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Chapter 12

The Vogelzangs in Rotterdam.

As we saw in the previous chapter, the fourth child of Jan Harmen Vogelzang was Rintje Vogelzang. He was born on Jul. 2, 1900 in Lemmer. He died in Amsterdam in the St. Bernardus Senior’s home on Feb 11, 1987. He was deaf and following the death of his wife Elizabeth Alida Ringeling, born Oct 31, 1902, he moved out of his home at the Soembawa Straat in Amsterdam to a senior’s apartment in Diemen. He stayed there till he became unable to look after himself. He thus ended up in the St. Bernardus home. After some time there, aggravated by his deafness, he shut himself off from the world and at the end essentially stayed in bed, turned his face to the wall and allowed himself to die. He had all the symptoms of suffering from Altzheimers disease.

Elizabeth Ringeling was the daughter of Petrus Adrianus Ringeling from Rotterdam and Margareta van den Boogert of the same city. Rintje and Elizabeth had five children. Tragically the third child- Agatha- died of whooping cough at the age of not yet three months. At the time it was an incurable illness. It really threw Elizabeth for a loop causing her to suffer from depression, and inability to sleep at nights. This ultimately resulted in taking a drug overdose on Oct. 26, 1972, a tragedy that shook her husband and kids.

Elizabeth Ringeling at age 21,- 1923.

As was common in that age, Rintje barely finished grade school and immediately went to work in the area he was exposed to at home- ship’s mate. He served as a helper on a freighter and afterward on a sail boat in the North Sea and Zuiderzee.

Rintje Vogelzang as helper on an Rintje V with the kids of the skipper inland freighter, ca 1915.

He was working for, ca 1920.

Rintje V and Gerardus Wierdsma, his cousin,around 1920.

Albertus V, Rintje V and Lubertus V, around 1922.

Rintje ca 1925.

1929- Courting days.

Rintje V and Elizabeth Ringeling Dec 1929
at the wedding of Johannes V to A Kropman.

Wedding picture of Rintje V and Elizabeth R, Apr. 26, 1930.

His sailing days brought Rintje regularly to Rotterdam, where he also had some relatives. Eventually he decided to stay there. During this time, he met his future wife and, shortly after meeting each other, they married. Their five children were, Reinalda Maria, born Jan 12, 1931; Margareta Christina, born Jul.26, 1932; Agatha born Nov 24, 1933 and died Jan. 15, 1934; Petrus Jan born Sep 10, 1935; and Jan Harmen born May 8, 1939.

Around the time of his marriage, Rintje became employed as a dock worker in Rotterdam harbour, loading and unloading sea vessels, and as coal carrier at his father in law’s place of employment. It was heavy work and often dirty. Even so, as time went on, work became scarcer and scarcer. The Great Depression had started. Money was hard to come by. Yet the culture, in which Rintje–Dad-had grown up, expected that the husband provided and the wife looked after the home. Hence by hook or by crook he saw it as his duty to put bread on the table- often not an easy task, which got worse when he became permanently unemployed. That status stayed that way until the start of WWII- May 1940.

During these years of unemployment, to remain sane and to counter mother’s concern on how she was going to feed her brood of four kids, he rented a “volkstuin”- a small piece of land rented out by the municipality, on which people could build a small shed and grow vegetables etc. He was a master in drawing large crops from the little piece of land; enough to feed the family most of the time. In addition he kept rabbits at his garden and in the backyard of his house. It kept meat on the table, particularly at festive occasions such as Christmas and birthdays.

Since money was scarce and since mother could not sleep at night anyway, she would stay up all hours of the night, taking apart dresses and clothing handed down to her by relatives, and re cutting and sewing them into clothing for her children. By to-day’s standards they were poor, though they would never have considered themselves that way. To supplement their diet mother would get chunks of lard and fat and melt them together and store it in crocks thus providing cooking fat. Similarly, when the crops from Rintje’s garden were plentiful she would cut up the white cabbage and salt it into sour kraut which was kept in earthen crocks till used. Same thing happened to green beans. Brown beans were harvested and dried and then kept in sacks till used. Apples were scrounged up; cut in slices and dried on strings to be used for future meals. Green vegetables and fruit were canned/preserved in glass jars. They were proud people and in no way were they going to show that they were poor and at times borderline hungry.

