Cool search for Cools...Kortemark, Belgium
My husband is a man of heritage and history. He has fond recollection of his Belgian Grand Father Joseph Cool. Mark probably earned his story telling techniques from this Patriarch.
Many a story has been told of Joe Cools emigration to the states for a new life as a young man. He settled with other Belgians in Marshall Minnesota where the countryside resembles that of his homeland In Kortemark.
He returned to Kortemark for his wife and Son once he was established ... In Marshall he raised six kids. Marks Dad among them.
The last few days we've taken the train to Kortemark to find the graves of Grandpa Cools siblings and parents. It's Cool to be Cool here.
Cool is a common name. Not a name that invokes goofy remarks or silly references. It's just plain Cool! There is a large family of Cools. Also Coolmans.
I'm happy being a Cool, thanks.
Public transportation is remarkable, even for the language impaired. I sit at these train stops and wonder what a different life it would be to be able to affordably travel by train in New England.
The conductor rolled his eyes when we told him our destination. I guess few "tourist" venture to Kortemark. Once there, we found a restaurant on the square bustling with celebrants of Mothers Day.
We stood waiting to be seated and a hush fell over the restaurant. Forks were laid on plates, ladies craned their necks to see, some women slapped their husbands to urge them to look up..."who are these people?"...
The only English speaking employee, Dennis, approached us and told us "today was a day of reservation".
(I think there is a whole other blog on that statement).
"But we were ️welcome to sit on the patio. "
As people left the restaurant they would nod and smile, men would touch the brim of their hats and nod...
We realized we had just become the story. "Remember that Mother's Day when those two Americans had beer on the patio?"
We met a lovely woman who took us to the cemetery. Mothers Day is a day of pilgrimage for this community. The cemetery was busy with fathers, sons and daughters visiting, planting and leaving gifts.
We hoped for a Cool siting but no one appears. We found many descendants. Mark smartly called the cemetery archivist months ago for plot locations.
Our next visit is with the town clerk who is said to enlighten us on his living descendants...
Kortemark has lost its industry. It was once a town that had several breweries and canning companies...now all "shut".
Like most countries in an economic shift, inexpensive foreign help has driven industry away from small town Belgium.
Today.while our girlfriends Macy and Linda shop and enjoy Brugge, we treasure hunt the Cool history...
Because it's Cool to be Cool in Kortemark!