Friday, September 24, 2010


My trip to Holland was different. Somebody sometime in that spring of 1983 decided it would be great to take a trip with Mom, Aunt Helen and Aunt Min, to see the tulips. For a long weekend, during the middle of my finals week at UW-LaCrosse. You did figure out that we only went to Holland, Michigan, right?

Aunt Helen, who I have previously mentioned, was Mom’s older sister and best friend, and my second mother. Aunt Min was the wife of Dad’s older brother Fritz. I was all of twenty-one years old, and they were all much older (I could figure out how old they were at the time, but that wouldn’t be nice).

In our quest for accommodations the first night, we initially stopped at a dingy hotel in a questionable neighborhood near Chicago. I don’t know what Mom was thinking by even bothering to pull in and look. And then she told me I had to come with her, as if I was going to protect her from the thugs in the ‘hood; we left the aunts in the car. The desk clerk did let us look at the room before we took it, and Mom gave her the excuse that the beds were too small. I was thinking, “Mom, just tell her this is a dive.”

The next hotel, the one we stayed in, was a Day’s Inn. Older, but clean and adequate. With a nice sturdy door with a deadbolt. And it had – I kid you not – a vibrating bed. I can’t remember which one of the aunts did it, but one of them had to stick a quarter in the slot and then they both laid there hysterical until the bed stopped bouncing them around.

I believe the founding fathers were a bit more serious. “On February 9, 1847, the Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte and a band of Hollanders founded the city of Holland.” So reads the sign put up by the Michigan Historical Society.

The city had quite a lot going on for that one week in May when the tulips are blooming in their most vivid colors. We watched the parade downtown, visited the De Swann Windmill and the acres of tulip beds, and toured the wooden shoe factory. To this day, I still regret not buying a pair. A dumb thing to regret, when now I could order those wooden shoes on line. Ok, I checked and they are way more expensive now than they were then (but isn’t everything?).

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