4 Apr

Here is one of the interesting stories that will be included in “Elsie’s Mountain Years.”

My mother Catherine  was born in Elsinore, California March 31, 1918.  She always referred to herself as a “rare” native Californian.  However, from her birth until  Sept. 3, 1920 my mother Catherine was actually an “alien” residing in California. Her mother, Elsie was born in Virginia in 1888, but she, and her children, were classified as aliens in the eyes of the U.S. government when she married Jack because he was a Welsh citizen.  This was because, after 1907, marriage determined a woman’s nationality  completely. Under the act of March 2, 1907, all women acquired their husband’s nationality upon any marriage occurring after that date. This meant U.S.-born women citizens  lost their citizenship by any marriage to an alien.

On September 22, 1922, Congress passed the Married Women’s Act, also known as the Cable Act. This 1922 law finally gave each woman a nationality of her own. No marriage since that date has granted U.S. citizenship to any alien women who married American husbands, nor taken it from any U.S.-born women who married an alien.

Jack became a naturalized citizen on Sept. 3, 1920. One of the stories Elsie loved to share was about her father turning over the official United States postal bag to her once she could be recognized as The Postmistress of Palomar Mountain.  As an alien she could officially only assist her father but not serve as Postmistress. So the newspaper did this wonderful picture of  Alonzo Hayes turning over the leather mailbag to Elsie when she became a citizen once again.

How I wish I had that old mailbag. Elsie served  for several years as postmistress on Palomar Mountain.  As a child I loved helping Adalind Bailey while she served as Postmistress on Palomar.  Her Granddaughter Stephanie and I  thought it was great fun. The old Bailey Post Office had these lovely old wooden “cubby-holes”  that held each person’s  mail. While in high school I once challenged a friend that he could send a letter addressed to “Barb”  Palomar Mountain, California and it would reach me. He sent it and I think I might still have that letter sent on a dare.  I come from a long line of people who saved mementos.  That is why I can write books about Elsie.  She recorded so many memories on paper and saved everything.

I will share one other vintage photo  with you now. In March 1915 Elsie wrote about her sister Alice having a baby named Dorothy.  In Elsie’s diary for June 1915 she wrote, “All day long I have watched Dorothy, my own niece. I have held her close and tried to see life aright. I have loved too much. Alice and Ernest are good for me. I think wee Dorothy has saved me! I am trying to see the sunshine of life.”  That “wee baby”  Dorothy just celebrated her 98th birthday.  She wrote to tell me that she enjoyed reading “Elsie.” So here is a vintage picture of “wee” Dorothy and her handsome parents.  Happy Birthday dear Dorothy.


I am thrilled that I now have 192 reviews on Amazon. Special thanks to those of you who have encouraged me in this way. I am working on “Elsie’s Mountain Years” and looking forward to sharing more with you as I progress.

5 Responses to “MY MOTHER WAS AN “ALIEN”!”

  1. Jean Emily Dunn April 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, you whet my appetite for more Elsie; she is part of our lives! Thank you, Barb!

    • Barb Waite April 4, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Thanks Jean. I love doing the research. I remember Elsie telling me she lost her citizenship but never realized until today that it meant my mother was also an alien for couple years. Just had to do the bad pun title.

  2. ritaroberts April 5, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    Hi Barbara, So good to have more stories. This one about Elsie and your mother is lovely. The photo’s are so clear considering they are old ones but that makes it so much more interesting I did not realize citizenship was so complicated. My sister- in- law was a G.I. bride but I guess things were more sorted by that time. I am so looking forward to more of your stories. Are they going to be published in a new book. Please let me know because I will want to purchase it. Thanks again for sharing your wonderful family history. By the way I did succeed with my bookmarks so thanks for your help.

  3. Becky July 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Still in Chapter 2 and loving your wonderful Elsie book! Love this photo here of my beloved Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Dottie. Thank you so much for sharing these stories. I am eager to read more.

  4. Sunni Jeffers September 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Barbara, I’m so excited to discover you’ve become a writer. So am I. You probably don’t remember me, but my name back in 1960 was Naomi Coleman, and I attended the dances at Bailey’s. I believe you also attended Fullerton JC and the Orange County General Hospital Nursing School during my second year there. I dropped out and got married. Wish I’d finished there, but my husband was stationed in Virginia. I must get your book!

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