Memoirs of My America – When is Dressing Stuffing?

Thanksgiving is meant to be a celebratory time, of when the Pilgrims were helped by the Native Americans and there was a horn o’plenty of food. It was a good harvest, and along with eating there were three days of games and social cooperation. Peace among the people, eating together and sharing alike. No one cared that you called it corn and another called it maize. The feast was delicious and it filled your belly; and it was a time that would go down in history.

Giving of what you have to others should bring out some warm fuzzy feelings of love for one another. And Thanksgiving can do that, except when someone reaches across the table and asks another to “pass the dressing, please.” And that person a few chairs down sends a bottle of Wish-bone Green Goddess back their way.

“Excuse me, I asked for the dressing.”

“Right. And so there you go–dressing.”

“No, the dressing. The side dish there, the savory croutons drowned in butter. Please.”

“That would be stuffing. You want stuffing.”

“No, it’s dressing. My mother called it dressing. Pass the dressing, please.”

“Dressing is salad dressing. That’s what I gave you. If it’s stuffing you want, I can give you stuffing.”

“I don’t call it stuffing. Stuffing is made inside the bird. This was made on the side. I’d like that bowl of dressing that was made outside of the turkey. Please.” [Read more...]

Memoirs of My America – Dream Whisperer

One of the very first things we had to do when we woke up as little children, was to find our grandmother and tell her our dreams from the night.

She mentally had the Field Guide to dream interpretation as the backdrop of her mind. My Abuela knew it all; the meaning behind the color of the dress you wore, or whether your hair was loose or pulled tight. You’d present the facts, she’d pose a few questions back to you, and there you’d have it: what your subconscious was trying to tell you.

I’m lucky enough to still remember some of her interpretations and now it’s my children who come to the breakfast table and in between spoonfuls of Frosted Flakes, tell me about the mouse in their dream that tried to come in through the wall behind their bed.

I always begin with the first line of action: information-gathering. [Read more...]

Memoirs of My America – Chewbacca’s Daughter

by Alexandra

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I was not a good looking kid. Not an ugly one, just one that should there be a talent scout for Models R Us hanging out at the local mall, they wouldn’t be pushing their way through a crowd to get their card to me.

My arms were just as long as my legs, and both were like sticks. And, as true today as it was back then, my feet were too big for my height. With the flat black Sponge Bob shoes my Doctor told my mother I had to wear to fix my pronated gait, I looked like a capital letter L.

I was skinny with eyes that took up half my face. The cherry thrown on top of this flamboyant creation by Mother Nature, was that I was hairy. Eyebrows that began everywhere and extended to my temples, hairy arms, hairy legs, and a hairline that begged for a Ronco at-home electrolysis kit. Had you shown me a picture of Chewbacca back then, I may have very possibly shouted, “Daddy!”  [Read more...]

Memoirs of My America – Ignorance is Bliss

I am amazed by the things that my children don’t do, that I did. Especially over Christmas. I was one of six children, and we were thick as thieves. If something entailed sneakiness and trouble, we jumped in, and we never spilled the beans on each other. It was a code of secrecy that we didn’t have to pledge, we just knew. I’m sure it had to do with the Survivors on the Island theme we were convinced we were living.

Though we were always fortunate enough to have a home and food to eat, the rest of the extra things in life that make it nice, were a bit dicey.

There was never an overabundance of much. We had what we needed, nothing more. Easier said than done, for a child: adequate but nothing unnecessary. With all those commercials on TV during Christmas? [Read more...]

Memoirs of My America – How To Live In a State of Mortification

funny avocado

For some, *ahem, me*, growing up raised by people from a different country is a hairbreadth away from being an indescribable experience. It can also provide many moments of red faced horrific distress. [Read more...]

Memoirs of My America – Penny for a Peanut Butter Twist

There we stood: the hobo, the circus clown with the red SOS pad sidehair, Casper the friendly ghost, and Fred Flintstone.

My Colombian family had not been in this country long enough to understand all the essential childhood nuances of Halloween’s Trick or Treat in the 1960′s, especially for a girl:

The Trick or Treat Night Dream List:

My costume will be home made and glittery and have some netting, somewhere

My trick or treat candy bag will be home made and glittery and match my costume


The Please Dear God Basics List: [Read more...]

Memoirs of My America – Lunchroom Angst

by Alexandra

funny-lunch-story

I am a suburban mother of three school age children, who, like most mothers across America; finds herself packing lunches Monday through Friday. For most mothers out there, I’ll bet pleasant memories of trading lunches with grade school friends brings a smile to their lips as they seal baggies with healthy, routine lunch fare for their American children.

You all probably see yourselves, back in fourth grade, sitting at the long lunchroom table across from your friends. Chattering away while pulling out the contents of what your very American parent has packed for you. So sweet, I’m happy for you; really. I’m happy that reminiscing about swapping lunches makes you smile and doesn’t conjure up a knot in your stomach.

It all has to do with what your childhood lunches were like. My lunches, my first-generation born here lunches, can only be described with the word “PANIC” placed in front of it. [Read more...]