Ronald Regan, former U.S. President
was nicknamed "Dutch"

Stamford, CT

"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 Stamford, looking
lost. Old Stamford is dead center in new Stamford which is a sea
of modest height, 20-story office buildings built within the past
20 years. Interspersed among the anonymous grey-white facades are
a few architecturally interesting, cubist-looking structures. Oddly,
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 retorted,
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 there now
and I'll take you there."

"Oh, no. I know it's not there; it must be somewhere else."

"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 going
right now, and I know the hotel is just over there, about three
blocks from here. When I got to town, a couple of hours ago, I
spent almost 45 minutes driving around the periphery of Old
Stamford, trying to find the Holiday Inn. I asked the police
where it is, and they pointed me towards the building but I
couldn't find it. Finally, I asked a passing cab driver, who
guided me down the road until I was next to the hotel. So, I
understand how you can be having difficulty finding your way

"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 here,"
I said, pointing in the opposite direction, "Main Street heads
east. The street is divided by this park and that
Department Store."

"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 last
vestiges of the real Old Stamford: Post Office, Saloon,
Barber Shoppe and cobblestone walkway, we introduced ourselves
and explained what we were doing in Stamford. Caroll was here
with a group from his factory division in Holland for a week
long training session, sponsored by his company, Phillips.
Caroll's group was being trained in efficiency management as
applied to inventory and warehouse control.

Earlier in the day, his group had won an award for the best
presentation during the competition, which involved company
groups from Holland, Brazil, China, Singapore, France and
the United States. Caroll said that his group had prepared
their presentation back at the office, using PowerPoint
and presented using laptops and computer video projectors.
As a reward, each member of his group was given a framed
print of an original painting. That explained the kraft paper
wrapped packages everyone was carrying with them. At first it
looked like they had all received care packages in the mail
today. I asked Caroll to describe the painting. He said that
it was sort of abstract but the upper part of the picture showed
a city skyline, but not exactly New York City. The bottom of
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 your
presentation," I said. "Where I work we have five software
packages: PowerPoint, PowerPoint, PowerPoint, PowerPoint and 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, Jan."
he announced, raising his Budweiser bottle high in the air.
"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.

I do.

"Oh, right." he says. "Now I get it."

He then gives me a lesson in the proper pronunciation of each
name, in Dutch. VON-RENZZ-EH-LAIR and SCHD-TOODT, the ending
sounding like OT as in HOT.

Caroll goes off to "speak with his brother-in-law".

"Your brother-in-law's here?" I ask.

"Yah, in here." he says, pointing to his zipper.

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: "M-E-I-N-D-E-R-T,
last name P-E-L. He writes his name and address on a napkin
for me and asks me to do the same.

"I'll send you a postcard when I get home." he states.
"From Hoogeveen; I promise!"

Meindert says that he has nine brothers and sisters and that he's
the middle child, with four brothers on one side and four sisters
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. Constant
activity, constant noise and lots of it. Now, when I'm home, and
if I find myself alone, I just can't deal with it. Immediately
I turn on the t.v., the radio, the stereo, everything I can find
that makes noise. And I don't even listen to any of it. I just
need all the noise around me, to fill the room. And yet, I can't
sit still. I need to move around, do something. You know what
I mean?"

"Uh, sure." I reply.

"Holland's very liberal, you know." he tells me.

"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. Leave
you alone. Of course, you've got to be right. Same with the bosses.
If you're right, and he's wrong, you tell him. 'Screw you, boss!'"
he says.

"Unfortunately, it's not like that here." I explain.

"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 fired
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 could be
different, if you're really correct about what you're saying.
If you prove you're right, you'll probably get respect, in the

"Yah, that's it!" he says.

"You have to be right! If you're wrong, you don't get punished,
you just get ignored. If you're wrong, then the next time you
speak up, no one pays you any attention." he explains to me.
"Holland is very tolerant. I like it there." he says.

I drain my Pete's Ale and say gootnicht to Caroll and Meindert
and wish them well on their trip tomorrow to NYC. They're taking
a bus tour from Stamford at 7:00am which will bring them to the
city where they'll get on board one of the open air buses for a
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, actually
there's one more, a friend of Jack 'Legs' Diamond. The real
Dutchman, 'Dutch' Schultz."

"Yah." they reply.


Copyright 1999
Jan Galligan
All Rights Reserved
Last modified 12-12-99