Oma Toos is my grandmother of 85 years old. She always lived in a place called Nijmegen. My parents moved out of Nijmegen in 2002 and my father asked my grandmother to sent him the local sports news. She did so for a few years. These articles were accompanied by small notes she wrote but as time goes by she had sent more and more and she started to tell stories about the things that are happening in her life. For example she’s talking about her cleaning lady who doesn’t want to drink coffee with her during ramadan which is her first encounter with Muslims or she writes about my uncle who is living with her again after his divorce. Plus she witnesses a robbery. When I saw these notes they taught me about her life, and especially her connection to it. The writings made me laugh and cry a bit. But mostly happy that she stood inside the world in this way. She was writing in such a relative humorous way it triggered me to start this project about her notes. After a few talks we decided, or actually I decided, to re-enact all these stories and the things she does in life in the same lively, humorous & tender way she writes/talks about them. She becomes the robber, the tree hugger, the flower cutter while hiding for the storm and many more things but mostly she will always remain my Oma Toos. If you think different it’s also ok.
I published a book about her with this work while she was alive and a video of her seeing the book for the first time can be seen here. She died now so this could be seen as a tribute. When I cycle near the place she use to live at I still can’t help myself to take a detour and say hi to the house she lived in. She feels so alive and it feels so empty to think about her not being there to visit anymore.
My grandmother seeing the book for the first time.