Adjusting to life in America

What follows is a short story from Rosemary’s past. After talking with her, I have taken our discussion and turned it into a series of small stories highlighting the incredible life that she has led. Direct quotes from our discussion are highlighted in quotation marks. All else is a retelling written by yours truly.

Before we talk about Rosemary settling into life in Colorado it’s probably best to mention again that she grew up on a farm… during the war. Rationing was a big part of life. Sure there was a little flexibility because being on the farm meant they could grow their own food and sure once she married Bill she understood a bit more the luxuries of life. It’s fair to say she was never really wanting for things such as food and necessities, but it’s also fair to say she made everything last and she never really sought excess.

That’s why, when she first stepped into the American supermarket, she was in for a shock.

“You’d see a whole row of [just] cereal and how do you know what to choose if you don’t recognise the names? So you look for something that might be familiar but it’s so bewildering and it’s not just cereal, it’s everything. There’s so much, so many different kinds, and things which I’ve never even heard of.”

This is a woman whose childhood forged in the rationings of war meant she still saves used aluminium foil, carefully folding it and putting it in the drawer to use later (anyone who wants to learn how to reuse and recycle should take note).

Bewildering is the right word for someone who has just walked into this world. Because “it wasn’t a question of they didn’t have it. They had too much of it and too many kinds of it. Just tea alone, think how many flavours you could buy, or coffee.”

(For a Brit, that’s a big deal)

It was a lot, and a steep learning curve as she figured out what she needed and what she didn’t. One thing that did help in this learning, however, was the kindness of her neighbours. When they first moved in Rosemary and Bill would often find a pie or some muffins on their porch, a welcome-to-the-neighbourhood gift. Soon after arriving, one of the neighbours even left a care package for them. She still doesn’t know who it was from.

She soon developed friends in her neighbours and in her church who helped her understand this strange, new world in which she had landed. And it was a good thing too, because although neither she nor Bill knew it, they had just finished the last big move of their life.

Stay tuned for more stories from the life of Rosemary. Please note: these stories will not necessarily hold any chronological grounding. They are designed as snippets of understanding into the life of Rosemary and while some will hold chronology, others may not.

Photo Credit: The photo in the logo was provided by Eduardo Soares on Unsplash. If you would like to see more of their work, click here.