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.