goodbye Bredestraat 3, looking back once more, moving forward

a life, their lives, part of my life

papier-mâché house angel made by papa

the attic where we used to roller-skate, play ping-pong and paint the walls; it being a town house the garden was a lot smaller than the one we were used to in the U.K.
unbeknownst to us, our mother felt guilty for years for depriving us of outdoor space, we never minded the move, and were especially grateful during highschool when we started going out and partying as friends came to stay with us, or we would gather here and start off on our nights out!

mouldy wall-paper-reveal behind less than completely painted wall in downstairs loo, where we removed a mirror

view from kitchen window, north facing
despite being the smallest room in the house, we spent most of our time there

we moved into the house June 1971, my parents had the 70ies kitchen installed and nothing changed

view from my very romantic bedroom in the small garden (play)house, upon arrival we named it The White House; it was my room during my last year in highschool

last days in the home: almost empty spaces!
it had become a very full house over the course of 50 years: art on the walls, books everywhere! collections of so many items, if it had been work my mother would have become professional a hoarder;-)

a reflection of me in the kitchen mirror, some things like the mantle piece and the mirror with fabric wall covering belongs to the house and was here when we moved in

three of papa's earlier ceramics, I took those with me
once he stopped working, he gave up everything relating to his former professional life and dedicated himself to everything he most enjoyed: painting, ceramics, gardening both in their town house as well as in their 'second home' a Summer house in Denmark, my mama's birth country, visiting museums, travelling and most importantly entertaining

our parents were both big on entertaining

garden in Summer

glimpses of what it looked like when furnished, I had already started sorting....

sitting room above, below a bathroom wall

above sitting room, below mama's study

I set out at the beginning of last year January 2021 to clear out the house, just after our mama had died, 12 November 2020 and once we realised our papa could not stay alone in the house, even with care provided
He died soon after her, three months after to the day on 12 February 2021
I decided I wanted to get the job done within a year as I felt the energy to keep at it would fail me eventually and  I'ld get fed up; fortunately my siblings agreed and we embarked upon our adventure
Mid December the house was sold and we determined the transfer would take place 3 January 2022
We spent Sunday there together and slept in our old beds for the last time....


2022 promises to be a fresh start


CatherinE said…
Oh my gosh, what a lot of work that was. Congratulations on the accomplishment. Your post was a very poignant and a memorial of sorts to your parents. I'm doing what your dad did as far as retiring and doing what I enjoy now.
Saskia said…
congratulations to you Catherine for now being able to do what you enjoy! and thank you for stopping by and dropping a comment
Marti said…
A home, well lived in, well loved, a gathering for everyone. It falls to us, usually, the daughters, to collect and arrange and organize and donate and yes, even to wonder because even when we think we know all about our parents, emptying their home, seeing what they held dear, taking those items that hold dear to us, donating the others, tells a story that only this ritual could give us...

Since my parents only had daughters, my sister and I stepped into the past, while holding onto the future and sometimes they collided...memories of all colors and emotions went along with the clearing of our family home as I am sure it did for you dear Saskia and your siblings. My sister lived in another state so it was not as easy for her to come and help so it was pretty much left up to me.

In how we tell of these times, is how we honor our parents and this is a telling, real and of the heart and filled with so much...a goal accomplished, a place forever tucked into your heart. Thank you for your words, your photos, your honoring of your parents, your telling Saskia.
Mo Crow said…
Saskia what a trip and full on work for you all. Wondering who painted the labyrinth? reminds me of the work of Mike Worrall, an English artist who now lives in Australia, here's a link to his work
Liz A said…
I'm glad you showed us the empty rooms first ... sad though they were ... but then to see the loving accumulation of 50 years (which I wouldn't have thought to call hoarding as it all appears to be very purposeful and beautifully arranged) ... what a wonderful home they created (and wow, you had an awesome bedroom window ... not to mention the walls you were allowed to paint on)

my folks passed away in 2008 and 2012 ... my brother is still sorting through their stuff, most likely because he is under no deadline to get it done (as well as being a collector in his own right)

we have moved every ten years or so, which has prompted us to cull our holdings ... but I don't envy our daughters having to make sense of it all someday

so done is done ... and well done at that ... I hope you find much to make you happy with your newly reclaimed time ...
ravenandsparrow said…
The views of the empty house and then the furnished rooms create such a feeling of time passing and lives lived. Is that a collection of chamber pots in the sitting room? Your parents sound artistic and interesting and their house echoes that. I find it interesting to see so many views of such an urban space that is still a self contained house. I have never lived in such a place. It is always a little surprising to me how much space influences our lives. Your romantic window must have had an effect on you. Good work on managing the contents of your parents lives and your own childhood so well.
Nancy said…
I can agree with the others here Saskia...a fine tribute to your beloved parents. I'm so glad you and your siblings were able to spend this year moving through this task in a way that supports the grieving process. Your old room, attic stories...all of it and that last photo, with one pic left on the full of lives shared and lost...time.
May 2022 be filled with the things you like to do, including influences from your folks. xo
buysse maria said…
ja de mensen die ons het leven gaven en waar wij deel werden van hun leven , de kansen die ons en wij hen gaven in gedeelheid , het gaat voorbij en toch het blijft voor eeuwig deel van , dat alles .... de als voorbereiding op het vervolg wat we nu toekomst noemen , maar ook al aanwezig is ( geboren is )
fijn dat je dat met ons deelde ( terwijl had ik mijn eigen visuêle herinneringen toen wij dat deden )
deemallon said…
What a wonderful pictorial tribute to both your parents and your own childhood. Houses are characters in our stories too aren’t they? I kept thinking as I scrolled through, your boys will appreciate this post one day. Like others have said, I see such LIFE and creativity. I’m not at all surprised that your parents produced an artist such as yourself, deeply seated in her creativity.
Love so much that you shared all this with us more of
YOU to place you in/from...
i have looked several times and will look again....a Life of a's a lot
love and thankyou
Saskia said…
I hold a lot of gratitude, as I expect you have too Marti, for having been gifted this task
despite (and because of?!) Everything....
Saskia said…
Rosie Lee painted 'The Maze' Mo, she is the main reason for me wanting to become an artist, for allowing me to imagine such a life could become a reality; British artist, born 1935 and still going strong, not a lot of online presence I'm afraid
we are going to add a large room to our small house, basically to be able to house this painting
Saskia said…
looking forward to Time this new year Liz, and visiting blogs again!
I'm sure your daughters will enjoy the process, although they might at times let loose a curse or two, as my brother and I did from time to time, our sister being much more level-headed and too dignified to let rip
Saskia said…
my mama had many collections Dana, the chamber pots (80plus!) being just one, and lo & behold, we managed to distribute most of them, she would have loved that
the bittersweet melancholy I'm now experiencing after the action-packed-year summed up in your words 'time passing and lives lived'
Saskia said…
so looking forward to moving on, whilst looking back from time to time Nancy
already feeling lighter;-)
Saskia said…
ach Maria, 't blijft toch iets ongelooflijks dat we doodgaan, allemaal
en de schok als 't dan zover is, en tegelijk hoe we 't accepteren
Saskia said…
houses most definitely are characters (although some can be boring reflecting the inhabitants maybe?) I always enjoy catching glimpses of yours Dee
Saskia said…
displaying all of me Grace
although typing this I know that's not the whole truth, as showing EveryThing is impossible and who would have the time and inclination to look at all of me or me at all of you?



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