Ben Oostdam's
Autobiography:



page 5

1957 - 1960
Montreal



Especially after 3 years in the tropics, my first winter (1957/8) in Montreal was a bit daunting. Admittedly, snow and ice and dry weather beat the typical wet Dutch winters I had survived before, but this winter lasted so long, almost half a year…
People were so packaged and wrapped up outside that you could not see whether they were males or females. By contrast, the room temperatures were always too high for my comfort. In a sense, I did some hibernating and concentrated on class and labwork, interspersed with occasional trips to the splendid skiing area north of Montreal. At 25, I became a beginning skier, and somehow it did not appeal to me as much as ice-skating had when I was a child in Holland.
After a spectacular Ice festival I made my first trip to the USA to interview for a summerjob at Natural Stone Bridge and Caves in the Adirondacks thanks to a recommendation from a fellow student. This was a real pleasure and the scenery was spectacular. I changed my opinion about "Americans" – those living in the USA – when I found out that most of them knew very little about US foreign policy, colonialism, and geography which constituted at that time my major areas of disagreement.

The owner of this Adirondack's natural attraction was a fascinating single mother, Lydia Neubuck [left], of Latvian extraction, and we got along fabulously even though she was a practising Christian Scientist. Her 4 year old son Tony [right]was a champion golfer...

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