My name is Desiree “Dessie” Castro, the oldest of 3 siblings, Danielle, Deana and Dylan. Proudly I can say that I was raised with “Indo” family values by my oma Eleonore “Noortje” Barkey- Passage who some of you may know from Facebook when my uncle Bernhard “Ottie” Passage mentions her in his postings about “Rancho La Tuna”… That’s where I grew up on La Tuna Cyn Rd, Sun Valley, many Indos moved out there or near in the early sixties, The Cormanes, Keasberry’s, The Schrams, The Meijers, The Vander Geugtens, Lapres and many others. My mom is a first generation Indo born in SoCal in the early sixties and my dad American Mexican, looks familiar, an Indo going Mexican or Mexican going Indo ? Guess it’s a food and family thing, huh ? Now let’s go back to my oma, Noortje Barkey-Passage, she raised me in Dutch, I do understand ever single Dutch word including the “Indo vocabulary” however just like my mom and auntie I find it harder to respond back in Dutch. Also my late opa Frits Gilles Barkey who passed away in January 1992 spoke and sang to me in Dutch, he passed away when I was 13 years old and I do remember he left us at the age of 65 years young, born in Padang, Sumatra, drafted in 1940-1941 by The Royal Dutch Navy he got captured pretty quick by the the Japanese conqueror in 1942. It was the British who liberated my opa and many other Indo Europeans after Japan surrendered in 1945 and take over guard from the same Japanese soldiers who first were the enemy and then later protecting opa and the rest against rebellious Indonesian freedom fighters. After opa was recovered from those 3 terrible years in the camp, yes, trust me, opa got beaten up, punched, kicked, you named it, eventually opa died of reuma and the bad quality of life in the camp…opa joined the Royal Dutch Marines and fought against the Indonesian rebellious freedom fighters until 27 December 1949, the date The RTC accepted Indonesia’s independence, RTC stands for RONDE TAFEL CONFERENTIE, Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno declared Indonesia’s independence 17 August, 1945 and that is until today their National Holiday. In August 1955 opa and oma left “De Gordel van Smaragd” on the MS Modjokerto towards Rotterdam, they first stayed in a “Pension” in Dordrecht where my tante Monie was born and from there they moved to Rotterdam Zuid but as many Indos opa en oma including tante Monie and Uncle Bernhard “Ottie” Passage made the big move to start a new life in America The Beautiful. Opa started his new career at The US Post Office in The Van Nuys district and oma was a successful manager running her team of 25 at Richey Electronics down on La Tuna Cyn Rd, is just like yesterday when I waited for oma coming home during her break and make lunch for me. Opa and uncle Bernhard “Ottie” Passage opened their Union 76 gas station on Sunland Blvd in Sun Valley, very often that location was used for movie shoots, Chips, A-Team, I think I still have a picture of me and Poncherello and Mr T, that same Mr T is a patient of my doctor’s office where I work as a Medical Assistant and still going to school to become an RN just like my tante Monie. I’m a proud mother of a son and two daughters, I live in Lancaster but my oldest daughter prefered to stay and live with oma because of “de Gezelligheid” en oma’s cooking. I love it when I go on Socal Indo’s FB Page and see many Indo Mexicans or Mexican Indos or just say it “MexIndos” and share their stories, I always recognize one thing we all have in common and that’s our precious oma, I don’t know what the other Socal Indo omas do every day but my oma loves to read Dutch newspapers my cousin Michael Passage brings home every day from work, he gets them out of the KLM planes at LAX or she watches BNN (Dutch satellite TV station), my tante Monie picks her up and they go shopping at the Burbank Macy’s or grab a bite at one of the local Thai restaurants in The Valley. I’m blessed and happy to have my oma still around, whenever and whoever comes at oma’s, they know there’s always food for everyone, everyone is family at oma’s and yes, if your landlord has kicked you out my oma has no problems to be your temporary landlord !
Ms. Desiree Castro