Joel Jongkind and family
Joel Jongkind was the guest speaker at the October meeting of the Grey County Historical Society. He share stories of his life focusing on what it was like to leave the Netherlands and to come to Canada after the Second World War.
He came to Canada in 1948 with his mother and father and three of his four siblings. He had a sister who was already married and she remained there.
He had been only five years only when the war ended. The economy was in shambles; people were discouraged. Parents didn't see any future for their children. People lacked the basics especially in the cities.
Joel's father had been a rose grower. If a person grew flowers in the Netherlands people did well. If the times were good people bought flowers in thanksgiving. During bad times, they purchased them to cheer themselves up.
The Canadian government was encouraging people to come to Canada. Originally, they thought they would be going to Manchester, Ontario where his father would be employed but because they were delayed in leaving, they ended up going to Springfield to a dairy farm. His father had no experience in this area.
The situation on the farm was not great. They were homesick and immigration was not what they had expected. They had a relative in Meaford so they left.
His father got work in the orchards and Joel got work with Stanley Knight. From the age of 14 to 19, Joel gave his paycheque to his parents. Ivan Knight was good to them.
They attended the Christian Reformed Church in Owen Sound where they could talk in Dutch and share their experiences. The minister was a great help.
In 1964, the family visited relatives who had remained in the Netherlands and found that they had done well.
Joel worked for different companies and learned accounting. When he worked with Majestic Pipelines, they lived in Quebec, in the West and in the United States and spent 15 years in Europe.
In 1979, the family has he called it "refocused to Meaford".
Joel has written his family's story. In addition he wrote Presbyterians in Meaford : 150th Anniversary 1854-2004
Those present thoroughly enjoyed hearing his talk. He was accompanied by some of his family.