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

Give a hoot and don’t touch baby birds

SORCO raptor rehab reminds residents to stop before they touch baby bird

Four Penticton residents arrested for violent attack on homeless

Four individuals have been arrested for a attack and robbery on two homeless men

Penticton mourns respected educator Bruce Johnson

Memories of former teacher, principal and trustee Bruce Johnson are flooding social media

PHOTOS: Spring has sprung in the Okanagan-Shuswap

The new season is bringing warm weather across the region

Beloved Okanagan-Skaha school district champion dies

Bruce Johnson was a teacher, principal and long-serving school trustee in Penticton

VIDEO: Sunny skies in the forecast makes for a great start to spring

Mostly sunny skies with a chance of rain by Friday evening in the Okanagan Valley

Small landslide closes Vernon road

City crews estimate Okanagan Bench Row Road will reopen at about 2:30 a.m.

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

Kelowna RCMP tackle man in Glenmore area

A witness saw RCMP make an arrest on Valley Road just after 6 p.m.

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Father, former child soldier, seeks better life for family in Shuswap

Salmon Arm volunteers begin fundraising effort to help family resettle in Canada

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

Most Read