This $1 note is from my time in America, where I have a few family members there.
My paternal grandmothers little sister became a GI bride back in the 50’s. Her husband had been stationed at the now completely removed air force base, RAF Burtonwood.
She was from Gartons Lane in Clock Face, the daughter of a coal miner who toiled at the local Sutton Manor pit.
She moved to the States a few months after their first daughter was born and she has lived there ever since.
I went over with my Nan for a month when I was 19 years old.
I had never been on a plane in my life, so it was extremely exciting to go on one for the first time. It felt like everyone I knew had been on a plane except me and I couldn’t wait.
We took two flights to get to South Dakota where my family lived. First we flew from Manchester to Chicago and then from Chicago to South Dakota.
As soon as I could get change once at Chicago O’Hare, I ran to a payphone and called my fiancé and then called my Dad.
It was a bit like putting your head in a tumble dryer – you have no idea which way is up, which is how I felt about the changing time zones.
Plus, Chicago airport was bloody immense. Absolutely, inexplicably you-won’t-imagine- how-big-it-is huge. At least, that was my impression.
I remember clearing immigration and feeling like I’d passed some sort of test.
The part of America I went, was not remotely touristy. It was basically the exact same way of life as back home. Same kind of stores, just different names.
I’m not certain what it was I was expecting, but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be so samey.
I remember having an argument with my Nan about TK Maxx. In America, it is TJ Maxx and I couldn’t convince her that they were not the same name.
I saw the falls which gave Sioux Falls its name, visited a museum about the history of the town and went to an Irish shop that sold Cadburys chocolate – I stocked up! American chocolate (and American cheese) just ain’t that great.
I did the whole compare and contrast thing with what we have back home compared to there.
We went to McDonalds and it was identical to home. I remember calling my fiancé and rambling on about how amazing it was that it was the same no matter where you went in the world!
This dollar bill is one of the only bits of America I got to take home. Somehow, despite house moves, breakups and disasters, it has always managed to weave its way into my belongings and stay put.
I would love to go back to America one day – after all, I’ve offered to be my cousin Val’s pet Hobo in the backyard, throwing empty beer cans at her windows! 😀
It is amazing how something so little can just give you such a bright wave of memories.