Last time I met John van Dorn, he told me the following love story:
After two months of grueling boot camp, I was on two weeks’ leave at my grandmother’s house. Late in the morning, still suffering from yesterday’s long drill march, I was sound asleep in my attic room, my coverlet pushed aside.
Vaguely I heard knocking on my door. It opened before I had a chance to call out that I was still in bed. Only half awake, I lay with a firm morning erection appearing through my pajamas. Tisja, the beautiful young help in the house, just about my age, who’d been with us for a few years, innocently stepped in to clean up my room. She broke into laughter when she saw my fierce masculine weapon pointing in her direction.
I felt awkward. I’d always been told to be gallant to the help in the house while keeping my distance. Tisja was sort of family and a good friend, but I’d never thought of approaching her sexually because getting close to a servant was “not done” according to the family code. But the rules in the book didn’t prescribe what to do when an attractive servant catches you with your physical pride protruding upfront.
I smiled back at her clumsily, pulling up my bed sheet. Suddenly, her sparkling eyes turned dark and took on a velvety glossy look.
“Johnny,” she hushed, “if you want, why not come to my room one night?”
She darted away, perhaps shocked by her own words, and left me in confusion, which grew into a thick ball of desire.
It took a day before I found the courage to act on her suggestion. My body wanted it and at eighteen, fresh from boarding school, after my sad farewell from Lucy, I was still a virgin. Her room was next to mine; we were the only ones sleeping in the attic. But would my matriarchal management not hear the wooden floors squeaking when I sneaked to her room in the middle of the night? Wouldn’t they hear the thumping of the bed?
I found her alone in the kitchen and helped her with the dishwashing, standing close to her.
“I think it would be better on a Sunday morning when everyone’s gone to church,” I whispered to her. ”I’ll pretend I’m sick. What do you think? Will you be here this weekend? It’s still my furlough.”
“Yes, good idea,” she said, smiling. “This weekend I’ve duty. Jane’s off. And they don’t have breakfast before church so I can sleep in.”
When Sunday morning came, I acted as if I had belated stomach pains from the army food, and my mother allowed me to stay in bed. Matriarchal management went to church. As soon as I heard the taxi drive away, I scooted to Tisja’s room, opened her door and peeped in.
She was lying in bed, a sheet simulating the enticing sculpture of her body. “Hi,” she said, smiling. “Come in.”
I entered her room on my toes, still scared someone might hear me. The windows were open and looked out, like mine, on the majestic oak tree, slowly waving in the warm late summer breeze, blowing in scents of jasmine and lavender. The doves were cooing. I stood beside her bed, not sure what to do.
“Come, lie with me,” she said, calmly sliding the sheet from her body. Boy… she was almost completely naked. “Take off your pajamas.”
She looked like the mermaid statue I’d seen in the Efteling Theme Park, so delightful and pure. I dropped my pajamas and joined her, timid. But when her slender body touched mine, everything changed in my life.
I gazed at her lively eyes, soft dark hair and nice round shoulders, touched her breasts, nipples, drawing in whiffs of her peachy perfume. I wanted to make love to her, but wasn’t sure how. To help me on the way, Tisja caressed my sex, which got stiff as a broom.
“Is this your first time?” she asked, stroking my hair.
“Yes,” I admitted, feeling silly.
“Don’t be afraid,” she said.” I have something in me to stop babies.”
She kissed me, fondled me, held me, and made me gently enter her. It was such a warm feeling. She begged me to get deeper and deeper, shifted my hand from her shoulder to her breast, made me rub her nipple and I felt it hardening. I kept pushing, urged by the instincts of nature and the increasing delight of the warm fluids that surrounded my sex while she was arching up to me. After some time, she yelped, sighed and I felt her heart pounding. As I hadn’t come yet, she fondled me, and I erupted in her with a flush of splashing sparks shooting right to the top of my brain, leaving me breathless.
“How did you like it?” she whispered in my ear.
I didn’t know what to say. “Nice feeling,” I said, “and you?”
She laughed but didn’t answer. We chatted a while about me and her boyfriend Tommy as we were both drafted in the army.
“When are you going to marry him?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I’m not ready yet to make that decision, but my parents want me to. There are so many things I can do with my life before getting babies. It’s nice at grandma’s house, but I’d like to do something more. Go to a school for secretaries as your mother said.”
