Every human, whether male or female, rich or poor, black brown or white, newly born or thousands of years in the past, has one father and one mother and equally so, everyone has two grandfathers and two grandmothers. I am not an exception, and while our family stories have so far dealt mainly with pake and beppe Smid, my other pake and beppe, the Roelevinks, are equally responsible for creating me. So, thank you all, grandparents, great - and great – great grand patents of hundreds, perhaps thousands of generations in the past, who have never known known in which way they shaped my life.
Pake Leffert was president of the local Christian school society, and for that reason master Klaas came regularly at the Roelevinks for tea, and at these times master Klaas shared often of his knowledge and wisdom. He told pake Leffert and whoever was there to learn or listen how special the Netherlands was created. From the few times that I witnessed his lessons I learned that what is called the Netherlands or Holland for that matter, had not been there from the beginning, but had evolved over thousands of years by the gradual built-up of silt carried down by the great rivers the Scheldt, the Meuse, the Rhine, Vecht, Ems, and Weser, having their origin in France and Germany.
Uncle Johannes, who checked master Klaas for accuracy had to admit that his mentioning of the main rivers according to his map had been correct, so that actually the biggest part of our Fatherland was in fact part of Germany and France.
But, master Klaas dramatically said, not so Gasterlan, where the Roelevink's lived.
“No, because Gasterlan is created by God,” reminded pake Leffert master Klaas cautiously, but the teacher went enthusiastically on, raising his voice, when he arrived at the climax of his argument.
“Our beginnings did not come from the mountains of Germany and France, but from Denmark and Norway!”
He then went on to lecture that during the last ice age the glaciers moved from the North-pole slowly via Scandinavia to about where Haarlem is situated now, before it turned back to where it came from.”
“Nou, first mar an cupje thee,” said beppe Dirkje, which stopped master Klaas' argument temporarily.
After he had gulped his tea down he started dramatically up again.
“Those glaciers carried enormous amounts of earth, gravel, sand and rocks with them which is called moraine, and when the ice melted, the moraine was left behind. In this way Gasterlan came to be as an island,” said master Klaas. Pake Leffert felt uncomfortable about all these new things and only allowed master Klaas to tell his story because he had studied and was a Christian teacher, but he mentioned one thing again.
“But it was God that made made Gasterlan,” pake said, and master Klaas agreed.
“It was God alright who made it happen, using the earth of Denmark and not of Germany, like he did with Holland,” he said.
Pake Leffert and beppe Dirkje lived their entire life in Gasterlan, which is located in the south-west of Fryslan. They received three daughters, Jantje, Jacobje, and Minke, and six sons, Jan, Johannes, Wieger, who died as a baby. The next year another boy was born who was also named Wieger, after him Lutzen and as the last one Lolke.
They were god fearing people, raising their children up in the fear of the Lord and were very hospitable to whoever visited them. I was welcomed there many times and received a positive and happy example from them.