During the time of the Great Depression unemployment insurance had not yet been invented. Hence as the Depresssion took its course, the Dutch Government of the day initiated make-work-projects. They consisted of bringing into cultivation waste land such as moors and the like. Dad became the “beneficiary” of this and was shipped of to Schaphorst where a large moor was converted into arable land. In this process mom was left to fend for herself and her kids.

This type of existence continued till the Second World War started in May 1940. The Germans invaded Holland from the east, as well as they dropped off paratroops at Rotterdam Waalhaven airport. They ran in much more resistance than they anticipated. They expected that the Dutch would just capitulate without a fight. Hence to expedite the conquest of Holland, they blanket bombed the old City of Rotterdam. Mom and Dad lived in the southern part of the city. Hence they were not directly affected by the mass bombing. However, one never knew what would happen. Therefor, during the bombing raid in which the better part of the old city was destroyed, Mom and Dad had the whole family sit in the hall of the little townhouse in which they lived, ready to flee on a minute’s notice. The baby buggy was packed with what ever food there was, along with a change of clothing and diapers. On top of all of this sat the youngest child- Jan, and the family stood at the ready to escape the bombs, run, and join the refugees from the old city which were fleeing by. Fortunately, fleeing was not necessary. The Germans conquered Holland in about five days.

The Vogelzang family in front of their 58 de la Reystraat townhouse apartment in
Rotterdam, at the time the war started, 1940. Note the taped windows on the right to keep the glass from shattering in case of concussion caused by bomb blasts.

Every tragedy has always some beneficial effect. With the better part of the old city of Rotterdam destroyed, there was an enormous amount of work to be done clearing the rubble. Hence Dad got employed for several years in that type of work. It lasted till about 1943 when the Germans anticipated an invasion along the Atlantic Coast. In preparation for this they commenced to construct fortifications starting from the northern part of the Dutch coast to Normandy and Bretagne in France. This required a large number of manpower. They obtained this by forcing semi slave labourers to do the work. Dad got rounded up for this and received notice to appear on a certain day at the Delftse Poort train station in Rotterdam, to be deported to France to work on the fortifications. Initially Dad wanted to go underground to escape this. However, should he do this, his family would have been deprived from food ration coupons, which were provided to ration out the meager amounts of food that was available for distribution to the population. Hence, considering it his duty and responsibility to provide for his family, he along with other men was herded by SS troops of the “Organization Tot”, who were aided by German shepherd dogs, and was shipped off in cattle cars for the long ride to France; to work on building the fortifications near the Pas de Calais on the Atlantic Coast.

Again mother was left with four children; to provide and keep the family together and to worry about her husband. Many a tearful prayer was said by mother and the kids when before going to bed they would kneel before her, lay their sleepy head in her lap, and prayed for the safe return of Dad. After about a year of thus being away, Dad was allowed to come home on a furlough of about two weeks. It was the spring of 1944 and it got more and more dangerous to travel by train. As he was on his way to return to France, near Vught, he decided that enough was enough and he jumped off the train for France and worked his way back home. This meant, however, that he had to go underground; was without papers and food ration coupons for the family; and could be arrested at any time as being awol.

Rintje- Dad- in the 1940’s.

The latter was a real possibility as the Germans periodically would round up anyone over 18, and under 44, to ship them off as forced labourers or worse. I remember quite vividly an occasion where the church during early morning mass was surrounded by German soldiers and everyone who left the church had to show his papers to see if he was hiding or eligible to be shipped off to a labour camp.

