Submitted by their daughter, Chrissy Pauley.
I don’t know how many of you remember these two! They are my parents, Hank and Tina van Vliet. They immigrated to the United States in 1957, when I was 2, and my sister was 4 and my brother 6 months-old.
It wasn’t an easy immigration for them; they had to have a sponsor, be checked out thoroughly both physically and mentally before they were allowed to apply for citizenship. My dad was so excited to leave his native Holland.
He had come to the United States for schooling when he worked for KLM and saw it as the land of opportunity.
My mom was more hesitant about taking their three young children and immigrating to a place where she didn’t know the language or customs.
She trusted my dad though and they made the move.
My mom soon assimilated to life in the U.S. In the 50 plus years before my dad passed, she was happy to be in this country.
After studying and working hard, they were proudly sworn in as American citizens in 1963. Being under the age of 16, their three children became naturalized citizens at the same time.
You would never meet two such patriotic Americans.
Their favorite charity was anything to do with military Veterans.
My mom remembered the horrors of World War II and how the American soldiers would bring chocolates and other goodies to the Dutch people, and the glorious day when the war was finally over.
They didn’t speak much about that time in their lives. There were too many bad memories; this is why my mom had to sleep with a night-light and got her best sleep when the sun was up.
My dad had demons of his own but kept quiet about the despair and hopelessness of World War II.My dad passed away in 2010 at the age of 86.
He worked for Flying Tigers and later Federal Express for many years.
He loved his job and worked his way to a consultant position when he was past retirement age.
It wasn’t until my dad passed away that my mom, being suddenly widowed, regretted leaving her family in Holland.
This is not to say that she didn’t get lots of attention from her three kids. But being in her golden years, she would have loved to have tea with her sister and chat about old times.Toward the end of her earthly life, she would recall things from her past. Sometimes it was hard to listen to; other times it was good for a chuckle.
Suffice it to say, there were many things I learned from my folks.
I learned that they were loving, nurturing, kind and dependable.They taught their kids that integrity and a good work ethic would get you anywhere you want to go.
They also taught us the love of family is the most important part of life.
My mom passed away in June 2019, at the age of 93. I am honored to share this with you and invite you to look heavenward and give my folks two thumbs up for a life well lived. I will miss them every minute of my remaining days and hope they know how much they were loved.