Lolke - “I arrived at Halifax on July 1st 1952. I know this for a fact. We were forbidden to land for it was a holiday. The crew of the ss Waterman sneaked her in during the night, and when the Canadians woke up we had landed. It took seven days on sea, that was long enough.”
The ss Waterman was originally built for freight shipping, than rebuilt to troop transport and finally it became an immigrant ship. My brother John and I made the seven day long trip over the Atlantic in this ship in 1953, which was a rough passage.
The Waterman was too short to ride two waves and when she rode high over a wave, after reaching mid ships, she just hung there, shaking violently as if to break the vessel in two, and passing that ordeal dipped her nose down to plunge the ship deep down into the water of the Atlantic. The next wave pushed her up and the same order would repeat itself again. My brother and I stationed our self on the front top-deck where we enjoyed the wildest ride over the ocean, which was even better when we were joined by a pair of sisters.
Lolke - “From Halifax by train to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where a farmer picked me up and took me to his dairy farm in Stonewall, where he milked a hundred cows. I made a contract in Fryslân with him that my starting wages would be $45 a month plus board and room, with monthly increases if I was a true herdsman and pulled my weight. He didn't give me a raise, so I walked away (after he paid me for the month) and hired myself out to his neighbor. He milked only thirty cows and paid me almost double, $80. Things were going good.”
“At the church I heard from Gert Roorda that his farmer paid him $125, and needed another hand, so I joined him. This farmer milked only three cows. That was the best yet, but Gert and I were still holed up in that small town, in the winter, and boy, did it get cold in that prairie!
We got sick of of the cold and hoped there was more to see in Canada than this little prairie town, and as soon as the weather got a little milder we bought an old Austin, which set us back $125 and took off, to where we didn't know as long as it was warmer than Manitoba. We heard of a city to the west named Calgary where big money was to be made.
“I bought a postcard in Winnipeg for Helen, a nice winter landscape with an Indian in front who had a lot of feathers over his head. I was sure Helen would like it, but had not come to send it out yet. On our first coffee stop I asked Gert to write Helen's address on it because I had stiff fingers from driving. The old lady was a standard, I don't think there were automatic transmissions yet.”
Helen received Lolke's postcard on a Monday and on the next Sunday she became mother of an adorable red-haired baby-girl. She was ecstatic with both, but wondered if Lolke had gone to school in Stonewall because his hand writing had definitely improved.
She promptly wrote him a long letter with the most important news – 'Lolke, you are the father of a beautiful daughter.'
A week later a brokenhearted Helen received her long letter back with a hand written note over the prairie winter-landscape with the Indian saying – moved, no forwarding address.