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August 09, 1941 - Image 1

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1941-08-09

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University Of Michigan Literary Magazine

... By Marion Allan

EY RED! Here's a Dutchman
with a note from the Boss!"
Red, the foreman, walked to
the circus hand who was standing beside
the stranger and read the office memo
he received:
January 20, 1935
This man is to be employed as a
worker on the tent crew for the com-
ing year.
"Glad to have you," he greeted the tall
blond fellow who was looking around in
the wide-eyed manner of immigrants.
"How much can you lift?" he asked.
"Thank you. I am very strong. I
used to lift the calf over the stile. Do
you think that is strong enough? Mine
uncle told me all about how wonderful
your circuses are here in America. They
travel so fast but are always ready for
"The only calf lifting is done by Mom
the elephant, so don't make her jealous.
We'll give you something else to do so
she won't hear about you."
One of the men about them stopped
laughing in time to offer, "Here, Dutch,
I'll show you where to put your bundle.
No, this way! That's the way to the
elephant house."
No one bothered to ask Dutch his
name while all the work of stowing
away the new tents was being done.
Neither did they take time to find out
when the Beaty and Cole train depart-
ed to roll across the country. It was
always, "Dutch, lend a hand" or "Here,
Dutch, it's time to eat."
Dutch used the names, Jack, Red or
Joe as he linked each to the faces about
him. There was no time to waste on
such details while he learned to drive
stakes, erect tents and draw the wagons
into line in the morning and then re-
verse the process late at night.
"It is like an art, this quick packing
and quick moving," Dutch said one night
as he looked up from a letter he was
"Sure, it's an art. We're all artists.
Our smocks come next week. But don't
forget to wear your *ants under 'em.
We'll be in the Windy City," grunted
Joe. "Writing to your mother? Or is
it a girl? Gimme her address if it is.
If it's to your mother, go ahead. If it
ain't, turn out that damn light!"
"Dutch is a good boy, Red." He was
teased at breakfast. "He writes to his
poor old mother twice a week. And puts
in a lot of kisses too. Them funy
marks are kisses, aren't they? Don't
know what else they could be."
"Yah, my poor old mother, she is
lonesome. I have lots to tell her about
this America and this circus. It is
like -"
"An art! Yeah. Come on, Rembrandt,
put your breakfast on the end of this
sledge hammer." Joe showed him the
spot for the first tent stakes.
Dutch had not lost his manner of
gazing around at everything about him.
He held the stake to allow Jack to start
it straight in the ground but his head
moved from side to side. He watched
the other hands who moved quickly to
Red's clear directions. His lips moved
as if he counted the steps taken by the
men. His eyes seemed to weigh the
bundles of canvas taken from the wag-
ons. His body had almost completely
turned in the direction of the main top

when a sharp thud by his side brought
his attention back to his work.
Jack's face was sweating under the
strain of trying to express his shock.
Finally he exploded with, "Man! I came
near breaking your arm! Can't you pay
attention? That stake is almost over on
the ground. You aren't going to be in
this wonderful country for long if you
don't watch out. You'll be under six
feet of it."
"To die is not bad if one has given
one's life for one's Cause," Dutch re-
plied steadily.
"That does beat the Dutch!" roared
Jack. "Hey, Bill! Guess what Dutch
said this time. He'd die for the dear old
The Windy City seemed to fascinate
Dutch even though Beaty and Cole did
not require the Stadium in the Loop
for their show but took a lot in the
squalid outskirts. Once as the hands
were carrying a part of the canvas for
the main top from the wagon Dutch let
his arms slip to his sides and he stopped
to look around. After a few steps the
others noticed him. They paused to
watch him as he counted the horses
working around the lot and the number
of wagons they were pulling into place.
It looked as if he were looking at the
numerous gray houses which peered at
the circus over one another's eaves.
"Poor Dutch, he ain't never seen so
many people living in one place, I bet.
I suppose he would think the money
they make is swell after living in Ger-
many," Joe commented. "Come on,
Dutchy. I'll take you to see some swell
joints after we're through here. But the
show's today, you know."
Being in the center of a small town

was equally pleasing to Dutch. When
the morning's work was over he would
wander down Main Street. The number
of pleasure cars was interesting but the
farm trucks seemed to please him high-
ly. Large transport trucks with their
running lights and trailers would lead
him to the edge of town. Automobile
transports had for him the power as well
as the colors of the Pied Piper. One day
Bill met him as he was hurrying along
the sidewalk to keep a gasoline truck in
"Oh, Dutch," he chuckled. "Go tell
that man he's losing something. That
chain hanging down there is going to
fall off if that guy don't know about it."
"Why that is for -" began Dutch then
he seemed to check himself. "Oh, I'll
let him find it out himself." Dutch
went on down the street.
"I wonder if Dutch is as dumb as
we think," Bill said to one of the others
when they were walking to their sleep-
ing car that night.
"I dunno. But he sure enjoys a good
fight. Remember the other night at
Terre Haute? He was the first one to
grab a tent stake when Jack yelled,
'Hey Rube!' He got about ten men and
I hadda pull him off one. Thought he
would mash him to a pulp."
The Beaty and Cole hands missed
Dutch for a while when he left them
after the tents were stored away. The
vacations they had while the next show
was being prepared gave them time to
forget him entirely except for occasions
the following spring when someone
wculd mutter, "The circus is an art,"
then chuckle to himself.

"Hey, Red! Here's a message from
Red the private wrote down the mes-
sage which the hurried radio operator
quoted from the code:
"April 30, 1941
"Prepare for immediate retreat."
Then he carried it into the tent, of
the Captain.
"This is the hardest order to give
these ANZAC's," the officer said as he
hurried out to fulfill the command.
The farmyard in which the company
had been stationed was cleared of tents
and guns. Trucks and caissons formed
in line on the southbound road. After
this the captain ordered, "Volunteers
for rear guard, forward two steps!"
The entire company stepped forward.
"I knew it!" the captain smiled. Some
of the lines on his face relaxed. "Count
by eights. Every eighth man step for-
The counting started and was droning
through the ranks when a roar seemed
to encircle them. Scouting cars and
smalltanks moved into a close forma-
tion around them. Guns were aimed
over the sides. An officer stepped from
the car closest to the captain.
"Heil Hitler!" he saluted. "You are
surrounded. Surrender now."
The Nazi soldiers placed their pris-
oners in small groups around the farm
house. Red found himself near the edge
of one of the groups. As the German
commanding officer strolled by with his
aides one of the aides noticed Red and
dropped back a few paces.
"Red," he called. "What are you do-
ing here? I thought the Americans
were not in it yet."
(Continued on Page 8)

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