Sunday, March 02, 2008


In my youth whenever I misbehaved out of sight of my parents, they still always seemed to know what I did. Around the age of 5, whether it was walking through the park with all that tempting water, stealing all the go-karts, tricycles and children's wheelbarrows in the neighborhood and hiding them on top of some nearby garages, playing waterfall at the stairs from the top floor in the flat with milk from the bottles that the milkman had left on his daily routine, playing soccer in the sandbox with a big piece of meat the butcher had left on top of the postboxes in the flat and after playing around with it wrapping it back up and laying it back, sneaking in at a local construction work and playing with burning liquid hot tar (that I eventually got in my eyes), selling from door to door the little pieces of fabric that my father had asked me to give to the handicraft teacher or with X-mas, trying to sell the neighbors branches of holly that I had cut from their own tree a bit before, my parents always knew it.

When I asked them how they knew it, they told me that Mrs. Van Hupschoten had told them. Boy, did I hate that woman, snitching on me like that! My parents never wanted to tell me where she lived, or vaguely described the area. When I was 7 years old we moved from Amsterdam to another city. Much to my surprise when I came home one day from jumping ice floes over a canal (something my parents had rather strongly forbidden), I found out that Mrs. Van Hupschoten had moved to the same city too; still snitching on all the things I did.

Now, a parent myself, I too am calling-up on the services of Mrs. Van Hupschoten, much to the despair of my kids, and although they suspect Mrs. Van Hupschoten is imaginary they are not really 100% sure.

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