Many of the memoirs and books coming out of the digital book age are historical treasures that reveal nuggets of history and fascinating slices of life. This week as I toyed with the idea of collecting and organizing an anthology of Christmas Memories from World War II books, I was reminded of the unusual story of Ronny Herman de Jong and decided to feature her author interview. I had no idea I lived for three years so close to where she attended school in Leiden.
When the Unbroken movie was about to come out, Isabel Wolff, author of Ghostwritten, noted in BBC Magazine:
Indeed, when we reflect on that part of World War Two [i.e.POW camps in the Pacific] we think, automatically, of these brave military men, of whom there were 132,000. Yet there were 130,000 Allied civilians in the region – predominantly women and children – who also endured appalling privation and cruelty, but whose story is barely known. (BBC Magazine)
Movie deals aren’t there, and books in English are sparse. For your consideration, here is one account based on the secret diary kept by the author’s mother, Rising from the Shadow of the Sun: A Story of Love, Survival and Joy.
Interview with Ronny Herman de Jong, Author of Rising from the Shadow of the Sun: A Story of Love, Survival and Joy
When you were a little girl in the Japanese concentration camps, were you aware that your Mom kept a secret diary?
Do you have memories of your life in the camps?
I have two bad memories and one happy one. Mamma protected us and kept us away from the cruel punishments the women had to watch. And because I was always hungry and we had nothing, no food, no books, no toys, few clothes, I have a tendency, even to this day, to buy two of everything: two pairs of shoes, two bags of grapes, two notepads, to give you an example. One bad memory is that a soldier stuck his bayonet through the bamboo fence and tried to kill me. The second one is that we had a bedbug plague in the camp and I had to squeeze them with a rag, in my bed in the top bunk to kill them; they bit me all night and they stank when I squeezed them. The happy memory is that one of the old men that were brought into the camp gave me a little brown truck, a Dinky Toy.
You wrote several books. When did you write your first book and why did you write it?
Why did you write your second book and how is it different from the first?
Tell me about the other books you published.
In August 2014 I published an Anthology: Survivors of WWII in the Pacific. It is a compilation of stories by Navy men and survivors who went through the camps as teenagers; all along the same parallel lines of suffering but from a different perspective, all serving as historical evidence for future generations.
In January 2017 I published an e-Book Anguished to shed light on the devastating elder abuse that happens to this day in families and nursing homes. And in January 2018 my new Audiobook of Rising from the Shadow of the Sun became available for purchase everywhere. Listen here: Audiobook!
Is there any special publicity we should know about?
Yes! The most interesting interview was by CHINA TV after the movie Unbroken was refused in Japan. A reporter and film crew came to Prescott for the interview: they wanted to compare Louis Zamperini’s story about the Japanese camps for men with my story about the Japanese camps for women and children. All the other interviews can be found on my Amazon Author Page
Where is your book available?
All my books are available on all internet sites. Signed copies are available from the author’s website: http://www.ronnyhermandejong.com/
Big thanks to Ronny.–Kristin
Author Archives: kristinkingauthor
When my husband handed me the mail, he mentioned that he signed up to receive info about life insurance. Since he retired from the Army, his military coverage is going by the wayside. We do have some life insurance for both of us, but considering university costs for four children might be down the road, we were thinking of a term policy to cover that time.
I opened the large envelope and stilled–staring at the information page. “Monthly rates as low as $2.17 per month for Children’s Life Insurance.” Four age brackets were listed; 0-7, 8-15, 16-21, 22-25. Policy amounts listed as $5K, $10K, $15K, $20K, $25.
I couldn’t take it in really. My head was saying $5,000 might not cover a funeral. But a funeral for one of my children. Losing one of them, the thought of preparing for a possible loss is repugnant. Holding the paper in my hands turns my stomach.
Yet, so many people face the loss of a child. My thoughts ran rampant from the St. Jude’s solicitations in the post to the loss of my little cousin back before I had children of my own.Watching The Fault in Our Stars with my eldest son over school break.The 12 year old at our church killed in a car accident before Christmas.
I just cannot imagine.
Should we consider insuring our children? The advice my father, a man who spent his career in the insurance industry, gave when I first chose between full automobile coverage and liability-only was “You only insure what you can’t afford to lose.” What I can’t afford to lose?
Most insurance agents and advisors can agree, though, on one point: Other, more critical financial matters should come first before you even think about buying a life insurance policy on a child. Those include building an adequate emergency savings fund, making sure you and the child’s other parent have enough life insurance and disability insurance, building savings for the child’s college tuition, and getting your own retirement savings on track. (NerdWallet.com)
Gathering the insurance information in two hands to put it in recycling I say a prayer for those who have experienced this loss, at any age, and at the same time thank God we have not joined their ranks.
Many resolutions have already fallen by the wayside, but inspiration is never far away. -Kristin
I wanted to share this message from our charity and tell you how heartfelt the thanks is.
Seriously, uncommon cold hitting Kentucky but with none of the white stuff to make it seem worthwhile–or at least fun for a bit. -8 degrees this morning as I dressed to return to the gym for the first time in probably a month (Yes, I’m one of those.)
Our family enjoyed the cool yet never bitter winters in Holland to the max. And I’ve always bought into the theory that central Europe, though further north, was warmer than North American because the Gulf Stream carries warm air from the warm ocean waters across the Atlantic. Now scientists are saying that stream only accounts for 10% of the difference in temperatures. Really?
My young life in North America taught me to think in terms of go north for cooler temps and south for warmer ones. That life experience changed when we moved to Germany where heading south meant colder temps from higher, headed-into-the-Alps altitudes. That was an adjustment to my perspective.
Yet my mind still struggles to grasp that in our recent Holland home it is 48 degrees today even though Amsterdam is about 900 miles north of my old Kentucky home. Yes, 1600 kilometers to the north of Kentucky as you follow the latitudes around the globe your finger runs across The Netherlands.
Whatever the reasons, I’m wearing a beanie indoors as well as two pairs of socks and my comfy Dutch house shoes as I remember fondly the heated floors in Germany and the fact I never needed so many layers in our old flower-kingdom home.
Several friends of mine and family members swear by essential oils for therapeutic effects. One even gave me a small sample of peppermint oil for my headaches and sinuses. Does it work? Well, I like the smell and think it helps a bit. But what does the science say?
There’s a great article billed as a “sales-free” approach that summarizes what studies have been done and what the results are. Highly recommend you get the full scoop here at dietvsdisease.org. The answer is as we expected–yes and no.
Lavender oil (scent of it) does help some folks sleep, and tea tree oil can reduce acne. Peppermint often reduces headache pain. Other oils don’t have a proven track record, and even with these three the key is the percentage of the essential oil in the mix. For instance, headache studies indicated a 10% peppermint oil mix. I’ve texted my friend who sells oils to ask about the percentages in her products.
Meanwhile though, I never would want to underestimate the mind-health connection, or more accurately mind over matter. There is a lot loaded in that statement that I won’t unpack right now. One aspect though is the placebo effect. If I believe something will help, it usually does. Maybe there’s a market for sugar pills in that somewhere.
Regardless, I will continue to renew my migraine medication and be grateful it works for me almost every time. For a mild headache I’m not beyond grabbing the peppermint oil instead of a pill. For myself I lean toward moderation and knowing what works for me. During this holiday season I’ve walked by sales of pine cones drenched in cinnamon oil and decided oils for enjoyment works for me as well.
Here’s to hoping all sorts of seasonal scents lift your spirits in the coming month.