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Thursday, February 13, 2014

A year In the Life

Typical US/Mexico Border Crossing

For some of us every year of our lives is historic, for others the years go by with minimal notice.  I guess it’s a matter of choice and placing the appropriate value and importance on a given year.
For my family 1955 was a very significant and historic year.  We didn’t realize how significant the year would be until Thursday September 15th when we showed up for an interview at the immigration office (located at the border crossing and on the USA side).  We had anticipated the interview for some two weeks, but over a year and a half we had attended so many interviews with hope in our hearts only to be told that we needed more supporting documents.
This time the meeting was different in that the gentleman that met with us was all smiles, and while we had met with him previously, this time around he wasn’t all stiff and strictly business.  If I had been able to guess at the reason for his happy disposition, I would have to say that he was experiencing a very satisfying and happy day.  What we didn’t know is that we were about to get the best news ever and it was my family that would be having a very happy day. 
He mentioned that we were going to go through one final interview, and if that went well, we would be receiving our Permanent Residency Green Cards on that day.  The final interview consisting of making sure that the adults in the family had not committed any crimes since the last interview.  Also that we were not in the middle of any legal action against us.  Happily we passed with flying colors, and we were handed a government envelope with what would change our lives and futures forever.  I felt like we should just keep going north and leave everything behind, but what did I know, I was just a kid.
We went back home and my father contacted family in Los Angeles to arrange for someone to transport us to our new country and home.  We also had to return the rental house that we lived in, and except for a few items of importance my parents gave away about 75% of our belongings, including furniture and clothing.
For my family everything going on in the US during this year was alien to us (no pun intended) for those of my readers that already lived in the USA, this is what was happening that year.
  • Movies:  The Seven Year Itch –with Marilyn Monroe; Mr. Roberts- with Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell, and Jack Lemmon; East of Eden-with James Dean, Julie Harris, Raymond Massey.
  • Popular Songs: McGuire Sisters, “Sincerely”; Bill Hayes, “The Ballad of Davey Crockett”; Perez Prado, “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossoms White”; Bill Haley and His Comets, “Rock Around The Clock”; Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Sixteen Ton.”  Chuck Berry gained immediate success with his first release, “Maybelline,” which is followed with many more hits including; “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “School Day” (1957), and “Johnny B. Goode (1958).”
  • On September 30th Actor James Dean, twenty-four, is killed when he crashes his Porsche roadster.  November 16th the option owned by Sam Phillips of Sun Records on Elvis Presley’s recording contract is purchased by the RCA Record Company for thirty-five thousand dollars.
That was the Pop Culture of that year (1955) that would soon become the pop culture of my new life.  Drastic changes that would tear our family apart awaited us in the years to come.  All those unforeseen changes and turmoil were never part of our plan for living the
American Dream, and yet because of very strong willed and hard working parents, they each individually carved out a share of the American Dream for themselves.  Looking back I can say, that I and my future family would be the ultimate winners of all my parents’ sacrifices.  The best is yet to come….

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