Once there was a nine year old boy, who stayed indoors when the other children played in the playground. This happened only in winter, and only for shorter periods in time, like two weeks. He was ill that year during an exam week, and the Monday after, did all the exams in less than half a day. He ended the first three of his class, always.
He was often unhappy. He didn’t understand why he suffered from asthma, and why this disease hit him, and his grandfather. His grandfather got it at the age of 55. The boy could never imagine what it would be like at 55. A neighbour friend, only 2 months older, had a similar problem. Some people blamed an aluminium factory nearby. They banned it one year later. His grandfather died that year, from lung-cancer. He really missed his grandfather …
The boy cried a lot. He couldn’t understand death, and he couldn’t understand his father. His father was his best friend most of the time, but then he would change his mood, just in one minute and he would chase the boy into his room.
The 9 year old boy went to the town hall, only accompanied by his 13 year old sister. He had heard on the news about a new regulation that gave a final destination to all plots of land in the country, and he wanted to know whether any highway would cut their forest, or backyard. The plans were public, and the children insisted, so they got access after all. What the boy saw is still imprinted in his memory. There was a highway planned just north of ‘their’ forest. The laughing technician showing the plan stopped smiling when he understood that both these young children had more knowledge of analysing a map than most people in the council. The highway was never built. They ran out of money that year when the oil-crisis hit the West.