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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several at Spectrenoir: http://ebay.to/2xI69uc, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy. I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

{Papa is 90 today!}

Today is a special day and a kind of tough one for me for being far away; as usual. Of the total 27+ years that we're immigrants, only one time I was on Papa's birthday; his 66th...
We made 62 trips home to The Netherlands in total but not always birthday trips!

A young Papa; good 30 years old with me on his bike.

 Papa showing me his chicken...
Both photos are taken by my late uncle Jan, Papa's younger brother.

 When I was 10 years old I did write poems for the regional Saturday newspaper.
This one hit home hard as I'd written it for my Dad's 40th birthday and the last two sentences say:
Even if you are getting old... I know for sure that you still love me. Well, that love got a little bit dented (his ego actually...) after this! He took revenge, when I had my 40th birthday, by citing the very poem to ME, over the phone.

 Here is Papa at one of his favorite nature spots: 'Het Schuitwater' a former river arm from the Meuse in The Netherlands. Photo is taken in the late 60s on a Sunday. Papa did instill in all of us an appreciation for nature. He did pass this passion down to most of his seven children!

This is in the early 70s with the yield of cauliflower heads that Mom & Dad had cut early morning. Dad used to be called the Cauliflower King in our region for having superior quality cauliflower heads!
He was a market gardener with greenhouses as well.

Summer months were always peak season. But during my vacation time, when I still lived in The Netherlands, I helped them always out, by picking gherkins in the greenhouse. By picking them a bit tighter we could skip a day and manage to make a one-day-trip to Germany with Mom &  Dad and my Dachshund Mauzie. This was on July 14, 1977 at the Biggetalsperre in Germany.
Smoking a sigar on his special day off, together with Mom. They always worked so hard!

On Tuesday July 19, 1977 we even made it to Paris in a day-trip. 

In the mid 80s visiting with Mauzie our dachshund, from the U.S. Dad created a kind of botanical garden with a pond, where often wedding pictures were taken. In the back is the greenhouse of a neighbor.

On Papa's 65th birthday we made a phone call to The Netherlands, as usual. It is for now almost unbelievable to see that we paid for 10 minutes $ 11.73 at 6:21 AM. We called them on New Year's Eve as well and also Liz Vedder, Pieter's adopted daughter who has her birthday on the 31st. At that time phone calls were reserved for special days like Christmas, New Year and birthdays. The rest went via snail mail... What a different world we live in now. Now we manage for only $ 0.02 per minute instead of $ 1.17, back than in 1986!

Papa 65 years old, in the summer of 1986 with his beloved Bruno, a Dachshund.
Photo taken by my brother Martin.

Pieter took this photo of me on Dad's 66th birthday when we had a stop-over of a couple of days in The Netherlands, coming back from Indonesia. That is the ONLY time I was there on Papa's birthday...
Meanwhile Mom & Dad did come several times to the US. First time in April of 1987. Dad also joined us in November of 1990 to lend us a hand moving into the new build home when we had our one-month off period from work in Indonesia. Dad also came in March of 1993 by himself and he got from me a ticket to fly with me to San Francisco. I had to do consulting for two days at the Pescadero plant for Campbell's Soup for which they also did take us a day sight seeing to Monterey etc. I took Dad to Santa Cruz and to San Francisco and to the Redwoods as well. Pieter was doing a seminar for Campbell's in Chicago at that time.

On the image you can see where I've outlined in red where Mom & Dad's home, wood garden and across the street, their greenhouses were. One of the greenhouses is already taken down here. The stretch of soil to the right across the street, outlined within the red, that was a greenhouse too. The neighbor had huge greenhouses for plant propagation for selling to market gardeners. 

Dad got honored on 19 November of 1988 for being 50 years active in the choir. Papa sang often solos as a first tenor.
He always dreamed of being a professional singer but no time for doing so!

April of 1992 when we got back from Indonesia, with a stop for a couple of days in The Netherlands for a visit. Dad is going to sing with the choir. Tulips are blooming.
Mom always so happy when she saw us!
Mom & Dad also had several brown dachshunds.

My youngest brother Jan Van den Munckhof, made this 'frosty' winter photo on 16 January, 2005 from Mom & Dad's home.
 That was the same year that Mom & Dad last came to Dublin in the U.S. with us in October.

View from a hot air balloon taken on 6 September 2007 from the home where I was born.

Summer 2007, Dad between different hibiscus that all came from our Dublin property. They did far better in Horst, The Netherlands than in Dublin, Georgia!
Photo taken by brother Martin Van den Munckhof.

The area across the street where the greenhouses used to be. Now it is a meadow that Dad rents out to someone with ponies. Just a couple of weeks ago they have started to cut down the tall trees as the land in the back has been sold to a real estate developer. 

This was three years ago from an interview after Dad got honored for his 60th anniversary as a singer. He still does, but not as intensive as before. The title in the newspaper reads that Dad caused many women to break out in tears when he sang e.g. as a first tenor his solo Avé Maria at weddings and such.
On Saturday the entire family will gather for a dinner to celebrate Papa's 90th birthday in a festive way. 
We'll toast one from Dublin, Georgia on his good health and make a call during the day today...
Because of husband Pieter's rehab, after his quadruple bypass, we were not able to travel to The Netherlands!


