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FITTING INTO A CULTURE

by William S. Barker

While stationed with my parents in Germany during the 50s, we took several trips to the Netherlands. During one of the trips, we stopped in a Dutch village that had a store where our parents could photograph us in traditional Dutch outfits. I was about 7 and my sister was about 5 - too young to be embarassed at being seen like this! Because it was off season with few tourists around, the store owner let us walk down the street while our parents filmed us. My sister at the time had thick blond braids, and walking hand in hand in wooden shoes, we really looked Dutch.

At that moment, a military tour bus drove up, stopped, and everyone in the bus jumped out and started filming and photographing us. By the time my parents arrived, everyone piled back into the bus and took off.

Years later, my father was stationed in Turkey on an unaccompanied tour. He and his buddies were sharing photographs of their travels through Europe. At one point, one of his buddies got very excited and pulled out a "great photo of typical Dutch children in traditional outfits" he took. My father looked, gasped, and declared, "Those are my kids!"

 

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