch artist friend to design a book cover because I had a “hunch” it might become a “tome”. [Just as Julia’s published cook books!]
Twenty years later [returning to Philadelphia], I asked Bernard Wales, my professor, if someone had already written on this subject. I got the green light!
That’s when my odyssey began—having decided by then to concentrate on what I called the “belly-foods” [staff of life]: wheat, barley, and oats—rice—maize/corn—potatoes.
Alas, I realized that I had too much on my plate! Science is a never-ending quest: especially about T I M I N G and thanks to technology to more information.
However, I’m determined to finish/recreate—NEOLITHIC CULINARY DELIGHTS—before I turn 90!
THE HUMAN JOURNEY
HUNGER IS THE BEST CHEF
In the beginning there was the TONGUE
And the tongue lapped water
And the tongue licked eatables
Cupping hands—sipping; scooping seeds
Lips and tongue—mouth munchin
A toddler licks his plate clean
A child whets her finger to pick up a cookie crumb
Cocktail party: finger-foods
TWO STEADY FEET
The vehicle to FIND FOOD
TWO MAGIC HANDS
For a group looking for FOOD [the fossil fuel of human energy]
TONGUE and HANDS became TOOLS for COMMUNICATION
to FEED the hungry BRAIN;
entrance to the MIND
WITHOUT OUR MEMORIES—MIND—WHO WOULD WE BE
In Eden a nightingale in a rose bush sang her heart out!
Cradling her infant, Eve trilled her tongue: tra-la-la my love!
Beetles were chirping in full force
as a kneeling Adam voiced: I hold your hand!
What is your mother tongue?
THE TOOLMAKERS and INVENTORS
In the beginning . . . there was the finger digging for edibles.
Hungry, she looked around for a longer finger!
And then one of them smiled . . . and added at the end a flint!
Voila: The spear!
Dig up an idea
When we became flesh-eaters
the concept/idea of the FORE-ARM as a TOOL
became the “HANDLE of the AX”
FOR CUTTING UP-------MEAT
So David triumphed
over the Philistines
with a sling and a stone
[1 Sam 17:50]
In the Levant: stone throwing was still practiced in the 20th century.
THE HUMAN STORY
ACCORDING TO OLGA
The story of “WANDERLUST” is the story of “HUNGER” : of humans staying alive and adapting to their environment—OUT OF AFRICA into the WORLD: the Mediterranean basin and the Middle/Far East.
EVENTUALLY . . . human groups encountered each other. When they weren’t hungry, they’d sit around the campfire. Small children, laughing, chased each other; the older children pranced around, clapping their hands. The adults communicated using hands, mouths, and uttering sounds. When the groups parted, the small children embraced and the older ones touched each other’s mouths, making kissing sounds. The adults were all smiles; the men waving their spears and the women their digging sticks.
EVENTUALLY . . . each group had to face the sad moment when a mother could no longer walk because of a foot infection. It was then that her sturdy son carried her on his back: day after day. Around the campfire the males had to make a grim decision: abandon her so that the group could stay alive—walking to satisfy their hunger. The women and children huddled around the lame mother; who knew her destiny. But then the son approached them and proposed to stay with his mother if two women, he pointed at them, would also stay and help her getting well. The children cheered, pointing at the mother and then at themselves: They were going to keep her company. And so it was decided that two adult males would also stay and keep them safe from beasts of prey.
EVENTUALLY . . . it was the bonding of mothers and their children that started the “revolution” of growing FOOD and building shelters in their chosen territory/region that became the foundation/basis of ALL subsequent inventions: tools for survival.
Necessity is the mother of invention
THE HISTORY OF HUMANS
THE HISTORY OF LANGUAGE
In the beginning . . . there was the tongue
CAMPFIRE TALK :
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
From campfire talk to
mass speech on the Internet
Benjamin Franklin invented
the lightning ROD; then the light bulb
LIGHT WITHOUT FIRE
IMAGINATION is the BEGINNING
of all magical operations
I can dream up anything:
Imagination depends on perception: the echo of a THOUGHT
[A thought—an inward/silent picture becoming an outward/sound expression]
AS FREE AS A BIRD
So . . . human groups became “tillers of the soil”, creating oasises—little Edens—near water, sharing this precious commodity with other animals. Observing the beavers, they learned how to make “bricks from clay” to erect shelters for themselves; and irrigation channels to cultivate FOOD in protected plots.
