My mother got homesick and wanted to go back to Holland. My father gave up his career in England and accepted a less ambitious job in the Netherlands. From then on they both used their spare time to help with community work. Even now at the age of 81 my mother is still visiting old people in hospitals who have no family left. To help them thru those difficult (and often final) days of their life.

My parents decided that they were going back in the summer of 1977. The plan was that I would join them, I was looking forward to it. But after I fell in love with Barbara I didn't want to go anymore. I wanted to stay with Barbara.
My parents didn't object. They saw no harm, it didn't interfere with my study. They also saw the advantage that Barbara had a good influence on me. And if it didn't work out with Barbara I could always come over to Holland. My other brother stayed as well in England, he was following a study in Norwich.

With the help of my father's connections I found a nice little apartment in Cambridge nearby the CCAT. It was at Manhatten drive, bridgeacre flat 52 on the second floor. Some of my Arab friends lived there as well. I was still 17 when I moved in (Barbara was a few months older than me). My brother stayed in the same apartment for a few months till his colleges started. I had an arrangement with him. Every time Barbara came, he had to disappear. And when he came back he had to ring the intercom to check if he was allowed to come up. Often he was told to disappear again. Barbara felt quite embarrassed with this arrangement and she was glad that my brother finally moved out.

The apartment consisted of a single bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. I should really say our apartment because Barbara made it her second home. Barbara had her own key and she even brought a cat along to stay there. She didn't interfere with the furniture. Barbara didn't really care about furniture or decoration. She wasn't interested in perfectly designed or nice decorated homes. The apartment of her mother was not very specially furnished. And she never altered the furniture of her room in London. She never did anything to make it look nicer. She didn't even put posters or any other decorating on the wall.

I moved in during the summer holidays. The last weeks of this holiday Barbara would be waiting for me when I came back from work. We had a few hours together then before she had to go back to Histon to work in the shop.

Having an own place close to the CCAT made life a lot easier for us. We didn't have to arrange meetings any more. The moments Barbara was free she came to the apartment. Sometimes we missed each other, but then Barbara made herself comfortable in 'our' place.

With an own place to go to after school we had a few hours for ourselves before Barbara had to go home to work. Mondays we made 'our' day. We didn't go to school at all that day. It was our day together. Barbara came in the morning and we stayed together all day. A bit like the modern cocooning I suppose. Often Barbara would catch up the sleep she had been missing from working in the weekend.

 

bridgeacre flat 52

The front view on our apartment.

met cat op kamer

Me and the cat Barbara gave me

 

"我们"的公寓

我母亲得了思乡病,想回到荷兰。我的父亲放弃了在英国的事业,接受了一份在荷兰相对平庸的工作。从那时候起,他们都用空隙时间去帮助社区工作。即使现在,我母亲81岁,她仍然去医院看望那些没有家庭的人。去帮助他们度过生命的难关。(也许是最后的日子)。

我父母决定在1977年的夏天回到荷兰。计划原先是我将加入他们,我的确很期待这件事。但是在我爱上翁美玲之后,我不再想跟着过去了。我想和翁美玲待在一块。

我父母没有反对。他们见这对我没有坏处,不会耽误我的学业。他们同时看到翁美玲身上的优点对我有很好的影响。同时,如果我和翁美玲相处不好,我可以回到荷兰去。我的另一个兄弟也同样待在了英国,他在诺维奇读书。

在我父亲的协调下,我在剑桥紧邻艺术与科技学院的旁边找到了一个很好的公寓。公寓在曼哈顿小路上,公寓bridgeacre的52栋,在第二层。我的一些阿拉伯朋友同样居住在这里。我住进来时仍然17岁(翁美玲大我几个月)在我开学之前,我兄弟和我一起住了几个月。我和他有个约定。每次翁美玲到来时,他就要消失掉。每次他进门,都必须弄响对讲机,以确定他能进来。经常,他被告知又要消失掉。翁美玲对这个约定觉得很尴尬,她对我兄弟最终搬出去住感到很高兴。

公寓包含一个卧室,一个厨房,和一个卫生间。我应当说这是我们的公寓,因为翁美玲把它当做第二个家。翁美玲有这里的钥匙,她甚至把猫带到了这里。她没有干涉这里的家具配置。翁美玲她并不在乎家具和装修。她不喜欢精心装修或设计的房子。她母亲的那个公寓同样也不是很好装修过的。翁美玲从未改变她在伦敦家里的家具。她从未作出让房间变得更好的举动。她甚至没在墙上挂一张海报或者装饰品。

