Frans Vos does his own shopping, banking and taxes
By Arjen Dieperink
LOCHEM – On Tuesday it was 100 years since he saw the light of day in Gouda, but you don’t come across many centenarians who are as funny as Frans Vos anymore. And then he arranges almost everything himself behind his computer: his bank affairs, his groceries and even his taxes. He now has a housekeeper, but until about five years ago he still kept his house next door.
That birthday was a good reason to visit him. In his front yard there is a large sign with two pictures of the 100-year-old. One from when he was in his fifties and one from now. Garlands lead the visitor to the front door, which is opened by daughter Jacqueline (57). Another garland in the living room with a hundred greeting cards. “Aha, the Berkel messenger.” The 100-year-old gets up briskly after these words. If you see how he does it, you would give him years younger. A few minutes later the bell rings again. Mayor Sebastiaan van ‘t Erve comes to visit, and Frans is very honored.
Frans Vos grew up in a family of four children, two boys and two girls. When he was eight, the family moved to Dordrecht. There he followed MULO and came to work at the age of sixteen at the Elektromotorfabrikken, better known as EMF. After the war, his parents moved to Amsterdam with Frans and his farmer and sisters. Frans went to work there at NCZ. “It was the biggest dairy cooperative in the Netherlands, bigger than FrieslandCampina,” says Vos.
He got to know his wife in a special way. “In Champion (the magazine of ANWB-AD) there was an ad from a young woman who was looking for another young woman to go on holiday with. I reacted to that”, says Frans with a broad smile. “She told me that she had already made an appointment with a young woman and that she would keep it. I thought that was a good feature, a plus. But I continued to correspond with her and eventually we made an appointment and I drove my scooter to her parent’s house. I had started hovering in the meantime, but I stopped that hobby. In my spare time I would be with my partner.”
In the meantime, Frans Vos had moved to Lochem, where he worked from 1954 at NCZ Lochem. “I lived in boarding house Starveld on the Nieuweweg. In 1957 I married my wife Riet in Rijswijk.” When asked how many children and grandchildren there are, Frans Vos points to the picture on the wall that he put up together with the mayor. “We had a son (1958) and two daughters (1960/1965), six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren .” Frans is briefly interrupted by his daughter Jacqueline Kettelarij, who joins the conversation. “No father, three great-grandchildren”. Frans thinks for a moment and says: “Yes, that’s right. I’ve only been able to see the last great-grandchild since birth (January 2, ’22 – AD) three times due to the corona measures.”
In 1996, Frans had to say goodbye to his wife Riet, with whom he shared joys and sorrows for around 39 years. “After that I had two girlfriends, but yeah, if you can live to be a hundred, there won’t be much left.”
When it comes to football, Frans Vo’s eyes start to sparkle. He was very early in the football club AMVJ. Two framed photos are placed on the table, from Blauw Wit 1958 and Blauw Wit 3 1959. Since 1962 it has been called VV Sportclub Lochem.
And from the time he was forty until he was eighty-five, Frans Vos was active as a judge. VV Klein Dochteren put him in the spotlight fifteen years ago, in the presence of relatives and former footballers.
Vos was an arbitrator by heart and soul. In a school notebook, he wrote down the details of each match he refereed: the names, the final score and a brief description of the match. The number of competitions he has presided over in these forty-five years runs into many hundreds. “I always realized quickly which player was playing in an unsportsmanlike manner and I kept an eye on it. I’ve never had to stop a fight.”
“At that time Berkelstroom’s accountant helped me integrate into Lochem as quickly as possible. When I arrived in Lochem he told me which GP and dentist would be best for you. I didn’t speak the dialect, but after a while I understood. It was a lovely time. In return, he asked me to join the Lochem Men’s Choir. In the end I was a member of it for five years. But I didn’t find the repertoire something for me. The sixties started and the music that came with it appealed to me more. Well, and it wasn’t sung in Lochem’s men’s choir.”
In order to learn to understand the Achterhoek language as quickly as possible, he and his wife Riet regularly went to various theater performances in and around Lochem. “They spoke a dialect there, and you could learn the language by following the drama,” says Vos.
A century and the internet go well together in the Vos house. “My dad still had his computer upstairs. But we recently moved it down,” says Jacqueline’s daughter. Frans Vos looks at his daughter. “Yes, I always went backwards down the stairs. It is safer, I would give that to all the elderly.” Vos orders his groceries from Plus Cornelis on the computer every week. His 100th birthday didn’t go unnoticed either. The manager of the supermarket personally brought him a present. “In the beginning, the supermarket brought the groceries home. Because of the corona, we thought it was safer to have as few contacts as possible at the door, and we pick up the ordered groceries ourselves,’ says Jacqueline. In addition to digital messages, Vos also uses his computer for online banking and his tax return.
Until about five years ago, Frans Vos maintained his own house every week. Dusted, mopped or vacuumed, he didn’t turn his hand around. “Today, dad has domestic help, but he still cooks his own meals every day,” says daughter Jacqueline. The phone rings, Frans picks up. “Hey, how’s it going. Yes, the mayor has been, and I have the Berkelboden here. Next week you can read about me, and then everyone will know that I turned 100,” he says proudly.