ONCE

It had been in my wallet for about 20 years, this half decayed piece of paper. From the time that having a Filofax was still a must. It tells the story of the many conversations I had with my grandfather at the end of his life. Frisian of birth, a deep Frisian (deep frozen) as it is called, big and quiet. Not so in his last years. He told about his life, where he came from, the family. A family of peat cutters in Almenum, a village between Harlingen and Franeker, the municipality of Barradeel. "But all that doesn't exist anymore, seun. All demolished and removed." Still, I wrote it down, you never knew.

That ‘never’ was yesterday. Almenum now appears to have merged into Harlingen and has the status of a hamlet and the Koningskwartier is nowadays no more than an industrial area with some old workers' houses scattered here and there, close to the harbour. And despite the fact that no. 4 does not exist and that no. 104 now has a prefabricated production hall shining, it was still a special moment.

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