  1. Happy birthday papa!!!!!
    I wish the best.
    Hugs Tanja

  2. Dear Mariette, a lovely Post for a lovely"PAPA"...
    Happy Birthday...
    GGLG Astrid

  3. Hello Mariette,
    Happy birthday for your Dad. What a lovely tribute to him. I am sure he feels very special with that. He had a busy but nice life, I hope we can say the same at this age.
    Greetings, Johanna

  4. OMG Mariette, this is actually a moving post,
    it nailed me down to the very last word/pic.
    Simply amazing, heartwarming and edifying so
    thanks for sharing your tribute with all of us.
    My Best Wishes for your Dad's birthday and to all of you for the New Year, Tanti Cari Auguri!!!

  5. Hello Mariette.
    A lovely lovely post and tribute to your Dad.
    Happy day for all of you,

  6. Happy birthday to Papa! So he shares the same birthday with my husband. My goodness Mariette, you must be very dedicated to chronicling your life. All the photos and dates are so special. I have never been that orgzanized, nor do I remember times very well. You come from such a beautiful area. I hope you've been able to connect with your family to say a very happy birthday. Joyful singing must keep your dad young at heart. :) Blessings to you and yours, Tammy

  7. Dear Mariette!
    What a wonderful post!
    As I read your lines, I got goosebumps!
    Happy Birthday for your Dad!!!
    Hugs, Melissa

  8. Liebe Mariette,
    zuerst einmal möchte ich auch Dir noch ein glückliches und gesundes Jahr 2011 wünschen
    und dann möchte ich es auch nicht versäumen Deinem Vater alles Gute zu wünschen!
    Weiterhin freue ich mich auf ein schönes neues
    Bloggerjahr mit Dir!
    Alles Liebe Lilo

  9. Dear Mariette,

    I am so glad that you invited me over, today. I've been wanting very much to come and visit and wondering how your husband has been doing. (Thanks for the update!!!)

    Reading this very special post, I feel like I've traveled - not just to the Netherlands - but, like in Dicken's "A Christmas Carol", back in time! This is a very touching tribute to your father and full of nostalgia. It's so fun to see where you grew up and, you've mentioned before that your family was in the "greenery" business - it's interesting to hear more. Also, of course, I think that it's just wonderful that your father had a beautiful tenor voice!!! =]

    Will your dad see this wonderful tribute and trip down memory lane, I hope? It's beautifully put together.

    Also, here is a big New Year's hug and kiss! Thank you for being my friend and I hope that this year just keeps getting better and better for you and your lovely family and friends!

    Love, Katy Noelle xo

  10. How sweet... and what a treasure to be able to enjoy your dear Papa still at 90... A huge "Happy Birthday" hug to him and my prayers for another year filled with love and blessings among his lovely garden...


  11. Hiep hiep hoera voor "ons pap"!!! vd Munckhoff....een veelgehoorde naam in deze contreien;)....wel jammer dat je er zaterdag niet bij kunt zijn, 90 is niet niks he......zal ik hem een serenade gaan brengen uit jouw naam??? hmmmmm..misschien beter van niet.....je wil toch dat ie 100 wordt he ;)!!!!
    Gefeliciteerd Marietje;)....met de verjaardag van je vader.......je zult in zijn gedachten zijn......

    Heel veel liefs vanuit het pittoreske Hôrs aan de maas;)!

  12. Happy happy birthday to you sweet sweet dad, Mariette. It's a wonderful age!!
    Where exactly in Limburg does you father live, where you raised there too? I was raised in Limburg, have lived there for 23 years, in Brunssum and Heerlen.
    Happy hugs to YOU xoxoxo

  13. I enjoyed reading this lovely tribute to your Papa.I hope your father has a wonderful day and continued good health.


  14. Hartelijk gefeliciteerd hoor ! Ja, inderaad, positief blijven !! mijn ouders zijn ook op leeftijd, gewoon contact houden en gaan wanneer je kunt ! liefs bea

  15. Wonderful post! I love you poem :)


  17. Dear Mariette,

    What a sweet post Mariette! Congratulations to you & to your papa! Pity you can't join, that's the downside of living far away... but I'm sure you'll make up for your absence!!

    Bisous, Chantal

  18. liebe Mariette, nun sind schon ein paar Tage vergangen, seit Dein lieber Papa Geburtstag feierte ... und erst heute habe ich Deinen so liebevoll geschriebenen Post über ihn entdeckt, und ehrlich gesagt, nun bin ich sehr gerührt über das, was Du uns von ihm erzählst! so viele Stationen in seinem Leben beschreibst Du, und die vielen schönen Fotos dazu ... ja, ich hoffe, dass er noch lange bei Euch sein kann, und sicherlich wirst Du es kaum erwarten können, Deine Eltern bald wieder einmal zu sehen! ein Glück gibt es Telefon und Internet, damit man miteinander kommunizieren kann, und das habt Ihr sicherlich auch an seinem Geburtstag ausgiebig getan? ich wünsche ihm weiterhin Gottes Segen und gute Gesundheit ... wer weiß, wenn er weiterhin so aktiv bleibt und vielleicht ab und zu mal das AVE MARIA singt, dann wird er bestimmt auch 100 :-)))) alles Liebe für Euch von der Rosabella ♥

  19. How wonderful dear Mariette! You are so blessed to have your dad be 90 and a very happy birthday to your handsome and very much an chiever daddy! You look just like your dad! Wish I had mine with me, he died 16 years ago with a heart attack on the myocard, at just 78. He was very healthy and did set ups everyday..so you go figure! Sorry you couldn't be with him on his birthday! Thank you for your sweet and kind comment, as always dear friend. Have a wonderful and blessed 2013!


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