My earliest memory of assisting with a relocation was when I was approximately ten or eleven years old. Living in a fairly Irish-American neighbourhood, we were about to welcome a family straight from what we called "Southern Ireland." Learning that the family had two daughters just about the ages of myself and my sister, I took it upon myself to convince the parents on our suburban Washington, DC street that we HAD to have a "Welcome Party!" And that party just HAD to be a day out at a local attraction called Glen Echo.
The McGuires were hardly off the boat before they were informed that this party was the "American Way," of making them feel right at home. So, the McGuires, The Ebbits, The McAnears, and the Horrigans all piled into a car or two and headed for the grand day of fun rides, hot dogs and candy floss.And though they enjoyed just about everything about that day, we did have to drag Mrs McGuire to the roller coaster.
"I don't like roller coasters," said Mrs. McGuire.
"Oh you'll love this one! This is the real welcome to America!" we said as all the kids scrambled on and lowered the safety bar onto our laps.
Mrs McGuire was given the place of honor at the front of the ride. I suppose she didn't want to seem lacking in "the new American spirit," or was simply a good sport, but you could see her white knuckling the bar that was to hold her in for the dare devil of a ride.
We loved that ride. We screamed and raised a hand or two to wave to the other parents waiting down below. All too soon, to us kids at least, we came into landing, upped the safety bar and scrambled out.....all except Mrs. McGuire.
Yes, she was frozen in the front and could not move. She couldn't even smile anymore.We waited for her to ply herself out but to our total surprise the roller coaster took off again with Mrs McGuire having a double welcome to our country.
THIS welcome to American took years of recovery.
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