Ever 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.
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