“I’m sure my mother will help you and talk to your parents. She knows them so well.”
I kissed her on her lips and stroked her hair. I hoped that the dogs outside would bark to warn us that the church goers were back.
“Want to do it again?” she asked.
“Yes, why not, I’m sure you can.”
She fondled me and we kissed. More confident, I stroked her breasts, her tummy, and inner legs, and we made love again. It took a bit longer, but Tisja wanted it badly. She moved her pelvis up and down, holding me tight by my buttocks and I moved with her rhythm. She came again before me and then again, till it was finally my turn.
She puffed, mumbling she was dead, and so was I. We slept for a few minutes in each other’s arms. I woke up worried about the time, but counted on the dogs barking when the churchgoers got home.
I pushed the sheet away and looked at her body. She had a nice flat tummy with a silky patch of black pubic hair.
“You’re so beautiful,” I said.
“You too,” she said, her hand cupping my penis that had shrunk to a harmless little tube. “I looked at you walking naked to the bathroom and when you were sunbathing on the balcony below with your pants off, naughty boy. I wanted you all the time.”
Footsteps on the stairs. Blast!
What was happening? The dogs hadn’t barked. Who could that be? My mother coming to see how her sick sonny was doing? I jumped out of Tisja’s bed and hid in her closet amidst her dresses, closing the door behind me, holding it tight. Then I realized that I’d left my pajamas on the floor. I heard knocking. Oh hell….
“Tisja, good morning, it’s Jane. Can I come in?”
Damn Jane, you were supposed to be off!
“Sure,” Tisja answered, making the sound of a yawn.
I heard Jane coming in.
“You’re still in bed?” Jane sounded surprised. “Tommy called he wanted to see you this afternoon.”
Geez, Tommy, her boyfriend. If he knew…
“I said okay,” she continued. “I’ll cover for you. Whose pajamas are those?”
“Yes, those pajamas.”
“Oh, Johnny’s, he threw them out of his room to wash, you know, the slob, and I picked them up this morning on my way back from the bathroom.”
Good excuse, I mumbled, keeping the closet door tight, though I felt hurt about the “slob” part.
“But I heard he was sick,” Jane said
“Is he still in bed?” Jane kept asking.
“Would I know? We don’t do cleaning on Sundays.”
“Tisja, you’d better get up and get the coffee ready. The ladies will soon be home. I’ll do the service. Go and see Tommy.”
“Thank you, Jane, very nice of you.”
I heard Jane leaving, but didn’t hear her going down the stairs. She was probably taking a peep in my bedroom. I heard her coming back, knocking on the door again. I kept holding on to Tisja’s closet door for life, fearing the worst.
“I’m not ready yet, Jane,” Tisja answered, splashing at the sink.
“You know where Johnny is?”
“Not a clue, why would I know what that silly lad’s doing?”
Don’t overdo it now, Tisja….
“He’s not in his bed.”
“Maybe he’s in the toilet doing you know what or he went to play tennis.”
“If he’s sick?”
“I don’t follow his footsteps, Jane. I’ll be right down, just a minute.”
I heard Jane going downstairs and shortly after that Tisja rapped on the closet.
“Jane’s gone,” she whispered, and left her room.
I waited a minute to be sure no one was in the attic anymore and slid out of Tisja’s closet, but didn’t see my pajamas. Of course, Tisja must’ve taken them down as proof she’d picked them up to be washed.
My heart stopped when there was more stumbling on the stairs. Stark naked, I could only cover myself with Tisja’s bed sheet. Better than nothing. Wrapping it quickly around my waist, I skedaddled like a bat out of hell to my bedroom. The attic door opened just as I dove into my bed. I pushed Tisja’s sheet underneath mine and tried to keep a suffering face. But I knew I was playing a losing game.
My dear mother came in.
“Johnny, why did you come flying out of Tisja’s room?”
“Out of Tisja’s room? I didn’t, I knocked to see if she had aspirin, but she wasn’t in.”
“Jane said she was there just a minute ago.”
“Really? Not when I knocked on her door.”
“And she’d seen your pajamas on the floor in her room. What’s been going on? I want to talk to you downstairs. Get dressed. You aren’t sick at all.”
“But I am!”
She left, slamming the door, clearly suspicious about my alternative use of Sunday church time.
