In the Netherlands it's a custom to do a test at the end of the primary school in order to establish your level. Secondary school
in the Netherlands from low to high were called VMBO(3 years)-MAVO (4 years)-HAVO (5 years)-ATHENEUM (5 years)-Gymnasium (5 years).
The test is called CITO
and gave for me as a result HAVO but it would be difficult. My parents (I call my foster parents my real) decided to go to MAVO,
which school happenend to be in the place I was living, Medemblik.
The first schoolday was perfect, when I'm not mistaking there were only three boys with shorts Ton Bloothoofd, Ger van Leeuwen and me! You can imagine that during lunchbreak (we all lived at cycle distance from school) some changes to our outfits were made. But oke the first year at the MAVO went normally, nothing to report. In that time there was a law called 'Mamoet wet' which made it possible to switch schoollevels after the first year without losing time. With my grades there was no reason at al to switch after the first year.
The second year MAVO in Medemblik was, when I look backwards at the grades not at all different from the first year. We had a subject typing and I was sitting in front with that subject, in the middle between two other pupils. I remember that the wagon of the typewriter was always somewhere else than I thought it was. I think we were not so very serious with that subject. I also remember that the school had a dependance at the Meerlaan where in an other building the auction of vegetables also took place at regular intervals. During breaks in between the lessons we went over to that other building to help a man repairing crates. We went there mainly in the winter to heat up his stove with the remains of his work.
Saturday's I was working for firma Raat, in the same area where the school was located. I drove around in an electrical cart selling bread, pastry etc for only 25 guilders a day. Converted this is not more than 12 Euro for a workday of ten hours. I also distributed newspapers for a while in an area which also contained the polder 'Brake' in which was a lot of fishing water... What didn't belong to my round was the buiding above. It's a pumping station still working in steam and prevents the land behind it from becoming wet. It was a clever move from the brothers Stolp to give me that distributing area! Large distances and small amounts of papers to distribute. A better job was working in a covered swimming pool, not much work to do, doing your homework in the same time and get money for it anyhow.
During the summerhollidays I always worked in the field to earn money. In the beginning such work was arranged via an old man who asked a percentage or some cents for it. What I did was harvesting potatoes, by hand with a small shovel or when a big machine already put the potatoes above ground it was just picking them up. Or it was picking butter-beans. The old man had a good income on top of his pension I suppose. In another year I started together with Hans de Beer to work with two brothers from Hoogkarspel who rented land in the Brake polder. We picked up tulip bulbs over there "Tulpenbollen" we say in Dutch. And these bulbs were sometimes very expensive like 25 cents a piece, so you had to treat them like eggs, they teached us. I also bought or got a rabbit from Hans, a white big rabbit calles HANNUS later on HANNUS got company from a grey big rabbit called WANNUS. Again further in time I put those two in a cage near Castle Radboud. From there they have been stolen...must have been a good meal is what I'm thinking now
After two classes in Medemblik at the MAVO others were convinced I could do better. So I went by bike everyday to Hoorn, the school's name was Westfries Lyceum but in my time it was called Rijksscholen Gemeenschap West-Friesland and today it's called Atlas College . Because my switch was done after the first year I had to do class two again. I did Atheneum and not Gymnasium and do you know why? Very simple the only difference between these two is the languages Latin and Greek which are only taught in Gymnasium, but these are dead languages so why learn them I thought. Second class Atheneum went perfect, average grade was 8! This was also the only year that a 10 was on my report, for the subject German. That's no wonder ofcourse because in the second class they started with teaching that language and this was for me the second time it started... So in the year 2005 when you follow the link of the school above I think that the switch I made can now be done whithout changing the town. So that means that in present time I would have missed that wonderfull time in Hoorn, it's a pity. In the seventies it was better arranged I must say now I had to cycle 20 kilometers one way trip. Maybe people wonder why the youth of this century is fat..well probably they don't move that much...at least not so much as I had to do. Or maybe go by train.. What you see is the steamtrain between Hoorn and Medemblik, a tourist attraction.
The third class Atheneum was not bad although I had many parties and feasts and very frequently at the house of the brothers Rutgers in Blokker what ofcourse wasn't very good for the learning process. The village Blokker by the way was the only place in the Netherlands where the Beatles performed. At least it was the first and maybe not the only place. Maybe all the feasting started in the fourth class, that's in any case the period the learning curve went down. End of the fourth class, a lot of 6's, one 7 for matehematics, a 8 for Biology and two times 4 for physics and chemistry. So during hollidays extra work for chemistry. Ofcourse I was riding a very fast going moped in that period of the brand Zündapp. Normaly these machine went around 40 kilometers per hour but mine did around 75 (a little bit hobbying and voila). The government decided in that period to make the helmet obligatory to wear, that had ofcourse nothing to do with the speed of my moped all pure coinsidence. Ofcourse the schoolsystem was weired, I mean two fours and pass to the fifth class? But anyhow I selected a B-package with at least physics and chemistry in it...these subjects obviously needed more study!
The fifth class nearly the end, well it probably was more a party year than anything else the grades at Easter were 6-, 2x5, a 4 and a 3. Well mathematics was always a favourite so knowing that this was half of the exam figures, it was a mission impossible. Ofcourse many friend and girl-friends but I left school. I went over to the vice-principle Mr Bonte and told him I'll would be back next year but first I went working. I used to work during summer hollidays by Gerrit Viersen who had land in the Wieringermeer at the wagepad (sorry that's the name of 'the street'). The payment of filling crates with potatoes or butter-beans went per crate, picking-up tulip bulbs went by the hour but Gerrit payed by the week good or bad weather. Through a friend Wim van Galen, of the drivingschool I came by Gerrit. There was always work indoors or outdoors and this year I worked very long. At Gerrit's worked Marcelus Ippel who had many brothers but I'll come to that later. The new schoolyear started (74/75)and so did I. However it all went not so easy as before I really had to work for the grades. I made the fifth although a friend like Koen Weimar (just a joke his name came up) and girl friends like Rosé Kemkes, Ineke Abcouwer, Geerjetty Kaat, Elly Ruygh and Annemarie Nijhoff in a fully random order. With the last one I even enjoyed a holliday with the train and tent through France. That year must have been the exam year (no 6) because I remember that I brought her parents in Berkhout AZOBé wood for in the stove. That were remains of some other work I did, but I'll tell that later. From these people mentioned I met Annemarie much later in Amsterdam where se studied Dutch and at that time she had a relation with Peter Bol. Geerjetty lives and works in Switserland just by accident in the same area the link is pointing to. She came over together with her husband and one of her three children in 2001 or 2002 and visisted me at my home in Limburg. Elly has to be mentioned because we regulary exchange information by e-mail. Rosé finally I missed at the reunion of the Rijksscholen Gemeensschap West Friesland held end 2003. I left too early I found out later, bad luck.
Oke the final year and I didn't pass! Well not that bad I had one re-exam and I had a choice Mathematics no I or no II. I took no I because that's more worth than no II. The teacher gave the tip that exam en re-exam in general look very much alike and with that information I had my summer hollidays. He was right I got a 7, party time! Well no party ofcourse the parties were before the summer holliday's but I think I didn't miss them I must have been there I'm sure. My certificat however contained the wrong name! It had to be changed from Richard Lageveen (the name I not officialy adopted from my foster parents) into Richard Braun. From the fith class of the primary school until this time I was used to Lageveen as a family name and now I had to get used to Braun. This guy with the same family name has occupied .nl as a domain so I have to do it with .info! No big deal maybe he'll come in handy because of his profession.