A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 32. Dramatic Change

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Now with this here truck, Pa could do a lot more than haul milk. To make the transition from horse to truck, however, was an enormous step.

Dad was already 64 years old at this time. First, he had to learn to drive. Now he also had to get acquainted with all them gauges, levers and knobs. And words he never heard of before: THROTTLE and CHOKE, AMPS and OIL pressure. It was hard enough to learn to push and pull on that stick with the ball on top and a little lever on the side, and at the same time to keep all them pedals happy. If you stepped on the wrong one, it would jump or jerk or stop altogether.

Well, before too long, Dad had it all down pat, he could drive like a professional. He even had enough confidence in himself to load the whole family on the back of the truck and drive to EEMNES to visit Mama's sister, Tante Dien and Ome Lammert, twenty kilometers away.

Everything went smoothly, as we went out of the village, through the big city and onto the highway. We had a couple of old blankets to sit on and oh boy, we went so fast and saw so much. Fantastic!

But then Pa slowed down and stopped. What was wrong? We were not there yet. We all knew it was very far. Well, it was a policeman who brutally interrupted our journey. First, he asked if Pa had a driver's licence. When he found that in order, he informed Dad that it was illegal to transport people on the back of the truck; to him it did not make any difference that we were only kids, he made out a ticket and summoned Dad to come to court where the judge would sentence him.

When Ome Lammert heard about it, he said, "I am gonna go to court with you and tell that judge a thing or two." He indeed went to court with Pa and gave the judge a whole story about this was the only transportation, and only once a year he made the trip, etc., etc.

However, the judge showed no mercy: $5.00 fine or two days in jail. Pa had a little bag where he kept his money. He fished the fine out and handed it to the clerk. Ome Lammert berated Pa for paying that quick, he figured he could have talked the judge into suspending the fine. Who knows?

So it was nice to have this modern day transportation, but look at all the red tape which was involved. To get a driver's licence, Pa had to go to the veterinary Wellensic for his test. Then got his picture taken to put on the document. Next he had to get a licence plate number which was L 19374. L stood for the province of Utrecht. The instructions came to inform you of the size of the numbers, the color and the shape. Pa made his own plate. You also had to have sufficient insurance to cover any accident. What awful paperwork one had to go through, and as if this was not enough, every three months, the road tax had to be paid again.

Saturday, when I did not have to go to school, was the day I could go with Dad. I loved to help him: I dragged the 50 kilogram cans to the side of the road or vice versa. In some ways, this truck was not an advantage, because Pa had to get behind the wheel at every stop, get out, get in, and so on. But when the truck was loaded and the last can aboard, then we could really sail along, much faster than old Bruin ever travelled.

Another plus, Pa did not get up half an hour earlier in the morning to feed the horse. Just jumped in and went.


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