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I see Trudy was the first to wish you all a Happy St. Nicholas Day. Although it is not a big celebration in our house, my mother is Dutch, her parents immigrated from Holland in 1908 & 1909. They were married here in the US the day after my grandmother arrived. I have enjoyed learning about some of the Dutch traditions and in 1992 had the wonderful opportunity to go to Holland with my mother and sister. There we met relatives that we had never known; visited the birth places of my grandparents and even got to go through the house that my grandfather grew up in. Even though it is no longer in the family, there was a picture on the wall of the house when the dike was right up against it and a small picture of my great grandfather. The family was so kind as to make copies of the picture, so I now have it in our house. It was a wonderful trip - the trip of a lifetime for my mom. My mom still has the pair of wooden skates that she grew up using, from Holland. They have leather straps to wrap around and tie on your shoes, narrow wooden bottom, then the steel blade. We use them in our Christmas decorating every year. My grandparents died when I was in the first grade, but I carry lots of wonderful memories of them to this day.

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Comment by Laurie on December 7, 2009 at 11:03pm
BJ, it's wonderful that you know so much about your heritage. I don't know much at all about mine farther back than my parents.
Comment by Ginger Anne Johnson on December 7, 2009 at 7:16am
When I was young I read the book, Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates My father's parents came over from a part of Holland that the Germans had taken over. His older brothers remember playing on the dikes. Interesting!
Comment by Linda Richards/N. Ontario on December 7, 2009 at 4:36am
Thanks for sharing BJ. Every St. Nicholaus Day has a special memory for me as I worked with a woman from Germany and she would always send her kids parcels on St. Nicholaus Day. She became a very dear friend as well as her DH. Since then both of them have passed away. It was wonderful to hear about others celebrating St. Nicholaus Day.
Comment by Sharon Reeves on December 6, 2009 at 9:24pm
I loved reading about your grandparentsand their life. Sadly, I didn't ask questions that I should have when I was a teenager or a little older. My paternal grandfather lived with us. Both he and grandma came from Sweden in the late 1890's. grandma died when I was 2, so I don't remember her. Grandpa used to tell stories of different things and I didn't write them down and now don't remember them. He spoke broken English all his life. He got to go back to Sweden to see his brother and family in l952 when ie was 78 yrs. old. I have a letter he wrote and it's hard to read because he didn't write english very well. Anyway, glad to hear that you have the family roots. I have wonderful memories of my grandpa.
Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on December 6, 2009 at 7:11pm
Neat story.
Comment by handstitcher/IL on December 6, 2009 at 6:56pm
And a Happy St. Nicholas Day to you as well. My husband is Dutch, born in Indonesia when it was still a Dutch colony. His family emigrated to Holland when Indonesia became independent in the mid 1950s. His mother, aunt and cousin still live in Amsterdam. We visited 4 years ago, although DH goes more frequently. St. Nicholas always visited our house, even though it always seems to be that my husband is out of town that evening. I laugh that I always celebrate his holiday with our children. It's a beautiful country with lovely customs.
Comment by Marnie/NH on December 6, 2009 at 6:42pm
When DH was stationed in Germany, we made many day trips to Holland. It was so much fun to explore. And the people were very friendly. Once we got lost in Amsterdam. Dumb Americans in there Big brown Torino. The nice Dutch guys on a scooter asked if they could help. When we told them where we were going they said follow us, we will take you to that exit. So the dumb Americans (US) followed that little scooter in our Big brown car lol. We got to the wooden shoe store no problem!
Comment by cellogirl on December 6, 2009 at 1:34pm
Happy Sinterklaas Day to you also!! Great old card you found--wonder if this year the canals will freeze and the big skating events can take place!! I think that the girl with the striped petticoat is from Velendom--I got some of that lovely stripe!! Don't recognize the costume of the other girl. Each city has it's own costume and they're very different, all lovely!! Great place, happy memories!!
Comment by Mary Boyd/MT on December 6, 2009 at 12:53pm
We went to Amsterdam on our big trip to Europe. I loved it! The people in Amsterdam are so pretty...most are very tall with white blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes! They ride these old fashioned style bikes. I was sad to learn that there arn't very many windmills left!
Comment by Irene Gallway on December 6, 2009 at 12:04pm
BJ, I so enjoy reading/hearing about family roots and traditions. What a great story you have shared with us. I got to visit England in 2005 where my roots on both sides of the family came from. I don't know what area they came from but it was nice to visit the country and feel some sort of connections. And the fact that I live next door to New Brunswick Canada where they were once ruled by the King/Queen of England made it interesting also. My mother was from Canada. I love the picture that accompanied your post. It shows the skates you described. Very nice post. ~ Irene

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