American Memory

She sat at her computer. She’d been thinking all day what she could do. It was Saturday afternoon, November 15, 2008. Her mom and stepdad had left just the day before. She threw a pretty big party three days ago. That was a lot of fun.

It had been a little more than two weeks since her interview. Her officer told her she passed the test, but she was anxious because for some reason she had two (2) alien registration numbers. Why would she have two? She didn’t even know about that second number until her interview. Her mind raced, her heart seemed to stop. It was 1982; she was six years old. She wasn’t supposed to worry about her status in America.

She brought her thoughts back to the present. She was going to a party that evening. It was going to be variety-show style. She considered only showing up as a spectator, but it sounded most everyone was going to perform. The butterflies fluttered in her stomach. She knew she had to do something.

She had an idea of what she would do. She spent the rest of the afternoon working on her act. She paced the words. She tried different speeds until one felt right. She snapped her fingers.

She took a shower.

She put on a cute shirt and her good jeans.

She did her makeup.

She stepped out and hopped on the subway uptown.

She arrived at the party destination. People were still setting up the living room. There was a posterboard that listed those who wanted to perform. Someone asked her where she wanted to be in the lineup. She said she wanted to be somewhere in the middle. She announced she’d be doing a recitation.

Everyone could make up a name tag. The name tags needed to say “I am [something positive and catchy].”

She put on her name tag. 


The party started.

There was speed drawing.

And song spoofing.

And sign language.

And magic tricks.

And “Thriller” dancing.

She followed the (American) Pledge of Allegiance in French.

She introduced her act by saying she was going to stay with the patriotic theme. She announced her successful interview. The crowd clapped. She said she was going to recite the Preamble to the Constitution. She said she would love it if the crowd accompanied her by humming “God Bless America.”

She snapped her fingers. The humming began.

We the people.

The humming continued.

Promote the general Welfare.

The humming came close to ending.

She decided to slow it way down, since she started too fast.


My home sweet home.

Many cheers from the crowd. She pumped her fists in the air. The applause was loud. She felt proud. She thanked everyone. She gave a few high fives and sat down quickly.

The following act was a Russian revolutionary chant.

Of course it was.


SO close, people. Hours away, really. Exciting!