I was about four years old. In the parish house of our village, around Christmas time, a performance was organized for the children of members of the Catholic Labor Union. I was late, the show had started already. In the half-light I found an empty seat in the back of the hall. On the stage stood a man in front of a huge desk with a large sheet of paper. In smooth lines he drew all kinds of everything on the paper. First a seat and, right beside, a table. At that table he draw a lamp. Even more to the right and slightly above the lamp he drew a light switch. What he did then I shall never forget in my whole life. He pressed on the drawn switch and turned on the lamp!!! Real electric light came shining from the drawing paper! I was ecstatic! I felt a sort of sensation I could only put into words years later. This man did his show for nobody else other than me! As if I was the only boy in the hall.
Then he said, he would make a quick drawing of someone from the audience, I thought he must have me! But I was way in the back of that dark hall. In a reflex, I stood up and leaned against the back wall. That was the right move! The man looked into the hall and said, “That little boy back there,” and pointed at me. I was chosen and had to come on the scene! He quickly drew in a few surefire lines my face in profile.
I kept the drawing for years. The experience of that day has always remained with me crisp and clear. The blissful feeling of being elected and becoming part of the great secret of the art of drawing, determined my direction.
Years later, I met the man by chance. I talked about that day, but he could not remember me. Obviously. But he is etched in my memory. His name was Father Hilarius.