maandag 15 september 2014


Last week met a painter, his name is Ronny. He was painting the courtyard houses in the place where I was photographing. He asked me what I was doing and I told him I was making portraits of widows living in the courtyard. ‘Why?’ he asked me. I told him my first husband also died. Then he told me his mother became a widow when she was twenty five. My focus was on photographing one of the ladies so I had to stop my conversation with him.

When I was back home I thought about him: ‘What did he want to tell me about his late mother?’ Today I met him again, still painting the houses white. He does it very secure and concentrated, so at first I did not dare to disturb him. My curiosity won and I asked him about his mother.

Four days before Ronny’s third birthday his father died, age thirty two. He died of a heart attack in the gym.

Ronny has got a five year older sister. Although he was very young he still keeps like six memories of his father. Ronny thinks of him every single day, not in sadness, because over forty years have passed, but for example when he hears an old song from before his father died: he thinks, ‘Yes this song he has known, and hearing a newer song: no he has not known it… ‘

In 1972, the year in which Ronny's father died, his mother used to work in a restaurant. Her parents took care of the children in the evening, and when his sister was older, she was Ronny’s babysitter. Twenty years later, when Ronny was serving in the army, she started a new relation and remarried two years later. Ronny liked his mothers’ new husband. Unfortunately, not long after they got married, he died because of an illness. She is sixty eight years old now and has got a lot of friends, but still Ronny thinks it is hard for her to be single.

Ronny is very proud of his mother. Everything he has got he owes to her: his education and his manners. He is proud he and his sister became good human beings thanks to their mother. Now he is a father of two himself, he has got a son of ten years old, partly named after his father: Hendricus Hermanus Levie,  and a daughter named St├ęphanie, sixteen years old. Ronny decided a while ago to quit smoking, because he does not want this to be the reason to die from a heart attack as well.

Last Sunday August 17th, one day before his fathers’ birthday, Ronny visited his fathers’ grave, close by his house. He cleaned it an put plants on it. ‘It is he best taken care of  grave of all the graves surrounding his grave,’ Ronny said proudly. Sometimes Ronny repaints the golden letters on the tombstone, to make them shine again beautifully.

Thank you Ronny for telling me your touching story!

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