Everyone should have a friend like Dr. Piet Stolk. He invited me to spend the day, beginning at his home in Delft, Holland. You probably have heard of Delft Blue pottery, that is produced in Delft.
We had a cup of coffee, and then lunch, after which we went on to the city of Rotterdam, and then dinner at his home again.
I met Dr. Stolk nearly 25 years ago when I was in Den Haag for business. He was across the street seeing patients at the hospital. I went to the hospital to ask some questions that had been on my mind concerning mental illness. He was the person I was directed to see, and he was gracious, answered my questions and then invited me to his home.
That is when I met his lovely wife, Titia, who passed away one and one half years ago.
Together, Piet and Titia have acquired an impressive collection of ancient and new pottery and paintings by their favorite and important artists.
We have continued a friendship all of these years; he is an important friend in my life; someone I must see whenever I’m in Holland. He also helped me out with some factual information about WWII for my book, “Too Close to the Sun” a Dutch boy becomes a man during WWII.
Today in Rotterdam, after not seeing it for twenty five years, I was surprised at the growth – sky scrappers that give architectural art in the sky and big shopping centers, We walked around a bit in the city and then found a nine floor bookstore that had an awesome restaurant.
He drove me around the city to see the harbor, the brand new bridge and more unusual new buildings.
Back at his home, he cooked a salmon dinner that was delicious, and then drove me back to my hotel.
Piet has two fat cats – Tom, a black and white cat – and Tim, an orange cat. Tim seemed to tolerate me, but Tom didn’t quite trust this home invader.
It was good to see my friend, and to see how much of Rotterdam has changed through the years.
Rotterdam port is the largest port in Europe and one of the busiest in the world. It is amazing to see the city that rose from the ashes of the devastation to the city, caused by bombing during WWII.