Okay, we have tiptoed around the subject long enough. We looked over the Dutch kids postcards in a couple of columns recently, and we discussed postcard verse. But we have, except very briefly, evaded the subject of Dutch kids and poetry on postcards. We will repair this omission today.
As you may recall from previous episodes, the craze for postcards featuring Dutch kids (or, to be precise, kids dressed in Dutch costume and speaking whatever the postcard artist considered a Dutch accent, usually Pennsylvania Dutch, which was derived from German) prevailed mainly in the 1910s, with numerous postcard companies and artists and some business ads getting in on the trend. So far, no one has explained this to me, but this was an era when the united States was celebrating its diverse ethnic makeup by making fun of it. Much (not all) of this funning was good-natured, since immigrants bought postcards, too, and there was no sense offending a possible customer. This was especially acceptable, apparently, if the immigrant characters were children, as cuteness can sometimes defeat the general xenophobias of the human species. Sometimes, as seen in the postcard at the top of the column, the immigrant’s plight could be used by anybody who had moved to a new place and felt lonely
It also, as mentioned hereintofore, made for a way to state an obvious truth if you adapted it to an accent and put it in the mouth of a child. The sentiment here has an edge, which we enjoy even more because we have figured out the accent on our way to the punchline. (Giving your readers a chance to pat themselves on the back is good business.)
Of course, poetry was frequently employed in the cause of love, and the Dutch kids were very interested in the subject. This young lady is fairly modern ion her knowledge of germ theory, and romantic warfare.
This poet has taken the easy rhyme, using no real dialect in it, but if is short and simple.
But one subject which always moved the Dutch kids to verse was correspondence. The whole subgenre of “Sorry I Haven’t Written lately” and “How Come You Haven’t Written Lately” brought on numerous odes. (Note the use not only of Dutch dialect, but the pale blue and white tones associated with Dutch tiles. Not missing a trick here.)
The modern world, with its technological communication systems, offered a substitute, of course. (Of, what if our ancestors had been able to text each other? Why would the acronyms of textlingo have looked like if they had been mixed with Dutch Kid Language?)
And, of course, the unhappy child with an accent made nagging about such things acceptable. Could you get angry when confronted with a complain like this?
Or a heartfelt outpouring like this one?
This young lady goes even further, diagnosing the problem and offering a remedy. I am sure she went far in the brave new world of the twentieth century, even if in her case it was an accentury.