Page 35 - Farmer John Eyking: The Holland Years
ISSUE : Issue 50
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/1/1
armer John Eyking: The Holland Years I was always a rushing person--a lot of things on my mind. (You were telling me once that you wasted a lot of time being busy.) Yes. by being busy, not talk to people. It's only when you get older, when you start realizing what's important, eh? I mean, you've got to make a buck, too, though--don't get me wrong. I never changed. But I take more time out now, listen to people.... I was so trained to be busy, you know. There used to be a say? ing: "Idle time is the devil's cushion"-- whatever it is said in Dutch--I can hardly translate it. In other words, if you are idle, you get in trouble with the devil, or the devil tempts you, something like that. (Who used to say that to you?) Oh, our parents. We used to say a lot of say? ings, eh? I don't know if the English lan? guage has as many--you know, they just came automatically. The way you were brought up, I guess. (How were you brought up?) Well, our fami? ly in Holland, the Eyking family, was all mostly self-employed people. All proud. But when you evaluate what they had, we were--perhaps we would have a small farm. From my father's side, they were in the bulb-growing business for--oh, maybe gen? erations. This particular area of Holland. This goes back into the 16th century, I 17th century--when they introduced the (tulip) bulbs from what we call Little Asia, or Central Asia I guess--the moun? tains of Turkey. Anyway, the tulips and the bulbs were in? troduced in Holland, and it became the fashion to have it. And then later on it became a culture, and was exported. It translates something like 2, 3 billion a year now to export our bulbs. And it creates work maybe for 50 or 100 thousand people in Holland. Anyway, we were bulb growers. I won't go into details about it--it was complicated. It had its ups and downs, like a free- market system. And in 1929 apparently--I don't know if it had anything to do with the crash of the stock market--but anyway, the bulb business became disastrous. And the people got together and they formed a system of quotas, something like we have marketing boards. Supply management, they call it. And supply management meant that whoever had a certain size of acreage would get a quota to produce that acreage. So those who were fortunate, who were large, had a large quota. It's the same thing in Canada today, the marketing boards--it's actually a closed shop. Families had 2 or 3 sons--these quotas would be split up. And that happened in our family. My father had 3 brothers, and
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