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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Walking down Memory Lane

Kees’ love for the outdoors might have started when he was a little boy and his parents bought a piece of land in the forest to build a cottage. He has fond memories of leaving the city every weekend, working as a family building the cottage his parents designed. Of helping at the neighboring farm and of roaming the forest playing cowboys and indians and looking for seedlings to plant around the cottage.

The cottage in the woods was a place where his family spent weekends and holidays, walking and exploring. They named it ‘Keverhut’, or ‘Beetle Cottage’. This name came about because of his father’s hobby of collecting every possible species of beetle that lived in the Netherlands. In fact, after his death, his extensive collection ended up in a museum and is still on display there today. Kees and his younger brother were paid a penny for every beetle they caught and brought home.  
"That's where we used to live!"

Today, Kees still loves roaming forests and exploring nature. He especially likes long distance hiking, and trail systems in the Netherlands are among his favorites. Recently he was googling for trails and walks in Holland when he noticed one called the ‘Keverhut walk’. Curiosity peaked, he contacted the local walking club coordinator to ask where they got the name from. This particular walk circled the exact spot of his family’s former weekend home, even though the name of the cottage had been changed by new owners 40 yeas ago. The coordinators had no idea where the name came from so Kees told them the story.

Kees with the trees he planted 60 years ago!
They were thrilled and invited us to join them on one of the ‘Keverhut' walks when we were in the Netherlands this time around. Last Saturday morning we gathered, in a sun dappled forest, with childhood friends and with members of the local walk - and running club, for the Keverhut Run / Walk. The local newspaper even ran an article about it. As we walked, we refreshed memories and marveled at the seedlings that Kees had planted some 60 years ago. They were now solid maples and birches that lined the area around the spot where his memories still roam.

Unfortunately, the original cottage the family built had burned down 2 years ago and a much larger and modern house was being constructed on the site. But the surrounding area and the trees, even though 60 years older and bigger, were still all there and still brought back many cherished memories.  

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