Issue 10

A large bonfire at dusk on flatland with a cornfield in the background.
Allegan County NYE bonfire. Photo by Jimmy K.

Out With The Old

By Kathleen Schenck
January 10, 2019

Holland Weekly is back after a restorative winter break. We hope you had some quality down time, too.

We continue to seek and share true stories told by real people. Too often we hear claims that all Midwesterners think, act, look, or vote a particular way. We hear this in the news but also in casual conversations with friends, family, or colleagues from other parts of the country.

Most recently, a piece from a Princeton history professor stated, “Though it is true that there are many Democrats in middle America who would never support Ocasio-Cortez’s basic agenda, Republicans and moderate Democrats should not underestimate what she brings to the table.” “Middle America,” usually capitalized, can refer culturally to the small town, white, middle class voter, or geographically to the Midwest. The two definitions are regularly conflated, and the term has become synonymous with conservatism.

But the demographics of small town USA have changed, as have perspectives.

Let’s remember that California, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, to name a few of the so-called “liberal bastions” on the coasts, voted for Senator Clinton in the 2016 primary. Michigan voted for Bernie Sanders, as did Indiana and Wisconsin, to name a few of the states with a supposed monopoly on “moderate Democrats.”

I live in Holland, and I am excited to see what newcomers Ocasio-Cortez and Michigan’s own Rashida Tlaib bring to the table. They’ve already brought hope, which is huge.

One-dimensional claims fail to paint an accurate picture of who we are as Midwesterners, and the painters fail to recognize our inherent diversity. Holland Weekly aims to combat these stereotypes by publishing articles written by the people who are living and breathing the stories they tell.

Holland Weekly chose as the cover photo for our first issue of 2019 a picture of a friend’s bonfire, shown above, in Allegan County on New Year’s Eve. May we all ignite warmth and leave behind the gray ash of rotted wood. Here’s to the new year.


Holland Weekly welcomes your letters to the editor at hollandweekly@gmail.com.

A family picture features a mom, dad, 3 daughters and a son, all African American and dressed in yellow and green.
The author Lindsay Cherry with her family. Photo by Cassandra Brewster’s Blink of an Eye Photography.

The Kinderparade: We Have A Problem

By Lindsay Cherry
January 10, 2019

As we near the 90th year of the Tulip Time Festival to celebrate Holland, the tulips, and Dutch Heritage, my husband and I, like many other parents in this community, have to once again consider whether or not our children will participate in the Kinderparade. Last year would have been the first time our son could have participated, and we chose to not make our child assimilate into a culture—into a tradition—that was exclusive of him. Unfortunately, he was sad about not being able to march in the parade with his friends. However, once we explained it to him, he understood why.

This parade is always exciting for children. For some it is their first time and for others their last time. Children from Kindergarten to 12th grade march proudly with their classmates while searching the crowd for their family, friends, and others they may know. For teachers and administrators, it is a little crazy making sure that everyone has the correct pieces, that there is enough water to go around, and God forbid it rains. For parents, they either have to find, buy, beg, or borrow a Dutch costume for their child and make sure that it is at the school with their lunch. Then parents wait eagerly for their child along the route to wave proudly and take their pictures. These beautiful pictures are held in the family scrapbooks and posted all over social media. There is a collection of photos of children from all different cultures, races, and religions in Dutch costumes.

This is unfortunate. This is a problem. And my husband and I have chosen, like many other Holland families, to not allow our children to participate in this exclusive tradition.

First of all, our public schools within the area care about all of our students so much that these expensive costumes are stored the entire year so that as many students as possible can participate by borrowing a costume. However, there are still not enough costumes, so it is first-come, first-served. This is not inclusive when Holland Public’s student population sees nearly 61% of our students receiving free or reduced lunch, which means that many of these students’ parents cannot afford a costume. Therefore, many students will not be able to participate in the parade.

Furthermore, approximately 59% of the population of Holland Public Schools is made up of students of color. Our diversity score is much higher than the state’s score. So we have hundreds of students who are not white or Dutch being forced to wear a Dutch costume in order to participate in the community’s parade. How is this any different than forcing new names, education, and religion on a group of people? Yes, it is on a much smaller scale. However, to the most vulnerable of our community, the message is being sent that your heritage and culture are not good enough to be put on display. So you must wear the Dutch costume and be reminded year after year that it is the Dutch way or no way.

