Working for a Living

Continuing on with 52 Ancestor Challenge to week 36 Working for a Living, I'll go on with the story of Jan Blomberg and his wife Johanna Cornelia Bronke. They were teachers. They had two sons, Johannes born in 1881 and Cornelis born in 1891 and a girl, Cornelia, who sadly died young at the age of 6.

Jan paid for his eldest to go to University but made him promise that he would in turn pay for the University study of his brother, which he did. Both sons gained  a PhD in chemistry and became pharmacists or Apotheker in Dutch.

Johannes was the more entrepreneurial of the two. As soon as he finished his studies in 1903 he took over the apothecary of Dr J Attema and developed it into an independent company manufacturing medicines such as insuline and anaesthetic drugs. He travelled widely to extend his knowledge and imported  Indonesian herbal medicines.

His younger brother, my grandfather,  was rather more academic by nature and established himself in Indonesia firstly in Surabaya where he married my grandmother, Berendina (Be) Lawerman and his eldest son, my father, was born there.  He and my grandmother ran a pharmacy and taught upcoming pharmacists the trade. Later he became a medical inspector for the government, not clear as to the title exactly, and the nature of the work, but it was more like a public servants job.

The family endured the second world war in Japanese occupied Java. When peace came they all returned to the Netherlands, where Cornelis took up a teaching position at a High School in Zaandam.

He also worked in a pharmacy, don't know if it was his brother's, something to discover still and I remember visiting him there as a child. It was the old style pharmacy where the medicines were still made on the premises. It was decorated with the large coloured glass jars and had pill machines, jars and drawers with the raw ingredients, the pestle and mortars, the brass scales to measure out the minute quantities for the powders and the pills.

My grandfather worked until he became too incapacitated by Parkinsons disease and passed away in 1963. My grandmother  lived on to the age of 96.                                                                               

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