Author: Camille Oostwegel sr.
Yes, adolescents, get to know me. I was a descendant of six brothers who all successively went through puberty. Difficult boys, screaming hormones. It can all be read in young Jef Oostwegel's diary too. Yet I never knew a boy who wrote 'diary'. What possessed him to do so? At the first page, he begins very menacingly: Whoever affords the audacity to read through its contents is the biggest bastard I have ever met and will ever meet in my life. Yet he is already letting a friend read his diary on 3 January.
Although he writes in 1933 and 1934, much is still recognisable to me. Going to church every day. Not eating meat on Good Friday. Sundays, also filled with mass and vespers. So recognisable.
He must have had a special interest in film because he often goes to the cinema with friends or alone and finds it important to note it down. To 'always have the names of the film as a reminder for later, when this manuscript will one day have its value.' The titles, the actors and sometimes he gives his opinion in brief.
The adolescent longing for a girlfriend is touching as is the shyness of addressing such a girl. It occurs often in this diary. On May 14, he sits next to Nora at the communion bench where he "feels the flow emanating from her to the big toe.
But after a few months, he notices that the daily notes lack tension. That doubt does come back more often. So too on 10 June. 'It's the same thing every day.' On re-reading, he becomes bereft of his own ramblings.
Yes. girls, adventure with friends, going out, that's what an adolescent wants and that's what he wants too. Enjoying holidays and being plagued when they are over again. The classes, the teachers, it all passes by with his comments.
But on 13 November, he decides to quit the diary to start again on 18 May 1934 but by then he has "banished all love from his heart. That won't last long. This adolescent heart is too restless for that. But despite his threat at the beginning of this diary, the publication will still fulfil his deepest wish.
It is an interesting portrait of youth in the early last century.
Rosalie Sprooten, author
Oh, those fathers
They go away, but then again they don't because they soon return. And they come in your dreams, they come when you are sad, when you need advice and unexpectedly you find their notebooks in a drawer, in a cupboard, where people think they are lost.
They are not lost, they always come back.
Don't believe me? Then browse through the notebooks of Camille's father.
Let them go, let them come.
My salam to them all and Camille's dear ones.
Kader Abdolah, author
ISBN: 978-90-79226-96-2|Pagina's: 144|