Ode to Ida

Illustration of the garden of Ida

Ida de Groot

Ida is next to my mother the most important woman in my life. She is a friend of my parents. In the beginning I knew little of her. The only memory I had of her and Marcel goes back a long time and I still remember only a fraction. I remember that I was allowed to draw on the window.

If you’re curious about who this woman is, you can look at this illustration.

How it started

I was a couple weeks in my study to become a teacher of arts. I lived with my parents and twice a week I got up at six in the morning to be at the academy in time. Not my favourite thing to do.

During a party that my parents threw I saw Ida and Marcel. My mother told me to talk to Ida because maybe I could stay with them every now and then. I approached a woman I barely knew to ask if I could stay with them twice a week.
A short while later I rang at her doorstep and a new chapter of my life started.


Monday evening

On Tuesday and Thursday I had to be at the academy by nine o’clock. So every monday I packed my bag for two days. After the classes I walked a couple of streets further, to the backyard of Ida en Marcel. Then we sat outside, drank a speciality beer while Marcel cooked the most amazing dinner. Meanwhile Ida and I started to talk. Talking like you would do with your mother at the kitchen table: How was your day? What are your obstacles in life?

I always find it hard to talk about how I feel but with Ida I didn’t seem to have a choice. This is not in a bad way, by the way. This happened very naturally.

During dinner we usually opened up a bottle of wine and after dinner we drank tea. Sometimes I studied the history of art. Then I went to bed in the guestroom. The next morning I was usually alone. Ida was still in bed or already gone for work. Marcel had already left on his bike or I saw him just before he went as I made myself a cup of tea. Then I ate my breakfast and walked to the academy. From that moment on the Tuesday and Thursday mornings didn’t feel like early mornings but like sleep-in mornings.


Talking with Ida

After a few months I found a room in Utrecht and the contact I had with Ida en Marcel was crumbeling down. I was busy with my studies and I didn’t take the time to sit down anymore. I got overstrained.

Ida offered me to come by for dinner. We had a good talk, as usual. We agreed to see each other more often. That’s why I came by every monday evening to for dinner again. The same ritual started. We sat outside, we drank a beer, we had dinner and a bottle of wine. After dinner we drank tea and then I went home again.

Ida is a woman with an opinion and a vision on life. It turns out that we share the sime view on the world. I learned a lot from the conversations Ida and I (and Marcel) had. As well about myself as about life itself. She saw me grow into myself. She helped me become myself. She helped me through hard times and laughed with me through the easy ones.

Ida is a miracle. She has meant so much for me and I hope I can give that back to her. Partially through this post but a lot more in the years to come at her home.

Illustration of the garden of Ida

Marieke Noordhuis

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