18  Savings Account

No money (cartoon) Barely money to pay the boat trip

"They sometimes say “The darkest hour is just before dawn” and this saying most certainly also applied to me!"



By now I had personally informed the Dutch director of the printing business G. Kolff & Co at Pecenongan, with whom I got along really well, of my resignation. Several weeks before I was due to leave, I asked for an appointment in relation to payout of a small savings account which I had with the printer’s. When he enquired after my financial situation, I replied that if I’d include the savings the printer’s still owed me, I might just manage to pay for my travel.


Following this appointment, I received a sealed envelope which I was to cash with the banker in order to get my savings paid out. I was completely taken by surprise when I received triple the amount of my savings. It meant I could now afford the travel by boat for myself and for my family. In hindsight there may have been an explanation for the director’s gesture, since he would occasionally pay a visit to the payroll department, where I worked, with a seemingly impossible request. For instance, the Indonesian union had demanded the business pay an early Lebaran allowance for the lower staff (Lebaran is the Islamic New Year and also the end of the Ramadan): to almost 1500 people and within 2 days. Upon which I answered “Nothing is impossible. If needed my colleague and I will work all through the night”; it went without saying that he could count on me to see to everything. He was a great director, despite the fact that his grumpy appearance made him look like an ogre, which easily led to a false impression with people who didn’t know him. That night, while we were working like mad to finish calculating the Lebaran allowances, he paid us an unexpected late night visit and brought us fried noodles and cigarettes. He was much relieved when, after having had only a few hours of sleep, I came to see him the next morning for his approval to withdraw the money from the bank to put in the payment envelopes.

Here I am next to a Spitfire.
Here I am next to a Spitfire. We’d collected money for them so, from England, our boys (RAF) could withold the German force (Luftwaffe) in the air.

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