Thursday, May 29, 2008

"That's no more a church. That's a concentration camp."

By Rachel Van Meers

A few weeks ago when I saw all the people from this cult in Texas, all the young girls and mothers only sixteen and fourteen married to a dude fifty years old, and they had kids and kids and kids, me and my husband Lud talked about it. I’m so cautious sometimes, you know, telling what happened to me, because whenever someone is misusing some religion to get what they want, it’s not a nice picture. Look at what happened with those innocent kids in Texas. They took them, and they raped them in the church in the name of the Lord. Can you believe that?

I was thinking about that, and I was so sick when I saw that. I thought to myself, “The poor little girls.” What can they do? They believed what they were told, and they couldn’t get out. It is so sad, you know. But as soon as that cult separated them from the people and told them “You cannot do this, and you can’t do that,” that’s no more a church. That’s a concentration camp. I said to Lud, “There is something that exactly happened in my time.”

I never knew too much about my stepfather, Geoffrey Voorst, really. He came from Holland to Belgium. He was from the Quakers then, and the family all dressed really funky, always in black, black, black. When you saw him, he was good-looking, he was nice, he was charming. Well, he was oozy floozy with my mother at first. He hugged her, and that’s what my mother needed. She never got that from my grandmother. So for her it was like the king came home. When he was going out with my mother, I was still in school, and I could see the women hanging around him. He was bon vi von, we call it. I could feel that. And I don’t know why he took my mother from all the other ones. Maybe he knew he could get away with her.

Even though his family was religious, I have a feeling he must have been abused by his father. One of his brothers was gassed to death in a German camp during the war. And, you know, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were Jewish, too. I have no idea about that, but, you know, when Geoff came back from the war, his surviving brother never talked to him, his family wanted nothing to do with him. Something was wrong there, but as a child, I really couldn’t put the pieces together.

After the war, Geoff was obsessive to my mother, he wouldn’t allow her to go out of the house, she couldn’t go visit the family, and that’s where it all started.

He had two personalities, I think. One was jovial, and everybody liked him, but when the door closed, and it was just him and my mother alone in the house with the kids, he was, I don’t know. When you can beat up a woman that’s pregnant, I don’t think that’s a nice picture. He was a cruel, cruel guy. The things he would do to my mother, I couldn’t believe it. Even his face changed. You could see his veins and nose and mouth, everything would open and close, his breathing changed, and then my mother thought, “Uh oh,” and she looked with her eyes on me, and I looked at him. I tell you, if you made him mad, he was really mad.

When he started hitting my mother, I hated him purple. I never saw my uncles hitting my aunts, and I told my mother, “Why does he do that?”

My mother said, “Oh, because he’s jealous, and he loves me.”

I thought, “Jealous and loves you?” I told her, “When you love somebody, you don’t hit them.”

My mother said, “Well, you’ll learn it when you’re older. We’re not going to talk about it.”

So I thought, as a child, “That’s funky.” I couldn’t believe that I had to live my life with a guy that hit me all the time. I said, “I’m not going to get married, I tell you that, because when he hits me, I chop his hands off.” That’s what I felt then.

I couldn’t do nothing for my mother. She had accepted it, and I didn’t understand that at the time. A lot of times I was pissed at her, too, because as soon as she saw he was starting to get wound up, she would irritate him. She went stone quiet, and then she started cooking, cooking, cooking, banging the pots, and finally, “boom!” the pot was over. I told her, “What are you doing? Why don’t you talk to him? Stop aggravating him.” But my mother couldn’t do that, either. And every time I told her not to do it, because she knew who he was, boom, she started it. Then he would beat the hell out of her, and it looked like she enjoyed it. I told my mother, “Are you nuts or something?” I couldn’t handle that.

I had to fight it, too, because he would provoke me. And I was not my mother. He wanted to hug me and touch me, I didn’t allow that, and I couldn’t stand his face because of what he did to my mother. Can you imagine someone beats the hell out of you, and then he wants to hug you? I couldn’t handle it. But many times he lay down in bed with me, and my mother said, “What are you yelling for? He likes you! He likes you!”

I said to my mother, “He don’t like me. He always wants to touch me where I don’t want him to touch me, so what do you mean he likes me? When you hug somebody, it’s a different story, but when you put your hands all over their body, that’s not hugging to me. That’s provoking.” She didn’t see it. Or she didn’t want to see it. I don’t know.

Geoff told me, “The Bible says the father can sleep with the daughter.” That’s nothing to do with God. That’s just a mask on the face. The same when you say, “Oh, I’m a Christian, I love God.” In the meantime, when no one is looking, you rape all the kids. I don’t think so. That’s not God. That’s evil. And that’s nothing to do with God. Absolutely not. That’s nonsense to me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lost in the Fog Podcast #7

If there's one person that affected Rachel's life the most, it was her stepfather, Geoffrey Voorst. This week on the podcast, Rachel explains how he and her mother met and Geoff's relationship with her mother.

As always, we love to hear from you. Send us your questions or comments to lostinthefogbook (at) gmail (dot) com

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lost in the Fog Podcast #6

In this interview clip, Rachel Van Meers remembers her mother's collection of "Piccolos," a magazine from Europe, and how it met its end.

As always, we love to hear from you. Send us your questions or comments to lostinthefogbook (at) gmail (dot) com

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lost in the Fog Podcast #5

In podcast number five, Rachel talks about her mother before the war, their relationship, and standing in line for food.

Send us your questions: lostinthefogbook (at) gmail (dot) com

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Lost in the Fog Podcast #4

This week, Rachel Van Meers tells a story about what happened one time when she was looking in the mirror at her grandmother's house.

If you'd like your questions answered in an upcoming podcast, send us an e-mail to lostinthefogbook (at) gmail (dot) com