I shaved, bathed and got dressed, put Tisja’s sheet back on her bed and drooped down the stairs, aware I’d have to face the music. But I was determined to stick to my story.
The matriarchal management had grouped on the veranda for coffee, as usual after Sunday church, enjoying the late summer weather and the view of grandmother’s colorful roses. Jane brought out the coffee, dispensing its addictive aroma. I avoided her eyes. Tisja’d gone off to her Tommy.
“Jane, what’s been going on with Tisja this morning?” my grandmother blurted out.
“I don’t know, madam,” Jane stammered.
“Jane?” she pressed.
“Well, she wasn’t up yet when I went to her room.”
“When was that?”
Grandmother squinted at me. “Johnny, were you still in bed at that time?”
“Yes,” I said, which was true, although it was not mine but Tisja’s bed.
“What’s this story about Johnny’s pajamas, Jane?” Oma was about to uncover my white lie.
“Tisja said she’d picked them up outside his bedroom, where he’d left them to be washed,” she said, embarrassed.
“That’s true, Oma,” I butted in. “I’d sweated all night from the stomach flu. I was soaking wet, so I dropped them outside my bedroom, as I always do with my laundry. I don’t understand why you all are making such a big fuss about my pajamas.”
“We wouldn’t if I hadn’t seen you spurting from Tisja’s room naked with a sheet around your bottom,” my mother said coolly.
“What would I do naked in Tisja’s room? I told you, I wanted aspirin and because I’d thrown out my pajamas, I had nothing else but my bed sheet for cover….”
“It all sounds like a twisted story, soldier,” grandmother intoned like my commander-in-chief. “All right, Jane, you can go now, thanks for filling in for Tisja.”
“You sleep down in the guest room from now on,” my mother ordained, puncturing any hopes of a repeat. “We don’t want people talking in the village.”
“But what about, Mother?”
They had no solid proof, just vague unsubstantiated hunches. I knew Tisja was smart enough to talk herself out of trouble. Grinning, I got up, went to the grand piano, lifted the flap, sat down and imitated Errol Garner’s jazz tune Avalon.
Read more of this in “Some Women I Have Known.”
and about Frank in “A Naughty Romance.”
To Cecil: You are my biggest regret. When you drove me in your yellow BMW to the Alps near Geneva I knew I loved you dearly. When you slapped me softly on my cheek because I said I wanted to stay with you, you hurt me badly, even though you were right: you were engaged to marry. I had an on-and-off girlfriend but when I met you – and your sweet and funny sister – I knew you were the one. Then you said your father was only a train conductor. So what? For me you were just the most beautiful girl I ever met, and you had this great stamina and presence. OK, my dad was a beer brewer and my mother from nobility. But who cares? You were IT, and it would have been beautiful.
That’s why I wrote Ingrid the Magnificent Viking. Of course, it’s imagination of what could have been. But you are still in my mind. When I met you again at the coffee bar down at your Embassy in Geneva, you seemed less happy than I would have thought, after your marriage. Well, I hope you had a beautiful life with lovely children, as you were the most beautiful girl I ever saw.
You will remember that tape with the Beach Boys, Good Vibrations. You loved that tune so much that I left it in your car.
I was at a diplomatic party in Geneva and they said, “We hear you are going to marry a Norwegian girl. Who is she?” I don’t know who spread the rumor. Maybe my boss did, because he was Norwegian too. He naughtily told you I was “in love” with his secretary, but I was not. We liked each other, but not for life.
I wish I could have said ” Yes, I am going to marry Cecil.” I would have learned to speak Norwegian. It can’t be more difficult than Dutch.
But you were already taken and I had to leave you behind.
Kiss-kiss, my dear: my greatest wish is to see you again before I die.
This is Frank, the young inventive, entrepreneurial banker on a year-long assignment in Geneva. He wants to practice piano. His boss, Olivier, invites him home to play on their baby grand. Olivier’s young and charming wife, Chantal, about his age, develops a crush on Frank, but does so with a specific purpose in mind.
This juicy story is told in “A Naughty Romance” available on Amazon.com under Kindle Books!
Here is Frank’s bank, the building with the red roof:
situated at the beginning of the Rhone River that flows into France from Lake Geneva. Across the bridge, the rive droite, are the great hotels and luxury apartments overlooking the lake.
