Michael’s Stories

The Meeting

My mom was standing in the basement with the hostess of the party and some of her friends that had come early. As the party began getting underway, a group of guys came down and my mom spotted one guy that she was determined to talk to. Later on in the night the man came up to her and said, “Hi my name’s Bob Kaelin, how do you like me so far?” They talked the rest of the night and when it was time for my mom to leave she gave the hostess her number telling her, “Give that guy my number if he asks for it, but even if he doesn’t, give it to him anyways.” My dad asked for it.

The Collision

In 1989, Robert Joseph Kaelin Jr., my dad, was playing softball for his work team. He was playing left-center field when a ball was hit in the gap between himself and the left fielder. Both of them were running hard and were leaning over, while running, to catch the ball when the left fielder ran head first into my dad’s cheek and shattered his cheek bone. My dad did not pass out from the impact but said that it felt like he got hit by a bat.

The Bat Boy

My grandpa was a bat boy for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1936 to around 1940. In 1966, the Cardinals were hosting the All Star game at Busch Stadium. My grandpa still had some connections with the team so he was able to get himself and my dad into and get a tour of the locker room, sit in the dugout during an old timers game before the All Star game. My dad was able to meet and get pictures with legends like Satchel Paige, Bob Gibson, and Mickey Mantle.

Michael Introduction

My name is Michael Patrick John Kaelin, but my family calls me buddy.

I was born in St. Peter’s, Missouri, February 7th, 1994.

My family would say I am a good boy.

If I could spend the day with my grandpa it would be in St. Louis in 1940. We would go down to the ballpark and I would sit in the locker room as he, the batboy of the St. Louis Cardinals, and the players suited up. He would be 10 and I would be 16.

I would ask him, “Why do you like being the bat boy of the St. Louis Cardinals?”

Brittany Nicole Maher

  • My name is Brittany Nicole Maher.
  • I was born in Denver Colorado at St. Anthony’s hospital.
  • Growing up I loved to spend time with my grandparents, especially in their pool.
  • My family would say I am compassionate and loving, social justice orientated.
  • My friends would describe me as strong, driven, and determined.
  • What I can tell you of my family’s history is only what I know and mostly on my mothers side.
  • If I could spend the afternoon with my great grandmother it would be in Holland and we would go around seeing the sights, especially the Ann Frank house.
  • I would be 22 and my great grandmother would be 65.
  • If I could ask her something it would why did you never re-marry?

Antoinette Marianne Haccou

Born: July 30, 1939 – Jakarta, Indonesia

Marriage: Sanford Gunter (Born October 30, 1933- Peoria, Illinois) on March 21(civil union) and 22(in a church), 1958 In Amsterdam.

Immigrated: Sanford was in the military so it was about a year before Antoinette immigrated to the US.

Children: Michael Gunter and Michelle Gunter (one still born baby)

Occupation: For the majority of her life she was a stay at home mom, but she also taught ballet and ran an art gallery.

Religion: Become Catholic when she married Sanford.

Stories of the Concentration Camp:

– The Japanese came to Indonesia in August of 1942 and created concentration camps for prisoners of war. These camps were not bad in the beginning women were allowed to leave as long as they came back by nightfall but as the war continued so did the cruelty to the prisoners, roll call and mandatory labor. Food also started of well but as supplies started to become limited the food quality decreased and so the disease among the prisoners went up, many died. You could hear the screams of women as they were raped, hung by their nails until they came out, beaten with whips and many other horrible acts.

–  The Japanese gave the families of the Dutch plantations an hour to pack up their things before heading to the concentration camp. Antoinette was only two with her father away on business in Holland, her mother, Suzanne, packed them up. She sewed  jewelry into Antoinette’s doll. While in the camps Suzanne used the jewelry to get any food she could for her daughter. We still have bracelets, the last remaining jewelry from the doll, which will be passed from generation to generation, grandmother to granddaughter.

-In the concentration camp there was a huge tree, this tree is a sugar cane tree. When Antoinette’s birthday rolled around the women and children gathered around the tree pulling of sugar cane to celebrate. It was one of the few moments of joy in the camp.

-In the Japanese concentration camp, Indonesia, the leader would get moon sickness and made everyone gather around him in a circle, bowing for hours. Suzanne had asthma and couldn’t not breath doing this, so they would beat her with a nine tails whip. Once the Japanese found out that she had asthma they would let her stand to catch her breath but she still had to endure this pain. I wish I knew more about my great grandmother’s strength.

-While in the camp Suzanne was given a letter by the Red Cross. The letter is from her husband asking for a divorce. While Suzanne and Antoinette are in the camp he started relations with someone and has fall in love with her. He wanted wanted to marry her, abandoning his wife and daughter.

-It is the last days of the war and the Japanese tell the Dutch to leave the camp. Everyone was so scared that if they left they would be killed but Suzanne took the chance with the help of Rudd Bartels carrying Antoinette, they escaped. While running from the the concentration camp it was bombed and they never looked back.