Crazy Alien: Bite-Size Memoir

Whenever I think of anything to do with immigration, I get a shiver of crazy.

My first brush with American immigration happened when I turned up alone at Dulles International Airport newly arrived from London. It was 1980, my boyfriend was seriously ill and I was desperate to get to Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland where he was being treated.  There was no time to complete the paperwork for an extended stay, so I took my chances.

Unfortunately, the immigration office at passport control was not impressed and I was hauled off into a side-room for a grilling.

Thankfully I was able to corroborate my story, thanks to a call to my boyfriend’s mother who was staying at a motel close to the hospital.    With strict instructions to attend the Immigration Department in Los Angeles within a specified time frame, I was allowed to travel on with a stern warning that I was lucky not to have been deported.

One Crazy Chick - Suffolk, 1970's (c) Sherri Matthews

One Crazy Chick – Suffolk, 1970’s
(c) Sherri Matthews

Indeed. I was extremely grateful for my lucky break.

In my own private mayhem, I struggled with my heavy luggage while fumbling about for the right coins with which to make a phone call for a taxi.  Finding an AT&T phone booth but not knowing the difference between a nickel and a dime,  I had to ask the guy in the next booth for help.  I got it right eventually.

Even though I lived in California for twenty years, married to an American, I  lived and worked as a ‘Permanent Resident’, retaining my British citizenship.   It amused me that after going through reams of paperwork, medical tests, background checks, interviews, proof of marriage and financial support, not to mention a few fees to pay for the pleasure,  all I got at the end of it was a small, laminated card, the all-important  ‘Green Card’.  Even though it is actually white.

What really made me smile though was my ‘official’ title, spelled in big letters above my photograph, which read:

‘Resident Alien’.

As such, my status as a ‘resident alien’ allowed me everything except the right to vote and attend jury service. A shame really, as I was summoned three different times but each time I had to decline.  A shame because I have never been summoned back in Britain.

So why this post?  It’s great to have Lisa back again with her Bite-Size Memoir challenge which she is running fortnightly  (do we still use that word?) for the time being (lovely to see you Lisa!). Her prompt of ‘crazy’ reminded me of my many immigration misadventures – they obviously left their mark – but it is a very different kind of alien that I write about for the ‘Bite’, in 150 words no more, no less:

Crazy Alien

During the summer of 1979, a special event came to Ipswich. My boyfriend and I had been intrigued for weeks by the mysterious posters plastered all around town announcing the next big film. The black background with a strange, egg-shaped thing suspended in the middle was compelling enough, but what really had us going were the words:

In space no one can hear you scream’.

The Odeon cinema in Ipswich had one, huge screen with graduated seating and an usherette selling Kia-Ora orange juice and ice cream at the intermission.

The big moment arrived. Glued to the big screen, the atmosphere electric, we watched, terrified, as John Hurt writhed in helpless agony. When the alien ripped out of his chest, I was out of my seat and down on the floor, flinging my drink all over my boyfriend who thankfully, was laughing hysterically.

Nothing like a bit of shock value.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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92 Responses to Crazy Alien: Bite-Size Memoir

  1. Denise says:

    I love your old pictures, with their atmospheric almost sepia sheen. They remind me of that 70s/80s era because television pictures really did look like that! How terrifying to be held up by immigration, but how funny to be categorised as an alien too.

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    • Sherri says:

      This would have been about 1972 I think, at the back of our old drafty, oak-beamed farmhouse (not our farm I might add!). It was a child’s paradise growing up there for the outdoors part of life. It was pretty terrifying at the time Denise, I really thought I was going to be deported!!! Ha…yes, I always thought that my ‘green card’ photo should have had me with two heads…in green! Thanks Denise, always great to hear from you, hope you had a super weekend 🙂

      Like

  2. 😀 😀 😀 You have so many hysterical stories, Sherri. The immigration situation would have had me overwhelmed.
    You story about the film is hilarious. What were you doing on the floor? 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…yes, well things often seemed to have gone that way but it makes for great writing fodder later on doesn’t it? Oh that was pretty scary I’ll admit. I’ve got a few other stories that would make your hair stand up on end…I’ll save those for another time, but then Halloween is just around the corner, ha! 😀 o_O
      Well, I jumped so high and so fast at that part in the movie that I just landed on the floor. Never happened before, or since. I guess I was just so scared it was my crazy reaction! Luckily my boyfriend saw the funny side 😉

