This evening, I have to pick up my daughters after I left my client’s office in the vicinity of Brussels. So I took the busy E19 highway to Antwerp, and passed by the town of Mechelen. When I got closer to the Craeybeckx-tunnel, I decided to visit my parent’s house. My father died of cancer almost 20 years ago, but my mother passed away before the Summer, so the empty house is pretty recent. It is now on sale, so now is the time to get in and refresh some of the old memories.
One of these memories is my dad’s little sound-fight. He gathered a group of neighbors to ask for a sound barrier between the Spoorweglaan and the R11, to block the increasing sound of the cars on the newly installed R11 main road which circles around Antwerp and connects several of the suburbs, like Wilrijk, Edegem, and Mortsel. I am talking about the end of 1979, when the Craeybeckx-tunnel which connects the main E19 highway between Antwerp and Brussels was not finished yet.
I actually was not aware of his action any more. Time passes by so quickly, and one tends to forget. I installed myself in the couch in the living room at my parent’s house, and I noticed some boxes with old pictures. I had some time before I had to get my daughters from their concert, so I started to browse through the pictures. Sigh. Time flies. I do not know why I then opened the drawer of an old cabinet, but I found a folder with a set of documents and pictures, that brought the memories back.
In June 1979, he got the signatures of most of the neighbors in that area, and they send a petition to the Ministry of Public Works to ask for a sound barrier. As far as I remember, they did not get any response, and finally he gave up. In those days, it was not a habit to install sound barriers. Most people that lived in that neighborhood sold their houses and left. My mother did not want to leave. She loved the house my father had designed too much to be able to sell it herself. Now it’s their kids selling the place. A beautiful place, but not ideally located for people who are sensitive to sound.
While I was waiting to go and get my daughters, I have captured some other sound impressions and memories. I’ll bring them online post by post in the coming days. Keep on reading and following.