When you look at school pictures taken of my classes from age 6 till about 14 you can only notice that on all these pictures there is one boy who seems to have been in this picture by accident.
On every one of them I look like someone’s little brother or maybe a child of the teacher that was allowed to join the group. Girls of my age would behave like they were my mother or an aunt and feel responsible for me and protect me.
At age 13 my group was sent to the polder and we were placed within farmers’ families for a week. This way we could see what a farmer’s life was about and could have a look at agricultural society and economics. Each family was going to take care of two of us. But the boy who was going to join me had become ill and didn’t go. So I was the only one who had to be on his own.
I couldn’t care less about this; I really didn’t have any interest in any of the boys and it was obvious for me that this was the same for them towards me. So I enjoyed being the centre of attention in the family. The mother always made sure I had enough on my plate at their wonderful meals. The daughter was a very nice girl and even when she was almost two heads taller than me, she treated me in a nice manner. The father noticed that my interest went a bit further than the farmland. He showed me his bookkeeping and explained everything there was to know about machinery. I never knew before that the farmers would hire or share equipment and was astonished by the prices of these.
On this farm they grew tulips, there were acres and acres of it. As far as my eyes could see. And new to me was that when the tulips blossom the farmers go on the fields to break the flowers of the stem in order not to weaken the bulb. I went along in the fields, was laying on my stomach, and was driven through the field like that. And every flower that was in my reach would be broken off. The flowers were collected in a big bag to be used later in a flower show.
After a few days their lovely daughter, a very slim and tall blond girl, asked me during dinner to a dance in the village centre. I had to blush in a terrible manner and tried stammering to answer. It was very nice of her, but I remembered far too well my disastrous trial lesson in dance academy Christ. I had bruised a few girls toes and was left on my own after that. So a dance seemed not to be my cup of tea. But how not to hurt her feelings?
I was saved by the mother. She decided that I would be too tired to go to a dance in the evening after the hardships of a farm. Me being a tiny and skinny city boy. Cycling over there already would take more than half an hour. The daughter tried one more time with saying that a lot of the other boys and girls of my group would be there too. But the decision of the mother was final and I was very happy with that.
The father wanted the daughter to make sure she was not going back on her own. She made a solemn promise.
That evening she went away on her bicycle with another tall blond girl. The mother waved them out.
I went to bed a bit early with a book. After midnight I woke up with the book on my blanket. There was the sound of a moped to be heard. When I looked out of the window I could see the daughter being pulled along by a boy on a moped. He stopped the motor of the moped a bit before the house.
They talked a bit and then they kissed. She waved at him and went to the back of the farm to the shed. He turned around and started the motor again after a few steps.
I wondered how I would have kissed her. Me standing on my toes and she bending over to me, I guessed. With this in mind I fell asleep.