Posts tagged ‘huster’

One Down

My father died last Saturday. My friend John in Indiana was kind enough to send me a link to his obit.Heinrich Paul Huster

My previous posts about my family history prompted a lot of distant “lost” family members to contact me to tell me something along the lines of “Hey, I’m related to you, I found you! Tell me what’s going on with your dad/mom/family!”

I was pretty short in my answers if I answered at all, mostly because I didn’t want to say anything specific about them until the time was right. Now that my father has passed away, I want to tell you about him.

I haven’t talked to my family in about 15-20 years. The reason is my parents.

My parents were monsters. I was beaten and terrorized until I escaped home.

My left eye is lower than my right eye because my left orbital socket was broken and was never healed right.

I have physical scars that I’ll carry to my grave.

Spinocerebellar AtaxiaWhen I started getting MRI’s for my SCA (Spinocerebellar Ataxia), one of the things that showed up in the scans were scarring in the brain from childhood head traumas. The SCA is a death sentence. The scarring is a contributor.

Here’s some other highlights from my childhood:

Once, I didn’t want to finish my dinner. My father threw my food onto the floor and forced me to eat it off of the floor on my hands and knees.

He’d purposely would beat me black and blue from my neck down so the bruises wouldn’t show up where teachers would notice.

I remember being dragged out of hiding from under the couch for my beatings, and can still feel the carpet under my fingernails as I clawed at it, screaming for help.

I’d be locked in the closet or the bathroom with the lights out, and if I turned on the lights, I’d get dragged out, beat senseless, and thrown back on. I’d lay on the tile floor and sob. I remember the cold tile floor on my face.

I was thrown off the roof for being scared of heights.

I had a guitar broken over my head for not wanting to practice.

I was slapped, punched, and whipped sometimes when it seemed totally at random.

I lived in terror when my mother would say, “Just wait until your father gets home.”

Bowie KnifeHe tried to stab me once with a 10″ Bowie knife. For those on the metric system, that’s 25.4 cm.

He’d beat our dogs half to death for barking too much or otherwise acting like, well, dogs.

I was beaten to an inch of my life for asking for a toy in a store once.

My father may have been the gun, but my mother was the trigger. If I’d in anyway upset her, she’d be the one to set my father on me. She’d tell me I was a “stupid oak,” an idiot.

I was beat with a rug beater, a vacuum cleaner hose, a yardstick. Nice broad things upside the head so they also wouldn’t leave clear marks.

I have hearing loss in one ear because of one slap that knocked me off my feet.

She warned me that if I told ANYONE about what was happening at home, they’d be taken away by the police and I’d have to go live in a foster home.

She said since my sister was retarded, I’d have to stay home and take care of her for the rest of my life. For those of you reading this, get a life if the word “retarded” offends you. That’s what it was called then, that’s what I’ll repeat to you now.

And those are just a few highlights.

My aunts knew about what was happening, and when I would call and ask them to rescue me, they’d downplay it, and tell things would get better or that I was making a big deal out of nothing (paraphrasing).

A few weeks ago, one of my aunts Trojan Horse’d me. I got a greeting card from a name I didn’t immediately recognize. It said on the front, “An armful of happy thoughts…” On the inside it says, “I’m sorry these are not happy thoughts,” and proceeds to tell me the status of my father, and the card has printed inside, “…picked just for you.” Man, is that massive Dutch passive aggressive guilt tripping, or what.

I was thinking suicidal thoughts by the time I was 8. I tried killing myself 3 times. I never had kids, and didn’t even have pets until recently, because I was convinced I’d abuse them. I don’t like looking at myself in the mirror, even to shave. I have a permanent form of PTSD that’s pending for the DSM-V called Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD Dissociative Subtype. My self-esteem is for shit.

I’m on marriage #4, and I finally got it right because I married a total stranger and didn’t end up with the usual dysfunctional relationship patterned after my life history.

I’ve finally got help in 1999, and my life has turned around, but if someone back home is waiting for me to reconnect with them, don’t hold your breath. You’re dead to me.

I tell people I was raised by wolves, and I’ve been helping volunteering to help others like me since I was diagnosed as part of my penance for the things I’ve done as a result of the fucking evil you’ve raised.

Adult Survivor of Child AbuseIf you’re from my direct family in Fort Wayne, never try to contact me again. Ever. You’re just a nightmare that I occasionally wake up from literally screaming. I wish I had gone to a foster family, even a chain of bad ones.

Grandpa John and Grandma Rose were the only ones I will ever miss, and I loved them with all of my heart. I wish I had gotten to know my grandparents from the other side of my family.

I’m sorry for anyone distant relatives who have just found me because of my blog. I’ve locked down my Facebook profile just to keep those same kind of relatives from finding me, because that old life is too hard to explain.

I don’t know how to wrap this up other than to say that if you grew up like I did, and are waiting for your parents to apologize, or want to reconnect with them and it’s just not happening, maybe it’s time for you to move on.

