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Tomorrow is our very special ANNIVERSARY.48 years ago! Coming to the U.S.A.

Monday, April 01, 2013

I would like my friends to know the story.
April 2nd was the beginning of an adventure for DH and I. It turned out to be a totally different lifestyle, and nothing we ever thought about. It just happened.

DH and I were newly married and we decided to look for another place to live. We were living in England at a time when the air was grey and polluted. Most of the buildings were the same color just a dirty grey.
We lived in a major industrialized area and we just wanted to find another place to live and raise a family. We wanted to live where there were trees and grass. Where we were living was a concrete jungle.

We actually had a park right outside of our front window. It was just a big patch of grass with a high railed fence and a path along all sides and there were 4 gates. There were no flowers, just grass and it was just a place to walk to escape the concrete. The houses were all joined together in long rows and they all looked exactly the same.

DH and I decided as soon as I had finished my exams we would look for another place to live. I finished my studies and passed my exams so now I could find another job too.

DH looked in the paper and applied for 2 places. One in England where we were and we looked for a job in Stratford -on-Avon, much further south and much less industry there. It had so much more countryside and plenty of clean air and trees.
DH wrote to his friend and told him he was hoping to work elsewhere. The friend was from the same area and he had been DH boss when they worked together. His friend had looked for a job in the US and he brought his family to Augusta Maine USA. DH friend wrote back and offered him a job in the US.
DH and I discussed it and we decided to go to the States and make some money and then we would be able to buy a nicer house in a better location than the one we had.

We had to go through so much Red tape. We were sent to the US embassy to apply for a visa. That was a 2 day ordeal answering questions being checked out for endless medical conditions. We had X-rays and blood work and questions from several people. We did pass all of our tests but we still had to be sponsored. The company DH was about to work for agreed to sponsor him for 2 years. DH had to agree he would work for two years and they had him sign a contract with them.
Then we were given our GREEN CARD, we were ready to begin our adventure.

We originally were to come to US by ship. The employer wanted us sooner. They wanted DH to fly out but I refused to stay behind and travel alone I had never even thought about flying till then.

The tickets were bought by the company and the date they gave us was APRIL 1st. I told DH in no uncertain terms I will not fly on a plane on April fool's day.
That is why our anniversary of Coming to America became April 2nd instead.
That was why we flew instead of coming by ship. We were only coming for 2 years so we left almost everything behind in England and brought only our clothes with us. We did ask for our linens and dishes to be sent by ship at the company's expense. I put very little in to that crate and we left most of our belongings behind.

April 2nd was a foggy day. A real Pea Souper as those foggy days used to be called.
We left in a very small plane and flew to London Airport. My very first flight and I was terrified but excited. I had never seen London, seeing it from the air was very interesting. Seeing so many other planes in the sky with us was definitely not to my liking. I was so happy to be back on the ground.

We went to the BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) baggage area and there was no-one there.
They were all on strike !.
At that point DH decided we were not going to the US we would stay in England.
I saw a man in uniform, obviously a pilot and I asked him if he could tell us what to do.
He was a Pan-Am pilot and took us to their counter and had our flight changed to Pan Am.

The plane was half empty because the strike had been on the radio some people stayed away. We had not thought to listen to the radio. We were too busy leaving to think about checking to see if the plane was on time.
The positive side was the plane was fully loaded with food and drinks and they were taking off on time with very few passengers. There were enough seats for people to sleep on. They just put seat belts on and slept across three seats.
We all had extra hot dinners and anyone wanting liquor could drink. The lady who sat with us had taken Dramamine and she drank and was fast asleep the entire flight.

We arrived in Boston early afternoon. Our friends picked us up in the biggest car we had ever seen. It was all so impressive.

We drove North to find a restaurant so we could relax for a while. Our next stop was in Maine at the L.L.Bean store in Freeport Maine.
I had never been in a store that is open ALL THE TIME, 24x7, every day of the year including Christmas.
It was such a big adventure. Driving up North and seeing miles and miles of road with no houses in sight. That just blew my mind.
There was still snow on the sides of the road , exactly like it is now on the same day of this year.

We drove in to their street and the little Cape Cod houses made of wood was such a surprise. I had only ever seen Brick houses in the UK or stone houses but never rows of wooden houses.