      Like

  3. Allison says:

    I LOVE your stories, Sherri! 🙂
    Happy Monday to you friend ~~ wishing you peace, joy and some rowdy good energy! 🙂 XOXO

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    • Sherri says:

      So glad to know that you enjoy these little stories Allison, makes me very happy that 🙂 And what wonderful wishes for this Monday…I would wish for you the very same, thank you so much…and yes, bring on that rowdy good energy, love it 😀 xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Imelda says:

    I like this photo. It shows a happy carefree young lady.

    I had to deal with immigration several times, too. It was maddening to get the fiancee visa. After our marriage, I had to file a different set of paperwork for my status. I think I got tired of filing paperwork. and keeping track of everything that I decided to have a blue passport just like the rest of my family has.

    You were much braver though to come to the US with incomplete papers. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you very much Imelda. I was happy and carefree at those times, running around outside, enjoying the countryside. It ruined me in a way, ever-seeking that kind of life. Oh I can well understand what you went through. I don’t blame you, must have seemed so much easier being able to travel on your ‘blue’ passport with your family 🙂 My three kids are all dual citizens of the UK and the USA so they get to travel on both. I don’t have that privilege but at least once I was a ‘resident alien’ I had permanent status in the States. But oh so much paperwork. I’m sure I wouldn’t get away with it these days trying to enter with the wrong, or no paperwork. Things were tough enough then but now? Oh boy, let’s not even go there… 😉

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  5. Wow, Sherri, it is indeed a small world. I grew up not far from Dulles Airport. Your reaction to the alien bursting out of John Hurt’s chest was the same as mine. I didn’t throw a drink on anyone, but I screamed so loud, the entire theater turned to look at the crazy person.

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    • Sherri says:

      Wow, it really is Jill! I did think of you when I wrote this knowing you are in the Washington D.C area but I didn’t realise your connection with Dulles Airport. Haha…that’s funny, I can just imagine it! It was one of those ‘iconic’ movie moments wasn’t it? And we didn’t have spoilers in those days either, so we had no idea what to expect. Several people giggled at me too when they saw what happened and then others ‘shushed’ us for making too much noise 😉 xo

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  6. Heyjude says:

    Crazy indeed 😀

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  7. bulldog says:

    Our trip to America to visit with our kids had me worrying as to how they would find us at Kennedy… we had been given instructions that should we miss them to take a taxi to an address where they would meet us… I am a worrier and this worried me no end… but with visas and all the entry didn’t worry me at all…. standing in line an opening came up and Linda and I moved forward… some one shouted at us to “Get behind the yellow line !!!” Now this I had seen in the movies and never thought it to be true… 9/11 had happened a few months prior to our arrival and I wondered if this was what had them on edge… but me being me I wanted to ask if they thought us to be a terrorist? Linda got me under control before they called us forward otherwise we might just have been turned around right there and sent home…. loved your post today Sherri…

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…yes, the yellow line…yikes! Things were tough enough even before 9/11 but after…? Well, things definitely heated up. Thank goodness Linda was able to bring calm to the situation otherwise methinks you would have been on that return flight 😮 Great share, and glad you enjoyed this…thanks Bulldog 😀

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  8. Lisa Reiter says:

    Wonderful! I know that film – had nightmares for m o n t h s afterwards!! Terrifying! It made me a crazy-scared too. I’ve never seen the sequel and it’s all coming around again as there’s the PS3 game awaiting wrapping as a present for Max’s birthday!!
    Thanks for playing again Sherri. Lisa xx

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    • Sherri says:

      When I went to check the date of Alien’s original release, just to make sure I did have the right year even though I was pretty sure I did, I was amazed to see that a new PS3 game has just been released for its 35th anniversary! Max will love it! What a film, could still watch it and still be as terrified, truly iconic. Thanks Lisa, so glad you enjoyed…better late than never 😀 xxx

      Like

  9. cardamone5 says:

    From shiver of crazy to white green card to resident alien above your name, this is a great post. Keep writing my friend as your non-fiction is strong and engaging.

