Grit Blogs > Straight from the Heart

A Touch of Dutch

By Brenda Kipp


Tags: antiques, nostalgia, family, memories,

A photo of Brenda KippEver since I can remember, I’ve been interested in everything Dutch. It may have something to do with the fact that both sets of my Dad’s grandparents came from Holland. I grew up identifying most with my Dutch heritage since my Dad’s parents were the only grandparents I knew. They lived in a small town in western Kansas that was settled by Dutch pioneers, including my great-grandparents. When I began doing family history, interest in my Dutch heritage intensified. I developed an affinity for windmills, wooden shoes and anything that looked Dutch. 

Several years ago I began visiting local antique stores just for something to do on my lunch hour. When I go to antique stores, I’m not usually looking for anything in particular. I just like to browse. Its fun to find items that might have belonged to my parents or grandparents, or something I remember from my childhood.

Recently, I was on my lunch hour and had some time kill after picking up a prescription. The pharmacy was in a shopping center, so I decided to visit a small shop at the opposite end of the shopping area. I never made it. I passed an antique store and doubled back to go in. I had no intension of buying anything, but I spotted a small pitcher and basin with a Dutch windmill on it. From that moment, I was on the hunt for Dutch items. I scoured the shelves and discovered a small ceramic “wooden” shoe, a tiny pair of ceramic “wooden” shoes and a ceramic windmill. All of the items were reasonably priced and two of the items were Delft (pottery made in the Netherlands), which made my discoveries even more thrilling.

dutch items

I felt a rush of excitement as I walked up to the register. As the items were being totalled, I had to stop and wonder about the history of these items. Where did they come from? Who owned them? Why did they or someone in their family choose to give them up? If only these pieces could talk. One can only imagine what stories they could tell.

When I got back to work, I proudly showed off my treasures. I felt as if I’d purchased a piece of history and, in a sense, a connection to my past.

Photo by Brenda L. Kipp

brenda kipp_1
8/14/2009 12:31:50 PM

Cindy, the place you mentioned sounds interesting. I love going to those kind of places when I have a whole day to browse. What a lovely story about how your grandmother came to this country. I would love to see your cannisters. I have a crystal covered butter dish, creamer and sugar bowl which belonged to my great-grandmother. I don't know if she brought them with her from Holland, but I like to think she did. Family treasures are the best treasures of all!


brenda kipp_1
8/14/2009 12:24:43 PM

Thanks, Maryellen. I always appreciate your comments. I know what you mean about seeing things from your childhood in an antique store. The first time I saw something from my childhood in a musuem, I freaked out! One of these days, I'll hop on a plane to Vermont and we can go bargain hunting together!


cindy murphy
8/14/2009 8:21:10 AM

Hi, Brenda. I'm an antique store browser too, (I rarely buy, but love looking). We've got one of the coolest antique places here called "Sunset Antiques"; us locals call it "Sunset Junk". It's not just a store; it's an adventure, and there's no such thing as stopping in on your lunch hour. You could spend hours there, and still not see everything. It covers a couple acres, and there are buildings of stuff piled high; what doesn't fit inside is stacked covering every inch of ground outside. A rickety covered wagon, pink-painted jail-house doors from India, to church stained-glass windows - items range from the unique to the totally bizarre. Some are set up in macabre little vignettes - a framed painting of the Pope hung overlooking a mannequin dressed in a feather boa and nothing else, or a painted statue missing its head "bathing" in a claw-foot iron tub, (its head might be displayed somewhere else, inside a bird cage). I can't recall ever actually buying anything there, (things are over-priced IMO), but it's fun looking! I've got a set of ceramic cannisters - sugar, coffee, and tea - with windmills just like the one on your pitcher. They were my grandmother's. Mom's not sure but she thinks they came over when her mom immigrated here from Europe, to met up with her childhood sweetheart from "the old country", who immigrated years before. He was my grandfather. The cannisters are in poor condition, cracked and one is missing its lid, but I love them just the same. Grandma and died before I was born, and these chipped cannisters are a link to part of my family I never knew. Cindy ~ A Lakeside View http://www.grit.com/blogs/blog.aspx?blogid=876


maryellen
8/12/2009 2:27:56 PM

So glad to read Im not the only person on the planet that roams antique shops on "the hunt" for something I didnt know I HAD to have! Your story broght me back to Mom's collection years ago of Delft items. I fondly remember the search and rescue we would do for hours in shops looking for "just the right piece" for her collection. I think the most interesting part of browsing in antique, thrift, and junque shops is finding an item I had as a kid. Gosh, when I see one of my favorite childhood toys in an antique shop the toy (and price) certainly gives me reason to saying... Oh, my gosh... I am soooo old my favorite childhood toy is an antique... I AM getting old! :0 Great article Brenda. Can hardly wait for your next blog!