Break ties and look forward. Your life starts here. Get help. Your life doesn’t have to be without hope and you don’t need to be stuck in a mess of depression, fear, and violence. My heart goes out to you, and I offer you what strength and hope I can.

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Family Tree

1966 October 01

I used to be cute.

A while back, I started trying to find out more about my family tree. There wasn’t anyone around that I could or would want to ask about it, so I just jotted down what information I knew.

See, genealogists occasionally sell their services, and promised me they could track back my family history as far back as when they first entered the US. Well, duh, that was 1951. Not exactly a  deeply US rooted family tree.

Anyway, a while back, I posted Family History, Introduction,  My Father’s StoryMy Mother’s StoryMy Indo Heritage, and My Indo Heritage 2. This is what I love about the Internet. A cousin I knew nothing about found one of the posts, and wrote to me that he though we were related. We were! His grandfather was my grandfather’s brother. That’s Bart Veenstra, by the way. He’s an anthropologist, and he goes all over the place. As of this writing, he’s in Ghana, putting in semi-jury-rigged water filtration thingy. I think that improvisational trait runs through the family. My usual supplies include duct tape and clothes hangers.

With Bart’s help, the Allen County Clerk’s Office, and the Allen County Public Library’s genealogical staff, I was able to fill up some holes.

So this is my family tree (pdf). Fine, more of a family bush. I’m sure I didn’t do it in a correct genealogical method, but it takes some weird twists and turns, and ended up much wider than it was tall. Happens in extended families.

Anyway, if you’re related, I’d appreciate hearing from you.

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My Indo Heritage 2

This is an addendum to this original post. I finally got a hold of someone at the Clerk’s Office in Fort Wayne, who was kind enough to read me the names of my grandparents on my father’s side. My grandfather’s name was Ferdinand Johann Adolph Huster, and my grandmother’s name was Walda Huster. Like most people in my family, she had a nickname, which is what confused me.

Anyway, big major chunks of my family tree is slowly getting filled in!

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My Indo Heritage

You’ve probably read my father’s and mother’s stories here, and maybe the introduction to these autobiographies. I’m not one for big autobiographies of my own, but I’ll give you a little background in how I grew up being an Indo.

I was the first generation American of my family. I was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Before starting school, I spoke Dutch and Indonesian. I loved the chocolate sprinkles on my bread, and I can remember shadow puppets in frames in our house. My grandmother spoiled me rotten, and I remember my grandfather as stoic. With the exception of my father, my family was from my mother’s side. Her name was Irma Sara Huster, with sisters Margareth and Ruth. My grandfather’s name was John Veenstra, and my grandmother’s name was Rosa T. Veenstra. There was a huge extended family, including cousins, great-uncles and great-aunts.

I can’t tell you as much about my father’s (Heinrich Paul Huster) side of the family. My grandfather was Ferdinand Johann Adolph Huster, and he died as a prisoner of war. It’s embarrassing but I can’t remember my grandmother’s name off the top of my head. If I do, I’ll edit this post later (it’s Walda). My father had 5 or 6 brothers, and an adopted sister who lived with my grandmother in Indonesia. I can remember one uncle nicknamed (and I’m not sure of the spelling here but) Puck, who lived in Canada. My family is spread across the world. Many lived here in the US, but many more lived in The Netherlands, Indonesia, and Canada. Who knows where else. Maybe someday I can piece together some geneological information. I’m sure there are records in The Netherlands, but many of the records in Indonesia were destroyed during WWII.

We were a middle class family, which was pretty good considering my family lost almost everything during WWII. My first day in kindergarten set the scene for the rest of my life. I was very excited to go to school with the other kids in the neighborhood. Here’s where it gets not so much fun. Our teacher sat us down in a circle and asked all our names. Back then I went by John, which is my legal name. Anyway, the teacher asked us all what we had for breakfast. Hands went up. Some kids had cereal, others toast, eggs, all the usual stuff. When it was my turn, I answered in Dutch, “brood met kaas.”

I was called retarded, made fun of, and laughed at, all on the spot. That was literally the last time I spoke Dutch in school. After that, over the years, my Dutch began eroding, to the point where I can understand it conversationally, but I can’t speak it, or read and write it. I’m still trying to relearn Dutch, trying some tutorial programs, but to read Dutch, I have to rely on translation services like WorldLingo. After 40 years, I’m frustrated and angry that I lost my ability to “talk” fluent Dutch.

Now growing up in 1960’s Indiana, you were either white, black, or Chinese. If you were from the middle east, you were called Chinese. If you were from India, you were Chinese. Basically, if you weren’t white or black, you were Chinese. Well I damn well knew I wasn’t Chinese, so I constantly would get into fights, then go home upset and not be able to explain to my parents what had happened. Establishing yourself as an Indo, trying to explain what a Dutch-Indonesian was, is pretty difficult when you’re 7 years old. Frankly, over the years, it really hasn’t gotten much easier. Filipinos, Koreans, Chinese, you name it, they all know I’m not white, but couldn’t figure out what the heck I am. You can lose your language skills, but there’s no hiding your race.

