Anton Provoost. No, he wasn't famous
, he wasn't rich
. He was my grandfather, and he meant a lot to me
He meant a lot to me, because I was named after him. I might not share
his last name
, but I do share his first name, for which I thank my parents. He also means a lot to me because he was the only one I knew who could tell stories about his life, what he's been through before, during and after World War II, that would really interest me.
During the war he had to hide from the Germans
, because they would put him in a working camp. He didn't really want to go there, so he hid with some people in the east of The Netherlands
. The people who helped him remained his friends up until the day he died, and my grandmother goes to visit them still once a year.
After the war, he worked for the town he lived in, Zoutelande
. It's my hometown
too. He helped maintain the beach
es, to make sure they were clean. Sure, it sometimes could be a bit of a dirty job, but he did it to make sure other people could enjoy them. And in my opinion, that is one of the most noble
things you can do.
In 1996, he was diagnosed with cancer. In the months that followed, he his health deteriorated rapidly. During those months, I didn't see him very often, even though he lived just around the corner, a 30 second walk from my house. I didn't went to see him because I wanted to remember him how I've always known him, a big, strong (and bald) guy, but not the sick skinny person that was lying there in that bed.
I went to visit him on my birthday, December 1st. He hardly recognised me, but it made me somewhat happy that he called my name.
Two days later, Tuesday December 3rd 1996, he passed away. He was buried on Saturday.
To this day, I still haven't visited his grave since the day he was buried. I think about him every day, but I haven't had the courage to visit his grave. Perhaps I should do it this year on his birthday.