The small children paid attention to their mothers who showed them how to grow their food. The older boys occupied themselves by making objects, and ushered into the world the reed flute and the drum.The older girls watched the men forming bricks, and one of them had a creative idea [a light bulb moment] and with her magic hands gave birth to a vessel—for cooking food in water—that she then set in the campfire: pottery became a cultural identity.
When their hands were idle, humans gathered and they began to wonder about: who made the trees, the animals on the ground, the water creatures and the birds in the sky? One late afternoon as they sat in the cooling shade of a cluster of flowering trees a small bird opened her beak and caroled for her audience about divine beings living on the stars.
LET THERE BE CHANGE
And so . . . humans made images of divine beings whom they idealized because those magic hands had made the plants and trees: their FOOD. When the full moon shone on their dwellings, women played the flute and the older boys thumped drums. The children swayed their arms and stomped their feet on the ground as they voiced their excitement.
Then two leaders proclaimed that the divine beings should live amongst them and paid homage to. They instructed the populace to build a sanctuary that would unite heaven and earth—a holy house—:THE TEMPLE
The official pecking order—the hierarchy—was established
TO BE CONTINUED
THE DIVINE LANDLORD
One leader was the guardian of their territory and ruled as king. His land was tilled “for free” by the populace. The second leader, his title was priest, became the deity’s mouthpiece and ordained custodian of the god’s rules and regulations: THE COMMANDMENTS. One of the duties of the priest was to manage the divine landlord’s food tributes. Collected from the populace, surplus grains were stored at the temple. The king’s soldiers protected the temple granary.
To become a landowner, every female with children had to single out a male to be their father because—every household/family was allotted a plot of land/private property for growing food. Thus, for agricultural purposes, was established—as the core of the emerging communities—the family. Land was passed on: inherited.
Property—with boundaries—became the prime mover
for “land-grabbing”. [still practiced: Putin/Ukraine]
MEMORY—stored information—was a TOOL fundamental for living and learning.
Memory—to remember/recollect/commit/have—a notion or idea coming into the mind again as previously perceived known or felt; keep the memory alive; enshrine in the memory; that inward eye; cast the eye back; calling forth a memory run in the head.
Nat King Cole song: Unforgettable
Poetry: the art of arranging WORDS to a pattern of sounds and rhythm—its role: a means of access to the collective memory of a song and dance culture
At the temple, people worshipped their food provider by chanting and dancing at the sounds of drums and flutes—adding to the merry-making, girls waved rattles. Next to the divine dining room was a plateau where the deity’s statue lorded and where the priest hummed his hymn as he played the lyre.
The drum became the mother of percussion instruments
The flute became the mother of wind instruments
The lyre became the mother of string instruments
A NEUROSCIENTIST is a person
who “studies/decodes/unlocks” the neuron circuit/networking of the brain.
WITHOUT OUR MEMORIES—WHO WOULD WE BE?
Dementia: gradual death of neurons
DEATH DESTROYS MEMORY
the organ of adaptive behavior
is nourished by the FOOD we eat
from the intestines/guts
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT
Our varied FOOD intake—plants, fruits, flesh: our fossil fuel—resulted in the expansion of brain size and cortical activity that in turn: added information—fed ideas—to new perceptions in the MIND. I CHANGED MY MIND . . .
MURDER, MAGIC, AND MEDICINE
Oxford University Press, 1992
This is an account of modern medicine from its ROOTS in folk medicine. The book explains the chemical basis of modern pharmacology: On how the use and abuse of natural products in various countries throughout the ages has led to the development of many of the drugs we now take for granted.
What is troubling us IS the tendency to believe that the MIND is like a “little man within”
Known as: God’s flesh
The Age of Bacteria: Yeasts are fungi. Humans and yeast have many genes in common. Many generative diseases are due to mutated genes that cause the buildup of misshapen proteins inside cells. Why is it that nerve cells begin to die? [Bubbles, bread and beer: by Olivia Judson; IHT June 30, 2010, page 7]
Grain: BARLEY “In vino veritas”
Fermented grains and fruits gave us CIVILIZATION: A feasting culture developed.
To relax: Speaking their minds while “toasting”.
The IDEA of god served the human brain—managing anxieties—by reducing STRESS.
Prophet Isaiah—14:11—Maggots are your bed and worms are your blanket.
What’s wrong with believing in an afterlife?
