OUDROZE | ANTIQUE PINK @ Ernst Coppejans 2021


82 years

1939, Zaandam / house painter and gardener

‘It was at a party. She asked me why I looked at her like that. Because she was the most beautiful, I replied. Anna sparkled, laughed a lot, was always cheerful. She is my great love. Anna worked at the Justice Department. I worked with troubled young people. It stressed me out. Later I started painting houses and I designed gardens.’

Big love
‘Anna was a really beautiful, not typically lesbian woman. The opposite of me. We met when I was 45 and we’ve been together for 32 years. Anna had two daughters. They were angry for a while. One has remained angry, she has never been able to accept it. When I discovered that I was attracted to women while I was still with my ex-husband, we told our sons. Two sons accepted it. One son has been angry until recently.’

‘I went to Portugal every year with Anna. Friends had persuaded us to live there. We tried it for a year to see if we liked it. Shortly after we decided to stay, Anna suddenly became very ill. It turned out to be cancer. She died in hospital in Lisbon within three weeks. That was five years ago.’

‘I miss Anna terribly. I cry a lot and am still in mourning. I can manage on my own, but I find it very uncomfortable. I read and I puzzle and now I have Netflix. I have square eyes. A few people drop by, thankfully. It never occurred to me that it can hurt so much to lose your loved one. You can’t imagine it.’

In love for the first time
‘I discovered my feelings for women when my husband and I were building a house in Knollendam. There I met a lady. I fell in love instantly. For the first time in my life. It was a terrible period; I didn’t know what falling in love was. We didn’t have a relationship, but we did stay in touch. She recently passed away at the age of 92. It was a platonic love. She was a lesbian and in a long-term relationship.’

Not accepted
‘During my marriage, I had a friend with whom I would head to Amsterdam. We started in the morning and stayed until the middle of the night. We went pub crawling and had a great time. During that period, I visited the COC (a Dutch LGBTI organisation), but I thought it was so bad! I thought: if this is my life, I don’t want it. At the time, I told my ex-husband. He immediately shared it with my family even though I really didn’t want that. My parents… it was a drama. When my mother came into my house and there was a girlfriend sitting on the couch, she would walk straight back out the door without saying a word. She said she thought it was disgusting. My ex and I were still together in her mind. He was in a different relationship. That did go well.’

Kissing in women’s bars
‘Before Anna I had contact with women. We kissed a bit in women’s bars such as Het Schaartje, Petit Paris and the Women’s House in the East of Amsterdam. That was very nice. There were all kinds of groups that I joined: Man-Woman Society and ‘Baas In Eigen Buik’ (a pro-choice group in the Netherlands). We rose up against injustice.’

‘At the time, I had a good friend, a very delicate man who eventually transformed into a woman. She also wrote a book “I Monique”. I had nice conversations with her. In the end she took her own life. She would sit in the tram and her beard would be growing and she would be yelled at. I joined gay demonstrations. Once in Amersfoort it turned into a hell. They threw rocks at us, really horrible. I was taken to my car in a police escort. Those poor boys, I heard them screaming. They got beat up so badly.’

New girlfriend
‘I would still like a girlfriend, but I have no idea how I could get in touch. It would be nice if something came out of this.’


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