Kids are suffering under the burden of the lockdown

Today, I happened to pass two children who looked really miserable. I waved at one of them and it helped a little, I noticed. (She started to smile but was not sure what to think as I was wearing my face mask and she couldn’t see me smile.)

I saw a third one knock on a door or press the doorbell and then run away fast. All three were children on their own, though one of them was accompanied by adults a few paces behind the child.

Yesterday, I signed a petition asking that children be allowed to play with a friend in spite of the lockdown. I didn’t look into it but it made sense.

Today, I was not thinking of that petition at all. I was struck by the children’s faces. And that made me remember the petition and realise that the reality behind that petition is… more pressing than I realised.

Kids are starting to feel really miserable.


When I grew up, my mother forbade me to talk to the kids next-door when we finally finally finally got… neighbours! Our house used to be surrounded by gardens and meadows. We were on a very busy road and the many houses on the other side of the road were out of bounds for me.

I didn’t obey my mother. I said “Hi” to the girl next-door who seemed to be about my age – the eldest of four – and said my name and my age. She became my friend for years. Her mother and her house became a sort of safe haven for me for years.

My youngest sister befriended the youngest kid next-door, a very cheerful, friendly and balanced soul who still makes me smile when I think back to her. Thinking back to my friend, too, brings back lots of great memories. She was the one who introduced me to horse-riding, we had birthday parties in her room, went to discos at Bernardinus and she had a friend who knew Barry Hay of the Golden Earring personally – yes, really, no, I wasn’t a fan – and her mother was the ONLY woman I knew who was married and had a job. She was a midwife and had her own practice, at home, where her clients visited her. That too was a whole new world for me.

Please sign this petition. Because we may be doing damage to kids that will last much longer than this silly pandemic. One friend. Just one friend can be enough, can make all the difference. Thank you.

Thank you, Anja De Bruijn, for having been my best friend for so long.

The Earring have just called it a day, by the way. A few days ago. The Earring is no more. guitarist George Kooymans has ALS. I didn’t know that. Writing this post made me look into them.


Also Dutch, and from the same era:


Stuff I sang in one of my choirs at the time:

And below… stuff, I sang in one of my other choirs at the time.

Imagine being on stage with all those people! That is so impressive! It was about 200 people on stage. Three choirs and one orchestra (LSO) and the soloists such as John Bröcheler and, of course, our conductor and my high-school music teacher Jef Somers.

That is part of the stuff that all those kids are missing out on right now.

(And for those who don’t know that, I had violin lessons as a small child and I had a good teacher.)

“Matthäus Passion, Affiche houdende de aankondiging van de uitvoering van de Matthäus Passion van J.S. Bach door de Heerlense Oratorium Vereniging o.l.v. Jef Somers m.m.v. het LSO en het Coriovallum-College-koor in de Stadsschouwburg Heerlen op 23.03.75 te Heerlen, 1975”

This flyer was for the performance that took place about a month after my mother had passed away. Okay, it was two choirs. I guess that for me back then, it looked like three choirs. (Or maybe it was occasionally three instead of two choirs or maybe it’s because of how they rehearsed.)

I don’t think I could have been in the 1972 version. I think that was a different youth choir, even. 

I am undoubtedly in the photo below, as it was taken in Aachen, Germany in 1973:

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