Page 46 - Farmer John Eyking: The Holland Years
ISSUE : Issue 50
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/1/1
countries you were encouraged to go to. These governments wanted us, and the gov? ernment paid your way to go. The Dutch government. It was ridiculous. Somebody 20 years old who represents the future of the country, and you're paying (them) to leave? It was completely changed around, 3 years after we left. They left that policy and they brought in the Turks and the Italians and the Spaniards. Talk about government outlook! There was a lot of Dutch farmers who sold their little holdings, and they would have money and means to go. But us kind of peo? ple were single, we could take advantage of the system. I had a bit of money, I put it in my father's name, and I took advan? tage of this free trip. Free trip plus 30 bucks. (How did they let you know that this was available?) Oh, advertise, and they were pushing you almost out of the country. Yes. There were meetings--they showed different countries, films. (In 1951), that's when I went in the army. Quite a change because, you know, I was green. I hadn't been far away from home. Although I thought I was somebody. (This is the postwar Holland army.) Right. Con? scription. And that was one of my greatest P • PSI.. education I ever had. You know, thrown to? gether with 30 people in one room, and be? ing in the field. See homosexuality. Get more educated in sex. I'm a great believer in that, anyway. I wish that our boys could have a year somewheres--I won't say it has to be militaristic. But something with discipline, and something that you're put together and have to get along with each other. So when I was in the army. (You marched, you carried a gun.) Right. I was in the medical corps, though. I just got basic training 3 months, and then I was--we called--a hospital soldier. I was a medic. I liked that. For awhile in the army I already thought of emigration, and I applied to the United States. (You thought of it out of your own mind, or because it was offered?) No, not (because) it was offered. Because, I said earlier, I saw this little farm. I'm not saying exactly, but the way I see it, I had the parental authority--I wanted to break away from parent authority. My idea was to go here, and go there. I thought I'd go to an English-speaking part of the l world. Then I'd go to South America, learn Spanish--you know, dreams, eh? I wanted to see the world. That's what I'm do? ing now in my spare time. What I wanted to do in my youth. But I made that big step. I was go? ing to go to California, and I had a sponsor, and I was ready to go, just at the end of my army period. And the first of February, 1953, we had this tremendous flood in Hol? land, that covered almost one- quarter of Holland. Six, seven thousand people died, and billions of dollars lost. And the United States government slackened their immigration laws and let these peo? ple (the flood victims) come. But in the meantime, the ones who were ready to go, they cut them off. I got a letter back, "Sir, sorry. I'll have to put you on the waiting list, might take another 3 or 4 years." And I was ready within the quota, ready to go, almost. But on account of this flood, they let these people go first. The United States and Canada did a lot for the Dutch then. They flew in supplies. The land is below sea level--.and this huge storm. That THecHaceoF ANeW(KN • RATION. CAPE BRETON BEVERAGES LIMITED LA.1JDK 2nd Floor of Quality Cameras Building, corner Ge( & Dorchester Streets. Ask for John or Lynn Morriso
Cape Breton's Magazine