Letter # 59 - Jan Rubinghís marriage to Hendrikien Walkotten resulted in the birth of their first child, named George, who is called Geuchien in Holland, as we shall see in this letter from this letter from Janís sister Marchien. She has a lengthy complaint about the poor state of the economy.


Wildervank, 24th October, 1886

To My Dear Brother, Sister, and Children,

I take up my pen in order to let you know that through the goodness of the Lord we received your letter of September 15 in the best of health, and I saw with great joy, my dear ones, that you together are faring well, but I must shamefully acknowledge that I have waited far too long with writing but often the circumstances prevented it.

You can put yourself in my place a bit, but not totally, as I find myself sometimes, when the weather is harsh and my Dear Husband is at sea. Then I sit with that worry, and then if one is feeling down, the cares are not lessened. Detmer must undertake a job and he left Hamburg on the 16th for Vadso in Norway and they must pass the last place round the Northcape, which is the coldest spot.

On the 9th of this month I got a telegram: Dekker Arrived Vadso Well. But I donít as yet have a letter. Now you can understand how I long for a letter in the mail. But the mail is so irregular, so I hope that the Lord will grant that we may soon rejoice with good news. They must take fuel oil back to Hamburg and may they arrive there safely. Then they will dock there. They have specific days for unloading and loading right up to the last day.

Dear Brother and Sister, we would love to see you here with your children and also little Geuchien, as we call him here. Our children are growing well, but our dear little one is not so healthy. He always has seasickness. Iíve been to the doctor three times this summer. Otherwise he is fine and he says what he wants. Towards the end of August I went for a week or so on board. Detmer was in Hamburg then and he was not improved. Perhaps he could not stand the water of the Elbe. We wonder about that.

You are above all greeted by Mother. Where our Hendrik and Griet are right now we donít know. Dear ones, you write that the farmers arenít getting rich this year. Itís the same here in general as well, but I did hear that the fruit was fairly good, but it is so cheap. For the best potatoes I paid 1 gulden and 50 cents and one bread costs 24 cents per pound and pork costs 28 cents for a pound. If one can earn a little then a careful person can save a little for the winter, but the wages are so poor that one looks ahead to the winter with foreboding. Oh, and itís that way with seafaring, too, both inland and on the sea and so little is earned, especially at this time of the year. This year wonít be the best for us. May we be able to save something from this trip; but so much goes to wages before we ourselves keep something. First, the first mate earns 38 gulden per month; the sailor gets 24 gulden ditto and the cook 12 gulden. But we should not complain about what we do not have more than others...... Just look at the first mate, Roelf Emmelkamp. If you see him on board, then you would say how could that go like that? And Triene van de Borg, oh, that is so sad, he is basically just a walking stick by Kien Bos, and his wife is in Groningen and they are also ................ And there are so many.

Yes, dear Brother, you know what it is like here. You can at least imagine it. We live in the house of Okke Pronk. The measles are going around among the children severely and many are dying from it. The former tenants here lost two.

Hoping that the Lord may mercifully diminish the calamity, You must above all be greeted by our Mother. Having wish for you the indispensable blessing of the Lord, I am your loving sister, Marchien Dekker Rubingh