Wednesday, August 22, 2012

OVER A BARREL AT NIAGARA FALLS

SB-Title: The On-Going Saga of a Birth Certificate

Since mid-July we looked forward to a trip to my husband's (H) ship reunion at Plattsburgh, NY where the Navy ship USS Henley has a museum of its artifacts and will participate in the last week of a two-week festival, celebrating victory in the War of 1812.

Becoming a lover of history post-educational endeavors, I spent time learning more about a war I considered minor since it lasted months, not years, but some historians labeled 'the most successful land war' the USA ever fought.

After the convention we planned a trip to Niagara Falls. I had seen both sides many years ago, but being an avid camera bug, I wanted some digital photos; plus H had never seen it.

We planned a Maid of the Mist tour, plus I know how to protect my camera from water. It is cumbersome but requires using a plastic bag. I would be sure it was hanging around my neck, so I would not drop it. We even planned staying on the Canadian side.

A few days after making somewhat expensive reservations for tours and motels, I was perusing Niagara tours which mentioned the need for passports, pass cards or something called a Nexus card. All required evidence of being a permanent citizen of US--something not required of me some 25 years ago.

So we confidently made an appointment at an area post office for the pass card which is good for Canada and Mexico and certain cruises. We grabbed our driver's licenses, birth certificates and other ID and headed for our appointment.--which became about the shortest appointment I have ever had.

The nice man quickly took our birth certificates somewhere in the back of post office to verify their authenticity, coming back to inform us H's was not valid.

Imagine our shocked state: H had obtained his birth certificate in 1955 by carrying a witness to a courthouse. The witness attested to his testimony of his birth date and place; the county clerk affixed a seal of certification and signed his official signature. H enlisted in the Air Force once, Navy twice, and retired with self-same birth certificate, which was also used for obtaining our marriage license, a military passport (also called defense passport) and I suppose his driving license. Now it is invalid.

Hmm, guess he isn't even born yet.

We were told 9/11 changed everything, included birth certificates which must be obtained from the state's Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS). We would have to expedite the process which we were willing to do.

However, when I called, SC's BVS more problems arose. The date of his birth shows his father's name where it should be, but also as his birth name. H does not have his father's name in his name at all.  The more I talked, his immediate family's birth records have major errors, including unnamed deceased children by H's parents, and his older brother's family.

I was amazed at such a maze of problems in one family. However, when we cooled down, we considered the era of his birth.

His family and many families nationwide, living in remote or rural areas, used midwives for birthing, or simply had them at home in the 1930s. Further it was the Great Depression when few had money. I've read of swapping of chickens and produce as payments for all kinds of services. And many a person was glad to take such in exchange for services.

Reporting by good midwives was to the physician under which they worked, or by the family's first trip to town, which might be several months after birth. The physician probably accumulated quite a number of births and made a report sporadically when he had time between HOUSE CALLS--what's that?

The sum total of this on-going saga is we still do not have a legitimate birth certificate. Further if we got it today it is too late to process a passport/pass card.

I researched other options and there is a short-term card to Canada called a NEXUS, but it also requires proof of permanent citizenship, i.e., birth certificate.

So any other alternative is risky, if not illegal, like a plunge over the Falls in a barrel, or walking a tight-wire (HA! I can't walk a straight line flat on the floor).  Neither of us are risk takers, past getting out of bed in the morning, and getting into a car.

Reluctantly we have canceled that portion of our trip; guess we saved several hundred bucks on a barrel, gas, room and board.

Instead, and SUBJECT TO CHANGE, we are going to return via Skyline Drive, a scenic 100 mi. drive through the upper Appalachian range of the Blue Ridge mountains in Shenandoah Park. We will probably get off at Rockfish Gap and catch the nearest Interstate or good US highway route to H's sister's home in Aberdeen, NC. Then we will try to connect with H's family in short time. Some are in SC.

We realize Skyline Drive may be closed if there is fog, etc. or other driving hazards. Thus we may not see that either.

Since I am scheduled for a heart procedure Sept. 27, we will just get home earlier for me to rest and prepare myself for this procedure, which is not open-heart surgery, but does have risks involved, as does anything surgical. When I had my knee surgery, I was informed I could have a stroke or heart attack; same with this one. Only difference is they will be working on my heart.

And poor Luckie has a lot of time scheduled at her favorite spa, the All Creatures Veterinary Hospital, where they all love her, for her charming want of attention, but she does not seem to like it when I drop her off. I guess she adjusts to her surroundings. After all she is a rescue, and at 14 is lucky to be alive since she was abused, had heartworms, and is epileptic.

I am sure when I get some photos, I'll have something to write about. Actually, I have a lot on my mind, but decided not to bore you with all my medical problems. That gets to be depressing. At my age, I am lucky to be typing this blog with more sanity, than senility.

7 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

well, i'm glad you discovered the problems with the birth certificate BEFORE your trip and plans became final. i do hope you're able to relax and have a good time and put the surgery out of your head for a few days!

Dimple said...

Life is sometimes a comedy of errors, but we don't often laugh until later. I hope you enjoy your plan B trip!

Honest Abe said...

I hope everything goes OK. I just had another aneurysm fixed. Hopefully it will be the last time this happens.

Amber Star said...

I hope you get all the paperwork sorted out. We had such a wonderful time. If you just go to New York you don't need a passport. I guess you could get a barrel and go over in Niagra Falls, NY...just don't drift over to the Canadian side. It is so beautiful up there. We thought so.

turquoisemoon said...

Hi NitWit...I think I made the change necessary on my blog. I didn't know it was turned on...I can't read those either. Let me know!! Thanks

Hilary said...

Oh what a series of problems. It's a shame you won't be able to visit our Canadian side of the falls but I'm sure you'll enjoy your trip. Everything happens for a reason.

Patty said...

Good morning, I must admit, with this past summer, it seems always something to keep the household in an uproar. I spent about five days in the hospital with cellulitis in my leg, then after being home about two weeks, my Mother was released from the nursing home, after her 3 week stay, and she couldn't go home yet, so we brought her here. She was here a little over three weeks. She's back home now and her broken arm has healed nicely. So I'm hoping I can once again start getting around to my favorite blogs. Abe and I both have the a fib thing going on. Our oldest daughter has it so bad, they have actually stopped her heart several different times and then restarted it. Abe and I are both on Coumadin. My heart doctor said, they could shocked mine, but at my age, chances are it wouldn't last, then I might also start having some chest pains. Also he mention the pace maker. But we found when he lowered my thyroid medicine, that helped some. I have to be very careful of products with caffeine in them. So it's just something we live with. Abe and I both have birthdays this month also, I'll be 76, he'll be 78. My birth certificate was the same way, when my Father went into the service they couldn't find one for me. I was born at home, so they made me one, when I was about 9 years old. Then when I needed it again, when Abe and I got married and he was still in the service, I once again had to send off to Columbus Ohio to get another copy. They need to make a smaller version, laminate so we could carry it in our wallets. LOL Hang in there and take care, hope the procedure worked for you. They talked about doing that for our daughter, but so far they haven't.