Sunday, July 10, 2011

E. T. Call Home by Margaret Ullrich

Last weekend we got a double dose of patriotism.
July 1 - Canada Day.
Followed by THE FOURTH of July.  It needs no other name.

We had a relaxed weekend.
On the first there were fireworks a couple of blocks from our house.
Our local representative put on the show at a school and sold pizza.
On THE FOURTH we watched A Capitol Fourth on PBS.
Fireworks up the wazoo.
Gotta love tax dollars - either Canadian or U. S. - going up in smoke.

Then on the fifth, we watched E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial on Space.
The flag-waving weekend and a homesick alien.
To me that was as good a match up as Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street.

No, I'm not being snarky.

I grew up in New York, the uber-American city.
I'd been born a British subject in Malta.
When I was 3 months old, my parents and I came to America.

Five years later, Pop didn't pay the extra $10 so I, along with the rest of the family, could be a U. S. citizen.
The U. S. government expected an Alien Registration form from me every year.
If Ma or I didn't remember, I could find myself on a slow boat back to Malta.
A pen pal like that is worse than Facebook.

Would I have felt more attached to America if Pop had paid the $10?
I don't know.
He didn't.
So, I was the family's alien.
Doesn't make one feel all warm and toasty.

First we settled in Corona, near relatives.
Then, two years later, we moved to College Point.
You guessed it.  July 1.

Both towns are on Long Island, but Corona was very Italian, while College Point was German/Irish.
I tended to be noticed in class pictures.

After almost 22 years of living in America, my new husband and I moved to Canada.
We left the country soon after he graduated from college.
You guessed it... while everyone was celebrating, we were crossing the border.

Well, who knew?

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