    Love,
    Elizabeth

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  10. TanGental says:

    You do have a way of triggering memories. Two this time. In 2000 some close friends went to San Francisco for three years – they’re still there but that’s another story. I had a conference in San Francisco about a month later and asked what I should bring. ‘Marmite, squash and Cadburys were the three essentials they hadn’t then been able to source. So I turn up, in business suit, with little bag on wheels and briefcase only to be stopped and taken into a side room. Visions of large men wearing rubber gloves were not dispelled when the huge Homeland Security johnny asking me to open my bag. He then removed the large slab of chocolate, scratched back the silver foil wrapping and smiled when it was chocolate. ‘Usually Marijuana sir’ was the response. The other memory is recently in the cinema. Can’t remember the film but the scene in question has the father with his 7 year old on an icy lake – it’s set in east Europe – while dad turns away for a pee on the edge of the lake we see, slightly out of focus over his shoulder, the boy still playing. Suddenly the ice breaks and the boy disappears. The father stays hmming to himself, oblivious. It’s a great cinematic moment causing us all the jump – only the woman next to me screamed and grabbed my arm causing me to throww my ice cream over my wife. Happy days! Stay mad Sherri. It suits!

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh it’s great to bring back these wonderful memories of yours Geoff, I love reading about them! Haha…love the ice cream story…can just imagine your poor wife’s face 😛 So glad I’m not the only one prone to spilling food items over loved ones…and I’m sure we both have plenty more of those kind of stories. Love the customs story too for so many reasons. The things my mum would bring over in her suitcase (including Marmite of course, copious amounts of Yorkshire tea, Branston Pickle and Crunchies) when I lived in California it’s a miracle she wasn’t stopped (even managing to sneak over some Stilton cheese and a bottle of port once, go Mum…) I wonder what it was about you that made ‘Homeland Security Johnny’ so suspicious? Bet you were relieved when the rubber gloves weren’t put to use…now that would have been cause for concern o_O

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  11. Thankfully, I can say that I’ve never seen that movie. Good job your boyfriend had a good sense of humour. Did you wash his clothes for him? I always hold my breath at American immigration, hoping we will get someone nice the other side of the counter. I think it’s been about 50/50 so far. I’m looking forward to the day we get our white Green Cards. 🙂 Lovely photo. xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…well, despite my terror it is a great film Sylvia and even now, having watched it a few times over the years I’d still watch it again…sucker for punishment me, but I never did drop to the floor like that again 😉 My boyfriend was in the USAF and so he did his own laundry, lol. As for American immigration, yes, I can well imagine. I had many more run-ins with them over the years…and I would say the same as you with the percentage! Hope you get your white Green Card soon…and thank you Sylvia, I remember that day quite clearly… 😀 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Charli Mills says:

    The Green Card is white? What’s up with that? I feel misled as a citizen. Resident alien is a funny (as in odd) title, but glad you got through immigration to see your boyfriend. Your post is engaging and fun as is your Bite. If you recall hearing an echo that was me at the same moment across the pond in the South Lake Tahoe theater! Later, when I had my eldest (who turned 26 today), I used to entertain her as a baby by gently grasping her face with my hand, wiggling her face and singing, “A-l-i-e-n!” She’d giggle. 😀

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…yes Charli, I was very surprised when I finally got mine and never did find out why it’s referred to as a ‘Green Card’. It is very misleading! Glad you enjoyed the read, thank you much and I do believe I heard a distant echo…now I know it was you 😀 Ahh…happy birthday to your eldest (my middle boy will be 26 at the end of November!) and what a cute story, love it. Glad ‘Alien’ has happy memories for you…despite the initial screams of terror, ha 😛 o_O 😀

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  13. Good job, you little Resident Alien! I didn’t know Green Cards were really white. You always teach me something new…and make me remember something old. In the early 1950s, my parents sponsored a displaced German family–father, mother and son–to come to America and work for my dad and live with us for awhile until they could get settled. The paperwork was horrendous, and the woman was severely malnourished, and for awhile the process consumed both couples.

