Vol. I Number 4
Reunion Reminder Central College Campus Pella, Iowa June 12-14 Send your prepaid reservations to Carolyn Niemantsverdriet Bauer 2490 248th Street Marshalltown, Iowa 50158
"Last Christmas I presented our son, Mike, with "MOM'S
MEMORIES FOR MIKE", a collection of childhood
memories of mine from the 1930's - 1940's.
( I looked through this book when visiting Mike in February - what a wonderful gift! -- cnb)
"I included in it: "Mom made the most beautiful May baskets for my classmates. She would save small boxes (butter and cottage cheese, etc.) and cover them with pastel crepe paper that she gathered on the old pedal sewing machine. We filled them with homemade fudge and penuche.
"When Mike was a child, we created them out of colored construction paper, filled them with candy, and delivered them to his friends. We put a long broomstick across the top of the front and back car seats and hung the handles over it to keep the contents in the baskets. What fun!
"Maybe this is a lost art. I surely hope not!"
How about that - they both wrote about the same thing.
Back home in Indiana, when I was growing up,
Congratulations Garth! Mary Jo Hardebeck wrote:
[ Garth Zimmerman, Marine Boot Camp Graduation, March 13, 1998.]
Michael and Jessica will be moving from Berkeley, California, after four years and four degrees, to Kalamazoo, Michigan, in August. They will both be attending Southern Michigan University where he will pursue a PhD and she will study for a masters' degree - both in Counseling Psychology. His mother is overjoyed at having them 1,500 miles closer to "home."
I am sure that there are additional family members graduating this year. Come to the reunion and find out who they are!
Congratulations to all of you unidentified grads! You've all done very well and we are proud of every one of you!
Spring appears to have finally arrived. Many of you - probably all of you, do not know that my father is a real poetry buff. The combination of spring and my father, brings to mind one of his favorite poems.
It's a small world. This week I received a letter from Bob and Nancy Friesz Lange. Nancy included family group sheets for Bob and herself and additional ones for all of their children. As I glanced over them, I noticed that their son-in-law was born in Lafayette County, MO. That caught my eye, having been born in Lafayette, IN. You can imagine my astonishment when I got to the page for their last child, Thomas, and saw that his current address is 1212 King Street in Lafayette, IN! That isn't very far from my parents home - and must be very close to where my fifth grade teacher, Miss Beaver, lived. Thomas is a Lutheran clergyman at St. James Lutheran Church. I couldn't resist calling him and telling him about all of those Niemantsverdriet cousins lurking around Lafayette! You will notice the addresses for the Lange clan on the attached page. Bob and Nancy will be joining us in Pella in June.
Who started us out on this reunion stuff anyway?
Leona Braafhart was the instigator and organizer of the first ever Niemantsverdriet Reunion in America. We owe a lot to Leona's interest in family history. So exactly who is Leona? The following is excerpted from some of Leona's writings about her life.
Leona Vanita Witzenburg was born four miles west of Pella on highway 163 -- first place on the south side of the highway across the four mile railroad crossing, on April 28, 1917. She received her Bachelor of School Music Degree from Morningside College in 1941. She did some graduate work at Columbia Univsity in 1943. In 1955, she received her Master of Music Education from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.
Leona taught in the Auburn Independent School at Auborn, Iowa, the Galva Consolidated School, Galva, Iowa, Casa Grande Public School system in Phoenix, and in the Paradise Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona. She was also secretary of the Music Research Facility in the Department of Music at the Arizona State University in Tempe. She has written a musical operetta based on a story in the fifth grade readers and music books entitled "King Stilts." She has appeared in solo recitals for flute and piano and has appeared in many radio and television programs - including broadcasting from WHO radio in a Dutch band.
Leona retired from music in 1968 and took part-time jobs of various nature so she could be home to care for her mother. Following her mother's death in 1969, she went to California and worked in a heath food store in downtown Los Angeles. She returned to Iowa to be married to Henry Braafhart in the famous "Little Brown Church" in Nashua, Iowa on November 2, 1972.
Henry had been born in the Netherlands and came to the US at the age of 19 in 1921 to work for Leona's father. Leona started school in 1923, and Henry made arrangements with the teacher to join her so he could learn the English language. In the winter when the snow was deep, he used to pick her up and carry her piggy back, on his shoulders, to school. He had been a farmer in various parts of Iowa prior to being widowed in 1966.
Together, Leona and Henry became celebrities for their
bicycle rides across Iowa with the Des Moines Register's
Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI - now
in it's 26th year.) They both rode, but it was really
Henry who was the celebrity because of his age. They
appeared in newspapers, on radio, on TV, and Henry
was even on cable across the nation. They received
letters from friends in California and Indiana who wrote
they had seen him on cable. His name was mentioned
in the July 1984 Reader's Digest and were written about
in the June 1986 issue of The National Geographic
( I remember all of this, but at the time had no idea they were related to me! -- cnb)
A couple of years following our first Niemantsverdriet Reunion in America, Leona and Henry moved to a retirement home in Fort Dodge. Henry died there in 1996. This year, following surgery and needing care to be able to leave the hospital, Leona returned to Pella. She is temporarily living with her non-Niemantsverdriet cousins, the Harold Van Zee family.
Leona is a remarkable woman. Thank you, Leona, for bringing our family together in America.
We know that Teunis and Elisabet came to America in 1855, that Arie and Ingetje and father Hendrik came in 1857, and that Leendert and Lena arrived ten years later in 1867. I also know that Teunis lived in Lake Prairie township of Marion County, Iowa in 1856. Arie's family and Hendrik lived in Black Oak township of Mahaska County, Iowa, in 1860 but were living in Richland Township of Mahaska County in 1870. The question . do any of you know the physical location of their homes or farms in those early years - or in fact even in later years? Although Leendert's family was in Iowa in 1870, I was unable to locate them in the census. I have searched through the land records for Marion County and was unable to find any land purchase for any of the Niemantsverdriets in their first thirty or more years in Iowa. (At that time I was unaware that Arie and Hendrik had lived in Mahaska County.) I think that most of us would be interested in locating those early home sites. So, do any of you have information which would help? Can you lead us to a spot in June?
Dutch Treats from http://www.pella.org/recipes.html#cookies Saucijerbroodjes (Pig in a blanket) Dough: 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon soda, pinch of salt, about 4 cups flour. Mix soda, sour cream and cream of tartar. Add other ingredients and enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll out to less than 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough into 3 inch widths. Take filling size of a walnut and roll filling in long roll. Cover with dough. Roll with palm of hand to about 5 inches. Pinch ends shut. Bake at 350 degrees F. about 45 minutes. Filling: 1 pound hamburger, 1/2 pound sausage, 1/2 cup cracker crumbs, seasoning to taste. Shift together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder. Cut in with a pastry blender: 1/2 cup shortening, into flour mixture. Add: one beaten egg and 3/4 cup milk/ water. Roll into thin sheet and cut with small round cutter. Make a filling of one pound pork sausage, 1/2 pound ground beef, seasoned, 2 crushed Dutch rusks, 2 Tablespoons cream of mushroom or some other cream soup. Shape into small rolls, fold each roll into prepared pastry round and bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees. F. Yield about 40 saucijsjes.Mrs. Bert Baron Dutch Treats, 1959 Cookbook.
Please send your reservations for the reunion as soon as possible. Sweatshirt orders must be placed by mid-May to receive them in time for the reunion. If there are late orders, they will be sent after the reunion. An additional reservation form is included in this mailing. In addition, you should have received - or will soon receive - brochures from Pella and from the state of Iowa.
There are many other places to visit here in Iowa, including: