No visit for Asian relatives

As some of you dear readers know, I’ve begun my ninth decade as a native of good old Warren with little interruption. (I’m 81.) When I was of working age, good employment was available to me here, and I spent much of my career at Packard Electric.

My two sons grew up here, and after their college educations were complete, they quickly realized that finding employment with a promising future in the Warren area was difficult. My younger son moved to northern California where he is a real estate developer. My older son went all the way to China to be an administrator and teach English to young Chinese business people (between ages of about 20 and 40). Most of his students want to come to the U.S. and be able to speak just like you and I do.

Recently, my older son made elaborate plans to travel from China with his 12-year-old son, who has dual citizenship, to a few points in the U.S. and then to visit good old Warren. Among other items on his agenda, my son wanted his son to see where his dad had grown up.

They left China without a problem, but there was some kind of a glitch when they landed in a country that was an intermediate stop. Somehow, their passports or visas weren’t in a suitable order. They became stuck in a country that was just a stopover for them and weren’t permitted to continue on to the U.S.

It turned out that their only alternative was to return to China and start all over again — if that country that was holding them would let them. I was quite fearful for their welfare, because it wasn’t clear why they couldn’t continue on. I was afraid that this uncooperative country might just decide that they weren’t going anywhere. The last I heard from my son was when he called before leaving for the airport. Whether they would make it onto the plane by those who checked their credentials was a crapshoot.

For three days we heard nothing. I became perhaps a bit overwrought and expressed my concerns with my younger son and his mother. My younger son was quite indulgent, and he provided me with timeline data and a number for me to call at the U.S. State Department.

I called the state department and told the story. I was assigned a specialist who called me the next day. She had taught school the same year I did at Elyria High School and was very cooperative and sympathetic.

Finally, on that fourth day, I received an e-mail. Our two travelers had made it safely back to China. Undaunted, my son was developing a new itinerary with plans to stop on his way to the U.S. at Saipan — a U.S. commonwealth — upon the advice of the U.S. consulate. I just wonder what happened to all those travel ticket purchases made for the original trip.

This time, there would be no plan to visit Warren. They would just visit my other son and his family in California. So I’m making plans to meet with them there for a few days. At least that’s the plan at this writing, and it looks like this attempt of theirs to make it to the U.S. will be glitch free.

All should be okay now, but my grandson might never be able to see where his father and his uncle grew up in good old Warren — at least not in my lifetime.

When I wanted to visit my parents back when I was a young family man, all I had to do was walk a few blocks and I was there.

Things just aren’t the same any more in good old Warren — but it’s still a good place to live.

Mumford, of Warren, can be reached at columns@tribtoday.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)