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…thanks Marylin, now you know I really am from a different planet 😉 I wondered if maybe I should have had a photo of me with three heads, all green, to fit the title a bit better… 😉 I never did understand why the card is white…and I love that I can teach you something new when it is I who learns so much from you 🙂 Oh what a memory for you. The paperwork is quite horrendous (I went through it twice and then of course getting the kids their dual citizenship passports was a whole other ballgame) and I can well imagine what it must have been like for your German family, particularly since neither of them were American. What a testimony to the kindness of your parents though to sponsor them like that (but it doesn’t surprise me knowing what I now know about your wonderful family) enabling them to start a new life in the land of opportunity. I’m sure the woman wasn’t malnourished for long once she was fed your mom’s wonderful home cooking…and I would love to hear more about it Marylin, hint, hint… 🙂

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  14. Who knew the green card wasn’t green? Learn something new every day! You did better than I would have with the movie. I know it was a big blockbuster but I still can’t watch it! I enjoyed that Sherri! 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha, I know, who knew? I was very surprised 😉 I did enjoy the film despite the terror and have seen it a few times since.. and without spilling my drink over anyone you’ll be pleased to hear! Thank you Lilka, glad you enjoyed the read 🙂

      Like

  15. Such a heartrending story about your visit to America. How strange that the word “alien” is applied to both frightened and confused newcomers to a country and frightening egg-shaped mutants from other planets!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you , I love your insight BT….it was a difficult time and when I look back at some of the things that happened, as in this particular tangle with immigration, it seems so surreal. Yes, strange choice of word, ‘Alien’ isn’t it? I definitely preferred ‘Permanent Resident’ although ‘Mom’ was even better… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  16. jennypellett says:

    Do you know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Alien – only clips of the scene you’ve just described. I must have lived a very sheltered life back in the 70’s.
    I’ve never done jury service either and always thought it would be rather interesting and a good source of material for a story. However, my young niece has just finished a two week stint on a very harrowing case which she found extremely upsetting. So I’ve second thoughts about it now.

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Jenny…you must watch it (but it is very scary!) At the time, there hadn’t been a film like it so it’s impact on cinema-goers was huge…even down to spilt drinks 😉 I wanted to double check the date and discovered that this is the 35th anniversary of its original release. I couldn’t believe it!
      Ahh…yes, there is that aspect of it. Oh dear, that does sound difficult for your young niece, bless her. I’ve always wondered how unbiased I would be if I knew the defendant had done something horrible – allegedly – and keep an open mind to the possibility that he/she might actually be innocent. The thought of jury service does fascinate me I have to say…

      Like

  17. TBM says:

    My first brush with immigration was for Britain and the process isn’t easy. So much paperwork. Now I’m an official dependent of a tier II long-term staff member. It’s a mouthful and the folks at Heathrow are never very impressed with me when I’m returning from a trip. I get grilled about my partner’s work, how long we’ve been together, yada yada yada. Oh the joys of immigration.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ah…yes, you know all about immigration then TB. I remember applying for British Citizenship for my two younger children (which they gained through me as their British mother, my eldest son was born here) and all the paperwork for that. It makes travelling between the two countries stressful to say the least, but I’m glad that at least you found a way to stay here…indefinitely I hope…

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  18. jenniferkmarsh says:

    Haha, aaahh, my family forever laughs at my aunite being called a ‘resident alien’! Although, she mostly refers to herself as a ‘legal alien’. It is a funny old term. Trust America, eh 😉
    I would have been the same watching that film though, Sherri. I’m hopeless with films.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ah yes, your auntie will know of all I speak, haha 😉 Better than being an illegal I suppose but I preferred ‘permanent resident’ and at least with the white Green Card in hand they can’t kick you out 😛 Alien really is scary, even though it was made 35 years ago, which seems unbelievable to me, it shows how ahead of its time and how much impact it had on us teenagers of the day as we’d never watched anything like it. Up until then, I was scared watching good old Vincent Price in Hammer House of Horror films…and actually, still love those… 🙂

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      • jenniferkmarsh says:

        Haha, I can imagine! It’s kind of sad, in a way, how blasé many teenagers are with scary films these days. I’m terrible with scary films. I spend my whole time hiding behind my hands squealing!! I can sympathise with you, dear Sherri 😉 I got scared at a Miss Marple episode once…… That just says it all, really….

