Thursday, December 15, 2011

Perseverance, Application and Endurance

In the post-war Klees household, in Holland, it was thought that the two boys should go to University and the two (pretty) girls get married.
My wife, Margreet, the younger of the two girls, took a job in the E.E.C., and then progressed to the Dutch Foreign Service. There she worked in the Agricultural Department at postings in Africa and Europe, recently retiring as Agricultural Adviser at their London Embassy.
Margreet’s strengths were in writing, reporting, communication, and being a charming hostess and wonderful with people.
But throughout her working career she felt that not having a University degree was a great omission. She enrolled with the Open University, studying Social Sciences and the Arts. Occasionally she took periods off from studying. Her degree course was done in her spare time during full and exacting employment with the Dutch Government. And it was done in a foreign language – English.
When she had enough credits, she was able to embark on her final thesis. The project was “Europe: Culture and Identities, Inclusion and Exclusion in a Contested Continent”. For this she chose the artists Chagall and Pascin, then Chagall and MirĂ³.
The results are through, and she has gained the Degree that she should have acquired in her youth, and with flying colours.
As close witness to her application and perseverance, I am lost in admiration for her – and immensely proud.