A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 113: A New Place

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As soon as I got my employment at the body shop, we looked for a place a little closer to work. We were still in the trailer at John Lijzer's place in St. George. The best we could find, at a reasonable price, was upstairs in a farm house in Bridgeport. We liked it, only about five miles from work, enough room for both the car and travel trailer to park. Electric lights, running water, and automatic heat. The farmer who owned the place could not sell it, so he rented the bottom to a factory worker and the top floor to us.

My sister Diane, who had been with us in Sioux Narrows, had moved to Chatham, worked there in a hospital, and married Peter Noordermeer, came to see us in our new abode.

It became time for me to conform to the law. I worked in a body shop, but with no licence. I had enough time by now to make up my mind as to what I should do in the future: body man or mechanic. Well, I figure body work was only one thing you could do, fix damaged cars. But as a mechanic, I could buy, fix engines, brakes, etc. and sell. I believed there was much more demand in this mechanic trade. Thus I applied for a mechanic's licence. I told the bureau I had lots of experience in the old country. He told me, "Normally, you have to be an apprentice for five years." I explained I was thirty-three years old and had a lot more than five years experience, but in Holland you didn't need a licence. "OK then, but you have to go for a test. If you have a problem with the language, you can bring a translator, but he can't be in any way connected with the automobile industry." "Oh good, I'm going to ask the fellow downstairs. We get along pretty good." Yes, he was willing to go along, when I asked.

I was glad he came, we could understand the language pretty good but some technical jargon I had difficulty with. Anyway, I answered the questions to the best of my ability and when the results came back, I became an Ontario Government Licensed Mechanic, in class A division.

No more need for our trailer, so we converted it into cash. For pretty near five years, we had been away from our new beautiful home in the Netherlands, and had been moving from place to place with nothing to call our own. For me, it still seemed to be an adventure, but for Margaret, my dear sweetheart, sometimes it became too much to hold back the tears, and she cried in my arms. "What is the reason, are you home sick?" "No," she said, "I don't know why I cry. I just can't help myself." "Aren't you happy?" I asked, yes, she was absolutely happy. I felt very sad and did not know what to do about it.

But in August of the summer of 1953, an event took place that wiped the tears from her beautiful eyes and never returned. Instead, they were replaced with a heavenly glow, which never went away.

Related resources:

Carl Kaas and Margaret circa 1950s image from Carl Kaas Photo Gallery
Carl and Margaret Kaas circa 1950s
Photo from Carl Kaas Photo Gallery.
Bridgeport is a village in southern Ontario, Canada
located in regional municipality of Waterloo.

Flash from the Past: Two Bridgeport buildings have been put to many uses from Living, Waterloo Region Record, Oct 14, 2011. "The former village of Bridgeport got started in the 1820s. It had a population of 1,137 in 1951 when it was incorporated and about 2,400 in 1973 when it became part of the City of Kitchener.

(See photo below). On the left, with a veranda looking out over the river, is the Bridgeport Casino, today the site of Golf's Steak House & Seafood restaurant at 598 Lancaster St. W.

And in the centre of the photo is the old St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in 1889 at 606 Lancaster St. W. The building is now home to the Saxonia Music Co. and the Highwaymen Car Club. Since 1957, St. Paul's has had its sanctuary at Lancaster Street and Bridgeport Road."

Bridgeport Casino and St. Paul's Evengelical Lutheran Church Google image from https://www.therecord.com/living-story/2588271-flash-from-the-past-two-bridgeport-buildings-have-been-put-to-many-uses/
Two Bridgeport Landmarks
Photo courtesy of Harold Russell

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