Luckily Dad never got caught and the papers that the official underground resistance had prepared for him always passed German scrutiny. As 1944 progressed and the Allied invasion started, the Dutch Government in exile, in their radio broadcasts from England, asked the rail road workers to go on strike in order to cripple the movement of war material and to avoid civilian trains being part of the constant air attacks by the Allies on anything that moved. The workers complied, much to the chagrin of the Germans. As a result they took the approach that “since you people do not want to run the trains, we will shut down all food supply to the civil population”. The result of this was mass starvation of the population, which reached its peak during the winter of 1944- called the “hunger winter” Our family, living essentially on an island between the Meuse and Rhine rivers, and thus in a part of the city which could only be left by crossing bridges, was particularly hard hit. One could not reach the farmers to scrounge up food unless one was able to pass the German guards at the bridge entrances.

Hence we were hungry to the point where the lack of food caused a phenomena called “hunger eudemia” Because of lack of food, the body retains fluid causing the legs in particular to swell to the stage where, if one pushes on the flesh, it would leave deep indentations in the areas pressed in. Rennie, who was becoming a teenager and growing fast, was particularly affected by this along with Dad. As a result they were bed ridden most of the time. Yet Dad would get up and, with the neighbours, go out early in the morning to steal rail road ties, or anything burnable, from the nearby rail road yard; or they would try to organize scrounging parties from the farmers, on this side of the bridges, who might sell them potatoes. If they could find them, they would haul them in push carts home and then divide them among the families involved. The farmers, if they were willing to sell food, would not accept the money issued by the German occupiers. They would normally only take silver and gold pre war coins, or barter for bed linens and valuables such as jewelry.

One Sunday in the late Fall of 1944 the food situation at home was really desperate. After coming home from mass, mother expressed herself to the fact that she did not know how she was going to feed everyone. Hence it was decided that Peter would join Greet on a food scrounging mission. Greet had been the main stay in doing this. She would get on her bike and go to the farmers on this side of the bridges where she would buy the stalks of the plants of Brussels sprouts. The younger kids would have begged around the neighbourhood the skins of potatoes from people who had farm family contacts and thus had potatoes. Mother would take these skins; wash and cook them and then rub the skins on a wash board to remove the bid of potato that would stick to the skin after it has been peeled. This she would then mix with whatever greens she could find- including the inside of the stalks of the Brussels sprout plants, along with the chaff of grain she was able to get from a nearby grain mill, and cook soup from it. That meal would then supplement the one meal the family was able to obtain from the central soup kitchen on their food ration coupons. If one had the good fortune that the people from which the potato skins were scrounged had missed a potato, it would be cut in thin slices and baked as a cookie on top of the kitchen stove which had been set up in the sitting room to keep warm and cook on. There was no heat and often no electricity as it was cut off by the Germans. Yet the winter of 1944 was one of the coldest on record.

Greet and Peter thus set out in the early Sunday afternoon under the fearful eyes of mother who would pray for God’s protection over them. They pushed the trusty baby buggy to Barendrecht some 20 km from where we lived. Mother had loaded it with whatever she had left to barter with. Late in the afternoon they arrived at the bridge that crossed the river. Of course they did not have a pass and thus could not get across to the other side where farmers and thus food could be found. Greet was then about twelve years old and Peter nine. As they stood there, a person on his bike, who had a pass to cross the bridge, came along, took pity on Greet and allowed her to climb on the back of his bike, and pretending that she belonged with him took her past the German guards across the bridge, along with the baby buggy. .She instructed Peter to go back home while she would go ahead and try to get food. Rather then listening to her, Peter stuck it out at the bridge entrance till another person with a permit to cross the bridge came along and took him under his wings. He thus got across also, and with some running was able to catch up with his sister who had moseyed ahead.

Together they thus proceeded from the Barendrecht bridge, walking across the dike east along the river. It was cold and rainy. Nasty Fall weather and it started to get dark. Peter started bawling wondering where they would be able to sleep and/or get something to eat. As they pushed on along the river they met a young boy who asked what the problem was. He took them to his parents. They were good people who took Greet and Peter under their wings; provided them with warmth; food and shelter for the night. The next morning the good folk loaded the buggy up with beans, grain, some meat, butter etc. and off we went back home becoming the rescuing angels. As a result of this, Greet periodically went back to the same people, on her bike, to replenish the food stocks. The folks were always generous in sharing what they could.

