Happy 4th of July!

One summer day in 1970, my mom accompanied me on a daytrip to Charlestown, Rhode Island for my interview for a teaching position. Paul and I would be moving there in a few weeks and I was anxious to find a job! While Mom waited for me, she picked up a nickel in the parking lot and held onto it, wishing me good luck in my first job interview.

The superintendent and I got along well and I was thrilled when he offered me the job—5th grade classroom teacher. It never occurred to me that my Canadian citizenship would be a problem–I had been a United States permanent resident since we moved from Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada in 1963. I had a Massachusetts teaching certificate and expected to apply for the Rhode Island certificate. To my surprise and relief, my new superintendent said he would apply for a variance. In other words, he had tried unsuccessfully to find a United States citizen and needed to fill the position. Luckily, it all worked out. When I met Mom outside, she handed me the nickel and congratulated me on a successful interview.

Not only did I feel lucky that day, I soon realized that I might not be so lucky again. Paul and I planned on moving in a couple of years to further his education. I knew I needed to become a United States citizen so that I could continue my career. In September 1971, I applied for citizenship.

I don’t recall taking a written test, but I do recall studying for an interview. There may have been questions about the Bill of Rights. And that was ok. But then I was asked to name my state and local representatives and senators. Oops! I quickly admitted that I couldn’t name them, but that as soon as I become a citizen, I’ll be sure to learn all about them! Somehow, miraculously, the focus in my interview shifted to teaching and I was greatly relieved. My interviewing officer’s daughter was having difficulty in reading. Before I knew it, we were chatting about instructional strategies that might help her.

Shortly after my interview, on October 27, 1971, in a courtroom in Providence, Rhode Island, I became a United States citizen. I received a flag lapel pin, a Certificate of Naturalization, and congratulatory letters from Governor Frank Licht and Senator Claiborne Pell. In addition, I received a very special gift from a friend at my school. She was taking a course in ceramics—a popular hobby in the early 1970s. First, she made a mold of the American flag and then painted it for me. Etched in clay on the back, she wrote, “Here’s to Courage” Nancy “71” It was 48 years ago; I was 22.

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!

Leave a Reply


3 years ago

Never thought about your citizenship! You are full of surprises and successes!


3 years ago

Thanks, Linda! Have a great 4th of July celebration today!

Joan Spencer

3 years ago

What a great story! Enjoy the July fourth holiday!


3 years ago

Thanks, Joan. Have a great July 4th celebration with your family!

“there is no one like YOU”

You’re Here–Welcome!

My name is Bonnie. My parents adopted me when I was 8 months old. I’ve written a memoir about my life and the difficult search for my original identity. After 35 years, I have my answers!
I hope my story is an inspiration for you or someone you know who is searching for their birth parents and family ancestry.

Which came first–the chicken or the egg? Or in my case–the book or the blog?

Good question!  The book came first. My blog has the same name as the book. Each blog post tells you something about me. By nature, a memoir is personal. My persistence to find answers to my identity and write a memoir was a soul-searching, personal journey. It’s sad at times, but often fun and joyful.

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