Susan Dromey Heeter Makes Her Academy Award Speech in Her Car

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Susan Dromey Heeter photo

Maria Heeter in California

Dear California,

Heartfelt thank you for my visit last week. Gracias.  May I call you “Cali?” I know it’s a little informal, but having spent time under your vibrant blue skies, surrounded by those orange trees, I’m feeling like we are friends, amigas.  And I muse joyfully that when I return, we’ll be even closer. You can call me Naine…New and Improved New England. I write today thanking you for a lovely visit.

Thank you, Cali, for those mountains.  Really. I’d not seen majesty like that since I lived in Alaska; I’d forgotten the prayer of those heights, the simple joy in gazing up, up, up.  Thanks for outfitting them with a little snow on top; Mount Baldy looked amazing, shout out to your set designers.

Thank you Cali, for the traffic from Claremont to Santa Monica.  No, really. Not only did I embrace rolling down the windows, but I felt like I was truly experiencing the freeway as a true Californian. When the Cohen Testimony was live on the LA’s KCRW, I was IN my glory – with scintillating testimony, boatloads of traffic, a sixteen-year-old daughter with earbuds in, sun and warmth – I was in my glorious, glorious, glorious element.  

And when Elijah Cummings passionately and poetically summarized with the words,

“We’re better than that! We really are. And I’m hoping that all of us can get back to this democracy that we want, and that we should be passing on our children so they can do better than what we did.”

I did take my hands off the steering wheel and clapped.  Full disclosure, I was at a complete stop, but the theatrics of Hollywood must have left their mark.

Thank you, Cali, for reminding me of my lovely and purposeful job as a Spanish Teacher. Gracias.  I adored hablaring español, eavesdropping on conversaciones, eating way too many fish tacos, delighting in mariachis, La Virgen de Guadalupe, diversity.  Muchas gracias. I’ve come back to this snowy East Coast with even more purpose to teach, to share my experiences and to remind my students that when they are my age, we’ll have more Spanish speakers in the US than in Mexico.  Es dinero en el banco – it’s money in the bank – to speak some Spanish, amigos. Thanks for the reminder, Cali. Me encanta hablar español – and those fish tacos have returned me larger than ever, but worth every bite, vale la pena.  Gracias.

Finally, Cali, thank you for watching over my baby girl.  While Maria studies at Scripps College in Claremont, she has also embraced rock climbing. Yes, Cali, rock climbing. Please continue to watch her as she rappels and relays and, well, does her thing. I can’t think of it too much as I will never sleep in any time zone. I kind of wish she’d taken up knitting but, well, with your weather out there, I do see the attraction of outside pursuits.  Just, please, Cali, keep her safe. And if she falls, no need to let me know.

So, dear Cali, I muse joyfully on memories you provided during my few days on your coast.  You reminded me we have a big, beautiful country with more than we need, beauty, diversity and glorious, glorious opportunity.  Thank you, gracias. I’ll see you soon.

Joyfully yours,


Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Spaulding High School in Rochester and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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