Chuck Honkins (100): Men can learn something from women’s soccer: no drama, but take it


Sjaak HunnekensAurelie Gorts statue

Sjaak Hunnekens has produced four generations, and his first great-grandson was 1.5 years old. With the exception of one grandson, all 38 of his grandchildren live in North Limburg, within a 15-kilometre radius of the 100-year-old paterfamilias. He still lives independently and does small errands by himself, a year ago by car, and nowadays on a motorbike. Before Hunnekens begins, he first explains the rules of the interview: “I wanted to do it like this: I start with an introduction, and then you can ask me questions. If I don’t want to answer, shut up.

Well, I’ll listen to your introduction

My name is Jack Hopkins and I was born on August 12, 1921 in Bering. The rest is up to you.

Is it time for the first question yet?

“Yes, bring it.”

What else do you enjoy?

In everything: gardening, computer and television. I no longer sit at my laptop every day like I used to write emails to my kids and look up recipes, but I still sometimes. I love watching sports on TV: Formula 1 with Max Verstappen, it comes from here. And I love soccer, including women’s soccer. I watch all the European Championship matches this month. My favorite player is Lieke Martins, who is also from this region. Her parents came to the supermarket in Bergen, where I worked. It is a pity that Leakey dropped out of school, she injured her foot.

What do you think of the Dutch women’s team?

“The level is high. I really enjoy watching women’s football. Men can suck it up. Men play more fiercely, but they are allowed to take an example from the mentality of women. If one of them gets injured on the field and falls, she immediately gets up and hits her thigh with her hand and continues to play.” Men do a lot of drama in such a situation and often a stretcher must be involved.Women assemble more easily.

Are you also someone who would rather take cash than make drama?

I’ll go on and not look back, that’s no use anyway. What was.

Does this also work with the loss of loved ones, such as your wife and two children?

‘no I do not think so.’

Sjaak Hunnekens on the bench he received from the municipality in honor of his 100th birthday.  Aurelie Gorts statue

Sjaak Hunnekens on the bench he received from the municipality in honor of his 100th birthday.Aurelie Gorts statue

How have you seen your daily life change over the past century?

From poverty to abundance. Today’s abundance is inestimable. People think it’s normal to put the laundry in the washer, add the soap, press the button, take it out a little later and you’re done. My mother would spend hours every day washing everything by hand for a family of 11.

Can you describe poverty in your early years?

“There was nothing, absolutely nothing. We worked on eating. We got clothes from our cousins ​​and moved from one to another in our family. If a piece of clothing was broken or worn, my mother would fix it. We were at home with nine kids, I was The eldest, I have four brothers and four sisters.

We had a small farm with a cow, a few pigs, and chickens, and we grew rye, oats, barley, potatoes, and vegetables like beets, Brussels sprouts, and turnips. That was enough to eat eleven people, not enough to sell anything. Since we had to be frugal with our food, we just shared what we had. Everyone has half an egg. Fortunately we lived near a forest. When we ran out of firewood, we cut down a tree.

The wood-burning stove was also used as a stove for our home. Once a week we were washed in an iron basin: then we all stood in a row, one by one, we were allowed to go to the water and get ready. We all went to the same shower water. We didn’t know anything better and it was the same everywhere, except for the top cultivators.

Can you keep learning?

No, I later missed the general knowledge I gained in high school. I never learned a foreign language. He had to work because of poverty. When I was a kid I helped on the farm. After primary school I had to work as a maid on another farm. I lived inland with the farmer, and this was a mouth-less to feed at home. On Sunday I was free and was allowed to go home. Then we all went to the catholic church.

I earned 70 guilders in an entire year. I had to hand that over to my parents, because the money was so much needed. On Sunday I got a few cents, if I had saved 25 cents, I secretly bought cigarettes from her, a pack of Doshkind. My first cigarette made me very nauseous, but I kept going anyway. I smoked from ages 13 to 97 every day. Only during Lent did I not smoke for two weeks. Then I was glad when the Easter bells rang, I could light another one.

Why did you stop smoking three years ago?

(He points to some black spots on the wooden floor next to his wide chair.) “I fell asleep while smoking, and the cigarette fell on the floor next to me. The smoke woke me up, luckily there was no fire yet. Imagine what would have happened if I stayed tonight. I stepped on the smoking places with my foot and said to myself: nondeju, now it’s over. I haven’t touched a single cigarette I never missed it.

Researchers believe that only 20 percent of all people over the age of 100 in the Netherlands are male, possibly as a result of the smoking epidemic among men of your generation.

“Even though I’ve been smoking daily for 84 years, there’s nothing wrong with me. I only take one pill. Only walking is getting a little difficult, that’s why I have a motorbike. I was driving a car a year ago. On my 100th birthday I traveled to the party. It was my doctor There too he said he had never seen a 100-year-old drive a car before. After my birthday I thought I should stop. If something went wrong, this is my family. Then I bought a motorbike, these are my best legs now.

Have you always been a farmer?

‘number. After a few years as a farm worker I couldn’t stand it anymore, I wanted something different. I saw an ad for Coop, a grocery store. They asked for a delivery person. This deserves better than working on the farm. I applied and was accepted. When a customer indicated the merchandise he wanted to buy, I delivered the groceries at home, with a horse and cart.

That was before the war. During the war I was hiding on a farm with five boys, so I became a farmer again. From the attic window, I saw men digging trenches, and I would have done a forced labor otherwise. After liberation I could go back to the barn, and I stepped up to be a manager. But my income was not enough to cover the expenses of a family of six children. That’s why I kept two pigs, sixty pigs, in our house for sale. I also grow vegetables and fruits for my family.

I was a business at a young age, it seems

It was hard work, six days a week from early morning until late at night, just like my father. What happened happened. I’ve always enjoyed doing that. At 57, I retired early to my wife, To. She was in poor health. She was often very tired and suffered from open legs. They had to be online every day.

It took years for doctors to discover that she had heart problems. After the surgery, I decided to take a break from work to take care of To. You are there for each other, through thick and thin. You see it less and less these days. People break up very quickly when the going gets tough. I don’t get it, because that’s exactly what it’s about. He died 22 years ago, at the age of 78.

Wedding photo with his wife.  They married in 1946. Statue of O'Reilly Gorts

Wedding photo with his wife. They married in 1946.Aurelie Gorts statue

Then all of a sudden you’re alone

“I couldn’t stand it, so I got a dog and named it Bonnie. One evening we went for a walk. Bonnie insisted I go to the neighbor who is two houses away, and I couldn’t stop him. Once I got there, it turned out that there were thieves working inside. I immediately called the police Then I helped the neighbor settle the case. This is how I got to know Nelly. We entered into a relationship and were together for another 7.5 years and had many beautiful trips and holidays, until she passed away thirteen years ago.

Is there anything you changed your mind about in your life?

(firmly 🙂 “The church. Taught me everything. Faith was there to keep people in check, but that’s absolutely not necessary. Everyone can live their own lives. I still watch Mass every Sunday on church TV. I don’t want to say more about it. These are my private thoughts, and I keep them to myself.

Sjaak Hunnekens

He was born on August 12, 1921 in Bering .

Lives: independently in Meijel

Occupation: Farmer and manager

Family: one brother (89) and one sister (93), six sons (two deceased), fourteen grandchildren (three deceased), nineteen great-grandchildren, one great-grandchild.

Widowed since: 1999

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