Illusion is the first of all pleasures: self-deception is like a DRUG
THE POWER OF MIND is infinite;
religions acknowledge that GOD IS INFINITE
Neural activity—feelings and emotions—turned into thought:
As our thoughts and thinking—so is our MIND: circulation of IDEAS
Her nerves are on edge; a bundle of nerves
Nerves of steel; touching a nerve
His mood-swings are unpredictable
Mental strain; a crack up
Get a grip on your mind
Bible: Old Testament—EXODUS 20:15: I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.
The green-eyed monster JEALOUSY: unyielding as the grave, it burns like a blazing FIRE, like a mighty FLAME
Long before people TOLD STORIES of being abducted by aliens, and seeing UFO’s,
tales of sorcerers, and science fiction characters,
ancient people TOLD STORIES of being visited by angels, or gods, or demons.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS [1949—2011]
Religion is part of our cultural and intellectual history. It was our first attempt at literature, at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at healthcare, believing in faith healing, and at philosophy.
BLAISE PASCAL [June 19,1623]
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious convictions.
We live in a linguistic universe where reality is what we construct in WORDS.
Shark Tank show on television
Finding our “ROOTS”
has become very popular since the discovery of DNA
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND READING:
THE PLANET IN A PEBBLE
I had tears in my eyes when I finished reading this book,
wishing I could embrance the author for opening my eyes.
In the BEGINNING . . . : the atoms of a pebble—a metal factory
HOW LIFE “HAPPENED” ON OUR EARTH
Computers and mobile phones depend on lithium
CALCULUS is the language of the creator of the universe
Every IDEA, no matter how outdated, was once modern, exciting and new.
Future discoveries can overthrow what was once SEEN as the truth: The power of science to
move on [action].
INFERNO by Dan Brown—published 2013.
The novel’s final main issue is about OVER-POPULATION and the consequences. It predicts a pandemic [COVID ?] to “cull the herd”. Is this author our modern-day Nostradamus?
I have been asked to moderate on FREE SPEECH
THE KINGDOM OF SPEECH
Published 2016—author: Tom Wolfe
According to the author:
Man couldn’t create artifacts until he could speak [“had speech”].
Handbook of Amazonian Languages by David L. Everett—herewith quotes regarding the Piraha tribes in Brazil: This tribe was the most basic prototype of Homo sapiens. They spoke only in the present tense; past and future were “other day”; they made no artifacts except for the bow and arrow; no dance and music “representation”.
[It seems to me that they lacked CURIOSITY; that started with (Old Testament) Genesis, Eve listening to the serpent telling her to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. When the couple ate the fruit the penalty for KNOWING about “space and time” was the knowledge of DEATH. That’s why the saying goes: Curiosity killed the cat.
Mr. Everett wrote that speech is man-made—it is an artifact—man’s power over all other creatures in a way EVOLUTION couldn’t begin with.
If there would be no LANGUAGE, there would be no LOGIC. [Wittgenstein]
About 3000 BCE—WRITING was invented at the Temple by priests/scribes primarily for recording deposits of grains as well as for exchange of goods between parties.
WRITING WAS PERMANENT MEMORY/SPEECH: storage of IDEAS on stone, clay, animal skins, papyrus, and lately computer chips.
WRITING is the graphic expression of ACTUAL SPEECH
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
You have power over your mind—not outside events.
Realize this, and you will find strength.
Very little is needed to make a happy life;
it is all within yourself,
in your WAY of THINKING.
The PEN is the TONGUE of the MIND [Horace]
Memory is the mother of the nine “muses”—
cultural representations, fundamental for living and learning.
The art of memory
Plato and Aristotle at the agora; painted by Raphael
They were discussing “mnemonics”. Mnemom means mindful. Memorize: using a memory aid.
SPEECH is a mnemonic system comprising of WORDS.
In ancient ATHENS [Greece] the AGORA was the meeting place for DEBATE [SPEECH].
THE GLOBAL AGORA:
Universities should be marketplaces of competing IDEAS
IS FREE SPEECH
A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION ?
TWITTER: Everyone has a voice
FACEBOOK: The soapbox
THE FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR
Freedom of the WORD is not negotiable.
The fair is a place for DIALOGUE.
Heinrich Heine, German poet, essayist [1797-1856]
WHERE THEY BURN BOOKS,
THEY WILL ULTIMATELY ALSO BURN PEOPLE.
They make ready their TONGUE like a bow to shoot lies.
A lie which is a lie may be met and fought with outright; but a lie which is part truth is harder to fight.
