This was originally posted to: Guemes Island Historical Society

GIHS - Minutes, July 2018


July 9, 2018



Present: Tom Deach (pres), Janice Veal (treas), Carol Deach,  Janie & Mike Hansen, Don Passarelli, Barbara & Randy Schnabel, Dave & SHirley Margeson, Al & Nancy Bush, Jackie O’Neil, Pam Rollins, Jake Rollins, Grant Brockmeyer, Rob Schroder, Emma Schroder, Karen Bain, Stephanie Kavanaugh & Bill Van Vlack, Morna McEachern, Sally Stapp, Dick Brigham, Ralph & Ann Mendershausen, Mary Hale, Larry Verbano, Nancy & Les Larsen, Elaine Anderson, Cheri Addicki, Martha Macri, Dennis Padovan, Ian Woofenden, Julie Hopkins, Loalynda Bird, Terre Scappini, M.J. Andrak, Julie Pingree, Jeanne Notson, Susan Brendon, Denny Lauve, Barbara Koger, Frea Gladish, Andy Gladish, Sue O’Donnell (sec)


Show and Tell: Tom came with a “gem” found by Carol in Marv’s attic.  While holding high a dark green tin, he asked if anyone knew the meaning of LSMFT?  Dick Brigham knew [Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco] and had more information about Lucky Strike.  A slogan of the company during the war years (WWII - 1940-1945) was: “We gave our green for the war.”  So, forever after (it is alleged), their packaging has been white rather than green!


Program:   Susan Rombeek gave a fascinating account of living in Holland as a young girl during the German occupation of her town.  On May 10, 1940 Susan was 7 years old and lived with her family in The Hague, Netherlands.  Early that morning, many, very low-flying planes streaked through the air to bomb Rotterdam, inland and south of The Hague. 

German soldiers parachuted out of planes and began marching into her town.  The town was organized by Germans into sections.  Susan’s home, on a corner lot, was one of the locations from which orders would go out to the neighbors.

Susan likened the feel of the horrors to the 2 movies - “A Bridge Too Far” and “The Battle of the Bulge”.


The Germans took over the local railroads and that put an end to the movement of food from farms in the country to those in the cities.  So, there was little food and no fuel to keep the homes warm during the very cold winter.  Parents had to improvise to keep their children warm and fed.   All the neighborhood trees were cut down and they had to resort to carving slivers off the rafters in their attics to have fuel to heat water.  Amazingly, they always had water.  Susan’s Mother would put warm water in bottles to warm up the sleeping sacks she made for Susan and her brother.  Soon, along came a new baby!


Times were desperate.  Susan’s Father – who lost his job in the depression – would ride his bike around and collect potato peelings and do his best to find a bit of milk for the baby.  When they lost electricity, they devised a way to keep it going by pedaling a bicycle-type contraption.  Susan’s brother and other boys would dare to go into abandoned, mined homes for anything they could find.  The father of a friend was killed doing this and a friend maimed when one of the mines exploded.  Churches had soup lines, but only the “thinnest” of the population were allowed.


The Germans built bunkers along the waterfront so they could bomb England.  At some point The Hague was accidently bombed by the Allies.  Susan’s father wanted to get his family to safety.  So, the city was evacuated and they crossed the Zeider Zee and eventually made it to Ireland.  Along the way the boat her brother was in was torpedoed.  It took a while to find him.  Susan was able to stay in a group with some cousins.  Her Father told her that if she ever needed help she was to get to a church.  She was placed in the family of the school principal, but it was later revealed that he was a traitor. 

Susan’s father was in the Resistance and had his son and daughter deliver the “resistance news” until that became too dangerous.   The father of Susan’s eventual husband was high up in the military.  His plane was shot down and he was sent to a POW camp in Poland.  Susan’s future mother-in-law sheltered a Jewish woman friend as well as their neighbor’s 4 sons who were about to be conscripted.  Terrifying times by all accounts . . . 


But Susan said they were just children and entertained themselves while they tried to keep secrets, help where they could, keep up with whatever studying was possible and go on with life.  The Dutch were very protective of their Queen.  She was taken to Canada for safety.  Susan said the Americans went to Germany and the Canadians went to Holland.  WWII ended for Holland May 5, 1945.


At some point during those years, Susan lost a bracelet with cut-out images of the Dutch Queen.  For her 80th birthday, Susan’s daughter found a bracelet for her on E-Bay.  Susan brought that to show as well as some newspapers and special documents having to do with the war years.  Susan has had help writing up her experiences.  Perhaps her writings will one day be published.   Her presentation was very well received and appreciated.



Treasurers Report - (attached) 


Current balance is $39,639.49  (including ~$4,500 in CDs)

Janice reports donations to the society by Ron & Julie Flint, Robert Anderson and Christine Hessel.  Much appreciated.


Old Business:


The Father’s Day Ice Cream Social was a success.  It highlighted the work of CERT. The Historical Society’s poster boards with the history of the 1990 wind storm were very well received.   $17 went into the treasury from donations to the Society.


The estate of Jeff Gent has been very generous to the Society.  Besides the $5000 donation, they have gifted us the “Down-Under” Jeep pick-up and the 1950 Curtis Wharf dump truck.  Al Bush will repair both and figure out where they will be stored!


More Storage Opportunities:  Since November of 1960, when the Guemes Island Fire Department was started, minutes of their meetings have been piling up!  They have been relegated to the care of the Historical Society.


New Business:


August is the month for the Annual Dog Show (D.I.D.D.O.S.D.S.) and this year it will be August 18.  All hands on deck for the effort to obtain the necessary permits; purchase and sell hot dogs and lemonade; advertise; make ribbons; silent auction items solicited; set-up and take-down; crew in place to handle registration; fire department to clean floor of pavilion, etc.  We hope to have a “4-H” Demonstration half-time event.


Coming Events:


August 13 – rather than a regular meeting, we will have a work party to sort out things in Society closet.


DOG SHOW – August 18.  Registration now open.     



HARVEST MOON CRUISE – September 14, 5:30 – 9pm; cruise will be a circling of Cypress Island.   Itinerary is a historical look at Cypress Island, delicious dinner and dessert.


Next meeting:  September 10, 2018, 7pm; Fellowship Hall, Guemes Island Community Church. Program will be “The Bill Mitchell Show, II”.


October 8, 2018, 7pm; Fellowship Hall, Guemes Island Community Church.  Program will be “History of Cypress Island”.



Recent Guemes losses:


Norman Prewitt (1935-2018)



Respectfully submitted,

Sue O’Donnell (secretary)