Sunday, September 20, 2015

Conversations Do Matter

Since boyhood, I've always enjoyed all things Dutch. I did reports on Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg for class projects in grade school. I was fascinated with their empire-building and maritime history and the development of reclaimed lands. I paid special attention to the ways the Dutch were involved in World Wars I and II and their colonization of East Asia. The Dutch settled Manhattan and sold it for $24.00 to the English. Windmills seemed to be part of my consciousness as photographic subjects and engineering marvels. I have rooted for the Dutch in their World Cup soccer competitions and I love the color orange. I've alway been curious and proud of my Dutch heritage.

Well, tonight, my father was talking about his parents and grandparents. He told me of my grandfather's death in a mining accident in Montana and his involvement in the military skirmishes in 1914, a century ago. Then he said that his mother, a woman of red hair, compare from the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish region. I asked him to repeat what he said. Yes, she is Pennsylvania Dutch, which is not Dutch at all, but German. Deutch is the name for German, but as it became Anglocized, it was easier to pronounce it Dutch. Oh, no. My whole life's belief about my origins is changed in the slip of the tongue. What do I belief now?

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