We went to bed in a room with baseboard heat and it was a cold night. We had never had a home with heating like this. We both had homes with fireplaces that used coal. Those baseboard heating units kept us awake all night. They also kept us way too hot and we did not like to open the windows.

The following day our friends took us to the apartment that they chose for us. We went in and they followed. As soon as they got in to our apartment they called their house to talk to their kids.
DH and I had NEVER had a telephone in either of our homes. Our friends gave their daughter the number to call back to be sure it was correct. It was correct.
They left us to explore our new home. Almost as soon as they left I decided to look at the phone. I picked it up and put it to my ear and there were people talking on it.
I slammed it down and DH was sure I had imagined it. He picked up the phone and listened and he heard a woman shouting in his ear, then he slammed the phone down and we just left it alone.

The phone rang a couple of times and we just ignored it. A while later our friends were back and asked if we had been out they had phoned several times. We told them the phone had a problem and it must be hooked up wrong. DHs Friend laughed and apologized for not explaining we had a temporary PARTY LINE.

Needless to say they had to explain what a PARTY line was.

Memories from that very first day of coming to America.
Pat still in Maine in the same city for 48 happy years AUGUSTA.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MILLISMA 4/5/2013 3:24PM

    Hi Pat,

I'm trying to get caught up and saw your blog that I had missed. What a great story. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

emoticon 48 years in America....sure are glad you're here!!!

hugs...Mary Anne

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MORTICIAADDAMS 4/4/2013 2:02PM

    Totally love reading this. It was so interesting!! You really must tell us more about your adjustment to life in America. When I was a kid we all had party lines. Some people liked to listen to other peoples' conversions on the phone. LOL.

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CHAIRUL 4/3/2013 2:44PM

    I LOVE this story! I'm so glad you came to America so I got the chance to meet both of you. And congratulations on your anniversary too! It's a testament to how two people,who choose well,can stay together for the duration. More people should take your example. You two are just the best! Much love to both of you always. Hope you are staying warm.Chilly this week!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUSTYNA7 4/3/2013 10:11AM

    In 1964 I came by ship from England in April. I'm not sure what date we set off but my 4th birthday was on the ship, April 8th. I have vague memories of it, but my mother was Canadian and 7 months pregnant with twins and my two younger brothers and I were British as was my dad. It was a ship with a lot of families with young children. I remember at one point they separated the passengers with a "tape" so the Canadians were on one side. My mother! And we were on the other side. I don't remember why but it was then that I decided I wanted to BE a Canadian. Although I'd been born in Cambridge while my Dad was at school, my two brothers were born in London within hearing of Big Ben (true Londoners) which meant I had spent several years there and I had a strong Cockney accent. My grandparents in Canada loved listening to me talk. I'm sure they could not understand most of what I said. They sent me on several trips every day to deliver messages between them in different parts of the house. After living in Ontario we moved to BC for a few years, then Texas in the US and finally back to Ontario. By that time I had lost all traces of accent and was determined to fit in so to this day I am very adept at picking up ways of speaking. Glad you came to North America. I would have emigrated via Quebec into the St. Lawrence River so you and I would have been ships passing in the night.

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GOANNA2 4/3/2013 7:33AM

    Happy arrival in America Anniversary. emoticon
I had applied to come to the US in 1967 but there was
a quota of only 100 visas and would have had to wait
2 years, so I applied to go to Canada instead and being
a Commonwealth country, got accepted in 6 weeks. I
often wonder what life would have been like in America.
I am really happy for you and to stay in one place for 48
years is really incredible. Good on you for living the dream.
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HIKERSAN 4/3/2013 6:11AM

    Wow Pat,

Thanks for sharing your story! I really enjoyed reading it. What a different life you live in the US. I have never been out of the country, unless you want to count Canada.

I am happy that you enjoy SparkPeople and have made so many friends!

