Saturday, March 31, 2007

Groningers United

Although I live in a city where 19.7% of its residents can claim some Dutch ancestry, and I know my sisters all believe everyone up here is Dutch, it is actually uncommon nowadays to run into an actual Dutch speaking person. Friday morning, Maria and I were at Meijer doing the weekly grocery shopping and more specifically, we were engaged in a discussion near the cheesecakes about whether she would like one for her birthday cake since she is a cheesecake lover. As we were considering this possibility, an older 80-ish lady joined in and she had a beautiful accent just like Oma. I wanted her to keep talking so I could listen for awhile, so I asked her where she was from in the Netherlands. Just as I suspected, she was from Groningen (What is going on? Can I really recognize dialects now?!). I was so excited that I said "Me too!" and then I amended that to say, I mean my Dad is. She told me she was from Veendam and as she talked, she came at last to the sadness of leaving her family behind and how her children didn't have the extended family, etc. I told her I could relate. I think this is why the pictures of when the ship was sailing off seem so sad. On the back, they are titled simply "Leaving."

Leaving 2b a

I told her about the TV program Dad is going to be on, and she wrote down his name and the date and the TV station so she could tell her brother in Groningen to watch.
We talked for so long there in the refrigerator aisle at Meijer until at last she confessed she had someone waiting for her in the car. I kind of had the feeling she wanted to take me home with her, but alas, that was not to be. At least for a few moments there in front of the cheesecakes, she was transported home. I guess I was, too.

7 comments:

Annette Selden said...

That is a little scary that you can recognize accents, Julia. But I have another good friend who could probably do the same. And he can speak Dutch fluently, too! Maybe the four of us can get together someday and you two can talk about the old country.

Anonymous said...

I loved your story! And I found your site. And the Holland Brand Buurma Bros. truck. I have family pictures taken before my father's family immigrated and a ton of pictures of people that were never identified. They may not have immigrated but gave their pictures our family to remember them. Leaving is a sad title for that picture. It must have been sad for the family that stayed behind. I found our family name in a phone book when we were in the Netherlands. Jan Siemerink. My dad's name was the new spelling, John Simerink. The only Simerink name left in the U.S. is my grandson, John R. Simerink Van Tuinen(JR) But I believe there was a tennis player from the Netherlands about ten years ago, Jan Siemerink.

Jewels said...

Hey Annette,

That sounds like fun - let's do it sometime!

Skip - I'm glad you found the site!! And the Buurma Bros. truck. Now I need to find yours...

Elizabeth said...

What a neat experience!

Sister Paula said...

Oh, just to here "Dis and Dat, Deez and Doze, and Yon and Yulia" again!

sister paula said...

Yulia! Can't you correct my spelling mistake????

Jewels said...

Sorry Puff. What's a comment worth if it can be changed?