"He sold his practice in the spring of 1941," Marjolynn tells, "and by fall I was placed with a friend, a woman dentist, while he left as a doctor with the merchant marines."
The dentist kept Marjolyn throughout the war in the Paciﬁc which began for the U.S. on Dec. 7, 1942. She recalls, "The Dutch capitulated to the Japanese in March 1942. Service men were placed in concentration camps shortly there after. Older boys followed.
"Areas within the city were cordoned off and women and young children were supposedly protected and could be free to leave the areas whenever they pleased. Soon that freedom was limited to Sundays and Wednesdays, then only just once a week and soon there after . . . no more. "We were interned at the very end of September, only days after I had turned 13.During those years we were moved from camp to camp wherever a dentist was needed." Conditions in camps deteriorated. They had many new visitors, bedbugs and malaria mosquitoes.
"If I had been a mother, I wouldn't have done as well watching my children suffer, basically from malnutrition, well, hardly any nutrition. I was physically affected. Malaria 20 times, the last attack after the war, chronic dysentery, and near death, twice.
"My family consisted of the dentist, her two children and her sister-in-law with her two little ones under ﬁve years old. I was lucky to be a teenager with great genes, though no real family of my very own to love, but I appreciate the fact that she kept me as part of her family."
The war ended while Marjolyn was still interned. It was there that she learned where her father was last seen, America.
Marjolyn traveled with orphans to the Netherlands on a troopship where she was able to get a visa to be reunited with her father and to begin a new adventure.
She arrived in America Dec. 11, 1946. The school placed her in the ninth grade. She needed to learn English in a hurry since Dutch was forbidden at home and no one in school could speak Dutch. She was two years older than her classmates but graduated with honors and received three scholarships.
She said that the teachers were very good to her. One realized that she didn't know what Thanksgiving was all about so that class celebrated it with a dinner. The ﬁrst time she saw snow falling, the teacher told her to go outside and touch it, feel it, and walk through it.
"America was where I truly wanted to be," Marjolyn said. "I loved the friendly Americans. There was no class system and most people were so open. You could talk to about everybody without really feeling that you were above or below them. America was also so much wealthier than what I saw in Holland, a country still recovering from the war. They were still using food stamps for many items and there sure wasn't the variety as there was in this country."
Marjolyn looked forward to becoming an American and ﬁnally became a citizen in 1956 at the age of 26.
"Life has been good! I've gained more family through marriage, three children and nine grandchildren. Recently marriage to Vic Clampitt has added stepsons and their families. Wow! I came to America with just one relative, my father. Amazing!"
Details of those early days, coming to America and much more can be found in her book, "Show Me the Way Home." The book is not available in stores. To keep the cost low, she's selling copies from home. Contact her at 835-3096.blog comments powered by Disqus