Sandy


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123ELAINE456 4/3/2013 1:32AM

  Happy 48 Year Anniversary. A Very Beautiful Story. Enjoyed hearing about the life You had in England before coming over here. So Happy that You came to America and decided to stay and make it Your Home. God Blessings to You and everyone. Have a Nice Day. Take Care. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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ALIHIKES 4/2/2013 11:51PM

    Happy Anniversary! I loved reading your story and your experiences. I was just visiting my mom in California, who shared her experiences when she first came to the US (she married my dad after the war, and emigrated from New Zealand). It's a huge adventure and change! Glad you stayed

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GRACEISENUF 4/2/2013 11:28PM

    Loved reading about your adventure in becoming residents in America. You sure know how to tell a story!

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CRYSALLIS1 4/2/2013 10:52PM

    Loved hearing your story.

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HARROWJET 4/2/2013 10:35PM

    Thanks for telling your story.

Judy emoticon

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DIANESAV3 4/2/2013 8:03PM

    Happy Anniversary. Glad you like it here and that you stayed. That is a very good story and I agree you should write a book. It is fun to think back to the old times. I just wish we had a crystal ball to help decide which path in life to take.

I always wonder if we had followed our original plan and not taken a different path where we would be today. If we would have been better off with the original plan.

We will never know.

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NEEDSHELP52 4/2/2013 5:25PM

    Pat, what a wonderful memory. Such an adventure! Glad you stayed around. HUGS, Terry

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 4/2/2013 2:13PM

    emoticon

That's a fantastic story! I have not thought about party lines in a long time!

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MARTYLYNN1 4/2/2013 1:05PM

    What an adventure! How long have you been in the USA? I am guessing longer than 2 years. LOL
I thought me moving back and forth across this country 3 time was an adventure but you have me beat.
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RD03875 4/2/2013 12:39PM

    What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing.

Happy American Anniversary!
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Comment edited on: 4/2/2013 12:41:02 PM

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MARYELLEN301 4/2/2013 11:36AM

    What a great adventure you had! I imagine there are many more chapters to that story! Isn't it wonderful that we have the opportunity to travel and expand our horizons? I am truly blessed that, by an accident of birth, I am an American (though I do really love England!). So glad you found a welcoming community that made your transition easier. It was a brave move for the two of you.

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LILYGAL 4/2/2013 11:20AM

    That really is an awesome story!! Congrats and Happy Anniversary! Hope that you love the USA like we do!!!

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HOLDINGMYOWN 4/2/2013 9:58AM

    Nice, Nice and *funny* memories Pat. Some day I will have to tell you the reverse side of a Canadian country girl going to Scotland to live and working in Glasgow! emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/2/2013 10:03:39 AM

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SASSY-NAK 4/2/2013 9:09AM

    Pat what a great story. True immigrants! Happy Anniversary and I'm glad America could give you a happy life with lots of green grass and yes....snow. My DH and I spent our first few nights of our honeymoon in Stratford-on Avon. We stayed in a lovely inn called the White Swan. My SIL and BIL lived in London and they treated us to the trip. There were flowers and champagne in our room when we arrived. Wonderful memories. We also enjoyed London and other parts of Europe on the same trip.
Glad to know you.

Best,
Bonnie





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EFFIEANNIE 4/2/2013 9:05AM

    I love your story. Thanks for sharing, Pat.

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1CRAZYDOG 4/2/2013 8:55AM

    Oh my . . . what beautiful memories! Thank you for sharing them and I'm glad you're here! HUGS and happy anniversary to you and your DH!!

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GINIEMIE 4/2/2013 8:51AM

    Happy Anniversary on your arrival to the United States of America. What did you ever do about the stuff you left behind? What memories you have! Such and experience to write about and pass on for others to understand.
My mom came by boat, from Belgium, after the war . My parents lived with my aunt and uncle in an old farmhouse for 3 + years. When we moved we had a party line too. It wasn't very fun as I became a teenager.
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2WHEELEDSHARON 4/2/2013 8:35AM

    How very brave! Happy anniversary! I loved reading this story. Thanks for sharing.

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BETHGILLIGAN 4/2/2013 8:22AM

    I love this story!! So many good memories for you. Happy America anniversary!

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CAPECODLIGHT 4/2/2013 8:09AM

    Fantastic story! Thank you for sharing this. If you haven't considered writing your memoir, you should. You have a knack for writing, and I am sure future generations would appreciate it.
Your story serves to remind us in the US how good we had/have it, and we take it for granted most times. I used to tutor a woman from Cuba who shared how some of her family was allowed to visit her and she took them to a supermarket. They broke out in tears because they had never seen such a wealth of riches - they had food lines and very little to eat in Cuba. So, despite our problems, we are blessed indeed to live here, whether by choice or by sheer luck. Happy anniversary!

