To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Monday, June 07, 2010


From five years old on, I spent my childhood in Holland, in an area below sea level, where the dykes had broken through in 1953. 
Some random things I will never forget. One is that candy or cookies were always presented in a pretty dish, no matter if the people were poor or rich.

As you can see, Clytie, hearts were a common motif in dishes of Delft blue.

Because Delft Blue dishes were also exported, windmills were a common image and the name of the country: Holland.

"Speculaas" is a very common Dutch ginger cookie, and this is the mold for these cookies. (A wipmolen is one kind of a windmill). People have these wooden molds (in different sizes) as a decoration in their house.

Thousands of people, like my family came from Indonesia and flocked to Holland in the 1950ties
The first house we could rent was in a small fisherman's village.  
Most of the adults still wore the old costumes (7 skirts over each other!!) and  through the week wooden shoes. 
On Sundays when they went to church in nice black leather (modern) shoes. I never wore wooden shoes, but my brothers and father did sometimes when working in the yard (the clay ground there is very heavy, and with wooden shoes one's feet don't sink in the soil as much)

So, from a big city in Indonesia, I changed to a small village in Holland
My favorite pastime was to spend time with my friends, whose parents were farmers. So, we roamed around the country side after school was over.

 One thing I loved to do was to climb in the willow trees on the dykes, or go to a meadow and pick flowers, and make a crown of buttercups or daisies and make a necklace, or bracelet or put them in our hair. Today, that is still the first that comes to my mind when I see buttercups.

What is something that comes immediately to your mind from your childhood years?


Beth Niquette said...

I always remember the forts we built in the forests of our childhood--when people hear the stories of that time, they say it sounds like a fairytale--indeed, today I imagine it would seem like that. Those were different times.

Some of our relatives came from The Netherlands--I suppose that is where we got all that blond hair!

Stephanie V said...

I remember my mother helping me to draw and color extra ball gowns for my paper dolls. I always thought she was the best artist. And her crayoning was exquisite.

My daughter-in-law is from a Dutch family...she always makes Speculaas for St Nicholas day.

California Girl said...

Visited Delft during my travels through the Netherlands in 1971. I had a friend living in Den Haag and he and I and my backpack partner had a ball. LOVED it all. So beautiful. Hope to go back one day. I wanted to see the Delft pottery, so popular from youth. It is still quite pretty.

The Dutchess said...

Rozebottlejam..daar heb ik geloof ik op mijn eentje wel een hele karrevracht van op..:))En gebreide borstrokjes..haha,kriebelen dat die deden..gestopte sokken,wie doet dat nu nog..en ondergestopt worden in een bedje met stijf gestreken lakens. :))
Fijne dag..

EG Wow said...

I always wondered why the Dutch wore wooden shoes. Makes sense that the wearers wouldn't sink so fast in the wet soil.

The dike broke in 1953?! Hmmm. I bet the Netherlands is very concerned about global warming and the rising of the oceans!

Many of my childhood memories involve my grandparents who lived a few houses down from where I grew up. I remember eating juicy purple plums in the shade, the aroma of REAL butter when I walked in the back door, the smell of Lava soap in the kitchen where my grandfather washed his hands before lunch and dinner, the sight of my grandparents beautiful rock garden, the taste of delicious salads and fresh cooked vegetables.... I could go on and on!

Nora said...

Eating cherries out of a paper bag in the orchard from the farmer and being covered in cherry juice and loving them so much.

jeannette said...

How fun and how much freedom! But like you say, a few decades can make a lot of difference!
Interesting -what is the Dutch side's last name? Of course, Scandinavians are also known for their blond hair:)

What an endearing memory of your mom -one to hold onto! Yeah, I've heard that the artist-moms are considered the fun ones, because they're the ones who come up with the wild ideas (adults think that, LOL).

California Girl,
I love to roam through Delft -it's such a picturesque city with so much history. The Delft Blue factory is worth a visit
I can tell you like to travel!

I lived in Den Haag in my student years and I married there too. Also 5 years later I lived at the beach (in Scheveningen) just for
1 1/2 years.

The Duchess,
Didn't realize that you were Dutch! Hahaha, how funny I finally discover this after all that time! Maybe because your stories flow so well in English!
Rosebottlejam, home made I gather? Yes, a fresh ironed sheet feels so good!

EG Wow,
Ugh, you bring up one of the "weak" sides of Dutchmen -they're such worriers! Living in the States has made me see this, because I was one of those who worry about everything!
You had some amazing grand parents, who gave you many beautiful memories!

Haha, I can see it in front of me! You must love the saying the that "life is a bowl of cherries"?

The Mommy said...

I love those porcelain artifacts:)
I grew up in a city built in the middle of desert so I remember playing all day long in a lots of fine dessert sand:)

Lynette said...

Jeannette, thanks for sharing these beautiful memories from your childhood and I enjoyed reading these so much. One of my favorite memories is running out in the yard at dusk and trying to catch the lightning bugs(fireflies). Those were fun times.

Doowmée said...

One of my childhood memories the strongest, climbing trees with my brother Gerald, mostly oaks, go to the ends of branches, and jump onto the next tree. Climb on the facades of old houses of stone like the climbers with their bare hands but a few decades before them ...
We were kind of wild children, and when we keep the goats we were inventing games more dangerous one than the other not to get bored.
Fortunately, my parents did not have a TV, if not God only knows what we could invent.
In 1970, more than a meter of snow had fallen on France, my mother had made a sled with an old four-horse hood and we glided through the woods, taking off on several meters of talus which served as springboards natural, and my mother slipped with us. Yes, it's this one, without hesitation my best childhood memory and extraordinary.

jeannette said...

