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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 9 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Monday, May 30, 2011

{A Heart of Gold - Great Memorial Day Story}

When KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, for their 75th Anniversary did have a special contest 'Bridging The World' for stories that could win a free ticket for the person and for the cause it was all about, we too wrote a story about the deaf children in Indonesia. On September 19, of 1995 we received a letter (will be visible below) with the listing of some twenty winners - not us... But one of the stories I found so touching that I like to share that with you here below:
A heart of gold

"I'd like to begin by introducing myself. My name is Frank. Last year I passed my high school exams, and now I'm doing my best to keep up at business college. My sis passed too, so my parents took us both on a trip to the States. That's where I got my idea for the 'Bridging the World' contest".
Nobody would deny that Frank Hulshoff, a 19-year-old Dutch student from Driebergen near Utrecht, has a heart of gold despite his chunky black leather biker's jacket and boots. His efforts enabled 64-year old Ruth Berryman, from Detroit, to visit the Dutch grave of her elder brother, Donald, fifty years after he was killed in action in the Netherlands one month before the end of World War II, aged 19.
And yet, Frank had only met Ruth once, when she served him in the bar of a Detroit hotel. They had got talking and when she heard he came from Holland, she told him about her brother buried there. After his return home, Frank went and laid flowers on the grave, and sent a photo to Ruth in Detroit. When he heard about 'Bridging the World', he wrote KLM the letter which won him the prize. He left for Detroit to bring the good news to Ruth personally. The immense war cemetery on the Margraten plateau, in the south of the Netherlands (in Limburg), is an impressive place. When they finally arrive at the white cross marking her brother's grave, tears came to Ruth's eyes. She sits on the ground at the side of the cross, regardless of the damp grass. "If you don't mind, I need to sit here a while. It's been fifty years..."  The Dutch TV team accompanying the couple stop their cameras and leave her in the privacy of her thoughts. What Ruth had told Frank that night in the bar was that she had been saving every penny for years to pay for a trip to the grave, but that, with herself and six daughters to provide for, she had never succeeded in saving enough. "To tell you the truth, that was what touched me most, the idea that somebody had to save to visit a grave!", the young student says in disbelief. "You save money to buy a new guitar or for your next vacation, not to visit a grave surely?" Ruth in turn was astounded that a young lad would do this for her, an unknown woman he had chanced to meet just once.
"Now I know where Donald lies, in the middle of this beautiful country, in these wonderful surroundings, I can accept the fact that he is so far from home. I chatted with a couple of the people who tend the grass of the field of honour. You know what they said? They consider it an honour to be allowed to work here. That really meant an awful lot to me".
After Pieter gave a presentation for the Rotary club in December of 2010 about his experiences as a teenager during WWII in Groessen, Gelderland in The Netherlands, he also did show the American war cemetery in Margraten (the one I showed in yesterday's blog) to show that Freedom is not for free.
When I was cleaning out my desk I did find an old KLM booklet and it had its page marked right on the page with this story. So I got an idea to search for Frank on the Internet. I did find him, at least the very same name, on Facebook! So I mailed him this message:
Please reply if you are THE Frank Hulshoff who won the KLM trip in 1995 with 'A heart of gold'...
Kindest regards from Georgia/USA
Next day I got his reply: Yes that would be me :-)
I do talk regularly to the daughter of Ruth Berryman. Ruth herself died a couple of years ago. Before that I had seen her a couple of times and eventually the family requested to be one of her pall bearers.
It remains a unique story.
My reply again:
Dear Frank,

It also shows that you do still possess a heart of gold! Just as a coincident my husband gave the program about... as explained above already.
Closing with warmest regards from a Dutch American who's very proud of men like you! Wishing you well in all your endeavours.
Franks reply:
Thanks for your nice mail. I appreciate it very much that you take the time to locate me on Facebook and that sums it up pretty well. It did stir a lot more of emotions at that time than I could have imagined. There happened so much special things around Ruth and me, but I don't like to withhold this from you:
A few years ago my parents were on vacation in California with friends. They go hiking somewhere in the desert and meet there on the trail a man and a woman. The man asked my father, 'So where are you from? " and my dad says Holland. To which the man says: Oh really, I have a nice story about a boy from Holland, and he begins to tell the story of Ruth and me!!!
He was a guest at the Hilton where Ruth worked behind the bar and she had told him that story. The chance of that happening is of course 0%. So this story has so many remarkable turns, such as you now, after 15 years, go through the trouble of finding me.
To make the story quite complete: I have adopted the grave of the brother of Ruth in Margraten.
Life is pretty damn amazing sometimes :-)