Looking back on it, one wonders how two relatively little kids were able to do this. It was a different world, where ordinary people still could be trusted. They were days without communication. Cell phones had not been invented. Mother must have had her worries while they were gone.

This existence carried on to about March of 1945, when the Germans, knowing that the war was coming to an end and was lost by them, allowed the Swedish Red Cross to ship flour into the affected areas, thus giving some relief. In addition, for desperate cases they made brown beans available for distribution. Rennie must have fallen in this category as we did get some of the beans. The local baker baked bread out of the Red Cross flour. It tasted like cake. During that time the American Air Force had also negotiated with the Germans to be allowed to drop off food from low flying bombers, without the danger of being shot down. As a result, the rail road yard, we lived nearby, was marked off as a drop zone. It was a marvelous sight to see the low flying planes come over and watch them drop off the cans packed with dry rations and tins of corned beef. The food was then distributed among the hungry populations by the underground who acted as governing authority.

It was even greater, however, to see the flying fortresses come over and drop leaflets announcing the end of the war. May 10, 1945 saw the arrival of the first Canadian troops. It was an unforgettable sight to see the jeeps, armoured cars and tanks enter the southern part of the city of Rotterdam. All the population was lined up along the Bijerlandse Laan and Putse Laan, cheering them on, waving the Dutch flags. Teenage girls hitched rides on the vehicles; the children picked up the candies and chocolates the soldiers would throw to them, while adults tried to retrieve the cigarettes tossed to them by the soldiers.

It was also the end of the chaos that had reigned for a few days following the capitulation of the German army. During that week or so inter regnum, the Dutch underground acted as governing authority. They also rounded up anyone who had collaborated with the Germans during the five year occupation. The population felt it was time to seek revenge and take out their frustration by seeking out any ladies who had befriended the German soldiers. As they found them, as a mob, they would push them down the street to the Afrikaner Plein, nearby we lived, where a platform had been erected. The girls would be dragged onto the platform and, as the mob cheered, had their hair unceremoniously shaven off and red rust proofing paint (meni) would be poured over their head. They then would be released and sent back to their homes. Not a pretty sight!

Following the end of the war, Dad still could not find steady work. Hence his brother Wierd put in a good word for him at the Western Suger Refinery where Weird was foreman in the boiler room. He was hired and the family moved to Amsterdam.

Mom and Dad in early 1950’s.

It was the age of emigration. Remembering the war hardships, and the lack of opportunity that still existed in Holland, vast numbers of people emigrated to Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The Vogelzangs were no exception. As we will see Mom and Dad’s children moved away to New Zealand, Indonesia and later to Canada, leaving them with an empty nest, incapable of being warmed up by periodic family visits of children or grand children. It was hard on Mother who lived for her family and it did not help her periodic depression.

25th Wedding anniversary Apr. 22, 1955: Jan, Dad, Mom and Peter in the
living room in the Soembawastraat apartment in Amsterdam.

Dad reading his paper in the living room Jan. 1958.

Mother happy in her kitchen.

1. Reinalda Maria Vogelzang, Born Jan 12, 1931. Being the oldest of the five children, Rennie played the typical role of that family ranking; taking on early responsibility in helping raise her siblings; being more aware than any of them of the struggles her parents were going through as she was growing up.

Reinalda V., 1½ years old, 1932.

Reinalda Vogelzang, 1932.

During the war folks in different parts of Holland, aware of the hardships some of the people were experiencing in Rotterdam, offered to take into their homes some of the city children. In 1943 Rennie was the “beneficiary” of this and for the better part of the year was taken in by a rural family near Valkenswaard, Brabant. Later on her brother Peter joined her. They went to school there and she helped the lady of the house in her household chores. It was hard work in a lonely setting, but at least there was sufficient food for every one.

Rennie in Valkenswaard, 1943.

Prior to the family moving to Amsterdam, she worked in the household of the Brenninckmeyer family, owners of the C&A clothing chain; and later for the Oudekamp family on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam.

Rennie Vogelzang- 1953.

