Sonsbeek Park 2008
Leaving school today and seeing two little boys run to the car park, without holding their daddy's hand, (very dangerous) gave me visions of the safe environment I grew up in. We lived on the edge of a little town, with fields and small forests close by, as well as a mixed arable and dairy farm just 10 minutes down the lane. As there were hardly any cars at all we could play in and beside the road, which was a beautiful avenue lined with huge beech trees. Those trees were used for playing hide and seek, they functioned as goal posts when the boys wanted to play football and they were a good cover for when your mother called you in and you did not want to go home. I do not remember a great deal until I was around five years old, but then I did not have the help of photos which could have helped me imprint all those many important occasions. My parents did not possess a camera, so I have very few photos of my early childhood years. Two christening photos, with my parents and my sister. I am just a little white shape in my mother's arms, my sister standing very close and my father looking proud and protective. It was July 1944, still summer, my father looked drawn and thin; they still had to endure eight months of occupation. The second photo shows me, a few months later, smiling and looking very contented, in my pram, a bonny baby, without a care in the world. The third photo was taken shortly after the liberation, I could walk and was wearing little clogs, made by a kind neighbour who took pity on me, as I had no shoes, so he cut me some tiny clogs. Next to me stands my little friend, he wears shoes, and my father looks down down on the two of us. His tobacco plant is also in the picture. I even remember the place where it grew. That is the total of my baby pictures.
The next picture of me was taken at nursery school when I was five years old. You can see a rather shy blond girl, playing with some building bricks. I loved my nursery school. It was a Fröbel school whose doctrine was foremost singing, dancing and playing (especially with wooden bricks). Story listening was a daily occurence as was drawing and paper folding. Today they call it Orrigami. The garden was made into a huge sandpit and we all had small spades and rakes and did we dig and dig! Before going back into scholl we had to stamp our feet for many minutes before we were allowed back in, or did we take our shoes off? I cannot remember. I do remember the large oval play room where we sang and danced all those wonderul traditional nursery rhymes and songs. This was the room where the Saint Nicholas toys were displayed. I can still see them standing on the shelves, unwrapped in groups. Small boxes with building bricks, toy tools, toy drums, boxes with dolls house furniture and my favourite - little dolls in white dresses with tiny white socks. Oh I dreamed of getting one of those and I remember how disappointed I was when I was given a box with building bricks instead. I walked home (a twenty minute walk) on my own and showed my St. Nicholas gift, still disappointed that the little dolls had gone to other girls. I had to be content with my cloth dollies, made lovingly by a much older cousin.
Many Sunday afternoons I spent playing and building pretend houses and streets (they were very little dream houses as the box of bricks was not very large), which made a lovely change from playing with my little cooker, which had burners and if I had been a good girl my mother allowed me to cook potatoes cut into tiny pieces and apple sauce - my favourite food. The little cooking stove is still in my possession and Saskia has also played with it. Alas the burners have rusted and it is no longer safe to fill them with methylated spirit. The nursery school building is still there, but it has been changed into three small flats. I sometimes dream I will live there one day as my one year at the nursery school gave me my lifelong love..... school! I loved it then and I still do. Kind regards to all you readers mama.