31 August 2011

Crossing into the United States

Noel's approximate route from (A) Toronto to (C) Cleveland,
with a crossing at (B) Niagara Falls.
 
I don't know many details about Noel's journey from Toronto to Cleveland, other than that he crossed at Niagara Falls on 2 Aug 1931.

Noel's passport showing his U.S. Visa, his entry into Canada
and his entry into the United States.
I have to jump pretty far ahead in the letters to find anything relevant. George writes on 29 Sept 1931, "I was interested in your account of the journey from Toronto to Cleveland. People would find it difficult to imagine that you could make the trip on such a small expenditure. I am glad you were impressed with Niagara Falls. They certainly cause one to feel surprised at their extent and magnificence."

As I'm writing this, I'm staring to remember visiting Niagara Falls with my family. I had to pull out my photo album to figure this out, but it was 1982 and I was in middle school.

I vaguely remember the border crossing from Canada to New York. On previous crossings, the border patrol would ask, "Are you U.S. citizens?" and when we all replied yes, we would be waved through. But this time, border patrol asked us, "Where were you born?" When my grandfather replied, "New Zealand", it caused a few extra questions. But even that was simple and we were waved right through. Maybe grandpa had to show his drivers license.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize at the time the personal significance that revisiting that crossing would have had for my grandfather. If I did, that part of the memory is forgotten. But it would explain why my father laughed so hard at the extra questioning and thought it was significant.

Dressed up for our Cave of the Winds tour at Niagara Falls in 1982.
Pictured are my father, Alan, (left); my grandmother Marion; my grandfather Noel;
my mother, Sherrie; and my sister, Heather.

See related post: No. 7 -- 24 June 1931