So, after my parents were married, their lives began to move forward very rapidly. The Second World War had been over for about 5 years and the vast majority of Europe was still dealing with recovery, rebuilding and renovating.
The Netherlands was hit especially hard and the economy was faltering. Employment opportunities were few, especially in the rural areas. My parents were soon looking for new opportunities. In 1950, my oldest brother was born and my parents felt it was time to move to the big city where more lucrative employment opportunities lay.
Off to Amsterdam they went. They found a home on a houseboat in one of the canals in Amsterdam (I am so jealous. I have always wanted to live on a houseboat).
They stayed in Amsterdam when my sister, Anna was born in December, 1952.
The birth announcements in the Netherlands include siblings. Something I found a bit odd.
They stayed on the houseboat until 1953 when my Paternal Grandmother approached my dad and talked to him. It seems that my two youngest uncles were not able to find work. My grandmother was desperate to provide them with a better life. So, my dad packed up my mom, my two siblings and his two brothers. They boarded the SS Groete Beer, a refurbished American Troopship from World War II.
This is a copy of the ship’s passenger manifest.
And so, my parents, my brother, sister and two uncles set sail to Canada to start their new life.