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CHALLENGER15 4/2/2013 7:45AM

    emoticon

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CATHYINLA 4/2/2013 7:31AM

   
We had a party line phone when I was a child. We lived on a farm in the country and party line phones were common in those areas at that time (early 60's). You were both brave to venture to a new country.

Happy Anniversary!

Cathy

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TERRI289 4/2/2013 6:42AM

    So Happy that you are here!!! Happy Anniversary!!!!

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ANNIE924 4/2/2013 6:32AM

    Happy Anniversary, thanks for sharing your special memories of your move. How exciting it must have been.

How well I remember party lines, gossip central for those who would listen in. emoticon

Have a wonderful day.

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ROSEWCI 4/2/2013 5:35AM

    Thanks for sharing your memories w/us Pat! What an adventure!!! I know you've made lots of happy memories here in America, too! EnJOY those memories...!!!



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NASFKAB 4/2/2013 4:41AM

  already April 2 here all the best & congratulations for this special day

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EGGBASKET1 4/2/2013 4:38AM

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, PAT ! I SURE AM GLAD YOU ARE HERE AND SO HAPPY THAT WE ARE SPARK FRIENDS ! THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR STORY AND I ENJOY READING YOUR BLOGS. HOPE YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!!
HUGS...EGG
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Comment edited on: 4/2/2013 4:40:00 AM

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ALICIA214 4/2/2013 1:08AM

 
Congratulations on the anniversary of your journey to the US quite an
adventure and it would seems things have not changed much as far as
strikes go.How will you celebrate your special day?
I left England by ship a bad move as I was seasick the whole journey and when I landed in Montreal the ground kept coming up to meet me, a most
unpleasant sensation I vowed never to travel by ship again. when I moved
to Vancouver I got on a plane.
I hope you have a wonderful day emoticon emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 4/2/2013 12:59AM

    That was of you to share that and glad it all worked out for you ! I always wondered what the red tape was like to apply for a Visa, etc.... I bet it is much more involved today with all the terrorism going on.
Happy Anniversary my friend! Glad Maine turned into such a special home for you two! emoticon

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ARTJAC 4/2/2013 12:54AM

    GREAT STORY PAT 50 YEARS FANTASTIC. WE HAD TO GO THROUGH ALL THE RED TAPE TO COME TO AUSTRALIA 31 YEARS FOR US. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN BACK TO THE UK IT HAS CHANGED A LOT ESPECIALLY THE NORTH EAST OF ENGLAND. DID YOU EVER LOOK AROUND THE STATES BEFORE YOU DECEIDED TO LIVE IN MAINE? emoticon emoticon

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WENDYJM4 4/2/2013 12:49AM

    thanks for sharing your story. it was very interesting. Happy Anniversary.

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GLASSART43 4/2/2013 12:26AM

    Thanks for sharing your story, Pat. I remember the culture shock of my first visit to London in 1970. We stayed in an apartment for several nights and everything seemed so small - the refrigerator especially. I wasn't used to shopping for fresh food nearly every day! The streets were narrow and we had to be careful crossing the street because we kept looking for cars in the wrong direction :)

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BRENDAGAIL9 4/2/2013 12:15AM

    Pat,

Happy Anniversary of your arrival here. I will celebrate your anniversary as I celebrate my birthday the same day.

I am so glad you decided to stay and to find you here on the message boards. I look forward to your blogs everynight before I go to bed. You are three hours ahead of us here in WA State.

Have a great day! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GDY2SHUZ 4/2/2013 12:00AM

    I am so glad you printed the story again. I love how brave you and DH were; traveling so far to make a new home.

Stay warm and Dry.... emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEBBIEANNE1124 4/1/2013 11:59PM

    Happy Anniversary on your move to America. I hope you enjoy being an American.

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DANCINGJILL 4/1/2013 11:54PM

    Wow, that sounds like quite the adventure! Congrats on your coming to America anniversary! I want to move to England so bad I can taste it.. but good things come to those who wait. emoticon

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