Reminiscing… I Was a Stranger in a Strange Land

I had a nomadic childhood. I lived in England…America…England…America…England…Italy…and finally America. I came to the U.S. to attend college. For the most part the people I met were kind to me. I must have sounded strange to them with my heavy British accent. I fell in to the routine of college life, except for one teeny tiny problem.

When I was a college student in PA I was constantly asked the following questions by my fellow students:

– Is England near Scotland? Yep, very near.
– Is Benny Hill still alive? No idea. He was a huge deal in England in the 70s, but by the 80s he was a has been. A has been who was in a show that was played in heavy rotation on U.S. TV.
– Do you know my aunt/third cousin/friend of my dad? Usually a town miles away from my home town.
– Do English men still wear bowler hats? Uh, only if performing as Mr. Banks and the other bankers in Mary Poppins!
– When I told the name of my town — Wilmslow — I would get a blank response. I would say Manchester — more blank looks. Finally, I would say I am near London. Light bulbs! Recognition!
– When I mentioned living near Manchester to anyone musical, I would be serenaded by a tune “Manchester, England, England, across the Atlantic Sea” from a musical…Hair?

I now have three children in U.S. public school. I find that geography is not taught the way it was in England. We covered so many parts of the world in the elementary/middle/high schools I attended in England. Kids are taught U.S. geography over and over again in elementary school. In middle school it is assumed that students will be able to find SubSaharan Africa on the map. Uh, not likely.

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