The family had gotten to know father Lucidius, who was the chaplain at the sugar refinery where Dad worked. He had a single brother, Peter van der Sman, who, following his service with the Dutch Marines, during the Indonesian War, had emigrated to New Zealand. The good father talked her into starting to correspond with his brother. One thing led to the next and in the summer of 1954, she emigrated to New Zealand also. They hit it off and married on Feb. 5, 1955 in Lower Hutt, NZ. Peter was born in Monster on Feb 1, 1927 and was a foreman with a gas company in Lower Hutt. He died suddenly of an aneurism on Aug 26, 2003.They had three children, Betty, John, and Peter.

Wedding picture of Reneilda Vogelzang and Peter van der Sman.

2. Margareta Christina Vogelzang, was born July 26, 1932 in Rotterdam. Prior to her marriage she worked for the Telegraph Office in Amsterdam as a tele typist.

Margareta (Greet) 1951

and 1953

Late in 1953, while he was on furlough in Holland, she got to know Pierre Kost, an airplane mechanic who worked for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and was loaned to the Indonesian air line Garuda in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia. One thing led to the next and shortly after they became engaged. Pieter (Pierre) Lambertus Kost was born in Amsterdam on Apr. 17, 1929, the oldest son of Bart Kost and his wife. After he returned to Indonesia from his furlough the couple decided to get married. The civil ceremony took place in Amsterdam by proxy, i.e. Pierre’s father took the civil vows for Pierre. This was on May 13, 1954. Shortly after, Greet left for Indonesia, where she and Pierre married in Medan in the RC church on Dec. 23, 1954.

They had two children: Johan born Dec 1, 1955 in Medan and Robert born on the family’s return to Holland in Amstelveen on Feb 6, 1960. The couple and oldest son stayed in Indonesia till 1958 when Pierre’s contract with Garuda ran out. On his return to Holland he continued his employment with KLM as chief mechanic and died by euthanasia on May 29, 1991 having battled melanoma to no avail.

Margareta Vogelzang civil wedding by proxy on May 13, 1954.

Church wedding to Pierre Kost, on Dec 23, 1954 in Indonesia.

It seems that the lives of the recent generations of Vogelzang are plagued by tragedies. Johan Kost, though he was among other things a bus driver for the Amsterdam Transit, also loved to fly. To get in sufficient hours, in preparation for his dream to become a commercial pilot spend a great deal of his free time in flying sports parachutists from Rotterdam airport. On November 22, 1997 while doing so, he flew with five jumpers over the southern part of Rotterdam, near Rhoon. The first parachutist jumped out of the plane and as he exited his reserve chute opened at the same time resulting in him getting caught on the plane’s rudder. Johan was able to bank the plane and shake the parachutist loose.

However, the plane’s rudder was damaged causing the plane to get out of control. Johan was able to stabilize the plane enough to get the other parachutists to safely jump out. However, as the plane spiraled to the ground, and since he did not have his parachute on, about 100 meters above ground he jumped out of the plane, landing on the roof of a warehouse, falling through it and killing himself instantly. It devastated his mother and young wife, whom he left with two small children. He was hailed as a hero and received a burial reflecting this, complete with a fly by of airplanes in the missing-man formation. It was a sad and moving event. The headline article from Amsterdam daily, De Algemeen Dagblad of Nov 22, 1997.

Shortly after the crash Greet was diagnosed with the family curse, breast cancer, and recovered from her mastectomy. However, later on she was found to have a brain tumour, which killed her on Jan 16, 2003. She was cremated in Amsterdam

3. Agatha Vogelzang, born in Rotterdam on Nov 24,1933 and died there on Jan 15, 1954 of whooping cough.

4. Petrus (Peter) Jan Vogelzang, born in Rotterdam on Sep. 10, 1935. Following the death of Agatha, mother was most anxious to have another child to replace the one that was taken away from her. Peter was the result. Dad was most happy to have a son. He was his “maatje”- his little mate.

The Rotterdam Rintje Vogelzang kids in the back yard- 1937- Peter, Greet and Rennie.

