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It's not uncommon at the Holland Christian Home for new residents to find they have been reunited with old friends upon moving here. You begin to take it for granted. Sometimes, though, a story comes along that is too amazing to be a coincidence. Resident Bette Verblaauw and Foundation Associate Sue Vander Ploeg recently found themselves enmeshed in such a story.
For over twenty years, Sue has walked a daily route in North Haledon of approximately 2-½ miles. An artist who often sees the beauty in old “stuff,” she sometimes literally stepped across items that others have put on the curb as trash. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, however, and Sue often found items truly useful to a theater company for whom she painted sets.
On one such walk Sue came across a curious old bedspread box. When she peeked inside, she found a beautiful lace wedding dress – just the thing for a theater company costume collection! Some fourteen years later, Sue is now working at the Holland Christian Home and the dress is still in its box, still in Sue’s basement. In the busyness of life it simply never made it to the theater company.
Meanwhile, in 2007, Bette Verblaauw moved to the Home from North Haledon, joining Sue’s mom, Hilda, who came in 2005. This past May Hilda passed away; some of her things made their way back to Sue’s house, including a very handy walker with a seat. Deciding the style would work well for an upcoming trip to visit her daughter, Bette inquired of Sue where her mom had gotten hers. Seeing an opportunity to help a friend (and clean a little out of her garage) Sue gave Bette the walker. Bette insisted on taking Sue out for lunch as a thank you.
As they left the Home, Bette disclosed that she used to see Sue walking by her house. They drove past the house so Sue could see which one it was. Can you guess?
“Bette!” Sue said, “I think I have something that belongs to you!
That night Sue found the dress and brought it to work the next day. They even found that Sue’s house used to belong to the man who sang at Bette’s wedding; all those years, her dress was being stored in the house of her wedding soloist!
In the process of her move to the Home, Bette had made the difficult choice to get rid of her wedding dress, despite the sentimental value. In return – in a way she never could have fathomed at the time! – she found a deeper friendship. “I love that Bette is using my mom’s walker,” Sue confides,“and reuniting her with her wedding dress was so much fun.”.