Yeah it was my birthday on the 10th. I finally made it to 16. However I will be a senior next year after fighting all my school years to hold my place being one year younger than the rest of the kids in my class. I hate to admit to anyone that I am 16 because people always think I am older because of how tall I am. Jerry had mentioned in one of his entries that I was born in Bristol England and that's true. My dad was stationed at the American Consul Office in London but we lived in Bristol which is quite a long distance. I went to a private school in Bristol and their classes were excellerated so when we moved to The U.S. I skipped a grade in school. I was supposed to be in the fifth grade but they put me in the sixth grade.
I remember at the time that I really didn't want to skip a grade because it meant working just that much harder. It would have been nice to have one year to just take it easy.
Though my parents were American, you seem to learn your language from school and I do have a little English accent, or so I have been told.
It is enough that people always ask me how long I have been in the United States. I tell them five years because it is too hard to explain that I am actually an American with my first five years of schooling in the UK.
Strangely, Jerry's mom was from Ealing, which is a town on the western outskirts of London.
It's funny how little coincidences seem to follow you around all the time. People always say "well, it's a global world."
I agree but when you live in Wyoming it somehow doesn't seem all that global.
So, my birthday was last Sunday and Jerry and his dad came and two of the ladies from the old coffee shop who now work with us at the retirement community came as well.
Mom had purchased a new gas grill the weekend before and we had a little bar-BQ on the patio, nothing big.
Once my dad had finished his duties in the UK, they started talking about moving back to the U.S. I was really unhappy about that because all I had ever known was my British friends and my home in Bristol.
Little did I know just how difficult it was really going to be to start all over again in the U.S. I mean think back a few years to the sixth grade and remember how kids that moved here from some other country were so weird to you. Here I was with a bleedin' British accent in an elementary school in Los Angeles. They teased me not only for being tall but for what they called "sissy talk." Why do Americans think the Brits sound like sissies?
Even the teachers were constantly trying to get me to mispronounce words in the American tradition so I would fit in.
"That's not your Mootha, it's your Mother. It's not telephoan, it's telephone. And we do not que up for recess we line up."
In England, to check something off, like to put a mark by it, is called ticking it off. That got a big laugh.
"Should I just tick off all the classes I want to take then?"
"No Damon, you check them off."
I had vaguely heard my parents use such strange American words but I just figured they were old and didn't know any better.
In England there are so many different dialects too. They try to teach "Queen's English" to the kids in school but in places like Liverpool kids have a much more colorful language known as cockney and say things like "get off me bleedin' back before I knock ye on ya arse."
Words like color are spelled with a "U", colour. So I was constantly mispelling words in school here. There is also no "Z" in British English. The letter is called ZED and is not used unless an American-English word is spelled. Thus the word "recognize" is spelled "recognise" in Britain.
When it came time to read aloud in front of the class, kids were always saying "I can't understand what he's saying miss Jones!"
I had only one teacher who had also taught in England and defended me, telling the class that I was probably pronouncing the words more correctly than they were. "After all we do speak English here and he IS from England."
My boss told me to just wait until I was having an interview with a big corporation someday. They would see my accent as an asset instead of a hindrance. HRmmm, maybe.