I read with sadness that Mrs Hoogenraad died last week. I haven’t seen her in many, many years and have wondered occasionally whether she was still alive. ‘Mrs Hoogie’, as we called her, will be known to probably hundreds of middle-aged Heidelberg kids who spent Saturday nights at ‘Hoogies’ during the 1970s.
At the time of the ‘Jesus Revolution’ and Larry Norman and The Late Great Planet Earth, Mr and Mrs Hoogie ran a house church at their very small home in Heidelberg. They were in their 60s and their children were adults- I wonder now how their children felt about this endless stream of adolescents going to their door, burdening their parents with tearful accounts of relationship breakups and crises of faith? I suspect, too, that the neighbours were not terribly impressed either as the cars lined up along Oakhurst Avenue, and young people spilled out into the garden. Still, thinking back, we were very, very well behaved young people, considering.
Saturday nights between 8.00 and 11.00 were Hoogies nights, crammed into their lounge room with the rugs rolled up and carted into another room, dark and exotic carved wooden furniture, batik prints, shaded lamps, glowing copper and a cuckoo clock. There were people playing guitars, hymns, prayers and a talk by someone or other – sometimes Mr Hoogie himself (I don’t think I ever remember Mrs Hoogie giving one). It was a fundamentalist, personal, evangelical Christianity that I have since rejected, gradually at first and now more definitively, despite a lingering cultural Anglicanism and a more active leaning towards Unitarianism. Nonetheless, I look back to such times with a bemused indulgence but a deep respect for the faith and grace that Mrs Hoogie always showed. Continue reading