It’s Difficult To Place A Value On Things!

I went flea marketing recently and I told myself: “Don’t buy anything, you have too much

My Flea Market purchase.

My Flea Market purchase.

stuff already. But, if you do buy, make it something very tiny.” I followed my advice and I only bought two, three and half inch tall, blue delft figurines of a dutch boy and girl. Anything representing our dutch heritage catches my eye including blue delft porcelain. I think what I bought are porcelain and making them even more interesting is the fact that they are stamped “Japan” on the bottom.

When I was a child, many things we bought were marked “Japan” and during the years 1947-1952 when the U.S. occupied that country the stamping read: “Occupied Japan.” story of Holland 10Today, most things say, “made in China.” I knew these figurines were not very new, and maybe even considered antiques. Don’t they say, if it’s over 50 years old, it’s an antique?  From the accompanying photo of my purchase, you’ll see why I like this couple. He with his traditional baggy pants and she with her dutch hat.

I know many women love blue delft and some may have extensive collections of this ware. It is found in many Dutch households and is enormously popular with tourists. Of course, true Delftware comes only from the city of Delft and has been an important export product from the Netherlands for 400 years.

My husband and I were fortunate to visit Holland while searching, rather quickly, for records showing the Updyke name. It was interesting to find my maiden name, Britt,

My husband's heritage has been traced in a book.

My husband’s heritage has been traced in a book.

mentioned more frequently than his. Burl’s relatives were among the early Dutch settlers in America. Louris Jansen opDyck, from Elburg, Holland, sailed here in 1659. I was interested to read that among the Dutch there are not aggressively mean spirited stereotypes. The Dutch-Americans value property, are inclined toward small business ventures, and are loyal people. The description fits my husband well, and myself, as a matter of fact. They all fit my husband except for one description, “generally humorless.” He has a wonderful sense of humor. I read that the Dutch people are the tallest in the world, with the men standing six foot, one and the women, five foot, six. That fits us, too.

I wonder if it was an early settler who said, “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much!”  The Dutch are exceptional in many ways. As a recent example, those spectacular roses of many colors are not sprayed, they are  produced from natural plant extracts that are absorbed by the flowers as they grow. They are bred to produce different colored petals and it was a Dutchman, Peter van de Werken who developed them at his Dutch flower company.

Getting back to my original subject on ShirlandYou. If I had known what I know now about Delftware being Netherlands’ important ceramic

If you haven't read the story, you should.

If you haven’t read the story, you should.

production, I would have looked for and purchased a delftware figurine of the fictional dike-plugging boy. I’m sure you all remember the story. One lovely autumn afternoon an eight year old boy was walking along the countryside when he was startled by the sound of trickling water. He looked up and saw a small hole in the dike through which a tiny stream was flowing. Any child in Holland will shudder at the thought of a leak in the dike. That little hole, if the water were allowed to trickle through, would soon be a large one, and a terrible inundation would be the result. You know the rest of the story, although evening was drawing near, he remained there with his tiny finger stopping the flow. A cold, dreary night settled in and no one passed by. He knew if he drew away his tiny finger, the angry waters would rush forth and never stop until they had swept over the town. This is the legend of the brave Dutch boy who put his finger in the dike to prevent a flood. Nearly everyone knows this story and although it is not a true one, it symbolizes the perpetual struggle of Holland against the water. Children reading it become aware of sacrifices that may become necessary in their life time.

What I remember most about Holland is water being everywhere, so much so that I felt

Water everywhere, even on both sides of the road.

Water is everywhere in Holland, even on both sides of the road.

unsafe. In Amsterdam, we visited a museum that documented the struggles, the loss of life, the horrendous flooding the Dutch people dealt with to save their country and how important the canals and dyke systems are in keeping it from being swept away, even today. The Dutch came because the future here promised more prosperity for them and their children in America than in Holland. I for one am glad they did.

Those tiny figurines I bought at the flea market represent history both here and in another country and that’s where their value lies. Hope you enjoyed Shirl and You. I’d love to hear from you.

That's me with the Dutch boy and girl. They may be tiny but they tell quite the story.

That’s me with the Dutch boy and girl. They may be tiny but they tell quite the story.

12 thoughts on “It’s Difficult To Place A Value On Things!

  1. Hi Shirl,
    I know what you mean about having too many things and not needing to buy anything. I keep trying to get rid of things and when I go to a flea market, I don’t purchase anything unless it is part of a set that I already have or something that I have been looking for. Lately I have been cleaning out things and getting rid of stuff. I feel like having too much “stuff” is sort of like extra baggage…. and it just gets in the way. I do like the tiny delft set that you bought. My sister went to the Netherlands many years ago and she brought me back a pair of blue delft earrings and they look like little dutch shoes. The blue and the white china is very pretty; and I have many other china pieces that are that style. Looking at things in a flea market or at a garage sale is always fun, and you never know what treasures you will find!

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    • You are so right about cleaning out and getting rid of all the stuff in our lives. I, too feel as if it’s load I’m carrying. My bring-home treasures are getting smaller, that’s because I can hardly chink in yet another piece in my china closet. Thanks for writing.

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  2. “I would like to go to Holland, wooden shoe?” ( wouldn’t you? ) That line came from a friend of mine years ago. He is gone now but I still remember his humor.

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    • I know you’ve always liked Delft, I think you’ve called it that “smeary blue look.” Hope you get to Holland and when you do don’t miss the town of Delft. Thanks for writing, Neen.

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  3. Your dutch boy and girl are a great find. We had a pair of kissing ones. I remember the story of the dike-plugging boy. This brought back many memories.

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    • The kissing Dutch boy and girl is a popular figurine. Most people remember the boy with his finger in the dike. Glad it brought back memories for you, Karen. Thanks for writing.

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    • Hi Linda: Burl asked just yesterday were you coming to campmeeting. Thanks for remembering us. We will try to be there. Thanks for responding to shirlandyou I look for your comments.

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  4. Yvonne Updyke Weaver I thought you would enjoy this picture in reference to your blog. ‘Caden representing his Dutch heritage’
    Yvonne Updyke Weaver’s photo.
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 1

    Shirley Updyke Now that’s adorable! Your boys are such good sports. He’s the best looking Dutch boy, I’ve seen in a long time. (How do you do it, Yvonne?)
    50 minutes ago · Like

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