April 23, 2012 | 2 Comments | Betsy Woodman
Growing up overseas, my sisters and I may have had a sketchy idea of what big ambassadors did, but we were pretty well drilled in the role of “little ambassadors,” to use my mother’s phrase. She had got it into her head that the world regarded American children as brats, and she wanted to reverse that opinion. So. No chewing gum in public. No running in airports. No screaming at the swimming pool. Shake hands with the grown-ups and say “how do you do?”
From the point of view of our Nepalese bearer, Pratap (major domo of the household), she was worrying too much. He granted that some American kids were badly behaved, but “our children never give any trouble,” he told her.
I had an exalted idea of just how important this good behavior was. Surely, it was preventing diplomatic crises and holding back World War III!
One thing cannot be denied, people were nice to us in those airports where we weren’t allowed to run. On one occasion, coming into the States via Honolulu, other incoming travelers were being subjected to a thorough grilling and inspection of luggage. The immigration officer took one look at our bedraggled family, with our dolls, coloring books, and seventeen pieces of hand luggage, and waved us through.
After all, what official could not help but melt on seeing the bearers of this passport?
Ruth R. Woodman, Deborah (with doll) and Jane