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        • Sherri says:

          Haha….oh dear Jenny Jen Jen, you better not watch Alien then. You would have your eyes closed the entire time and wouldn’t stop squealing for a second 😉
          BTW, forgot to say, I love your new photo you look really lovely…and I will be over to you shortly as I see you have a couple of new posts out…so put the kettle on and I’ll bring the biscuits… 🙂 ❤

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          • jenniferkmarsh says:

            Haha, I imagine I would do, yes.

            Aw, thank you very much, Sherri 🙂 Yes, do come over! The kettle is always on the ready for you 😀

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    • Sherri says:

      On my way… 🙂

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  19. Love your pictures Sherri ❤

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  20. restlessjo says:

    Try as I might, Sherri, I can’t see you as an alien- resident or otherwise 🙂

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  21. Yolanda M. says:

    Both have made me scream 😀 (film and border control) Knowing what I know now from my own experience I think you were very brave Sherri to attempt entry into the US without the necessary permit (and what a pain in the neck that whole immigration thing is). Great post and I love that pic of you – there is something about your expression that made me think of Princess Diana

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha….yes, I’m right there with you Yolanda 😮 It’s amazing the things we do when we are young isn’t it? I was 19 when that happened and was scared and very nervous but I wouldn’t dare try it today. Mind you, if things were strict then, after 9/11 they got far worse didn’t they? I can well imagine you’ve had more than your fair share of immigration adventures. Ahh…thank you so much…and what a lovely compliment. I adored Princess Diana 🙂

      Like

  22. I am thankful to never have had the “pleasure” of immigration & can only imagine how you felt in this very strange land. I did, however, have the pleasure of seeing Alien & my heart was beating almost out of my chest. Unlike you I was in the fetal position hands over my eyes for most of the movie. I can just imagine your boyfriend’s shock and I am laughing at what happened too! Thank you for bringing me such a good read, beginning to end! ❤

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    • Sherri says:

      Well, for someone who couldn’t watch the dodo popping out from behind a bush in Ice Age without screaming I can’t even imagine how you coped with Alien…and who can forget The Others??? 😀 Haha….yes, it was pretty funny, especially when we got told off by the people sitting near us for making too much noise 😉 So glad you enjoyed the read my friend…it keeps me going 🙂 ❤ xoxo
      PS Once I met you in that 'strange' land I no longer felt like an alien…at least, not a dangerous one 😉 😀 😛 xo

      Like

  23. P.S. I agree with Yolanda, you very much remind me of Lady Di! 🙂

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  24. prior says:

    well I did not know that green cards are white – and thanks for reminding me about the dime needed for a phone call – it seems like for a long long time it was a dime to make a call and just never changed. and now – well phone booths in the States are almost obsolete.
    and as you opened your story, wellI know that airport well – and it is cool that you have been to the east coast, west coast and in between over here –
    anyhow, laughing with your ending memoir – and love how the alien twist flowed. so nice – and this is one of those posts where I wish I could read other comments – but must be off to start my day – oh well, maybe some other time.
    Have a nice week.

    PS
    is Kia-Ora orange similar to Orange Julius?

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I will never forget needing a dime to make a phone call and forgetting that the small coin was 10 cents but the bigger one, the nickel, was 5 cents…confused me that 😮 Thank you Y for dropping by (a quick cuppa today, lol 😉 ) and so glad you enjoyed the alien story. That’s so cool to think I was in your neck of the woods once upon a time. I stayed in Maryland for a few weeks, drove through NY and camped up in the mountains of Pennsylvania during that time back in 1980 but haven’t been back since. Would love to revisit one of these days, all through New England and of course New York. When I’m rich and famous…haha 😀 ❤
      Kia-Ora isn't creamy like an Orange Julius, more like a tangerine flavoured orange juice…it was a wonderful treat for those special cinema outings when I was a kid 🙂

      Like

  25. Great stories Sherri. Fortunately I’ve never had any immigration issues. I was too young to see Alien at the cinema but during a similar period of time I remember my Dad would always take me and my cousin to see each Star Wars movie when it came out. I also remember usherettes selling ice cream 🙂

