woensdag 15 december 1982

Kerstgroet aan Amerika

In 1980 reisde ik met Marjan door Amerika. Vrijwel de hele reis, zo'n 10.000 km, hebben we gelift en we sliepen vaak bij particulieren. In 1982 hebben we een kerstgroet gestuurd naar de vele mensen die we daar ontmoet hebben. Met enkelen hebben we een jaar of wat gecorrespondeerd. Bij gelegenheid wil ik nog eens wat verhalen uit die tijd vertellen. Het was immers 'de tijd van mijn leven'. Om te beginnen hier de kerstgroet. De brief geeft een heel beknopt beeld van de reis.

Klik hier voor een (leesbare) afbeelding van de originele brief

UTRECHT, December 1982

And may you have GOOD TIMES in 1983!

You may not remember us. We are Marjan and Ytzen, who travelled Canada, USA and Mexico in 1980. Dec.‘80 we returned to Holland. Then the housing problem fell upon us. It took till April this year before we finally could settle down, thanks to a ‘declaration of  emergency’ of the local housing service. Most of that time our belongings were stored. Because of all this we didn’t have the chance to thank you properly for what you have done. This Christmas, we thought, is a last chance to give a sign that we are still alive, and that we are grateful for the rides, the beds, the food etc. we had in 1980. Thanks!

A copied letter is a very impersonal way to say thank you, but it is the only way to reach everybody before the end of year. Please, react if you want to write with us more personal. We often think back of Canada and the US. We had such a good time there; met so many people: pipe fitters, lawyers, professors, students, farmers, children, aged. We learned about the way they live. We went to schools, universities, a hospital, two newspapers (Washington Post, Wisconsin State Journal). We visited cities and villages, like Barneveld (600 inhabitants), named after the village where Ytzen grew up. On Vancouver Island we took care of two goats, an ox and thirty chickens. We had king size beds and colour tv, or we slept on the floor in a ladies bathroom. We felt at home, there.

Yet, we have a ‘love/hate-relationship’ with the North American way of life. We love American and Canadian hospitality. We Dutch build fences around ourselves, our families, our homes, our tiny little gardens, and say: ‘Please come back an hour later, we are just having dinner’, or: ‘Mind your own business’, or: ‘Help yourself’. Don’t touch the Dutch! It is so hard to get rid of those fences; we probably need them, because our country is so crowded. We love American and Canadian nature, the enormous space and possibilities.

We don’t like: North Americans always being on the move, running, winning. Competition. Not: ‘Our school is good’, but: ‘Our school is the best’ (if that is true, you’d better worry about those others). Someone tried to make us believe that MacDonald’s is a good restaurant. We objected. He replied: ‘Well, the food is not good, but it’s fast’. U.S. -politics scares us. It is hard to tell you about that fear in a few lines, it needs long letters.
We would like to hear from you about your way of life, your feeling and thinking. We hope you’ll feel good in 1983. What’s changed since 1980? How are you? We would like to go back ‘home’ to North America, but possibilities are decreasing. Maybe we are going to make a second trip in 1984. We wish we could study there. Marjan is in her second year of psychology, now, and Ytzen is part time typist at a newspaper and takes a correspondence course in journalism.

Even our address reminds us of North America. Our ‘lane’ is named after the American president(s) of Dutch ancestry, Roosevelt, and around the corner is the ‘Amerikalaan’.
Maybe we will hear from you, maybe we will see you again some day. Please, send your current address, if you have moved. Welcome in the Netherlands and in our apartment here in Utrecht.

Marjan Hidskes and Ytzen Lont, (Rooseveltlaan, Utrecht), the Netherlands. 

Route/slaapplaatsen: Boston - Acton - Ludlow (Massachusetts) - Utica (New York) - Burlington - Toronto (Ontario) - Washington (Pennsylvania) - Washington (District Columbia) - Shenandoah Park - Luray - Charlottesville (Virginia) - Cullodeny (West Virginia) - East Chicago (Indiana) - Lake Forest - Northbrook (Illinois) - Milwaukee - Madison - Barneveld (Wisconsin) - Minneapolis (Minesota) - Fargo (North Dakota) - Selkirk (Manitoba) - Rocanville (Saskatchewan) - Calgary (Alberta) - Summerland - Vancouver-Tsawwassan - Victoria - Sooke (British Columbia) - Cosmopolis (Washington) - Seaside - Newport - Florence - Coos Bay (Oregon) - Crescent City - Fortuna - Santa Rosa - San Francisco (California) - Mexico City - Querétaro (Mexico) - San Antonio (Texas) - Lake Charles - New Orleans (Louisiana) - Meridian (Missippi) - Charlottesville (Virginia) - London (United Kingdom) - Rotterdam (Holland).

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