One could say, So what? Then don’t participate.

But we are at a critical time in Holland’s history. We are getting ready to celebrate 90 years of the Tulip Time Festival. Our community has grown and changed, so our traditions need to grow and change. And if we are really going to live up to the Tulip Time Festival’s Mission, “To celebrate Holland’s tulips, Dutch heritage, and community,” then we must consider ways to be more inclusive of our community.

When I was a little girl, I was able to wear the costume with my beautiful brown skin and my black, curly, frizzy hair one year. I only got to wear the costume once, and that was because that was all that we could afford. Except for that one time, I didn’t participate in the parades. Also, even though I got to wear the costume and it seemed normal at the time, I can see now that it was just one of many events in my life where I practiced assimilation. I practiced it so much so that it became second nature to me.

The expectation that all children must wear a Dutch costume in order to participate in the Kinderparade is wrong, and brings a divide to our community. What a beautiful array it would be to see all of our children in their own cultural dress walking in the Kinderparade. Not only would it create a more inclusive tradition, but it would also send the message that Holland truly is about diversity and community. And that all are welcomed.

Lindsay Cherry is from West Michigan. She is a wife and mom, an activist and educator.


Holland Weekly welcomes your letters to the editor at hollandweekly@gmail.com.

A woman holds a casserole of bite-sized breakfast sausage links mixed with torn pieces of bread and eggs.
Connie Delumpa Hazlett with her homemade breakfast casserole. Photo by Kenna Hazlett.

French Toast and Sausage Casserole

By Connie Delumpa Hazlett
January 10, 2019

Ingredients

1 loaf Pepperidge Farms Cinnamon Swirl French Toast Bread
2 pkg Brown ‘n Serve sausages, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
8 eggs
3 C half and half

Instructions

Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
Tear bread into pieces into pan.
Cover with cooked sausage.
Whisk together eggs and half and half, pour over casserole.
Let sit a couple hours minimum or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake uncovered 40 minutes.
Serve with drizzle of maple syrup if desired.

As a busy mom of four, I love this recipe for several reasons, but here are four:
1. It is great to make ahead overnight and pull out on weekend mornings for an easy brunch treat.
2. Savory/sweet combination is a favorite.
3. It is embarrassingly easy to make.
4. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?


Have a recipe to share? Whether it’s a main dish or a side, simple or fancy pants, please email us at hollandweekly@gmail.com and help your neighbor cook something different tonight!

Madam puppy dog astrologer, Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.
Madam Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.

Sylvia Reads The Stars

Week of January 10, 2019

Capricorn Dec 23 – Jan 20

What silliness, oh Capricorn, surrounds you. Throw your head back and laugh.

Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 18

What’s the fastest way to your heart? Heathrow. Or visit a place closer to home you’ve never visited before. Variety does you right.

Pisces Feb 18 – Mar 20

What a piece of work is jam. Invite a friend for a homemade bread fest.

Aries Mar 20 – Apr 20

What fibs you told yourself last year took a southbound bus to start a band.

Taurus Apr 20 – May 21

What’s all this talk of poetry? Somebody turn on the game already.

Gemini May 21 – Jun 21

What riches, Gem! What joy to know your love is home.

Cancer Jun 21 – Jul 23

What light through yonder quagmire shines? You will persevere, sweet Crab.

Leo Jul 23 – Aug 23

What is there left to do but dance and re-dance?

Virgo Aug 23 – Sep 23

What snow! What show! The world marvels with you as you catch the light on diamond flakes.

Libra Sep 23 – Oct 23

What else can you rid yourself of? Diets? Harrumphing? Cynicism? That’s a fine start.

Scorpio Oct 23 – Nov 22

What eyes are yours, dear Scorp, that burrow into the souls of unsuspecting elk?

Sagittarius Nov 22 – Dec 23

What if you ran a race with the moon? What if you won?


SUBSCRIBE TO HOLLAND WEEKLY

Have Holland Weekly delivered to your inbox each Thursday when a new issue comes out. Email us at hollandweekly@gmail.com and write “Subscribe” in the subject line.

Thank you for your interest in Holland Weekly.