When Audrey and I decided we wanted to get married, I took her back home to Sudbury to meet my parents. Our plan was to get married the following spring. I had had a Student VISA and so I had some paperwork then already.


On our way back from our visit we ended up getting a real jerk for a guy working immigration. Instead of welcoming us back into the United States and after showing him my Student Visa he said something about, “Where are you going to work? You cannot work on a Student VISA.” I explained to him that my parents had agreed to pay for everything I needed. I couldn’t tell him I was a musician at the time.

The guy ended up hauling us in and giving us the third degree about how I couldn’t work and without work there was no way I could survive and such. I ended up finally calling my parents who drove down, three hours by the way, and once they got there my dad tried talking to the man. He explained to him that whatever I needed financially they were able to take care of and that they were excited I was going back to college, since I had dropped out at 19 and all this other stuff. The immigration guy just kept on being extremely difficult and rude.


Jim’s mother, Annie McCrae (Boyd) .

So my mother steps up, and she is like Granny Clampett from Beverly Hill Billie’s. Just really small and really quiet and old fashioned but once you crossed her – it was over! She walks up to the counter and pushes my dad out of the way. Now, my dad was a big guy so this was a big deal. So my mother goes up and leans across the counter and she says this ( I remember it exactly), “I’m the goddamn minister of finance in this family, what do you want?”

See, my mothers financial system was to have a million bank accounts. So one was set up for the electric bill and this was for the water and this was for that. So she starts throwing these bankbooks at the guy. “This has 130 bucks a month in the bank account – do you think that’s enough? This has 500 dollars a month – interest! – is that enough for you?”

It was incredible! The guy reaches down, pulls out my papers, stamps it good, and hands it to her. This guy, he has a gun and the whole thing and here is my mother who just backed him down! It was just incredible.

The Day I Became an American