His hope was that he would become all the things that he never had the opportunity to be. He therefore encouraged him to get the best schooling possible even to the point that when the family moved to Amsterdam, the regular high school was not good enough, but he had to attend the Jesuit run Ignatius Collage on the Hobbemakade. Unfortunately, Peter, though not dumb, was too young to realize the value of a good education and aggravated by his desire to make himself popular among his new schoolmates who were mainly doctor’s and lawyers sons, felt as a fish out of water and did the dumbest things. Young teenagers are not the easiest to teach under any circumstance, let alone when they try to impress their “friends”. Hence he did not all that well in school and to his teachers he must have been deemed to be a regular pain in the neck.

Peter’s grade 1 school picture.

One day, the English teacher, who at the best of times had difficulty keeping order in his class, in exasperation and as punishment of his class’ misbehaviour, gave them the assignment to copy out one of the chapters from the study book. The boys agreed among each other that they would hand it in the next morning, written on toilet paper. Next morning came, and no one except for naïve Peter Vogelzang handed in the toilet roll with the assignment on it. He got promptly and permanently expelled from the fancy college. He was after all just the son of a plant labourer. Somebody had to be made an example of. Hence to the college his expulsion would have the least repercussions.

However, father some time earlier had made a promise. Should he get into more trouble at school, a piece of rubber hose was ready for him to teach him some sense. Hence, even though it was fall and rained by the bucket on the day of the expulsion, Peter thought it wiser to get on his bike and ride to Rotterdam, a good six hour peddle from Amsterdam, to join the navy at the ripe old age of fourteen years. However, before doing so, he would first stop in at a friend he knew from his Rotterdam days. The friend phoned Mom and Dad who ordered dear Peter to get his behind on the train. He would not be killed by the rubber hose, but the days of nonsense were over.

The college’s prefect knew a bookbinder who at times did work for the college. He and his wife were childless and they were looking for an apprentice. As good fortune would have it he was from Frisian descent also- a Mr. Pietersma. Hence Dad on presenting his son to him hit it off and son got hired as the apprentice. He served that way for four years, even though he would never trust his measurements, and thus usually cut the book’s cover boards a few millimeters too large, just to be safe. However, when that did not look so good, fixing it ended up in doing a poor job. It is a wonder that he ever got his bookbinder’s papers. Luckily though, the Pietersma’s considered him as the son they never had and encouraged him to get his business diploma. Hence at night he went faithfully to the evening business school studying languages, and accounting.

Book binding years- 1951.

Hand bookbinding, though it can be an art, was not really a job with a great future. Hence mother thought that it would be a marvelous idea for Peter to get a government job at the Telegraph office where sister Greet worked. He unfortunately lacked the education. However, using a bit of pull he got in and got the boring job of having to manually tally the number of telegrams sent by the large companies in Amsterdam. To break the monotony though he was allowed to learn how to type using telecopiers. Was the only good thing that came out of that stint. At age 19 he was conscripted in the anti air craft artillery of the Dutch army. Basically he felt a real failure. He lived, however, in a time where emigration seemed to be the way to get ahead. So when his uncle, Gijs Kloosterman, was over for a holiday and told him that he would be welcome to live with them if he came to Canada, it took no further convincing to apply for this. Besides should he be accepted, he saved having to serve his final year as an army conscript and would be given $100.00 as landing money. What did he have to lose?

Wash up time during army maneuvers.- 1954.

Unlike Holland, which was trying to get rid of people, Canada was anxious to acquire young blood. So on March 22, 1956, after having been seasick from Landsend in England till Sable Island, he arrived in Halifax on the converted troop transport- Groote Beer. From day one he was impressed by the country. On his ride from Pier One through the Quebec country side, he was awed by the fancy chicken coops. They were painted in pastel colours. (Later on he learned they were holiday cottages but at the time they were quite unlike any chicken coop he had ever seen)

Within a few days of his arrival in Frankford, Ontario, at his uncle’s farm, he was hired in the accounting department of Bata Shoe in Batawa. The good word from his cousin Jan undoubtedly helped, along with the impressive translations of his business school certificate and letter of recommendation from the Amsterdam Telegraph Office. The business school papers were a dime a dozen in Holland, but Bata Shoe was taken by them. To this day it is still a mystery how this came about and Bata Shoe survived. He spoke a bit of school English. His penmanship was atrocious. Yet he was placed in the accounts receivable department manually preparing invoices and delivery orders.

