Frans van Heugten, my father, lying in the dunes probably watching my mother swim in the winter in Scheveningen, a [then] small beach town near The Hague. My father was an intellectual, always reading, quiet and somewhat shy. Within the family, though, we knew his wit and humor. Oh, and I left out stubborn. He defined the word! Of course his children are no slouches, either.
He was educated by the Jesuits – knew seven languages – and was destined to become a priest as the eldest child of his large, Catholic family. Lucky for him he met my mother, who knocked him off his feet! They served in the same underground cell in The Hague during the war, my father often involved in blowing up munitions depots to keep weapons from falling into the hands of the Germans.
My mother was fortuitously born in the U.S. (my grandfather was a head waiter at the Waldorf Astoria) and when the war ended, she jumped on a ship and sailed to New Orleans. It took my father time to get a sponsor and to satisfy immigration, but he followed “Lony” to New Orleans, where they were married in the French Quarter. He met his future employer, the owner of a shipping agency, on the vessel he sailed to America. Together they had three children, Frans, Jackie and you-know-who.