rijsoord banner

(ook in vele Amerikaanse kranten: Orleans County Monitor 8-9-1890, The Abbeville press and banner 24-9-1890 etc)
Vermelde kunstenaars: Anna Page Scott

By Anna Page Scott

[illustratie: Bleaching for sunday]

One of the most interesting places in a Holland village
is the 'klompen' maker's shop, where klompen or wooden shoes, are made.
Not far from Rotterdam, surrounded by high dikes, lies the little village of Rijsoord; in that village, beside the Skalkydijk River, is a shop in which an old man and his son work early and late, supplying the peasants (who never go barefoot) with shoes.
These are first roughly shaped from the blocks of willow wood as a statue is first rudely outlined by chipping the marble block, and afterward the shoes are finished with sand-paper and pumice-stone.
The willow trees are grown for this purpose, and when they attain the required size, they are cut down, the branches are trimmed off and only the trunk is used, being divided into blocks, each one of which is the length of the longest shoe.
The work goes on without interruption through the morning, unless some friendly neighbor looks in over the half-open Dutch door; and this is one accarion seized upon by two men for refilling and lighting their pipes, and drawing a few long whiffs while they listen tot a little village gossip.
At eleven o'clock the good vrouw appears at the door with "koffij jongens" (coffee, boys) and they follow her into the adjoining room. It has a low, thatched roof of deep-yellow reeds, and contains the great fireplace, where in damp weather the fire to dry.
All their food is cooked in the same fireplace, excepting the bread, which in every peasant's home is supplied by the baker.
The shoes are piled round the smoldering embers, often with the tea-kettle simmering among them; and while the sap dries out, they give little groans, and sighs, as if they knew the hard fate awaiting them when the time shall come for them to cover the feet of some sturdy Dutch peasant or workman and to clatter over the pavements of the town.
After this morning's refreshment, which all peasants enjoy, they return to work.

[illustratie: in the workshop, making wooden shoes]

Sometimes among the piles of white shavings, there are customers waiting to be fitted with new shoes; and from the rows of shoes suspended from the ceiling, and across the side walls, for kinderen and grown folks, the right size always found.
The Holanders make so many uses of wooden shoes, one is persuaded tot believe the "Old woman who lived in a shoe, and had so many children she didn't know what to do," was a Dutch vrouw. The children turn shoes into boats, and paint them a rich deep brown, in imitation of the large boats which sail on the river Maas.
As they trim tiny sails of their ships, and launch them upon the waters of a sloot to some imaginary Van Diemen's land, not to be found in a geography, they seem possessed with the same spirit which inpsired the Dutch navigators od earlier days.
There are very many sloots (which are deep ditches full of water), used both to fence and to fertilize the land; so the voyage of the shoe may be a long one, and the owner of the little vessel will have abundant opportunity to indulge in dreams of future wealth to be realized "when his ship comes is".
The boats that one may see on the rivers and the coasts of Holland are not unlike the wooden shoes in shape, and the same model may originally have served for both.
The school-boy, heated by play, stops beside the nearest stream, pulls off his shoe, and fills it with water, which he drinks with as much satisfaction as if it were a delicious draught from a silver cup.
Wooden shoes are ornamental as flower-pots, and many a brught flower whose roots are firmly bedded in a shoe has graced the window of some peasant's cottage - a joy to the owner, and a pleasure tot he passing traveler.
They are useful as hammers, and it is not incommon to see a koopman (merchant) by the wayside, with a few taps of his shoe mending his cart, piled high with yellow carrots or little round Dutch cheeses, while dogs rest in the traces.
These shoes also take place of the obsolete birch-rod of our grandmothers'days. The

[illustratie: The wooden shoe as a drinking-cup]

good vrouw, in het quaint cap of spotless white, with gold spiral pins, called krullen, placed above the ears, does not look very much like such grandmothers as we have known, but her discipline resembles theirs in severity if not in kind.
During the week, after school hours, the little girls walk along the dikes in rows, knitting; and the clatter of their shoes, to an ear unfamiliar with it, is, except that is without the military regularity, like the sound of an advancing regiment.
Saturday is the great cleaning day in Rijsoord when everything is made ready for Sunday, the day of rest. The houses are scrbbed inside and out, and among the pots and kettles, are seen the wooden shoes; these, scoured snowy white, hang upon forked sticks near the doorway tot dry in the wind and sun as you may see them in the picture at the beginning of this article.
The morning brings the sound of klumpen along the dikes, and rows of peaple are seen walking toward the kirk. At the door they leave their shoes, like faithful servants, to await their return later, after a three hours sermon by the dominie.
In the afternoon, the young men and women stroll up and down the Pomendijk [= Pruimendijk], which is the "Fifthe avenue" of the village - its general promenade and meeting place. Theu exchange nods and friendly greetings until sundown, when the busy week begins again, and the woorden shoes take on their week-day coat of tan.

[illustratie: Drying shoes before the fire]

St. Nicholas (pagina 940-942)