Today I have a Guest Post from Holly at MidWesternMamah after this your going to want to go follow her blog and then probably
stalk follow her on twitter also. ( @midwesternmamah ) So without further ado I step aside and turn my blog for today over to her.
On Monday our dear Peachy told of her Canadian adventures. While reading this I remember some years ago and my experiences in Canada. More specifically, US Customs coming back in.
Picture it, Spring Break 1984. My boyfriend (who will be referred to as B) at the time and I decided to take a cross country trip during my Spring Break from college. Being that we already lived in Florida it seemed a bit redundant to stay there for break, so we decided to go to up the east coast and then across to Michigan. He was from Virginia originally and still had his brother living there as well as family in Michigan. I had never been to these places so I was all for it. He got the time off of work. He was a Paramedic by trade. This piece of information will be useful later.
The road trip to Virginia was good. We had a nice visit with B’s brother and his family. We went to Washington DC and did the tourist thing.
Time came to go across to Michigan. We were having a ball. Saw the tulips in Holland Michigan, then made our way to the upper peninsula (u.p.) to see his other family in Sault St Marie, Michigan. The day we left there headed back to Florida, we decided to get wild and go into Canada. I mean why not, we were so close might as well go. Right?
On our way into Canada we stopped at their border. They asked if we had anything to declare and the nature of our visit. Now you must remember, this is pre 911 so it was a pretty casual thing. We told them we had our luggage in the back as well as B’s kit he took to work ( it contained hemostats and various things he used at work) and we were going into Canada just because we were that close and wanted to say we had been. The little guy at the gate in the adorable red suit wrote all this down, gave us paperwork and told us to ” Enjoy Canada.”
We were in Canada only a few hours. Saw the other side of the Soo Locks, did a few other things. The one thing I did notice, every woman I saw had red hair and was pregnant. My hair was red at the time ( thank you L’Oreal) and the whole pregnancy thing was making me nervous. I didn’t know if it was contagious, but I knew I didnt want it. I suggested we get going. We headed back to the good old US of A. This is when the proverbial scat hit the fan.
We are in line to come back into America. There was a pretty long line of cars. Some were being summoned over to the side, the others were left to go through to America.
We get up the line, give our papers to the customs officer, the AMERICAN customs officer and expected to be told to go on. He took one look at us and we were summoned to the side and told “not to get out of the car.” Okay, now I’m getting worried. B is telling me not to worry we hadn’t done anything wrong.
Soon another customs officer came to the car and told us to step out. We did. He asked us to tell him what we had in the car. Again we told him luggage, and B’s work kit. We had to provide I.D. , B even gave them his card to prove he was a paramedic. The officer looked at the ids, and told us to follow him into the customs office. Soon other officers followed with our luggage and my purse as well as our jackets from the back of the car in tow.
I noticed something odd as soon as I walked into the office. Every single person they had detained appeared to be under the age of thirty five, forty tops. I whispered this to B and he shook his head that he noticed it too.
We sat in corner office with another officer for what seemed like an eternity. Then we were escorted into separate offices. I stayed in the one we were in and B was taken to another. Soon another officer came in with a female officer. I was shaking by now. We weren’t being told what was going on, and now we were separated.
Officer Asshole ( yeah I went there) sat down across from me crossed his arms and looked me dead in the eye and said, “we searched your suitcases and purse, want to tell me what we found?” I was terrified and on the verge of tears but managed to say “clothing and our toiletries.” Officer Asshole then said “try again, we found what you was hiding” “wanna tell us how much you sold across the border” I was dumbfounded because there was nothing to find and we didn’t sell a thing. I knew now he was trying to play me, get me to confess to something that was false or to tell him where in our cases to find our “stash” if one did indeed exist. Fear soon started turning to anger. At that point I told him” he didn’t find anything and they wouldn’t find anything because there was NOTHING TO FIND.” By now the tears were coming. Fearful tears mixed with anger tears. Officer Asshole then looked to the lady Officer, Officer Douche Nozzle, she took the cue. She started asking me “why are you so afraid Miss________, if you have nothing to hide?” The level of condensation in her voice made me snap. I looked at the both of them and told them as firmly as my quivering voice could “because Ive seen movies where people go into foreign countries and NEVER come back.” This didn’t impress either of them, but I felt a level of confidence having said it.
B was then brought back into the room and we were left there alone. He told me basically he got the same treatment only there was two male officers. They questioned him as to why he had the paramedic bag with him especially the hemostats. He told them he was a paramedic, had showed them id to prove that, and had just simply forgotten to take it out when we left Florida. He also told me very loudly that he was certain we were being listened to through the phone on the desk. Soon we found out he was right.
The doors opened and Officer Asshole and Officer Douche Nozzle was in the entrance way. I was told to go with her and he with him. We were going to be stripped searched. This totally freaked me out, but I didn’t show it. I was led into the small very cold room and told to take my clothes off and turn around and squat. I did. She told me to get dressed, and follow her, I did. I was led up to the front entrance where we came in and B was waiting for me with our suitcases and my purse.
We were then led outside to our car. They were putting the carpet back down and the front seats back in. When they were done, we were handed the car keys and told to “have a safe trip” . A SAFE TRIP !!! I screamed. B then took me by the shoulder and told me to just get in the car. I did. He then told me that he too was stripped searched. I was so angry, so angry I could hardly see straight.
They were pulling over young people who I guess they thought fit the description of drug traffickers. Never mind that granny and gramps were probably smuggling into kilo after kilo and God knows what else under the seats of their mini vans. But, because we were 19 and 21 driving a camero from Florida we were automatically drug dealers.
Recently I talked to B for the first time in a few years. One of the first things he asked me was “want to take a trip to Canada?” In true Holly fashion, I told him to “get bit.” It was good to be able to laugh about it together after so many years.
The whole experience drove home a lesson I had learned long ago. Never judge a book by it’s cover, and always wear clean underwear when you leave the house.
Thanks so much for this story Holly, your a hoot. So readers make sure to ad her to your favorites and follow her on twitter.
http://midwesternmamah.blogspot.com and @midwesternmamah
oh holly… u have all the good stories! thank gawd 🙂
Oh noooo that is awful. Strip searches and everything… I was cringing and all I had to do was read about it!!
[…] I had my first Guest Post from the incredible Holly from WidWesternMamah ( who may or may not actually be my unknown long lost sister or a split personality disorder I didn’t know about) Oddly enough she too had an “incident’ with Canada and customs. […]