Materfamilias of the van Raaphorst clan


If you were a 15-year-old girl who had already raised five younger brothers, and your mother told you that yet another baby boy had joined the family, and “why don’t you come and take a look?” — what would you say?

My tante Bets absolutely refused to look and gave (in Dutch) as her reason, “I don’t even want to see him; he’ll just grow up to be another straatrover¬†[hooligan, mischief-maker, mugger] like all the others!”

There was certainly no shortage of straatrovers in the van Raaphorst family!

But in spite of her lack of enthusiasm as a teenager, Tante Bets continued to be devoted materfamilias to the whole gang, and was especially fond of her littlest broer, as you can see in the above picture, taken when she was almost 100. (It was the last time they saw each other.)

Happy 137th birthday (January 8, 2018), Tante Bets! I’m glad you had some energy left over after trying to civilize all those boys to play substitute oma to me!

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