Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

When you look at...

JUKKA HEINANEN Literary Adviser/Author, Finland

When you look at my first schoolyard now, it doesn’t look big. It’s actually quite small and pretty, as far as schoolyards are concerned. But my first memory of it is different.
It was the first day of first grade. The very beginning. I was a lively and socially active boy and had no problems enjoying myself in the classroom. In the middle of it all, I suddenly needed to go to toilet. And the toilets were outside, just by the doors. The way to the toilets had been shown to us. I knew my way. Of course I did. I knew how to read and write so of course I knew.
But then I didn’t. There was nobody in the schoolyard. The yard was huge. The school-building was even bigger, grey and hostile, looking at me with its thousand windows and hundreds of doors. A child-devouring-monster.
I needed to pee, but the water started to come from my eyes instead. I didn’t wet myself and I still remember how it smelled in that old fashioned toilet, so I guess I found it. And made it. Many times. In many schools, with many doors and windows and corridors and toilets. And I’m still alive.