Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I thought I'd throw this out for what it's worth.
How many of you were raised in ethnic neighborhoods? This has nothing to do with race, but a neighborhood where most of the people came from another country, and settled here in parts of the U.S. For example, most of us take for granted that Wisconsin and Minnesota both have large populations of Norwegians and Swedish people.
When I was a kid, the folks bought a home right smack in the middle of a very large Dutch community in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Since we were not born with klompin (wooden shoes) on our feet we were not
familiar with the customs of the area at first, but our Scots-Irish family learned quick!
Sunday was a good example. Since the Dutch in our area belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church (Calvinist), they went to church, closed all the blinds in the house after church, and you saw no one out until Monday morning, not even your playmates. So Sunday after Mass we too, stayed inside! The homes were all white in our area, and the outsides scrubbed down in the Spring when the storm widows were taken down. So, we scrubbed ours as well! Saturday was baking day, and you soon learned which house had an old grandmother baking bread and sweet rolls. Myself and my Dutch buddies would knock on the back door and in our best Flemish, ask for a roll. Most of the time we got one. No shoes were ever worn in a Dutch home, socks only, and if you forgot, it was Hell to pay!
I really feel fortunate to have been raised around these folks, their cleanliness, and need for order has stuck with me, including some pretty good Flemish cuss words!!
I revisited the old neighborhood two years ago. Change took it's toll. As the parents of my friends died out, and the kids moved away, others, moved in. It is urban blight to the max!
One big contrast I have noticed between being raised in Michigan, and living in the south for 40+ years is
up there, when meeting someone new, the question would eventually come up "What country do your people come from?" Here in the south it's "Where do you go to church?" And then there's the old standard down here, "You're not from down here are you?" My answer, "No, but I couldn't wait to get here." They don't know  that I have roots planted deep in Mississippi!!!!!
'nuff said for now!

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