Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Immigration

My mother is an immigrant. A war bride from WWII. She came to the US, with my daddy, in 1948. My daddy went into the seismograph business, oil exploration.

It meant a lot of traveling. He wasn't wildcatting, he was just going around the country drilling holes and sticking explosives into the holes and blowing it up to see how the earth shook, under contract for various oil companies. I was born in 1949 and we moved alot, back and forth from Texas to Montana, all over the plains states, often just staying in one town for a couple of weeks. My momma, my daddy, and me, an infant baby.

My daddy was in business with his uncle, so there was some family visiting going on. This particular event I'm fixing to tell you about happened at rented Kansas farmhouse when my grandparents were visiting from Texas.

It was 1951. I was way too young to remember it. But it's been described to me often by both my parents and my grandparents. So, I know what happened.

My mother was a registered alien. It was the law that anytime she changed her address she had to go to a Post Office and fill out a little change of address from for immigration authorities. She did that. Pretty often. Sometimes two or three times a month, from two or three different states. The law said that's what she was supposed to do, and she did it.

One Sunday afternoon during my grandparents visit, the four of them were in the yard of that Kansas farm house, sitting under a shade tree eating watermelon. Four cars came roaring into the yard, with FBI agents pouring out after they stopped. They took each of the four adults off separately for interrogation. Every one of my relatives who's told me about it told me they were very, very scared. These FBI guys had guns and they were nuts.

It seems that my mother had been moving too much, whatever that means. It was 1951, the war had been over 6 years, and the Nazi's were all either dead or in Argentina, but, hey, maybe she was a Nazi spy. I mean, the FBI had to protect those ports in Kansas from Nazi saboteurs.

These people were Americans. Clearly Americans. Except for my mother, lifelong Texans. No possibility of confusion. My daddy was a WWII vet. My grandparents both grew up on west Texas ranches. Even my mother had worked for the US Army for 3 years during the occupation. Cowboy hats, hard hats, horses, and Chevy pickups.

Imagine what it's like to be an Arab in the United States today and have turbans and camels rather than cowboy hats and horses.

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2 Comments:

Blogger TexasJackA8 said...

"Imagine what it's like to be an Arab in the United States today and have turbans and camels rather than cowboy hats and horses."

To be a member of an untouchable and unscrutinizable group (at least by the U.S. media)? I imagine not half bad. Visit any mosques lately Gary? Have any idea what is said by a typical emom (sp?) Of course not. Wake up or buy a prayer rug.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

Normally when a reader misses the point I think that I probably didn't make my point clearly.

I don't think that's the case here.

Thanks for the comment though, I'll work harder at making my point clear in the future.

10:16 AM  

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