The Women of DA: Thoughts on being a Dual Citizen

By Deborah Gorham

I’ve lived in Canada—in Ottawa Ontario-- since 1965 and I’ve been a Canadian citizen since 1968. I’m now 81 years old and I’ve lived here most of my adult life. And yet, I find myself feeling more and more American. It’s not that I don’t like Canada. I respect Canada and enjoy many things about living here. But I miss the United States. I was born in New York City, in Manhattan, and, in 1956, came to Canada to attend McGill. After McGill, I ended up staying here, and I remained here even after my first husband and I split up. By then I had a position as a faculty member at Carleton University here in Ottawa, and I had received tenure. I enjoyed my Carleton career. I was a “pioneer “ in Women’s History and Women’s Studies. Hard work, but such fun.   

So why do I feel more American than Canadian? Well, partly it’s New York itself. Manhattan is not a typical American place, but it is so special, and it is definitely my home. I tell myself the Manhattan of 1955 is what I miss, and that’s long gone. Still, every time I return for a visit, I love being there, even though the city is now overwhelming to me: noisy, crowded, even frightening. It’s exciting, in a way that Montreal and Toronto, great cities that they are, are not, at least not for me. Maybe it’s just that I am appalled by President Trump, in the way only an American can be? Maybe homesickness is just part of growing old?

If I moved back to the United States, even to Manhattan, no doubt I would miss Canada!

Candidates I’m concerned about? I vote from Wisconsin. I do hope that Senator Tammy Baldwin wins re-election.

Deborah Gorham
Distinguished Research professor
Department of History
Carleton University
Ottawa, Canada