AMERICA, And the Reality of My So-Called “American Dream”

I want to begin by saying that though I wasn’t born here I am proud to be an American. I was merely eight-years-old when I first came to this country, a foreigner, born in Managua, Nicaragua. And though I was just a young child, I can remember hearing many wonderful things about this great nation. America is the land of opportunity! But America has let me down.

My husband and I got married in 1982, and we began our lives with high hopes and dreams for a fruitful future. We talked; we decided; and we divided our responsibilities as a young couple purposed for a family: he would bring home the bacon and I would temporarily give up my career to become a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). After a few short years, our family grew to be five, and with the help of his mother, we bought our first home; a spanking new 5-bedroom, 3-bathoom home with a large yard—ample room for our little family to grow.

After a few years (in 1990) we began to see the spiraling of jobs in the Silicon Valley, and my husband was finally hit and laid off in November 1992. He was out of work for eleven long months. And if it wasn’t for all the rains and flooding taking place in the Mid-West, the recipient of our mortgage, we would have lost our home in a matter of months. Sadly, the devastation in one place managed to buy us time in California, from being put to the street.

Though my husband finally got a good paying job, it would not be enough to get us back on our feet. We landed face down when we realized we would not be able to meet the mortgage payments from too many months to catch up on. We had to give up on our dream home.

Sometime later, in yet another November month, we saw the loss of another job; that meant packing up and moving again. And over the next thirteen years we would pack and unpack and move a total of seven times—not including a period we even lived out of our car and at the mercy of family and friends who would house us for a little while.

But we never gave up believing that we would one day get back on our feet and be able to own a home again. But today, it is the year 2012, my husband and I are 56 and 57 years-old, and though we are glad to report that my husband has a job and we have a roof over our heads and food on our table, our dreams of owning a home again have crumbled to dust. Worse, still, our dreams, our many years of planning for our retirement, have been blown to bits, too. One small retirement plan was cannibalized for our survival during a zero income period.

How does one learn to have faith again and believe in the impossible? We’ve picked up the shattered pieces of our broken lives as best we could and now live each day still hoping and waiting for that miracle of miracles. Our story is the reason why, after not voting in 24-years we are now registered and heading to the polls this November 6, 2012. We hope our vote can make a difference somehow.

We dream a life to be; we live to dream that life! (vka)


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