The Mommy.
Thank you, Friend! Sand is a very versatile"building material" -we can make anything we want to!:)
Did you ever hear of artists at the beach who make very elaborate sand castles? (you can probably google it)

I can see the little child chasing after the fire flies!! Maybe you are still trying to catch the light, but now in your paintings?
Yes, I am glad I wrote this post -had no idea people would come up with so many different experiences in childhood!

You and your brother sound like you were Tarzan, going from one tree to another!
I agree, too much TV kills creativity and makes kids passive.
That's a lot of snow for France! Your mother sounds very inventive:) and fun, sledding with her kids!

DawnTreader said...

I like blue and white porcelain too.

In Sweden as well wooden shoes were very common - I've had a number of pairs myself (only the bottoms made out of wood though, with leather on top).

Clytie said...

Ooooh, you're right - I love the Delft hearts! I went on a whirlwind tour of Holland back in the 80's and found it to be enchanting - from the tulips to the windmills to the very interesting urban areas. Our tour bus ended up going the wrong way down a one-way street, and creating a huge traffic mess.

We did not have TV much, and grew up playing in the forest behind our house.

So many memories.

I would like to use your Delft hearts in my next Guest Heart Thursday, may I? I also notice your buttercups harbor a very beautiful heart that I would like to share ... :=}

young-eclectic-encounters said...

My grandparents immigrated from Holland so I grew up with Delft blue and reminders of Holland even though I never lived there. I think it is wonderful to have family heritage passed down. I now have some of the memorabilia and my children have made their requests to me.
Johnina :^A

jeannette said...

Blue as well as the cool colors seemed to be favorite colors in Scandinavian countries (that's why I like Ikea)...were the wooden shoes made in Sweden first totally made of wood?

Yes, I can imagine the traffic mess - especially in major cities are a lot of one-way streets (like here now). Holland has changed a lot - cities are much bigger, and many more foreigners and other religions.
I already replied about the hearts -am jazzed you are going to use 'em.

I know what you mean, my kids 12, 4 and 2 when we came to the US, but they don't want to give up their Dutch citizenship even though they married Americans, and my daughters have knick knacks with Delft blue, etc.
Hope you'll get the chance to go to Holl. one time (if you haven't before) to see the Dutch painters, the windmills and tulips, and a cheese factory, etc.

Rosie said...

I've really enjoyed reading your childhood memories and your dishes and biscuit mould are so pretty. I love windmills:) I have a little pair of ceramic clogs similar to yours given to me by a lady from Holland after I'd helped her do some research into her family tree - her ancestors came from Holland to Lincolnshire in the 19th Century to grow tulips there :)

Pam said...

My husbands father was born in Den Haag. And so we learned a lot about the Netherlands from him and his family. My husbands wooden shoes sit on our kitchen floor, as a reminder.

A Lady's Life said...

It is amazing that you did the same things I did in Canada. My favorite tree was a willow and I'd sit for hours on end up there cause no one could see me up there. and I also had these yellow flowers we would check to see if they colored our chins with. I love the blue and white china.We had no dykes but we did have the back river which had a dam and I'd ride down there on my bike. This was in Montreal.Between the stones we'd find lots of crayfish and the odd black snake would slither by.
Then we had the Wonderful Expo 67 which brought so much excitement to our city It was like going to Disneyland.

jeannette said...

Thank you, Rosie:) Yes, windmills stir up one's imagination! How interesting that the purpose of the lady you knew was to grow tulips!

I married in the Hague! -My wedding pics are in front of the Peace Palace (International Court resides there). Has your hubby been to Holland? It would be worth the trip, you understnad so much more of the culture when aoy're going there yourself:)

A Lady's Life,
Thanks for sharing your memories! Sounds you were a tomboy too and had a lot of adventure, like I did LOL Too bad for us, kids do have to grow up:)

Donna said...

We would build little houses under the hedges...they were our forts and secret...gardens. We played "cars" a Lot!Hahaa

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jeannette: Wonderful stories from your childhood. BTW: Wear the hat in your side board, you look good.
I will always remember the mountains of Pennsylvania. I love nature and always will.

ayamlin said...

Hi! I like this dish:)
I stoped by Holland for transit.
but I haven't gone sightseeing there.
I wanna go there someday!

jeannette said...

They must have been big hedges! Secret you were spoiled:) If you played "cars" a lot, I wonder if you had a brother (don't have to answer that).

Thank you, Tom:) It seems everyone I know from Pennsylvania loves it there! I thought you would mention a certain fishing spot as your favorite pastime!

thank you for your visit. The things where Holland is known for is best to visit - the tulips of course (but they only bloom late April and May), Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
Wind mills, making of cheese, Delft is absolutely adorable, many houses from the 17th century, and the Delf blue factory. Close to Arnhem (it's close to Arnhem, close to Germany) is the Open Air museum where there are whole houses set up in 16th and 17th century, also windmills, and even little pastries to eat.

clippingimages said...

thats a cute little clog!

Dick said...

I remember the endless summers and playing outside with my brothers and sisters. Also think about Christmas when my mother used to make special things for dinner. The things she made are all days things now,we all had our own candle on the table, funny to think about it.

jeannette said...

Clipping Images,
Thank you for visiting my blog! Sorry to get back so late, I was on a week of vacation!

Since I had two younger brothers, I had my own set of friends:) I like your childhood memory about Christmas time - neat detail about having your own candle!