HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

September 10, 2007
Harvard Square Observer

Lost Innocence

Ernest Cassara


We have all heard the debate about the influx of Mexicans across the U.S. border, and the proposal to build a fence to stem the tide.  No such problem at our northern border.  If anything, some disillusioned Americans are moving to Canada to escape G. W. Bush’s U.S.

I see that crossing the Canadian border into the U.S. now requires a passport.  This should prove very difficult for the populace of a number of communities, where folks pretty much live and shop on both sides of the border.

Presumably, we now have armed forces at the border.  A far cry from when the Cassara family arrived at the border in 1964.  Matter of fact, when we arrived at Montreal from Rotterdam on the Holland America liner Ryndam (affectionately called by its passengers the Rolldam, since the captain refused to fill the ballasts with water, in order to make better time), hearing that we were headed for the U.S., Canadian customs just waved us on our way, without checking our car full of stuff.

At the U.S. border, at Newport, Vermont, we were greeted by a sole U. S. border control man, with the words, “Hi, folks!  Been over for the day?”

I responded, “Well it is a little more complicated than that.”

I explained that we had been in England and Switzerland for two years and that our VW bus was loaded with stuff.  Well, first of all, he looked up the manual on imported cars.

“Well, this is outdated,” he said, “so, it will work to your advantage!”

Since we had sent on our trunk to Boston, where we would confront Customs, he didn’t bother to look at our camping equipment or anything else we had in our vehicle.

Because he had cut his finger, he asked my wife if she would mind going behind the counter and typing out the required form!  Our three children got a real bang out of that!

Ah, how I long for those days of America’s innocence.


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