Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Master Holtkamp

MAAIKE VAN DEN HOEK Production Manager, The Netherlands

My schoolyard was a solid rectangle. Large, 140 by 70 meters. Anno 1974 it is only filled with concrete paving stones, no rubber mats, slides and swings. An ideal playground for the crossover game. Run from one side to the other with a tagger in the middle, the ‘tagged’ were now co-taggers. The challenge was to be the last and final crosser of the playground.
If Master Holtkamp had yard duty, I had to play the game with an additional problem. I didn’t only have to stay out of the hands of the tagger but also out of the hands of Master Holtkamp. Master Holtkamp was about fifty, with a beige raincoat, a firm belly, fat nose and hair smeared with brilliantine. He had the habit of tak- ing hold of some the girls that came close to him. I was one of those girls. If I was in the heat of the game and
I accidentally came too close to him, I was in his deadly stranglehold. His nose too close to my nose and then the inevitable conversation. “How are you and how’s your mother…?” Keep on smiling and continue a steadfast struggle. Then he eventually let me go.
Master Holtkamp taught the fourth grade. When I was ready to go to the fourth grade Master Holtkamp left on a one year study leave.
What he learned I do not know, but long live the study leave.