Thursday, October 14, 2010


The book.

My Grandparents, Dad and Aunt left the Netherlands in 1912.  Immigrants were no more welcome then than they are now. My Dad was 9 years old and put in the first grade because he did not speak English. All the kids made fun of him because he was tall in stature and then put into a 1st grade class he was huge. The first day of school, he had no way to ask about restrooms for his physical needs and ended up having an accident. Life was not easy. According to my Dad, his Mom said to the family we are in America now, we speak English. Unfortunately my Dad lost his ability to speak Dutch, but he spoke unaccented English the rest of his life.

When I came along 31 years later, there was no “Dutch” in our life. We lived in a town with Dutch people, but they were not part of our life. As I grew older I learned our custom of giving gifts was not just my Dad’s fun way of doing it, but a Dutch custom. After I was out on my own and collecting cookbooks, I learned we ate Dutch food but I didn’t know that at the time.

Life comes at you fast. You go to school, marry, have children, and handle the tragedies of life. Then you grow old and have time for some reflection. I started collecting Dutch recipes from old church cookbooks; my Grandma’s cookbooks were lost to me. I started doing genealogy and went to Tucson to find our family pictures.

You always know intellectually that you had great-grandparents but what a joy to actually see their pictures. To see your features and those of your children and grandchildren in people long gone.

My Grandpa in the Dutch Army.  Thankful my Aunt labeled the family pictures.

My Grandma's Dad.

Where my Grandparents lived in Amsterdam.

Recently I was in the library and found this wonderful new book in English about the Dutch. With everything going on in my life right now I have not been able to read it yet. However the September issue of Dutch International Society gave the book glowing reviews. There are 25 chapters and each gives a comprehensive overview of one issue. According to DIS, “the chapters are dry essays but intriguing things that make the Dutch the Dutch.” I have read in the book and can’t wait until I have time to really read it.

If you are one of the many descendent of Dutch forbearers scattered around the world, I highly recommend this book for discovering your Dutch “roots”.  If anyone has knowledge about the Budde or Grootenhuis families in Overisel area, Netherlands who had relatives that went to the United States in 1912, I loved to hear from you.

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