Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Brother John

With the liberation of the Netherlands by the Canadian and American troops, my father returned to his family. It didn't take long for my mother to become pregnant, but due to poor health and malnutrition, the infant was born prematurely and required medical attention. My brother John became a magnet to childhood deceases, including diphtheria, which during that time claimed 50,000 lives in Europe.

The Union of South Africa was unaffected by World War II and the malnourished of Europe, looking for a better life, started to emigrate there. Our garden in Villeria, Pretoria had a variety of mature fruit trees, including figs, avocados, apricots, peaches and passion fruit. We found vegetables and nuts in abundance and we were delighted when John's health issues disappeared and he started to grow.

He had won the gene pool lotto of my mother's Edam side of the family. He was tall, blond and blue eyed.  He reached his maximum height at 6'-2" and married a blond blue eyed Dutch girl, who was close to 6' herself. 

Their daughter, blond blue eyed Giselle, reached 5'-11"and her two brothers are 6'-5". Giselle lives in the Netherlands with her partner who is 6'10" tall. He is not the tallest in his family; his brother is taller at 7'.

The Dutch are now the tallest nation in the world with an average height of 6'-1", and the clothing shops there carry a good supply of tall clothes, large size shoes and longer belts. The building code has  changed as well, raising the height of the doorways to 7'-6'. Geneticists seem to feel that the Dutch people have reached their maximum height ….for now.

In this picture, John is visiting Linah after her husband passed away. He had been shorter than her when she came to be our live-in nanny.

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