Author Archive

A Summer of Unfinished Business

By Alie Wiegersma Smaalders

“I feel like a princess,” was my reaction to life on board an ocean liner from Rotterdam to New York. It was July 1951. I was twenty-seven. I came to the U.S. with other Dutch “Fulbrighters” for a year of graduate study. To prepare us for academic life we spent the

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War and Flowers

By Alie Wiegersma Smaalders

1933: The year Adolf Hitler is given emergency powers.

1933 it says on a photograph in my red leather-bound album. I lived in a small town in Fryslan, a northern Dutch province. For myself and for nineteen other nine-year-old girls it was the year that the town’s photographer came to snap a picture of our singing class,

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Life After Herbert

By Alie Wiegersma Smaalders

Genevieve Heller was on her knees, weeding. The soil, black and soft after the recent rains, let go of the weeds readily. Her fingers tightened around the base of a blooming filaree. Such pretty rose-lavender flowers. Sorry, filaree, out you go.

She swept her hair away from her face with the back of her hand. Her knees hurt. Every time she moved along the border, her knees hurt more.

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The Sky Was A Brilliant Blue

By Alie Wiegersma Smaalders

Little Eva, her dark blond hair in pigtails, tagged along when her mother worked for the Sondervan family. The Sondervans had two maids and a cleaning lady, but Eva’s mother took care of special chores like washing the antique china or laundering the lace curtains. Everything in the house gleamed: the wooden floors, the tall windows, the copper kettles, the brass andirons, the silver candlesticks.

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Twenty-One Minutes Before the Hour

By Alie Wiegersma Smaalders

“It’s twenty-one minutes before the hour.”

The radio announcer’s voice is cheerful, but the words sound ominous. Before the hour of what. Death? I shudder.

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