Immigration. My opinion.
Part One: Embracing Diversity
As an adult, I filled our home with a variety of cultures. We had exchange students living with us for several years while the kids were growing up. They came from Japan, Spain, Venezuela, Columbia, Germany, France, Australia, Mexico, India, and probably other places I’ve forgotten. A Filipino family lived in our home for seven years; we looked after their education, and sent the boys to universities. They’ve all become proud and patriotic U.S. citizens and part of our family.
When I worked in downtown Atlanta and rode the bus to the Marta station, I met a young man from an African country who was a student at Georgia State. We visited every day on the bus. My kids weren’t at all surprised to come home from school and see this ebony-skinned man sitting at the table eating their after-school brownies, while I folded laundry at the table. He stayed for supper.
We often hosted overnight guests as a hospital host family before Ronald McDonald Houses. Trucks and old cars from out of state were often in our driveway. We gave up our beds to the poor, worried families with sick children.
My neighbors in the cul-de-sac in Sandy Springs, GA, would say, “NOW who’s at your house?” They called our house “The Klingel I-Hop,” and joked about putting a revolving door in our front door. I created international programs for Scouts and schools almost as a hobby, took Girl Scouts to Europe twice, and learned international folk dancing and needlework.
I remember when Vietnamese immigrants regularly landed at Hartsfield with a look of wonderment that we greeted them with applause and handed them little flags. More tired, poor huddled masses. Years later I would write a biography of one of them.
Retired here in the mountains we housed internationals who came here to work for the summer. They were mostly from Eastern European countries, where I hope to visit someday.
My life has been enriched by the art, architecture, music, language, history, poetry, literature, clothing, and style that have come to our country from far-away places. Our nation has been blessed to have been a nation of immigrants. I love to meet diverse peoples and extend hospitality. I don’t do marches, boycotts, or protests; I just live it; the sharing excites me.
But, I’ve learned there are times to shut to the door. I’ll tell you about that on the next mini blog.