Long lost friends

Friends reunite after 70 years

Two long, lost friends, both from Summerland, met up again recently at Penticton Regional Hospital.

Seventy years and nearly 8,000 kilometres later, two long, lost friends, both from Summerland, met up again recently at Penticton Regional Hospital.

Unknowingly, Henry Vandenburgh who is now 87, and 93-year-old Dick Gouwenberg who grew up together in the small seaside city of Den Helder, are neighbours at the hospital.

It was actually Dick’s son Nick who made the connection after running into Henry one day in the hallway at PRH.

“I just happened to see him and I figured he was Dutch and we started talking,” recalled Nick who is here visiting from Salmon Arm.

“Then, all of a sudden we find out that he’s from the same town in Holland as dad and we couldn’t believe it. That’s pretty amazing, it’s a very small world.”

The two now live in Summerland.

Gouwenberg has lived in the community for 28 years and Vandenburgh moved from Lake Country five years ago.

Shortly afterwards he got the pair together again and since then they have been pretty much inseparable, spending a lot time together reminiscing on the outdoor patio on their floor.

“I was really surprised to see him after that long a time,” said Henry Wednesday. “It was really good to see him again and we talked mostly about people we know.

“We went to the same school, rode the same bus — there was a big group of us children, 12 or more, always together.”

The two men lost touch after coming to Canada in 1950 and both had been living in Summerland before being admitted to the hospital. Dick was also surprised to find someone from the past that close by.

“That’s unbelievable after that long,” he said, looking over at his friend in the wheelchair.

“I don’t remember too much, we were quite young then but it is that same little voice. We did go to the same beaches and rode in the same school bus but I was older.”

According to Nick the families of both men have now become friends and it’s not unusual for them to spend time on the patio “chit chatting” with their dads.

And when asked if it really is a small world, Henry’s smile widened and he replied: “It certainly is.”

 

Just Posted

Okanagan’s smoke filled skies toxic to pets

Pet owners should take extra precautions with pets until smoke dissipates

Smoke cancels Super League Penticton, organizers give pros a gift

Super League Penticton organizers decide to send all pro competitors to championship

Smoky skies means stay inside, according to Interior Health

The air quality in the Okanagan is considered a high risk

Air support grounded as fires fill the skies with smoke

Heavy smoke throughout the region thwarted efforts of BC Wildfire Saturday, as… Continue reading

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Air support grounded as fires fill the skies with smoke

Update Aug. 19 1:25 p.m. A majority of air support is still… Continue reading

Crews continue extinguish Snowy Mountain Wildfire

The 13,359 hectare wildfire is classified as held

Flights from Kelowna International Airport affected by wildfire smoke

Passengers are being asked to check their flight’s status before arriving

Work continues on Monashee Complex wildfires

Crews will be assisted by helicopters if flying conditions improve

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

Most Read