I am a bit old-fashioned but am I mad?

HappyEver since I was a child I was fascinated by tube amplifiers, record players, type writers, hand wound wrist watches and sixties electrical model railways, you know, the kind with little electrical motors made by Hornby, Tri-ang, Märklin and such.

Of course my life as a teenager was not complete without a Wilson steam engine and when my mates got a computer for their birthday, a Sinclair MSX for example, I asked my parents for another book, some pieces of track for my railway or a new fountain pen. I loved the smell of that Pelikan ink pot, the sound of that little loco humming slowly on the tracks and as I had only a very few friends I spent many hours in my room in the attic of our terraced house.

My class mates thought I was weird and they were not afraid to say it to me straight in my face even though they knew it could result in a temper tantrum and meeting my fists for those remarks. In the decade after my teenager years I didn’t change much, I stayed that rough on the edge berserker, impulsive, chaotic, weird stranger that could only be of use to those that wanted to take advantage of a weaker person or that one culprit that needed someone to punch the living daylight out just for the sake of it. I got punched a lot. It shaped me, wounded me, damaged me and made me a loner. And weird.

As I didn’t know how to socialise or make friends with those of my own age around me I became seclusive and when finally militairy compulsary service (as it was like that in The Netherlands in the eighties of last century) came I had a very rough time surviving. I just didn’t know how to cope with the system and fellow soldiers.

Until I went to live in England when life became completely different for me. The moment I arrived I was embraced by colleagues, taken to places, we watched tv together in the Old Hall television room, we had evenings in the Social Club and I experienced a love more than friendship there. But even there, keeping the old things of my youth gave me a safe feeling and I held on to them and cherished my belongings. I know some of you are asking me now, what’s the point of writing this all down? I will try to explain why I do this, bear with me.

You do not need to like me, I’m not asking for that. I do need friends just like any other man but I can cope perfectly well on my own doing the house work, cooking and being creative writing poems and work on my forthcoming book. I do however want to draw your attention to the mental health issue with this. Before you judge someone by what you see at first sight, take some time to get to know someone, even though that someone might not be easy to befriend.

Like me there are numerous others that had a damaged childhood and need friendship. Maybe to heal, maybe not. It could be for the purpose of getting that someone to open up and adapt to the world outside. Or you could help that person to manage in social situations and grow so he or she could go out there on their own. I managed to get my life in good order, become a stable person later on in life. I still need the assurance of the things in my surroundings, I still play vinyl records and build a model railway. So ok, I may still have my quirks and odd peculiarities and I will remain hopelessly old-fashioned. But am I mad?

This is an addition to a previous blog: Perfect People

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Leendert van Gemeren

Dit ben ik, Leendert. Ik ben een beetje ouderwets en houd van dingen die geweest zijn, bijvoorbeeld oude Engelse series op TV zoals All Creatures Great And Small, mechanische horloges, bifocale brillen en oude langspeelplaten. Ik houd niet van moderne dingen en werk regelmatig aan een ouderwetse modelspoorbaan. Ik volg Jezus en schrijf mijn gedichten soms ook over Hem maar ik schrijf ook verhalen over het leven. Excentriek. Op feestjes ben ik vaak te vinden in de keuken.


This is me, Leendert. I am a little bit old-fashioned and I love things from the past, old series like All Creatures Great And Small, mechanical wristwatches, bi-focal glasses and vinyl records for example. I am not keen on modern things and I often work on this old style model railway. I follow Jesus and sometimes write a poem about Him but I also write about my life. Eccentric. You can often find me in the kitchen at parties.

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