donderdag 23 oktober 2014


My parents were never too happy with the books I wanted to read. But they were wise enough not to refuse me reading what they had in their bookcase. I was eleven and wanted to know everything that was going on in the world and what had been going on in history. Reading “Stalingrad” by Helmut Kirst was very disturbing. All the blood and gore during the battle in World War ll was a bit much. So it was a welcome break when my friend Louis came around for me.

He wanted to visit another friend, Derek, who lived on a farm near the village where we lived.I always wondered how his family could live on their farm. The family consisted of mother, father and 16 or 18 children. We even suspected that the parents themselves lost count. I didn’t know Derek at all. His family was catholic, so he went to another school than we did.

Derek waited for us in front of the farm in between some milk-cans. He was quite a tall boy, almost as tall as Louis. Compared to them I looked like a dwarf, I thought. But they didn’t mind, so why should I. The farmer boy was wearing green rubber boots. Very unlike us, we were wearing sandals on this nice summer day. Derek offered us to get some fresh milk -directly from the cow – but Louis and I were not thirsty or hungry. So we went into the fields.

I had no idea that behind their farm the fields were so extensive. The road to the village was never busy but in these fields you were very aware of the silence. All you could hear were flies around cow patty and dragon-flies above the ditches. Soon it proved that boots were better to walk on. Some parts of the fields were quite wet, so Louis and I were sopping in our shoes very soon. But it was all so nice that we didn’t bother. Sometimes frogs jumped up just a second before we would trample on them.

After a while we just sat near a ditch. We talked a bit about our schools. Louis and I were wondering how things were without girls in school, we thought it would be weird being in a school like his. The catholic girls went to a school on the other side of the village. We had some more chatting before we fell silent. It was obvious that the world of Derek was completely different from ours.

We chewed on a straw, laid back and watched the clouds passing by by.
Derek was the first who got up again. He needed to piss, he told us. Maybe we were feeling for a competition: who could pee further in a ditch. Louis took the challenge, I didn’t feel the urge to pee neither to prove myself. Of course Derek won.

We walked back to the farm, Derek promised his father to feed the pigs. Coming close to the farm he told us his oldest sister allowed him in her bed. Louis and I were not impressed. Then he went on about that they did “it”. I didn’t have the faintest idea what he was talking about. Louis listened to it with a straight face, without any expression. I knew that this meant he didn’t know what this meant either. We both didn’t say a thing, just nodded. No need to show ignorance!

When the two of us walked back the subject didn’t return. Talks were about the future, our professions. Louis wanted to become a jet pilot, I knew I would become a world famous archaeologist.

At home I wondered for some time if I should ask about this matter to Big Sister. I decided not to, probably it would be very childish of me not to know about “it”.

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