Tony and WimMy mother called me last night to let us know that Jeltje had died. Jeltje was the wife of my mother’s first cousin (my 1st cousin, 1ce removed) Wim. We’d just visited with them in Amsterdam back in May. In the first picture, you see their son Tony sitting with Vim. In the second, you see their other son Gerrt (I think I’m spelling his name right) and Jeltje. She was one of those people who just makes everyone around her feel welcome. After our first day in Amsterdam, where Wim took us all around the city, he said that if Ann was willing, Jeltje was going to market the next day and would like to have Ann along. So, Ann went all by herself out to their house in the south part of the city not knowing what to expect. She’d never met Jeltje before and I’d not seen her since I was in Denmark in 1984.

Gerrt and JeltjeAnn arrived at the house and was warmly welcomed her and they spent a wonderful day going to market and Ann felt immediately included as part of the family. It’s not many people who can do that. The next night we went over for dinner and Jeltje made an incredible meal of Indonesian food from the ingredients bought at market the day before. She was quite the cook. I hadn’t seen her in nearly 20 years and yet I did not feel like a stranger or a distant relative. I felt the same way Ann did: like family.

We called Wim and expressed our sympathies and I’ve been talking to my mother and my sisters and we’ve all been agreeing how sweet Jeltje was. It’s always sad when someone dies. But it’s especially sad when it is someone who is so wonderful to everyone around her. Our hearts go out to Wim and their family.