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  26. Sherri says:

    Thanks Andrea, glad you enjoyed them, and all I can say is lucky you, spared all that! I’ve had so many run-ins over the years with immigration both sides of the sea that I seriously could write a book about them, ha 😉 Oh yes, Star Wars, how wonderful! What amazed me was that my own children loved them just as much and also all the Alien films. It seems that the films from our 70’s culture are as relevant today as they were then…at least I tell myself that, makes me feel younger…and yes, who can forget the usherettes…made a trip to the cinema extra-special, an outing to remember 🙂

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  27. mihrank says:

    Your imagination, composition are well balanced. Than the story, content and photos are well detailed!

    Like

  28. What a long line of comments to get past to say how much I enjoyed this. I NEVER watch scary movies and certainly didn’t when that one came out. My kids were young and we were…thrifty? I loved your story on being a resident alien. I had no idea they had such a classification. I’m less behind than I was on my reading. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…so glad you enjoyed it Marlene, thank you very much 🙂 It’s funny isn’t it, that whole ‘resident alien’ thing? Still, at least I had free run of the place while I lived in the States and didn’t have to worry about being deported 😉

      Like

  29. A great post Sherri. I can see you at immigration. It can be scary at the best of times let alone when you were worried about your boyfriend. I didn’t see Alien at the pictures but I do remember jumping out of my skin at home when I watched it on the TV. Lucky your boyfriend found it funny. I know reading your memories of the times I found it funny. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…yes, it was not one of my finer moments but I got away with it…just. Wouldn’t dare try that today though, ill boyfriend or not. Things were bad before 9/11…how much more now? Ahh…glad you found it funny and yes it was at the time, after the fact, but boy, what a scary film! I’ve watched it a few times over the years and get scared every time, but at least I don’t end up on the floor with spilled drinks all over the place. Thanks Irene, always lovely to chat…and laugh..and walk… 🙂 😀 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I would have been overwhelmed in immigration too!

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  31. Marie Keates says:

    You had quite an adventure in the USA by the sound of it. Alone in a foreign country is always a little scary but at least they speak English in the states (sort of). I remember seeing Alien for the first time too and that scene. What an iconic film moment.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, and that was just the beginning of a long, long litany of adventures…or should I call them misadventures? When I look back over the years and all the dealings I’ve had with immigration (both sides of the pond) I wonder how I managed it 😮 And yes, that really was an iconic moment wasn’t it? Nothing like it had been seen before. No wonder we were so scared 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Of course, I can relate to your immigration stories. I became an Alien with Preexisting Conditions since I was pregnant when we applied for Health Insurance shortly after our arrival. My husband, due to his academic skills, was an Alien with Extraordinary Capability. Take your pick!
    I always love to read about others’ adventures in my adoptive country. Yours are, of course, more personal and resonate with me.
    Did anyone tell you that you look like Diana on the photo? Striking!
    See you soon, Sherri.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I did think of you especially Evelyne when I wrote this, knowing you would understand exactly what it’s like to deal with immigration. Wow, both your ‘Alien’ titles sound very colourful compared to my plain old ‘Resident’, ha! For some reason I assumed that your husband was American, now I know better. Twice as complicated for you. I love that we have this connection in the sharing of our stories 🙂
      As for Diana, well, you are the third person to say that which I find fascinating and also very touching because I admired her greatly and in fact my eldest son was born the same year as William.
      Have a lovely weekend Evelyne and yes, see you soon 🙂

      Like

  33. Well written, a pleasure of a read in a twisted way. =) I can relate. Listening to a memory sentence out of his history curriculum, my boy asked this week, “What’s an immigrant?” I explained it’s his grandparents and his mom. I, too, was a resident alien until I was naturalized at 18 in NYC. Nice job, Sher. Your voice comes through so nicely.

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  34. Resident Alien huh! I knew they walked among us, but I wasn’t expecting it to be you. You look so normal. I thought you’d be green. Sorry, I couldn’t help it. Now I feel bad.

