On not being Dutch


Taped to the sides of their metal desks

lists on pink post-its written in sixth-grade-girl-bubble-hand 

names of golden-haired girls all starting with Vander

Vanderzee, Vanderbaan, Vanderbeek, Vansomeren.

The friend list I never made

having hair and eyes the color of earth

and a last name that forms deep in the  throat like mucus,

something that must be spat out in order to be heard.

When I complained, my mother told me

 how she used to hide her lunch in her lap 

so they wouldn’t see her dirty-wop-sandwiches

made with the thick dago bread

Grandma punched in with her own brown knuckles

the kind my mother can’t quite reinvent with her bread machine.

But back then, she lusted after their white, poreless slices of wonder.

 Later, I learned Vander wasn’t a blessing doled out from Nordic gods.

It simply meant from the.

The golden haired girls were not from the heavens.

They were from the hills, from the creek, from the swamp, from the earth.

From the same dust and clay as me.

About Heidi Stauff

Ultimately ending up in Atlanta, Heidi's creative impulses followed many paths. She delivered middle-class, white-girl, angst to tens and twenties of Generation-Xers through the now defunct rock-band, Belljar. She designed hundreds of dresses for Disney-bound little girls. She birthed two babies she now homeschools, lost and then found her faith again, and writes about all of it in her free time: which is usually after midnight with a glass or three of wine.
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5 Responses to On not being Dutch

  1. Yay! She’s back!!

    I’ve missed reading your work — all the dust and clay of it — and I’m looking forward to more.

    And I mean that “from the bottom of my heart”. (Vanderhart?)

    Happy blogging!


  2. Thanks James! Glad to see you are still on here! I got distracted for a little bit but plan on writing more regularly now.


  3. Bela Johnson says:

    Nice write, Heidi. Have missed your lovely writing!


  4. We immigrants will always be the ones, “From somewhere else.”


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