Today is Christa and my wedding anniversary. 20 years we’ve been married now. My gift to her were these two Delft Blue figurines, farmer boy and girl in traditional clothes kissing.
You can buy them in any tourist gift shop in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague in Swampyland. I bought mine in The Hague, Scheveningen Boulevard to be precise. There is a funny anecdote related to these figurines, I will tell you about it.
When I was little my grandma had two of these figurines above the fireplace, hers were smaller. I once asked her why she kept them there and she told me this funny story. She said in the old days a lot of married people had them in their house and they had a purpose.
In a time without television or internet people used to pop in at friends for unannounced visits regularly, for a cup of coffee and a chat. And as it wouldn’t be polite to send them away when they were having an argument or a fight these figurines came in helpful. Everybody knew that at one glance they could be either welcome or not.
When they were like in the picture, kissing, everything would be alright and you wouldn’t have to worry about staying. When they were back to back however, a friend would be hurrying back to the door and leaving as the couple in the house needed time to settle their differences, continue the fight or make up.
For the past 20 years Christa and I had two little Eskimos serving that purpose but I can’t remember we had them back to back ever even though we all know in a marriage there are arguments every now and then. Luckily for us we never had to turn them back to back should there be a chance of a friend ringing the doorbell.
And now these two cute little Delft Blue dolls will serve for that purpose for the next 20 years, the Eskimos were chipped and worn after the first 20 years. All for a laugh of course, we’re not really seriously keeping this tradition and you probably will never see them back to back ever when you come in. You are welcome to come in.
I have no proof the anecdote my grandma once told me is really true though. I have checked the internet and some old folks I know from where I grew up. No one seems to know about the tradition of the two little figurines. Maybe my grandma had a wicked sense of humour and made it up. We will never know.