Latest Stories

A color talk and a heritage story

At the end of last month, when I sorted of my stuffs and started to pack them up, I found boxes of old photographs courtesy of my family. I felt like I just found treasure boxes. I promised myself that I would scan them all and lots of story about my ancestors passed my mind. But I failed. I haven't scanned them, and they're still lying in a box in my room in Jogja, while I'm here writing typing from my hotel room.

Since I don't have the pictures to share yet, my attempt to tell some old stories has been failed. And I thought to myself, what else can I do? I wore my smarty pants, so I emailed Jen right away because I'm always intrigued by her heritage. And as cool as she is, Jen said yes immediately to share a story about her Opa. 

When Jen and I found each other for the first time, we realized that we have one thing in common. We ADORE our grandpa. You should hear it from Jen yourself. And since Jen's the one who's gonna talk about heritage, I'm gonna talk about color here.

Jen, you asked me what color are you, since I told you in this post sometimes I think of a person in a certain color. Well, I'm so sorry Jen. When I think of you, I do not think in color. I think in a clear image. If you have a moment in a movie, it will be Kate Winslet's scene in Titanic when she just got out from a car in the harbor. 

First, the camera will take the extreme long shoot to show the audience the ambiance. And then slowly it will pan down until it gets you in medium shot. But your set won't be in a harbor. You'll be in a meadow or a prairie. And certainly, you will NOT have her expression. In that scene, Kate's face expressed sadness and anger because her character was. While yours gonna be all glowing. So it might be something like this.

I imagine you'll be wearing something like this outfit of yours. Like the version 1800-ish of this dress in Kate Middleton's style. You totally rock the chapeau. (and yes, I stole this photo from your blog). But, when you want to, you won't be afraid or hesitate to change your dress with pants. And then you'll running free through the golden grass with a big smile on your face.

To my final word,
Jen, you are the lady of the house.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

I found Niken's blog through a link up. Her post was about her grandfather. It immediately struck my heart strings. Niken is Indonesian. My favorite person to ever grace this Earth was also Indonesian-- my Opa, my mom's dad. Her story reminded me of Opa.

Charles Anthony VanRhoon was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. He was an awesome gymnast in his younger years. World War II broke out. During the war he was a messanager. He would help smuggle letters back and forth from the mens' and womens' concentration camps. He lost most of his family in the War. Opa saw things that he never even spoke about because the memories were buried down deep.

My grandfather is in the middle
Opa moved to Holland. He met my Oma while they were in a band together. Opa played the guitar and my Oma sang. They fell in love and were married. After they had my mom and two of her siblings they moved to the United States for a better life. They settled in Indiana and were taken in by a church.

My grandparents on their wedding day
My grandparents had 3 more children after coming to the U.S. My Opa worked hard all of his life. He is one of the hardest working men I have ever known. He had a strong love for God and his family. He was always loyal. You should see his Bible...all the notes written in his beautiful script handwriting.

Opa worked up into his 70s. He was always as strong as an ox and healthy as a horse. One of his coworkers told an unbelievable story. Opa was up on a ladder at work. He slipped and was falling off. He did a back flip in the air and landed on his feet. He was in his 70s. Amazing. I told you he was a gymnast :)

Some of my fondest memories are of walking on Opa's back. Us grandkids would always take turns walking on his back. It was like a massage for him. He is also the only person that has ever been allowed and will ever be allowed to call me Jenny. Oh what I wouldn't give to hear him say it one more time. And his warm and contagious.

Opa lost his battle to lung cancer in March of 2006. Like I always say he was way too good for this Earth. I think about him and I dream about him often. I feel like in my dreams he's trying to tell me that he's ok. He was truly a gift from Heaven and now he's home where he belongs :)

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 

Thank you so much Jen!
I'm lost of words to this story :)
Don't forget to visit Jen's blog. 


  1. I just love the love stories from the older generations!

  2. The story is very touching! Thank you so much for sharing!
    It is so cool that you call your grandparents Oma and Opa, we do the same in Germany!


  3. fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
    heritage hotel in jaipur

  4. Wow! 70 and doing back flips is awesome! I'm sorry to hear that the world lost a soul as great as his, but glad that you commemorate him!

  5. Love those cool photos. And that's so hardcore - I can't even do a cartwheel, and he could do back flips.. at three times my age.

  6. Love the stories and the photos! Hearing the stories from our grandparents always warm my heart!

    Andie's Traveling Pants

  7. What a sweet, sweet story. Your grandpa sounds like an incredible man, Jen.

  8. Happy to discover your blog! These pictures are beautiful and very touching. Thank you for sharing.


you can love or hate. but with respect.

© Of Ashes & Bones • Theme by Maira G.