我在暑假期间搬进了我们的公寓。假期的最后一周,翁美玲在等待我下班回来。我们在她回希斯顿上班时有几小时在一起的时间。

在剑桥艺术与科技学院旁边拥有一个属于自己的地方让我们两人更加方便。我们不再需要安排见面时间了。当翁美玲有空时,她就会来到公寓。有时,我们错过对方,但是翁美玲让自己在我们的地方很舒适。

有了自己能去的地方,我们在翁美玲必须回家工作前有几小时一起的时间。周一成了属于我们的一天。我们不去学校。那是我们在一起的时刻。翁美玲白天来,然后我们一起待一天。有点像蚕茧般蜗居的生活。通常,翁美玲要补充周日工作而漏掉的睡眠时间。

 

(translated by Zhi)

 

Comments   

# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-02 21:50
Dearest Barbara fans,

The next few weeks I be going to the south of France for a holiday with my family. Wish me luck as we are going to a 'DISCO-'camping. With three pretty and very stubborn daughters, who have no intend to listen to their parents during this holiday, I think this dad is going to get little sleep.

Anyway, therefore a few weeks no stories and no answers to questions.

Rob
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# RE: RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-03 02:38
Hi Rob, Have a great time with your pretty stubborn girls and wonderful life partner to make it a loving family.
Tribute to your parents who do good charitable works for the elderly. Your brothers are so understanding/supportive toward u &Barbara.
I feel sad for the "our apartment" though. Once upon a time, there were two teenagers who were so close & "so in love" staying there but it is now just memories. Such a moving love story....
Reply
# RE: RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-18 12:29
Have a nice holiday with your family.
I hope you will have enough rest ;-)
Reply
# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-03 00:43
happy holiday to you and your family.
:P
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# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-04 02:23
Happy Holidays Rob !
Reply
# Thanks a lot for the stories.Guest 2010-08-05 15:58
Dear Rob:

Thanks a lot for sharing the stories. I am a fan of Barbara since I was eleven years old. But now I am 40. I never could forget her. Wish you have a nice holiday! I will go to Baltic Sea for holiday tomorrow.

Nice summer!
Reply
# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-12 13:13
although my english is not good.but i am very grateful for u .i told this to my friends.when i came back to China.i will email many photos about Barbara to u .
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# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-17 17:48
hi Rob,

U must have a very enjoyable holiday! U r also a caring n a good father. May i know fans keep asking u the same questions n repeat the same comments, do you feel boring sometimes? ha ha...
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# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-18 12:32
nice story and a great deal with your brother :-*
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# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-21 19:00
thanks rob for the lovely story. now that we know more about barbara...i was 12 when barbara started her stardom in hongkong...cant believe at 40 i still miss her...

wish you a happy holiday with family, please keep telling us more about life together with barbara.
Reply
# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-23 15:46
Have a nice holiday Rob! And come back refreshed to write us more stories :)
I was just back from vacation too (I went to Tibet and Mount Everest - below it, not above, of course).

That apartment of you seemed to me a very nice place, at least judged from its exterior. But it seemed a little far away from CCAT by walking (I took a taxi). How did you guys commute?
Reply
# RE: RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-28 12:15
I had a Dutch bicycle, Barbara sat on the back (very romantic). In 1978 Barbara had a car, that made life much more comfortable.
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# RE: 15. 'our' apartment “我们”的公寓 (1977)APPLE 2013-06-19 13:48
ROB:你父母的教育理念和方法很好。刚恋爱时你不愿回荷兰,几年过去了你却来个大转变:你说很喜欢过荷兰学生那种轻松无负担的生活,BARBARA为了你可以去自杀,你为她付出过什么?虽然你是真的很爱她,但你对她却没负起责任来,因为BARBARA不应该接受一个年龄不比她大多少的男孩的爱。
Reply
# Re:Re:15Magdalyn 2013-06-19 18:07
We came here to read wonderful tales of Barbara and Rob. Seems like you don't even know what's going on here. If so, please leave the site! Barbara committed suicide because of Kent Tong, not because of Rob!
Reply
# RE: 15. 'our' apartment “我们”的公寓 (1977)APPLE 2013-06-22 16:23
如果故事里barbara的这两次自杀成真,假如不幸丧命的话,那会不会Rob就成了大众指责的罪人?我是觉得他们最后分手时Rob没尽力去挽救这份感情,其实我从故事里读出rob是一个重感情又浪漫的乐观男人,他能公开与barbara谈恋爱并与她订婚,几十年过去了恋情的点点滴滴他还能记忆犹新,所有这些都能看出他是一个多么细腻重情的人!从照片中看bar的笑脸,就知道那时的她有多幸福,他们没能结合真是太可惜了!
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