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Take a European canal/river barge . . . .  This one was built in 1963 in Moerbeke, Belgium, by Marinus Faasse.  He named it Leja, the portmanteau word for his parents’ names, Lena and Jacob.

Here’s part of the text of an email I received today from Maja Faasse:  “Leja was the second motor barge my parents have built. It is named after our grandparents, Lena and Jacob. Our father, Marinus  … knows every detail.  For about 40 years he made his living on Leja, as did our mother for 34 years after they married. My sisters Leona,  Jaccoline, and I were born and raised on the Leja, and have very good memories and had a very nice childhood on the water. Every vacation from boarding school and most weekends we spent on board. The summer vacations where the best times, 6 weeks of playing and swimming. Our parents had to sell the barge because our mother needed a pair of new knees and recovery wasn’t possible on board, so they had stopped their business with pain in their heart, and sold it to an owner in France, who renamed it Sojo.”

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We were planning a trip to France this spring to go find the barge . . . and go look for it. So we contacted the broker for information where the Sojo could be at that time and wanted to see what is still original and what is new.  But . . .

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then the broker told us that the owner had renamed it Sojourn and moved it from France to the USA. Later on we also found a picture on the Erie Canal taken in May 2013.

Our father just turned 78 years and his biggest wish is to still visit the Sojourn.”

The photos below were taken in October 2014 by Bob Stopper.  They show her being moved by Benjamin Elliot toward her current location in the Lyons.

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Stories like Maja’s move me, and I certainly hope Marinus Faasse gets to visit with his half-century-plus-years creation soon in Lyons, where snow likely covers it.

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Click here and here for photos of some other Dutch barges in the northeastern parts of the US.  There may be more, and if so, I’d love to learn about them.  For some motor barges that traveled from west-to-east on the Atlantic, click here for a post I did four years ago.

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Many thanks to Maja Faasse for writing.  Also, to Bob Stopper who sent the three photos of Sojourn back last fall.  Also, a tip of the hat to Lewis Carroll for coining the portmanteau portmanteau.

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