And Frank is dreaming of Chantal, playing for her when hubby Olivier goes skiing and she stays home because she hurt her ankle in a ski fall.
Well, it is not exactly happening the way Frank dreams, but maybe it was like this?
And this is how it became
Read the story on Amazon.com under Kindle books: ONLY 99 CENTS! Can’t go wrong with that!
SUBSCRIBE TO ENCHANTÉ BY INSERTING YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THE BLOG!
Bye for now, John
The Christmas and New Year period is a great time to read or gift a few heartwarming stories to suit the holidays!
ENCHANTING THE SWAN ends at Christmas, a moving end which I will not give away here. You can read the novel at http://amzn.to/1LPFw5o and at http://bit.ly/1Kw8gys (Barnes & Noble). Consistent 5 star reviews so far: Dan Dwyer comments: If you like old fashioned romance stories, you will like Enchanting The Swan. Paul and Fiona meet at the College of William and Mary in Virginia where they fall in love after playing “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saens. There’s more to this story than Dewey eye romance. John Schwartz has written a fine romantic thriller than doesn’t let go until the very end.
Neal Cary, professor and cellist at William & Mary, writes: Enchanting the Swan is a beautiful story — full of suspense, drama, and enduring love centered around music. John Schwartz has created a whole world, and a wonderful escape. The characters jump off the page with such personality and imagery that this book could make a great movie. Enchanting the Swan is a very enjoyable read, and I recommend it highly.
MJM Orlean writes: John writes beautifully – I found the book difficult to put down – an easy read, full of intrigue, love, passion, international travel and dubious banking business, and lots more – a must read.
You can still get it for a good read at the fire place: http://amzn.to/1LPFw5o
or at http://bit.ly/1Kw8gys. ENJOY!
SOME WOMEN I HAVE KNOWN is a memoir /coming-of-age story. Our unforgettable Audrey Hepburn was a central personality in our home and especially for me, as we met as children (she 13 and I 7 ) in Holland well before she became a beautiful and revered film star. Of course, our lives became very different and I only touched hers at her outer sphere, but she did remember me! It is one of the more striking stories in SOME WOMEN I HAVE KNOWN.
You can still get it at http://amzn.to/1QIL94B
Readers seem to like it: Sam writes: This is a heartwarming collection of short stories that portray the path of boy meets world with realism and sensitivity. Perhaps most surprising are the different relationships that each story portrays – some were romantic, while others were more familial or close friendships. Those qualities, combined with the historical backdrop and international perspective, distinguish this book from the more typical and predictable storylines, making it a five-star read!
Kendal writes about the Audrey story: I adore Audrey Hepburn and love to hear new stories about her. Can’t get enough. And this short story was a nice little peek into her life, especially pre-fame, as a young girl… loved it.
Micah Harris writes in similar terms: A pleasant account of an exceptional person. There’s always something poignant about beautiful people recovering from ghastly times. Thanks for the read.
Dan writes: I had read the author’s vignette on Audrey Hepburn a few months ago when I was looking for something short, different and personal because my daughter is a big Hepburn fan. Mr. Schwartz did not fail me then nor has he failed me now with his compilation of the women he has met in his life…One charming and not so charming adventure after another, however, ended the same way until he finally met the proverbial woman of his dreams. She luckily for both shared the same dream.
And how did we!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and pleasant holidays!
John and Joy
Yes, that’s how one writer friend reacted when reading the manuscript of SOME WOMEN I HAVE KNOWN – http://amzn.to/1QIL94B (If the link does not function, which often happens with WordPress.org, simply paste it into your url). My writing friend, was he jealous? Perhaps!
What made me write that book? Clairaudience, clairvoyance, clairsentience in the Library of the Maarten Maartens House in Holland, during a family reunion in 2002. As infidels in the medium-world, my cousin Anne and I did not believe we were in trance with Maarten Maartens, our Great-Uncle Joost Schwartz, who wrote so many novels and short stories in English that made him famous in the USA and the UK at the turn of the 19th/20th century. Under the pen name of Maarten Maartens. But we were! He died in 1915, leaving a wealth of literature behind: 13 published novels and four collections of short stories, plays, poems and even a detective story, the first ever written in Holland.
