My Opa – Johannes Hubertus Theodorus Gerardu
He did it. Even though his father did not want him to. He did it anyway. “What right does he have to have a say in my life?”, he thinks.” He hasn’t acted as a father since I was seven.” That was when his mother died. She was forty-three. As solace, his father turned to the bottle. It must have been too much to bear. How does a man support and raise seven children on his own? Yes, the bottle helped avoid this reality. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. Hubert essentially lost his mother, Maria Catharina van Engelshoven (21 Jan 1865, Maastricht, NL) and his father, Servatius Gerardu (29 Jan 1865, Maastricht, NL) that year. It was 1908.
Shortly after the death of his mother, Johannes Hubertus Theodorus Gerardu, better known as Hubert and his two brothers moved in with Servatius’s youngest brother Jos (Hubertus Johannes Josephus Gerardu, 25 Aug 1877). Jos and Elizabeth (Elizabeth van Eijsden, 18 Mar 1878) had five children of their own, so now there were eight. Imagine how loud and crazy it must have been! [Update: Only Hubert went to live with his uncle Jos; one of his younger brothers went to live with another uncle and one to an aunt.]