Wednesday, February 03, 2010


It shames me to say it, but I do not remember the names of most of the people with whom I was at school in Valkenswaard. Thirty five years ago is not that long a time, and I have a good memory. But perhaps it can be blamed on the egocentrism of youth.

I remember four girls from high-school: Babs (Barbara) De Waard, Bertje (Bertina) Klerk, Uki (Ursula) Schneider, and Anita Koenig. And yes, you guessed correctly that their attractiveness plays a strong part in that memory.
Babs was a small pretty brunette with a lively personality, Bertje was slender, charming and had blonde hair, and Uki Schneider was blonde, elfin, and utterly delicious.

Anita Koenig hated my guts with a passion - she used to kick me fiercely on the shins, leaving wounds as painful as any gained from playing field-hockey during physical education.

[Field hockey: Forty hormonally rampant teenage anarchists armed with hard pieces of wood on a muddy field, unable to comprehend even the basics of sportsmanship, and not a teacher to be seen ...... ]

Although I can only remember her glaring vindictively in my direction, Anita Koenig, when I think about it, was probably also very cute. All intelligent women are cute. There's just something about expressiveness, and eyes that reflect an active brain, that is incredibly good-looking.

No, I do not remember any of the boys.

From grammar school I remember Astrid Delwel and her two companions, whose names I cannot for the life of me recall.
Astrid was the liveliest of the three, and the most intelligent. Even as a teenager she was very small. I don't think she ever topped five feet. The other two were the same height and build, but perhaps not quite so interesting.

I do not remember any of the boys.

Anita Koenig had been to the same grammar school as myself, likewise her siblings. Her vicious younger brother was a belligerent pest, who undoubtedly has gone far in life. At the time he may have been resentful of the exclusionary tendencies of other kids in Valkenswaard - the natives presented a closed social group, and the Koenigs were outsiders only recently come to the south.
Anita always protected him, and took revenge on his behalf. I think that may be why she kicked me. I did not much like him.

Her younger sister was a small shy girl with a pretty smile and bright eyes, whom I remember as having both grace and kindness. A very sweet young lady, four or five years younger than me, who smelled nice.
There was something winsome and sparkling about her personality which has made me think of her a number of times in the years since.

I sincerely wish that I could remember her name.


jonathan becker said...

i'm really enjoying these "memoir" posts. i was told a long time ago that this is to be avoided if you want people to read your blog (since most people lead thoroughly uninteresting lives and can't write for beans) but you do it so well. 'shkoyach.

The back of the hill said...

A worthwhile cause.

Saw it on one or two message lists.

Quote: "The Affidavit of Charles Brewer dated 21 July 1990. Charles Brewer, a fellow inmate in 1985, testified for the prosecution. Subsequently he provided a very disturbing affidavit that states that his testimony was not completely true and that he expected, and received, consideration for enhancing what he really knew and what he actually heard from Martin Grossman. What is most disturbing is that he appears to have been a critical witness, bringing into question the strength of the case without Brewer, who admits his testimony was tainted and improperly procured."

Clickably: Martin Grossman

Read more there.

The back of the hill said...

Jonathan, thanks for the compliment.

I've noticed that the memoir posts get more reaction, and more favourable reaction, from precisely the people whose reactions I value.

All blogging is a like a whiny kid demanding attention - look at me, look at me! - but it's worthwhile to be selective about whose attention, and what kind of attention (though not ALWAYS, of course - sometimes I really enjoy irritating the spit out of certain people).

Anonymous said...

Een goede memoire.

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