One short story collection was entitled Some Women I Have Known. Uncle Joost whispered: “Write your own!” And indeed, Anne and I decided to write our own “Some Women”, in memoriam of our Uncle Joe. When the trance dissolved, we looked at each other and laughed. When we told some hundred family members and guests, they laughed too: “Hah! You will never do that! All talk, no doing!”
Unfortunately, Anne passed away before we got underway. The project seemed doomed. But Uncle Joost kept working on me. You have to write your version, he kept telling me. And, I did as he did: I began by writing ten short stories about some of the women I had known and found important enough to commemorate, from my early years on. Then I turned the short stories into a memoir/coming-of-age novel, giving the narrator a fictitious name: John van Dorn, to create some distance from myself.
The novel starts with Audrey Hepburn. She came to play at my grandparents’ residence where I stayed on vacation during 1943, in the middle of World War II. She was 13 and I was 7, and her last name was not “Hepburn” yet, but Ruston, her father’s name. She lived close by us, near Arnhem, with her mother, Aunt Ella, her mother’s sister, her two half-brothers (who were taken prisoner by the Nazis but later found alive). They stayed in the house of her grandfather, Baron van Heemstra, formerly the mayor of Arnhem. We could, of course, not imagine she would become a wonderful film star ten years later. And I did not know I would meet her again much later in life.
Young Audrey at about 13 and a few years later taking ballet lessons in Arnhem, around 1947 (family pictures).
Audrey, when she was 21 modeling in London, in 1950/51, acting in cabarets, not yet “discovered”. A picture given to me by her mother that stood on our grand piano at home.
The novel continues with my funny adventures with two Anns during my early years of puberty, testing the waters with the other sex.
The next chapter is about my grandmother, “Lady D,” who left an indelible impression on me and whose wisdom and personality guided me through life. I like that chapter because people who knew her will recognize her manifold qualities as a wonderful human being who stood out above many.
The novel continues with my boarding school time when I, as a piano player, got to know a lovely cellist and started making music with her, a story that may surprise those who remember Catholicism in the nineteen-fifties because it took place at a time of strict Jesuit discipline that forbade any contact with the other sex!
My picture with the charming cellist taken by two courageous friends in the lobby of the boarding school. A most risky undertaking!
Then my naughty story about Tisja the Village Beauty, the seductive help in the house who became my “first” when I was serving in the army. Oh boy, the pitfalls of growing up!
I skipped the girls in my student time. One remains a painful memory, too painful to describe. It imploded during a brief but intense and emotional love affair with student pianist Geneviève at a Paris conservatorium.
From that adventure I returned brokenhearted to Holland to take on my first job and, vulnerable as I was, fell into the hands of a smart but destructive beauty. Irene Femme Fatale, I called her.
I am so thankful to the gods for having saved me from her tentacles. Why are males so naïve? Our libido, the male’s most dangerous flaw! Female scorpions kill their mates after the fun. In the case of us male humans, we fall into the trap, kill her before she kills us, or keep paying alimony for the rest of our life and even from our coffin after it’s over. OMG!
I fled Holland to take a job in Geneva, Switzerland. I thought I had found a marvelous girlfriend there. We shared some beautiful and passionate years until it broke on philosophy of life. Then it did not work out in my job either. It was boring, and I wanted a change. I think it was mutual. To sooth my losses, I went skiing but got lost in the woods. I almost froze to death. In half-delirium, I found my way back to my lodge and ran into that magnificent Viking, by pure accident.
Ingrid and I spent some wonderful days together, but again, it was not to be. Out of pure frustration, I took a job in Central Africa and swore to stay out of the female tentacles. In Burundi I met a Tutsi woman refugee, and you really have to read the story to know what happened!
Purified from all my failures, I took a job with the World Bank in Washington D.C., where I finally met the woman who brought me love and peace.
I personally feel that my version of Some Women I Have Known is a good read. We all live different lives but encounter similar moments. Several good 5 star reviews on Amazon.com attest to that.
Read it all in
Kindle or Paperback, and enjoy it with a cappuccino in the morning or a brandy in the evening.
By the way, the cute and stylish cover designs of the short stories are by Melanie Stephens of Willow Manor Publishing in Fredericksburg Virginia (www.willowmanorpublishing.com), who also published the novel.
PS: Don’t forget my novel Enchanting The Swan we showed last week: also a perfect Christmas gift!http://amzn.to/1LPFw5o