Ronald Regan, former U.S.
was nicknamed "Dutch"
"Albany is the capital city of New York and it
was settled in
1609 by the Dutch." I explain.
"Oh, then you and I must have the same uncle,
somewhere back in
history?", responds Caroll.
"Well, maybe." I reply.
I found Caroll wandering around the center of Old
lost. Old Stamford is dead center in new Stamford which
is a sea
of modest height, 20-story office buildings built within
20 years. Interspersed among the anonymous grey-white
a few architecturally interesting, cubist-looking
identity signs are scarce or small and hard to see.
"Excuse me," he said, "Do you know where
the Select Holiday Inn is?"
"Actually, I do." I replied. "In fact, I'm
staying there myself.
It's right over there." I said, pointing east.
"Oh, no." he said. "It's not there; I
know, I just came from there
and it wasn't over there. It must be this way." he
pointing to the west.
I pulled my room-card-key from my pocket.
"Look," I said, "I'm
staying at the Holiday Inn Select. I'm on my way back
and I'll take you there."
"Oh, no. I know it's not there; it must be somewhere
"Well," I said, "you can wander around the
rest of the night
trying to find the hotel; or you can come with me. I'm
right now, and I know the hotel is just over there, about
blocks from here. When I got to town, a couple of hours
spent almost 45 minutes driving around the periphery of
Stamford, trying to find the Holiday Inn. I asked the
where it is, and they pointed me towards the building but
couldn't find it. Finally, I asked a passing cab driver,
guided me down the road until I was next to the hotel.
understand how you can be having difficulty finding your
"Yah, that's true." he said. " I know it's
on Main Street."
"Right," I answered, "and this is Main
Street, right here.
Over there, Main Street goes off to the west, and over
I said, pointing in the opposite direction, "Main
east. The street is divided by this park and that
"O.K.," he agreed, "I'll follow you."
"Good idea," I said. "Otherwise, you'll be
walking around out
here all night.
Along the way back to the hotel, passing under the Macy's
parking garage, which had been decorated to resemble the
vestiges of the real Old Stamford: Post Office, Saloon,
Barber Shoppe and cobblestone walkway, we introduced
and explained what we were doing in Stamford. Caroll was
with a group from his factory division in Holland for a
long training session, sponsored by his company,
Caroll's group was being trained in efficiency management
applied to inventory and warehouse control.
Earlier in the day, his group had won an award for the
presentation during the competition, which involved
groups from Holland, Brazil, China, Singapore, France and
the United States. Caroll said that his group had
their presentation back at the office, using PowerPoint
and presented using laptops and computer video
As a reward, each member of his group was given a framed
print of an original painting. That explained the kraft
wrapped packages everyone was carrying with them. At
looked like they had all received care packages in the
today. I asked Caroll to describe the painting. He said
it was sort of abstract but the upper part of the picture
a city skyline, but not exactly New York City. The bottom
the painting had a few figures from the shoulders up and
a bunch of apples.
"Apples?" I asked.
"Yah, you know, The Big Apples."
"Oh, right." I replied.
"I know what you're saying about the software for
presentation," I said. "Where I work we have
packages: PowerPoint, PowerPoint, PowerPoint, PowerPoint
"Let me buy you a another drink," Caroll
offered. "I want to
pay you back for rescuing me. Here's to my new friend,
he announced, raising his Budweiser bottle high in the
"Prosse! Drink up!"
I take a large draught from my stein of Pete's Ale.
"We have two famous Dutch families in Albany,"
I tell Caroll,
"The Staats and the Van Rensselears."
"Huh?" he says.
I repeat the names.
"Spell it." he says.
"Oh, right." he says. "Now I get it."
He then gives me a lesson in the proper pronunciation of
name, in Dutch. VON-RENZZ-EH-LAIR and SCHD-TOODT, the
sounding like OT as in HOT.
Caroll goes off to "speak with his
"Your brother-in-law's here?" I ask.
"Yah, in here." he says, pointing to his
I get into a long conversation with Caroll's workmate who
tells me his name four times, but I never quite get the
pronunciation correct. He spells it for me:
last name P-E-L. He writes his name and address on a
for me and asks me to do the same.
"I'll send you a postcard when I get home." he
"From Hoogeveen; I promise!"
Meindert says that he has nine brothers and sisters and
the middle child, with four brothers on one side and four
on the other.
"You know," he says, I can't stand to be in a
room by myself. At
home, there was always someone around in the house.
activity, constant noise and lots of it. Now, when I'm
if I find myself alone, I just can't deal with it.
I turn on the t.v., the radio, the stereo, everything I
that makes noise. And I don't even listen to any of it. I
need all the noise around me, to fill the room. And yet,
sit still. I need to move around, do something. You know
"Uh, sure." I reply.
"Holland's very liberal, you know." he tells
"I mean, if you don't like what a policeman is
telling you to do,
you just let him know. You know, tell him to screw off.
you alone. Of course, you've got to be right. Same with
If you're right, and he's wrong, you tell him. 'Screw
"Unfortunately, it's not like that here." I
"If you do that to the police, they'll likely arrest
you on the
spot. And the bosses, if you speak out, you're apt to get
from your job."
"Even if you're right?" he asks.
"Well, with the police, it doesn't matter." I
say. "They'll take
you away, one way or the other. But with the bosses, it
different, if you're really correct about what you're
If you prove you're right, you'll probably get respect,
"Yah, that's it!" he says.
"You have to be right! If you're wrong, you don't
you just get ignored. If you're wrong, then the next time
speak up, no one pays you any attention." he
explains to me.
"Holland is very tolerant. I like it there." he
I drain my Pete's Ale and say gootnicht to Caroll and
and wish them well on their trip tomorrow to NYC. They're
a bus tour from Stamford at 7:00am which will bring them
city where they'll get on board one of the open air buses
day long tour around Manhattan.
"New Amsterdam!" they tell me.
"Pieter Stuyvesant," I inform them. "He's
the other famous Dutchman
from Albany, they named a shopping mall after him. Well,
there's one more, a friend of Jack 'Legs' Diamond. The
Dutchman, 'Dutch' Schultz."
"Yah." they reply.