After the death of her parents she was taken in by relatives in Varsseveld. From then until her marriage she had to do household chores and take care of the livestock. Because of this she hardly attended school and stayed illiterate. This was stated in bold letters on her identity card during World War II.
Her grandson Jan Willem Huitink (1931-2008) remembered that because of her illiteracy people thought of her as ignorant. After the death of her husband Derk Gerrit Meijerman (1861-1911) she took over the farm and Jan Willem said ‘how can you run a farm and be ignorant’.