On not being Dutch


Taped to the side of their metal desks

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

golden-haired girls with last names 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 back of your throat like mucus,

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

When I complained, my mother said

 she hid her lunch in her lap at school

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

wished for their white, tasteless slices of wonder

instead of the thick dago bread

Grandma punched with her own brown knuckles,

the kind she tries to re-invent now with a bread machine.


Later, I learned Vander wasn’t an incantation from a Nordic god,

a blessing of blonde curls and aqua eyes denied me.

It simply meant “from the.”

The golden 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 throughsinaisand

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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4 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!


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