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  35. simplyilka says:

    Oh Sherri, that Alien think in the US is kind of crazy, isn’t it?
    On anther thought, I am always deeply touched when I read about you and your boyfriend who fell ill. Waiting for the full story to be published one day 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      It as a crazy thing…I never did understand where that particular title came from 😉
      Ahh dear Ilka, it is comments like yours that propel me forward to keep writing to get my story finished. To think that you remember and understand the meaning behind my mention of this part of my story about my boyfriend really touches me in return. I am going to take a little break from blogging shortly to get the first draft finished as I really need to get this push done now with the writing flowing hopefully. You honour me greatly knowing that you will read it one day, thank you so much for that 🙂

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  36. Resident Alien title got me amused too. Whoever made up it up must just finished watching an alien movie or something. Honestly, I find it a bit harsh, almost unwelcoming for a land made up of migrants from all over the world. Till today, immigration issues still a sensitive hot topic in America and finding humor about it helps break the ice or tension. Thanks for sharing your story. Braving everything to take care of your sick boy friend and helping him get well, truly is an inspiration. To see the world through eyes, just beautiful and full of love and hope.

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…I think you are right my friend. A very strange title indeed 😉 It does seem harsh doesn’t it, I never did understand it. The days of becoming a naturalised citizen of the USA when married to an American were long behind me by the time I arrived in the mid 80s. I’m glad I can bring some humour to a sticky issue. Things were hard enough back then but of course since 9/11 things changed dramatically. I definitely would have been deported if I’d tried to pull that one out of the hat today 😮 As always, I am deeply touched by your beautiful message, it was a very difficult time but as with so many things, after the fact we can share the humour of it and look back with wonderment that we came through half the things we did! I know you understand just what I mean 😉 You bless me greatly my friend, thank you so much, God bless you.

      Like

  37. Luanne says:

    I can’t imagine having to deal with immigration on top of dealing with travel, which can be bad enough. Wrote the woman who just got back from a trip to Michigan and found, last night, that somebody who works for Southwest Airlines poured orange soda (?) inside both our heavy suitcases (we had to pay $75 for one of them for being overweight). So if the suitcase is too heavy for the plane, how does paying them MONEY help the weight issue? Sorry for the rambling response here to your funny (and poignant) stories. I am just BEAT. xo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      It was a tough call that’s for sure and I was all of 19, yikes!
      Oh no…Luanne, I can’t believe it, what the…? That’s the craziest thing I’ve heard in a long time, just awful actually, I’m so sorry. I never understood that either, how exactly does paying for it help with the weight? Oh travel these days can be an absolute nightmare. Oh I am so mad about that…but how sweet of you to come over and leave your message here when I can just imagine how tired you were. I hope today you get some rest and recovering from your trip, not to mention washing out all that disgusting stickiness…and of course, more than that, I hope you had a wonderful time…Big hugs… xo

      Like

  38. Loved your story Sherri. I lived in Suffolk and have happy memories of the films I saw at the Odeon and bands at the Gaumont and the Buttermarket – I wonder if they still exist (the venues, not the bands!). In the 70’s I saw David Essex, the Sex Pistols and Elkie Brooks … I still have a wide range in music taste! I’m a wuss when it comes to horror, aliens and zombies so no chance of food spillages when the only times I do watch them is in daylight, on tv, from behind a stack of cushions 🙂

    I was at Dulles airport in December 2010 (Heathrow was frozen solid) and have to say it was THE worst airport experience I’ve ever had. Airport staff were appalling, shouting at people really aggressively to “get back behind the line! I won’t warn you again M’am. If you step over the line again we’ll be taking a walk behind those screens. Do you understand?!” So unnecessary. If I’d had an ice-cream or popcorn with me at the time, I might have thrown THAT all over the screamy/shouty/aggressor!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Joanna! Thank you so much for the read and how wonderful to share this story with a fellow Suffolk dweller. Oh I remember the Gaumont and the Buttermarket. Did you ever go to the Running Buck nightclub? I spent the late 70s discoing the night away there every Saturday 😉 Lucky you seeing those bands and singers. Surely our paths must have crossed? What a small world. I’ve been told that Ipswich has changed greatly since those days.
      What a coincidence with Dulles airport too. Your visit sounds horrendous. I always put my experience down to my own fault…but I did feel like a prisoner when I was put in that side room. Good job you didn’t throw anything, who knows where you would have ended up 😉

      Like

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