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Becoming an American–why not?

Becoming an American — why not?

Stories about immigration and citizenship form the backbone of our great American story as much today as in past times. Here is an excerpt about becoming American from We Were Not Spoiled, the memoir of Lucille Verreault Ledoux as told to Denis Ledoux.

My father had not come to the US to stay but that’s what happened. Working here to support his family and buying an apartment building that was his family’s home, it must have seemed obvious to him that this is where he would spend the rest of his life. So,

My Father, Joseph Verreault

My father, Joseph Verreault

why not become an American citizen? Sometime in the mid-1920s, he did just that. Now, he could not be deported and put his family at risk. My mother did not join him in becoming a citizen, but remained here as a resident alien. My father could make himself understood in English, but my mother did not know much beyond what she had learned in her waitressing days in Thetford. She felt this lack of English would stop her from passing the examinations for citizenship. My father was a now citizen, and so they perhaps felt that would save her from deportation, Besides, she did not work outside the home and so was not taking a job away from a citizen.

Although he was now naturalized, my father didn’t understand that he had the same privileges as native-born people—except he could not become President! He was still afraid that the process could be

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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She Loves Her, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Who were these Beatles, anyway? Everyone was screaming. Everyone, even Betsy, sitting next to me. Betsy was screaming her brains out. I stared at her in disbelief. But as I looked around Park Theater, the only movie theater in the Caldwells, the very green end-of-the-line little towns on the long boulevard that stretches from the […]

The Memoir Network

My Family Feels the Depression

Excerpted from Business Boy to Business Man, by Robert Verreault (with Denis Ledoux). On October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed. Of course, I didn’t know that, as I was only six. Soon though, my parents, although they didn’t have stocks to crash, were beginning to feel the effect. By 1930, everyone was slipping into […]

farmhouse

There Goes The Neighborhood, Part 2

We had already witnessed the demolition derby over the snowy weekend between Christmas and New Year’s. We figured the upcoming motorcycle party couldn’t top that. The demolition derby started with the arrival of large trucks bearing strange cargo.

tractor mowing

There Goes the Neighborhood, Part 1

Gunnar was mowing his field. This was odd. He never mowed his field. He was making ever-tightening circles around the knobby acre, the sweet grass and raggedy weeds falling in neat windrows behind him.

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Pudgy: A Childhood Memoir

When I was ten, I ran away. I packed everything that was important into my sturdy cardboard suitcase. I left a note on the kitchen table warning my parents not to look for me at the high-tension wires, those metal electrical towers that marked the back border of our property and which were in fact […]

ingrid littman

Hemingway and Dinosaurs

My pulse quickened as we walked up the white cement stairs to Ernest Hemingway’s famed Cuban home, La Finca Vigia. His presence lingered throughout the house.

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Something About the Water

The following memoir excerpt was written by Chris Madsen of Olympia, Washington. I never got used to that first splash of chilly water. It came from a natural spring concealed behind a stockade fence, so clean and pure that we all thought Mr. Trecartin should bottle it. Instead, he let the spring fill the swimming pool […]

characters need to be described in a memoir

The Boys Laugh Again

The following story is written by Edwina Carr-Jangarathis a memoir professional who has done considerable writing. We had the pleasure of publishing her book In Their Own Words.

TIMKYLEEyes squeezed tightly shut, I listen for the laughter of my two grandsons as I drift on my rubber raft. I’m certain if I’m silent and try hard enough I’ll hear the laughter of the boys again. Glimpses of summer days when we laughed together flash through my mind. One day, we linked our three rafts so they bumped over the small ocean waves one after the other. Not as content as I was to sit and ride, Kyle dove down under the blue surface that seemed so deep to me, fearful as I am. Where is he? I began to worry. Then, I felt something tugging at my feet and I saw him reappeared near the edge of my rubber raft. It shook fearfully and threatened to tip. Tim came to help him “torture” me. Seeing my reaction, they laughed and pulled all the more at my raft. Splashing them in self-defense, I laughed and shouted “You can’t treat your grandmother this way.” They splashed back, giggling and kicking their feet behind them. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Here to Stay: Developing Nationhood and Community in New France

Here to Stay: Developing Nationhood and Community in New France Here to Stay: Developing Nationhood and Community in New France is excerpted  from my historical memoir Here To Stay. Here I write about my maternal ancestors Bartélémy Verreault and  Marthe Quittel. As I recorded genealogical information—the births, marriages and deaths of my ancestors, I began […]

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