A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 114: A Real Family

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On August 5, 1953, Margaret presented me with our first born, a son. Illiterate as I was, it was impossible for me to describe the feelings and emotions that came over me, having a son! Was it fear of the future with a helpless dependant? The little boy seemed so tiny, and we had to carry the full responsibility for his well being. Was it happiness? Of course, the result of our dedication and our love for each other. The good Lord saw it fit to give us some responsibility and reward us with an image of himself. Was there some uncertainty? Yes, that too. Five years of roaming, no steady job, no real house of our own to live in, and no security. No family to confide in, no one to talk to about our happiness, none of our parents alive.

So we turned to each other and said, "God gave us this beautiful baby with everything intact, it is up to us to raise it to the glory of the Almighty and to the benefit of mankind, to the best of our ability."

That fateful day also changed our family structure: before we were man and wife, but not any more, from now on we could also be called Mom and Dad, so we'd better start behaving in that way. Sis Diane and brother-in-law Pete came to Kitchener to be the godparents of our baby, which we called William in honor of my deceased father.

Like most parents, I guess, we were very proud of our little offspring, and toted him along wherever we went. We took him along to church on Sundays in Kitchener. Here he saw an older fellow with no hair on his head in front of us. He was there every week sitting at the same spot. It seemed Billy got fascinated by that globe. I didn't know what he thought of baldy, maybe he thought it wasn't for real, or he figured a head with no hair could fall off, whatever, he proceded to nail it down, his little hands went pat, pat, pat right on top of that shiny noggin. The man looked around to see who attacked him, but instead of giving us a dirty look, he smiled. I thought, wow, little Billy knew how to make friends.

Having a good paying job of which we were able to save quite a bit of money, we started to look for a place of our own. Looking over the ads in the papers, we got an idea of what was for sale, and what we would be able to manage with our ability.

In Leamington, there was a two-car repair garage with a house about 25 or 30 meters away. The size and price were alright, but in our opinion, it was too close to the lake, with a cold wind blowing all the time, and too far from town. Let us look around some more.

Then one Saturday, we went looking at a place in Palmerston. We checked that out. It was very attractive, but I was afraid a little too big for us just yet. Good size repair shop, apartments atop, and a taxi business included.

On our way home, in our 1946 Chevrolet Sedan, Mama in the passenger seat with little Billy on her lap, a bus passed us. I wanted to know how fast he was traveling, so I put the pedal to the metal, following for a while and saw the speedometer registered exactly 50 MPH. Now that I knew this, I eased up on the gas pedal so we could enjoy the surroundings a lot better.

While looking, I saw a farmer coming out of his long driveway. By the time we would get to his drive, he would be at the same spot. Of course, he had to let us pass, didn't he? What followed was what reporters called a grinding crash. He later told us, he saw the bus coming at his left, nothing from the right so he adjusted his speed to turn onto the highway, and never saw us. His pickup truck's front bumper hit so square and hard, it made our car jump up, turn around 180 degrees and land backwards in a shallow ditch on the same side of the street.

Little Bill's dignity was hurt, because he screamed like a small pig. Ma got a drop of blood on her leg and a big scare, I got off scot free. The car had cosmetic damage from front fender to rear. The farmer was very apologetic, invited us into his house, offered refreshments and gave insurance information. Then we continued on our way home. No police were called, life went on as before. Later on, I repaired my own car at Bear Auto Body and got paid for it.


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