Did I not tell you earlier that my parents also like to keep everything? I won’t describe my father’s study, because words can’t describe what it looks like. Still every once in a while even my parents think that things need to be sorted out. Not so very long ago my mother and I cleaned part of the attic. After a lot of deliberation some things were even thrown out! The protecting leg sleeves that you wore when it rained, and that my mother used when she rode on her bike to the HBS (secondary school) before World War II. The leather belts had become stiff, the buckles rusty, the once waterproof cloth had almost disintegrated, yes those strange items from a distant past that could hardly be recognized, were thrown away. I must admit, with a lot of effort.
Recently, my father cleaned out his financial folders. (I wrote this text in 2002, my father died in 2009). Aren’t you supposed to keep them ten years? There were cash receipts from 1949. Not so long ago I asked an official record keeper – we were talking about the paper archive of the film production company Studio Nieuwe Gronden – whether it wouldn’t be nice to keep the sales slips as well. But no. That was not a nice idea. They could be thrown out. To me this confirms my feeling that you should not throw these things away at all. When everybody thinks you should throw something away, shouldn’t there be someone to keep that something?
My father’s sales slips show us a world that is long gone. Of course, they are trivial things. But exactly those trifles sometimes bring history closer to us than the major developments. Each cash receipt tells a story.