A WORLD IN PASSPORTS – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Word Prompt – Passport

The first time I needed a passport was when I was going to live in Israel. It was such a busy period, I don’t actually remember it. I remember having the passport, but I don’t remember the process or getting it or getting pictures taken, or anything else. I must have done all of it or I could not have gone to Israel, but it’s a complete blank.

I do remember the next passport, though because by then I was living in Israel and I had to get a passport at the American Consulate in Jerusalem.

I was also, by then, an Israeli citizen, so around the same time — I had to get an Israeli passport. Remarkably, the only thing I remember about getting my passport at the American consulate was that the guard was a Marine in full dress uniform. I was very impressed. He was like one of the guards at Kensington Palace — as still as a statue.

As for getting my Israeli passport, I remember that I knew my “number” by heart. Everyone knew their number. These days, I can barely remember my own phone number.

That was the same passport I used when Garry and I honeymooned in Ireland and the same one I used when I went abroad to work in Israel. I had to use my Israeli passport and it had the wrong name on it, so I had to use my American passport too, to prove I was me and will still be me.

The next time I had to get a new passport was when we were living here. I hadn’t even realized my passport had gone past due, but that was when suddenly, you needed a passport to go to Canada and we were going up to Jackman, Maine which is right on the Canadian border and thought we might want to wander into Canada.

Jackman, Maine

That used to be no big deal. You didn’t even need a passport. Just a driver’s license, a wave and off you’d go. Now you needed a passport and there was a line of cars. And prices were really high and there wasn’t any sense of “hospitality” for which Canadians are supposedly famous. Maybe it’s because we were obviously tourists.

Or maybe it’s because our friends were obviously Natives to whom not all Canadians are friendly.

16 thoughts on “A WORLD IN PASSPORTS – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. In our family passports were for the upper classes, those that went places and saw things – and then the world got smaller and I went on holiday to Italy by plane (propeller of course – no jets at the beginning of tourism) and I had my first passport. A nice British passport, which I still have. In the meanwhile I had it changed for an EU British passport and now that England no longer wants to be European, or perhaps they do, who knows what will be designed. In the meanwhile I got a Swiss passport which also now belongs to my collection of expired passport dates. I will no longer travel with a passport, although I once crossed into France with my train pass. I forgot my identity card when we were on staying a few days in Lausanne and we travelled across the lake to France, but they let me in – no problem. Today it would probably not be possible.

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      1. Just thinking about your last two lines. I think our “passport needed” days are behind us. Yes, I also would dread doing it now with all the hassles involving ID and body searches. I think the first time I needed a passport was the early/mid 60’s when I travelled to the UK and France with a mutual friend from our college radio station. I thought it was so “cool” to have a passport, conjuring up images from old movies about people who travelled everywhere.

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  2. South Africans need a passport to go anywhere, Marilyn, and they are usually met with suspicion, even those of us that are just hardworking citizens trying to do the right thing. The world is changing and foreigners don’t seem welcome in any country now.

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    1. I think it’s come to a time when absolutely EVERYONE needs a passport to go anywhere. It’s weird. You didn’t need any kind of identity papers when I was growing up. Just had to be a person. Well, those days are surely over!

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  3. Travelling across borders has become more difficult and less welcoming than it used to be. Australians need a passport to go to New Zealand which was not required at one time and also to go on a cruise if the ship will be sailing outside Australian waters even if all the ports of call are within Australia.

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  4. yup. First passport was when I was 14. All us kids were in a group photo with my Mom. Got my own passport just after college. And yes, I recall traveling freely to both Canada and Mexico with just my driver’s license for years. More complicated now, for sure.

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