Greetings and all the best,


What a touching story
A Heart of Gold

Related links:
12½ jaar L1 - Amerikaanse president in Limburg | President George W. Bush visits Margraten on May, 8 in 2005. He did stay at the Château Hotel, St. Gerlach and was very complimentary towards the Staff. Proud of my Province of birth; Limburg!
President Honors and Commemorates Veterans in the Netherlands - Margraten, The Netherlands | From White House Archives May 8, 2005
Dutch Queen and Bush lead VE Day memorial


  1. Beautiful post Mariette!
    I wish you a pleasant new week.

  2. Mooi en wonderlijk verhaal met een gouden randje!

  3. JOH!!!! Ik zit hier met tranen in mijn ogen dit geweldige verhaal te lezen. Wat een geweldige jongeman om DIT te doen voor een vrouw die hij eenmaal had ontmoet. Echt zo mooi ♥ EN wat leuk dat jij jaren later contact hebt gezocht en hem ook nog hebt gevonden en dat HIJ nu het graf heeft geadopteerd. Geweldig...wat zijn er toch een goede mensen op de wereld, toch?? ZOIETS te mogen doen voor iemand die je eigenlijk helemaal niet kent en dat er dan zo'n hele geschiedenis uit voorkomt. Dat was vriendschap voor het leven.

    Liefs van Marian

  4. Hi Mariette, who treasured experience to tell you! Undoubtedly there are no coincidences if not rather causalities. It seems highly unlikely, but rather as the wishes have done throughout time to gather them and you could tell their story. Honor the memory of our loved ones and more when they have lost lives for these causes is impresindible! have to pay honor to whom honor is due!, Greetings, Rose Marie

  5. Oh, What a story!!!

    Truly "Bridging the world" and "It's a small world."
    There won't be so many this kind of "Only God can DO" miracle.

    Hugs and holiday greetings from Japan, Orchid.

  6. Hi Dear Friend,
    What an amazing story and so glad you shared this with us. Life is very amazing as Frank said!
    I also so enjoyed your husbands post. Just incredible!!

    Thank you for all your visits when I have not been able to return to visit you in the mists of these blogger issues. I still can not sign in but looks like followers are showing once again. I hope this comment goes through today.

    Thank you also for the generous and kind recommend on Linkedin. Your time is appreciated very much.

    Hope to see you again soon and our blog issues fixed.
    Love to you and blessings always,
    Celestina Marie
    Happy Memorial Day!

  7. Oh my dear friend ... as I read this beautifully written post .. the tears could not be held back... Miracles, Angels and Earth Angels are around us ... this is just another reminder we need to always believe! ... A syou know its been an emotional time for us... but this time of the year always will be... we are truly Blessed with Angel P's family ... they continue to see Mr.G as part of the family and have embraced me from the first moment we met.

    Thank you for your wonderful words in your comment Mr. G was moved to tears and went and looked in our little Lamp B. Angel ... yes it really is magical .. each time we use at the moment the flame is extinguished to let the lamp do its work... we feel the warmth of an Angel visting... blessings my friend. Wishing you and Pieter a wonderful Memorial Day! xo HHL and Mr. G.

  8. OK Mariette...

    This post totally reaffirms my belief there are not coincidences in life.

    Beautifully written.

    Thank you for sharing~

    Love, Rebecca

  9. Hi Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog, that was very helpful, Happy memorial Day, lovely post! Hugs Marilou

  10. Wat een ontroerend verhaal.Frank zijn geweldige geste is iets wat je toch echt af en toe tegen komt in het leven en je doet geloven dat er toch veel goeds is in de wereld.

  11. This is Orchid again.

    Oh, I wanted to thank you for sharing the story of your great-uncle in my post.
    My late mother once told me that my father was suffering for Malaria when he came back from the war.
    I deeply wish the world without any war or fued between countries or the ones caused by the racial dispute.

  12. Dear Mariette,
    A beautiful and amazing story..It truly touched my heart in so many ways.
    You and your husband are very sweet to have written about your life and how the war touched your family.
    You two are very dear...
    Have a sweet day and hugs, Elizabeth

  13. Hi Mariette... that is the most amazing story! The wonderful people in this world never cease to amaze and delight me. Marilyn from Australia.

  14. Oh wow... wow... wow.... !!! This is such an amazing story. God works in mysterious ways, indeed!



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