I was about eight years old when my school class loaded up on a bus and drove from Hartville to downtown Canton. We arrived at a big building and as a class sat at the very top and looked down at the stage. There was a big American flag on the right side and in centre was about fifty chairs with people sitting on them. People that had moved to America from other countries.
A man came out onto the stage wearing a suit and spoke into a microphone. The fifty people stood up and put their hands on their hearts. It reminded me of when we recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. They were becoming citizens. We were the witnesses.
Soon after we were standing in front of the building, lined up to get on the bus again. There were crowds of people around us, all leaving at the same time. I recognised a man who had been standing on the stage. He was tall with dark wavy hair and a big nose. With no real reason I had decided he might be from France.
I quickly ran over to him and tugged at his suit coat. He looked down at this three-foot tall little girl smiling at him. There I was, little Swedish immigrant girl, talking to a stranger and the irony of me saying, “Welcome to America!”