A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 85: Lesson Learned

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Yes, I learned a valuable lesson: from now on always be prepared when you meet a female of your age, you never can tell.

Girls are like a closed book: keep it closed because if you want to look inside the lid, or cover, it may catch you. I kept this in mind for several years. It seemed to work until a friend introduced me to his sister, whom I had never met before.

Hey, this seemed to work alright. She did not hold onto my hand. She did not accompany me home when it was time to depart. This was in 1938, which was the year I got my driver's licence and bought my first motorcycle. But it started a year before, because when we first met, I was still riding my bike.

I remember it so well because to get to her house which was on the other side of the city, I had to go for about 45 minutes over the road. But there was another way for bicycles, and that was through farmers' fields, which was totally legal. These trails let you cut the distance in half. They ran along the edges of the fields. When you came to the end of the meadow, there was a clap gate, a gate on a slant, so it would automatically close with a loud clap after you went through. Cows never got the hang of it.

In the meantime, something was going on of which I was not prepared for and it just crept up on me. I fell in love. Mama mia, in love??? It was not a one-sided affair, she was in love with me too. Was I really in love? What was real love? I didn't know, nobody ever told me what it was. Maybe it was only infatuation, or some other foreign sickness. However, or whatever it is, I had better come to my senses.

They always said that "Love is blind." I didn't want to be blind, or lose my senses either. I could not get any help from Mom or Dad, talking or asking advice was out of the question, total taboo, you just didn't mention those things.

After I gave myself ample time to weigh the pros and cons, I finally decided, no way could I spend the rest of my life with her and be happy. I started to realize a little what real love was, and came to the conclusion, this was not it.

Having made my decision, the difficult part would be to convince her we were not made for each other. I could not just say, "Nice to have known you, goodbye." It would break her heart. Still, I could not continue and pretend all was fine.

How in the world could one tell a sweet little girl the truth, and smash her dreams by telling her it was all over. I really had a problem because I wanted everybody in this world to be happy, and especially her. I started to hint in a round about way, we should slow down a bit, etc. etc. When she started to realize what I was up to, she asked me, "Why? Why? What did I do wrong?" "You did nothing wrong, it's just ..." I hated myself for it but I finally had to tell her, it would not be fair to her and myself to drag it on. It was really heart-breaking for me to see her cry, to break and destroy her future as she had envisioned it.

Then and there, I promised myself never to get involved like that again. Before I fell in love, I would know what love was. I would make sure she had all the qualifications for a happy marriage, and could live up to it, and I could live up to her expectations also. Never keep the relationship one minute more than what was absolutely necessary to learn each other's good and not-so-good qualities.

This lesson stuck with me when I got attracted to a very amiable good looking maiden, who was available and willing to explore a relationship. This was during the war, so we could only see each other once or sometimes twice a week. We both had ample time between visits to think and ponder, and talk over the future, and the things that could affect our lives. This worked out a lot better than my first sordid ordeal. Before we fell too deeply in love, we would take it easy. "Someday, your prince will come galloping on a white stallion and sweep you off your feet ... yak, yak, yak." I was free again.

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