When I was 15 - Daydream Fantasies

 Grandfather de Groot and Michael de Groot in Surinam 1974

Grandfather de Groot and Michael de Groot in Surinam 1974

Thank you, thank you ladies and gentlemen! That was Mike at the drums, with his own interpretation of ‘Dreams’! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Michael will you join us? We were discussing the preposition.

Back to reality and the stuffy classroom with my classmates grinning at me, while the flush of being elsewhere with my thoughts, slowly spread over my face and added to the general hilarity!

Once upon a time there was a young man who had learned to play the piano, a little, then discovered the rhythm of the beat and the joy of rolling drums. That was going to be his instrument and he worked at getting the rhythm , the rolls, the crescendo and the final crash to a perfection that finally got him the much coveted position as lead drummer in his favourite group’s orchestra. He travelled the country till he was proclaimed the star of the show, only to be banged down to reality with a preposition.

Reality! A long hard road to achieve the impossible or was it just possible that one day the tables would be turned and I would be up there taking a bow to the deafening applause, thinking I was dreaming again and that I would be brought back to the classroom where my classmates were clapping their hands to draw attention to the teacher and the work on hand!

There I go again, it is so hard to concentrate and stop this habit of using the hum of the teacher’s voice to lead me to those wonderful places away from the dull drab life that I lead. How can I learn to be interested in the uses and abuses of the English language when there is so much more excitement in the sound that I can bring forth with just a flick of the wrist on those beautiful skins? I must stop, I must stop. My passport to reality is proficiency in English which will eventually lead to making my fantasy worlds of the past, the living world of today! Dreams do come true, especially if they have been day dreams!

From early childhood, we are encouraged to concentrate and every lesson in a school classroom is directed at the student in such a way that it makes it impossible not to do so. But not all of us are blessed with those very gifted powers of being able to keep our minds on the subject that is being taught, especially if it is of no particular interest to us or the teacher is unable to hold the interest of his or her students. It is so easy to let the world of fantasy surround you with those tempting delights, which are far more exciting than the reality of the classroom, that the younger student, the less disciplined the mind and the easier the flight from reality.

The business of growing up consists of filling the mind with knowledge that will enable one to meet the demands of the adult world where what you know is more important than what you are. There is no time or need in your waking hours to dream of flying like a bird, you can fly! Or being famous, you can become famous and world renown, all you have to do is hi-jack a plane or train or kidnap a child or a businessman and you are famous! Write a book? Easy, just collect all your wildest fantasies together and fill them with enough obscene words and you can top the best-seller book list.

Day dreams are fast becoming a luxury that only the very young can participate in, or those who have suffered from the pressures of modern life and have to go to a group therapy session so that they can be encouraged to let their mind wander and enjoy once again the fantasies that have been crowded out by the reality of our world today.

Has climate any affect on national character? When I was asked this question, the first picture that came to my mind was that of happy laughing people in sunny Spain. So that I would say that as far as my experience is concerned, I do think that the climate affects the people of a country and also the character. Astrologers turn to the stars to find good and bad omens in our lives with the help of the position of the moon and the sun and we Europeans living in the northern hemisphere are certainly influenced by the changing position of the sun. When spring arrives in Europe, we look forward to the longer hours of daylight and are walking with our heads up and a smile on our faces, because we know that soon it will be time to enjoy more of the sun.

Bright sunshine, light and warmth, the ingredients for growth and happiness. Dull days, cold and darkness, the characteristic recipe for sitting together trying to discover the meaning of life. Although we in Europe have the opportunity of having the time, in winter, to think and talk of all aspects of life, we envy our neighbours in the sunny countries who have the sun all the time, because we know that the fact that the sun is shining gives them more freedom, they live a carefree life.

So my answer to the question of whether the climate affects the national character, would be yes most definitely.

From a piece of work that I submitted to my course in Amsterdam, learning how to write business English, in preparation for us to move to the United Kingdom. My mother (Marion) assisted me greatly with writing this article at the time. My dream when I was 15 was to become a drummer in a band. I did learn to play the drums and did indeed become a drummer in a small unknown, very short-lived new wave/punk band in London. We even recorded a very poor demo on my father's reel to reel tape player. I still have the recording and it pleases me from time to time to listen to my own mastery on the drums.

Michael de Groot