Here’s how the conversation usually goes.

“What nationality are you?”

“American”

“No, what I mean is, where are you from?”

“Indiana.” (To many, a foreign land unto itself.)

In this politically correct country, nobody has the guts to ask me what race or culture I am. Don’t ask me the right question, you’re going to get answers you don’t want.

Oddly enough, over time, white folks tend to take me as white, while growing up at one point, my best friend was black, and his family treated me like one of the family. Guess when you don’t fit in, people squeeze you into the place they best understand you. Round peg, square hole, as it were.

Where was I? Oh yeah. As my Dutch degraded, I started corrupting my parents. They learned what a taco was, and started saying, “Oh gross.” This is a story unto itself, and I’ll probably tell it here sometime, but I once was asked what “screwed” meant. Fortunately, at age 9, nobody expects an answer anyway. I’ll have to tell you sometime how I knew what “screw” meant at age 9. Wasn’t my fault, I was minding my own business, and…well, like I said, I’ll save that for another time.

Believe it or not, but growing up, we had another Indo family as neighbors. With one evil neighbor behind us, I’m sure they were thinking that all of us Indo’s were dropping property values. I’m pretty sure my family fully expected I’d marry the neighbor girl who was my age (who had translated to the teacher what “brood met kaas” was when I was in kindergarten.).

So, long story short, I grew up surrounded by Indo’s and the Dutch so I never lost touch with that community growing up. Michigan is north of Indiana, and just crammed full of the Dutch, so when I visited up there, they knew exactly what I was, and where I came from on sight.

Now, my family is gone, and after moving to Washington state, there isn’t a huge Dutch population centered anywhere. I’m hearing there’s some Indo’s here since someone contacted me on this blog, but again, not a real grouped community. A lot of Koreans here, but just a sprinkling of “my people.” A lot of Koreans. Did I mention that?

So there’s a sort of slapped together history of who I am. And yes, “it’s Jack now, kus mijn bodem.”

And that’s why this site is named Brood met Kaas. Revenge for kindergarten.

Now I’m going to go have some bread with chocolate sprinkles.

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My Mother’s Story

1967 

I was born in October 26, 1938 in Malang, a provincial capital of East Java, Indonesia, at that time called the Dutch East Indies.

For mom & dad had the Dutch nationality, I too was and am still Dutch or Netherlands.

Dad was in the real estate business, had his different investments and also possessed several houses, he rented out.  We were at that time considered wealthy and like many others in those days, we too had our servants.

I have had a very nice childhood here and remembered the times we spent on vacations at the beach or in the mountains.

We also had a house in a mountain city which dad designed himself.  This house even had its own electricity from a small hydro plant.  Dad had a creek relocated and a small waterfall made, a distance away from the house, which was built on top of a hill.  Besides our house pets, we kept some pigs at the bottom of the hill.  I have often watched them play in the mud.

In 1941 my sister Margareth was born.  Having those servants, left mom much time to spend with us, dad too, when he was not on a business trip.

In 1942 when the Jap. occupied the island during World War #2, mom and we 2 children were put in one concentration camp and dad in another.  As it was a common situation in those camps, there was a shortage of food and medicines.  It was a very sad time for mom and dad when, because of the bad conditions, mom lost the baby boy she wanted so badly, by birth.  Dad had to bury my brother himself.  He had to receive the body outside the fence and was not allowed to see mom to comfort her.  After the Japanese capitulated, the Indonesians who revolted against the Dutch took over the camps and we were kept in it until 1947 when we were evacuated to Dutch territory.  We were first taken to Djakarta and then transported to Bandung.

We were finally together again, yet times were still tense as there was still fighting around the city.  Dad had a job as a government official and took care of rehabilitating and rebuilding the villages about.  And although being unarmed he had been taken under fire several times, we thanked the Lord every time he came home alive.  All through this time grandma and grandpa were living with us.

After Indonesia was given its independence by the U.N. we all left for Holland.  First, we were put in a location center where it was decided for us to live in Vlissingen.  Here, my youngest sister Ruth was born.

A few years later, we moved to Rotterdam.  I have very pleasant memories from Holland, we were at last in safety and although having lost all their possessions and because of dads reschooling, we sometimes had to live meagerly, yet mom and dad were more relaxed and after dad became electrician, live was getting better again.  Meanwhile Margareth and I finished the grade and high school, after finishing our typing school we got a job as clerk.  Grandpa died after our arrival in Holland and grandma stayed with us until she passed away.

Although not having any reasons but maybe the overpopulation and crowdedness, mom and dad decided to emigrate to the U.S.A. and we arrived here in 1959.

In the beginning, we had a hard time with the language and the only work dad could find, was janitors work.  The only job I could find was that as cleanster at the Lutheran Hospital.  Later on Margareth and I worked as factory workers with a packaging company.

Meanwhile I became acquainted with my husband, and we were engaged in 1959 and married in 1960.

More information could be obtained from mom and dad who live in Ft. Wayne, who incidentally were married 30 years last May 27, 1967.

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