Within a year or so, the invoice preparation process got mechanized using the technology of the day- IBM punch card controlled tabulators. Peter took a shining to preparing control boards for this machine and within a year was made the supervisor of the department. He had it made he thought. However, was he now anymore happy and fulfilled than before he was the “failure” in Holland? Pondering on this question, led him to the conclusion that happiness is not found in business success but rather in making other people happy, the summit of which would be in being used to make them find eternal happiness. It was the perfect recipe to have him land in the seminary. However, to get in there he had to have grade thirteen English and Latin. Hence he enrolled in St. Jerome’s College in Kitchener for a year, and was among the top five students in his class- a far cry from his Amsterdam school experience.

Visiting St. Augustine’s with friend Reg Voss- Peter 2nd from right.

Peter as a seminary student 1960.

However, to pay for his tuition, he had to find a summer job. He learned that Empire Life Insurance Company in Kingston was looking for summer help to run their tabulating department and he got the job. He also met there this straight laced Methodist girl who worked as senior punch card machine operator. He tried to convince her of the errors of her Methodist ways and happily moved on to St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto to commence his priestly training. At the end of his first year at St. Augustine he returned to his summer job, restarted his conversion of the Methodist girl’s faith. However, schemer as she was, when he was about to start his second year at the seminary, she invited him for a farewell Saturday visit to Upper Canada Village. Well her wiggle got the best of him and he came to the conclusion that a future in a small rural Ontario village with an old house maid was not really all that appealing to him. He did not return to the seminary and stayed on at Empire Life. Married the wiggly Methodist girl and the rest is history. To this day, after 45+ years of marriage he still teases her that she was the cause of him never becoming Pope.

Wedding picture of Peter Vogelzang and Sylvia Mc Nutt- Oct 20, 1962
Background is Lake Ontario.

He stayed at Empire Life for twelve years in various functions. He and his wife had four boys together. Everything seemed to be rosy. However, he was plagued by the Wierdsma entrepreneurial bug and still had the old idealism. As a result the two decided to burn all their bridges behind them and moving from Kingston they purchased a small rural insurance brokerage, laying all their assets, security and resources on the line. The business was blessed and since Peter also has the Vogelzang workaholic characteristics and the family training of having to provide, he within a year purchased an additional small brokerage in Kingston, followed over time by numerous others.

His oldest son John eventually joined the business. Observing that competition from banks would eventually kill the medium size brokerages, they decided to join forces with their largest competitor- Thomson and Jemmett, thus forming one of the largest insurance brokerages in Eastern Ontario, Thomson and Jemmett Vogelzang, employing about 100 people-. He was its president till he sold out his interests. It was a gratifying life which gave the great satisfaction of building people to their maximum level of holistic success.

Vogelzang and Associates Main office at 295 Queen St. Kingston. Ont, prior to merger.

Following the sale of the brokerage, and to remain sane during his “retirement”, Peter, under the name of Vogelzang Enterprises, is engaged in operating several mobile home parks, along with his third son. Robert; building and rebuilding homes, financial services and community/church activities.

5. Jan Harmen Vogelzang, Born May 8, 1939 in Rotterdam. He married on Dec.22, 1966 Theresa Titia (Trees) Lunter, the daughter of Eugenius Barnardus Franciscus Lunter and Hedewig Maria Emma Berkemeier. The marriage took place in the RC church in Overschie. Trees was born on Jul. 22, 1937 and she died of cancer on May 24, 1989 in Breda.

Jan Vogelzang 1963.

Jan was a government meat inspector, initially in Rotterdam, and afterwards in Breda. Following his bout with bowel cancer, he retired early .He remarried to Nel Hienkens Loogman. She was born on Mar.29, 1933. She has four children from her first marriage.

The family gathers in New Zealand Sep, 2003. L to r Rennie, Jan, Peter and Sylvia.