The old bakery at Vaalserquartier.
The Nada Chronicles, part 31
Not long ago I dreamt a lively dream about a gathering in a small church in The Netherlands where I attend the gathering sometimes. Imagine; fifty people in a large circle focused on what Ellen Sombroek shared with us.
During the gathering Ellen asked people questions and seemed to pick out people at random. And so she asked me to tell us a short story. She put the microphone in front of me and what I told would be broadcast on a radio program.
Now you should know I do not consider myself a good speaker; writing is my thing. So I had to swallow when she asked me that. ‘Come on’, I heard. ‘Dare to be vulnerable; it surely will be a nice story’.
I started telling about my travels by train. When you are over sixty and you own a subsription to the train, you can travel for free during seven days a year. On the day this story starts I decided to just take a train in the general direction I wanted to go on at every station I arrived at. That direction was South-East. And so it happened that I ended up in Heerlen via Breda, Eindhoven, and Sittard. There was also a train to Germany and I ended up in Aix-La-Chapelle on the bus terminal, wondering what I was doing here. There was no time left to visit this wonderful city, because I had to get back the same day.
At that moment I happened to see a bus with destination Vaalserquartier, close to the Dutch border town of Vaals. That interested me, because of one of my past lives. After a short ride in that bus, Aix-La-Chapelle (Aachen) is close to the border with The Netherlands, we stopped in front of a bakery on the Püngelerstrasse in Vaalserquartier. The Dutch Vaals is only fifty meters away from that bakery.
I got off the bus, walked into the bakery and got into a conversation with the owner. She told me about the history behind the bakery. It turned out to exist for more than 200 years already. First in an old house with wooden details on the outside, three houses down the street, later the modern bakery was built, where they sell great Coffee with Cake.
I told Hannelore about Thila Labruyère who has lived in Vaalserquartier. In the story of Thila (short for Mathilde) I wrote about Vaalserquartier, but Hannelore says Thila lived there before her family had taken over the bakery. That is how things work. Suddenly though, she thought of something and Hannelore went upstairs to look for something she told me. It would turn out to be a great surprise.
It took a long time and only long after I had finished my coffee and cake she returned. She held an old paper, full of fingerprints. On the front was written: 'Poems of Mathilde’ ‘Poèmes de Mathilde’ in an old-fashioned, but strong handwriting. When I flipped through it, I got goose bumps on some pages. Although my French is bad it seemed like I had seen those poems before. Some of them were beautiful and especially the last one gave me Goosebumps. I would like to share it with you for that reason. The poem did not have a title, so I gave it one.
Poem by Thila
When I was very young,
During my youth,
During my life,
During my life,
During my sadness,
At the end of my life,
Au début de ma vie,
En train de mes jours de la jeunesse,
En train de ma vie,
En train de ma vie,
En train de ma tristesse,
En fin de ma vie,
Afterward Hannelore and me talked about vulnerability for a long time. What it is and where can it take people. For example: it can take you to the answer on questions that occupy your mind for a long while already.
To dreams that sometimes seem to become real and in the end the vulnerability turns out to be transformed into strength and the ability to create what you had not held for possible in your wildest dreams.
Right then I woke up; the alarm clock showed 4.44, the number that indicated God exists and my intuition told me that I as a writer had been speaker for a short while in a virtual radio broadcasting that has reached you through Running Fox.