International intrigue

My own nationality is unambiguous, but that of each of my other family members seems to change with all the rapidity of quicksilver. I am half-expecting my brother to phone any day now to announce that during the month he was born in New Hampshire, that state had floated a few dozen miles north, placing his mother in Quebec….

This is a bit disorienting. There are families, I know, who cruise regularly through their lineage and persons who take great stock in knowing how ancestral birthplaces figure into the daily lives of descendants. I’m not completely oblivious to the realities of immigration’s fallout in terms of identity formation, since my own lineage derives from one man’s rather extemporaneous arrival in America only 60-some years ago. But I had allowed myself to grow accustomed to the concept of one’s national affiliation either remaining static or marching ahead through the time of one’s life rather than backward.

Ah, well: today I learned that my own child has always held dual citizenship; tomorrow, I am more than ready to believe, some other element of the past will recast the present. I can only hope that the news continues to be merely surprising, rather than alarming.

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One Response to “International intrigue”

  1. Elizabeth Overmyer Says:

    My brother Hugh held dual citizenship for many years, too, until at some point he was forced to pick between the U.S. and the U.K. He swore that our aunt, born to British parents, in Gloucestershire, (her middle name is “England”, for heaven’s sake!) and never out of the country until well into her 20s, was somehow able to arrange for dual citizenship after she married her American husband, an option I’d never heard of. For many years, when approaching Customs, she simply pulled out whichever passport matched the shortest queue. EO

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