YOU MAY RIDICULE, INSULT AND OFFEND:
BUT YOU MAY NOT LIE
Mark A. SAMMUT, author on philosophy of Law. The Times of Malta, Oct. 19, 2010, On:
THE RIGHT TO RIDICULE
Mr. Sammut quoted the law philosopher Ronald Dworkin: Ridicule is a distinct kind of expression; its substance cannot be repackaged in a less offensive rhetorical form without expressing something very different from what was intended [cartoons]. So, in a democracy, no one, however powerful or impotent, can have a right NOT TO BE INSULTED OR OFFENDED. Mr. Sammut also quoted the Belgian law philosopher Frank van Dun: Telling a lie, as distinct from uttering a mistaken opinion or believing what, in fact, is a lie and passing it on as the truth one believes it is, is unlawful.
There is NO RIGHT TO LIE:
YOU MAY NOT LIE.
Debating FREE SPEECH with the Supreme Court: WHAT IS HATE SPEECH? It’s SPEECH we HATE. [George Jonas, journalist; Canada National Post, March 2, 2013]
FREE SPEECH: what is left over when a community has determined in advance what it does not want to HEAR. [censorship]
Better a thousand fold abuse of FREE SPEECH than denial of FREE SPEECH. [Charles Bradlaugh, 19th century British Parliamentarian]
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to TELL people what they do not want to HEAR. [George Orwell, author]
The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to HEAR anything new. [Pema Chodron, Zen teacher]
The essence of freedom of expression is the freedom to EXPRESS IDEAS which offend, shock or disturb. [Owen Bonnici, Parliamentarian; the Times of Malta, Feb. 26, 2009: CENSOR CENSORSHIP NOW.]
On what is freedom of expression: ‘Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist’. [Salman Rushdie, author]
FREE SPEECH by definition is for the STUFF you don’t approve. [Mark Steyn, Canadian journalist; author of AMERICA ALONE. The book is considered politically incorrect because the author wrote that the West’s acceptance of “multiculturalism” is a real suicide bomb]
In the US it is legally OK to SAY offensive things about a religion and thus provoke hurt or anger. If some want it “criminalized”, then we no longer are supporters of FREE SPEECH.
On religious freedom of expression
Until writing developed, the oral-tradition of “telling a story”—like well-known mythical figure Gilgamesh—had to be someone who was capable of inventing it, and not just for entertainment but as an explanation of humankind’s existence.
The mythmakers/founders of divine beliefs were regarded as the God’s “associate” [prophet]: his mouthpiece.
HEAVEN IS MY THRONE AND THE EARTH IS MY FOOTSTOOL
The Sumerian sun-god Shamash represented Heaven and Earth the stool on which the god rested.
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious convictions.
The Medieval Inquisition
In 1199 Pope Innocent III declared “heresy”—Greek for choice: to believe in unsanctioned dogma—a crime that would bring God’s furor down upon Christendom as he was known to be a jealous God [Exodus 20:15]. Thus, an individual who invented a new sect, or followed one, was proclaimed a heretic.
HERETICS HAD TO BE PERSECUTED
Pagans, those worshipping the SUN-TRIAD—the rising sun, the noon sun, and the setting sun—had to be wiped out.
In 1310 Marguerite Porete was burned at the stake for “believing” that, when spiritually united with God, one had no need for the laws and sacraments of the Church.
Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote that religion is the cult of the “invisible”.
When the Jews had their sacred scripture [the Old Testament Bible] translated into Greek circa 300 BCE, MOSES became a famous prophet. Supposedly, he wrote the original teachings [the Pentateuch] in Hebrew. Moses related conversations with his God and instructions given, as well as adventures for conquering the land God had promised to him and his people. According to later prophets, one day a baby boy would be born in Bethlehem with the name Jesus whose parents were Mary and Joseph. And so it came to pass. Then, in Jerusalem, Jesus was hung on the cross with initials INRI. His disciples left to preach the teachings of Jesus the Christ, Son of God. Paul of Tarsus, upon reflections on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians, had a revelation and became a flag-bearer for Christianity. His letters are most revealing. [read about St. Paul in my Chapter 9].
The Four Gospels are the teachings of the Christian New Testament: with the fundamental doctrine of the TRINITY—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Thomas Paine was prosecuted for blasphemy in England for writing and publishing Age of Reason where he questioned the New Testament teaching us to believe that the Almighty had impregnated a woman engaged to be married. [Matthew 1:18]
CAN RELIGION BE SUBJECT TO “ENGINEERING”?
CAN ONE “ANALYZE” GOD?
TO BE CONTINUED