January 31, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Milkmaid Hilda Put uit de Mine Storyline (Heusden-Zolder)

Milkmaid Hilda Put uit de Mine Storyline (Heusden-Zolder)

“Hilda was like a mother to all the miners. She was always in her shop and you can always count on her. To get a glass of milk, but also to talk about your problems. You can trust her one hundred percent. If you tell her something, you know it will stay in the milk house until forever.”

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Eddy Pluymers (61) of Bolderberg worked at the Zolder Mine from ’77 to ’96. in theatrical theater black and white gold texture Assists as an assistant director. “When it comes to miners, I give advice on the language to use deep in the hole, or how to get there.” He’s not the only one who talks warmly about Hilda Bott and remembers her.

“Milkgirl” Hilda Put and Inge Mariën (54) of the stage group MOTUS. © Luc Delimans

Hold on to foreplay

It turns out that Hilda herself is as lively as a chrysanthemum: she will never give her 78 years. You remember everything crystal clear and in technicolor. She tells fully and with much love about her time in the mine. “We didn’t have a good one at home,” she says. “I helped my father who was a milkman. I work all day, but I didn’t make any money. I wanted to do something different. Someone from the Lilac Dairy in Sonnhoven knew a job for me: a milkmaid at the Zolder Mine. Me? As an old girl 21 years out of all these guys? Never! But that guy from Lilac took me to take a look. Then I saw that I could work behind a table. I said to myself, ‘They can’t touch me there.’ So I wanted to try it.’

Hilda was the mother of all the miners.

Hilda was the mother of all the miners. “If you tell her something, she will know that it will stay in the milk house forever.” © Karel Hemerijckx

Moments later – as she stands for a photo – she is holding a cane. “The same at the time,” she says. “Only lo One I tried to stand behind the table, so I said I would pet him with sticks. No one has ever crawled over the counter before.”

handsome classmates

She worked among 6000 men, but Hilda never married. Were there any handsome colleagues among them? “Oh yeah, I’d look at them sometimes. But it was always so busy in my shop. He was sweating while changing jobs. They counted once that I made ten glasses of milk a minute. Not just regular milk.” Hey. also kriekke – Milk with pomegranate – or with pistachios … I also made ice cream. Glasses of milk were never delivered: I removed them on the counter. Everyone knew I did it this way and the glass was never broken.”

Hilda was 21 years old when she started working at the Zolder Mine.

Hilda was 21 years old when she started working at the Zolder Mine. © Karel Hemerijckx

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In recent years, before the mine closed, she’d always hear miners talk about fat pensions. But Hilda was meanwhile working as a self-employed person and had missed the money from Kansas. She, like colleagues, saw how the end was approaching. “The mine was my home and my house, the miners were my kids. Of course I knew the shutdown was coming. I was 51 when I stopped and to be honest, I felt that was enough. I just worked. After my last day I started taking care of my family. My parents, brothers and sister.” …I had to leave them all, but I was glad I could still be there to take care of them while they were sick. That interest is in me. If I were ever allowed to study, I might become a nurse.”

© Luc Delimans


When Inge Marin, 54, of the MOTUS theater group, heard Hilda’s story, she immediately wanted to turn it into a play. “Everyone should recognize this story. I want to convey to people the emotion and impact of this beautiful life story. We clicked instantly when we first met. We talked a lot and are now friends. In “White Gold Black Dust”, Hilda represents the common thread and gist of the story, But it’s also about the hard work of fellow underground. Many of them come to watch.”

Hilda looks forward to it the most. “I will attend the five shows, I don’t want to miss anything! Maybe I will see a lot of old friends there?”

let the kriekskes tastes.

“Black Dust of White Gold,” Motus, on September 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10, CC Muze in Heusden-Zolder. Tickets cost 15 euros. informations: www.muse.be

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