ESCONDIDO: Woman fulfills 68-year dream to become U.S. citizen
By JOHN RAIFSNIDER - For the North County Times | Saturday, August 30, 2008 6:11 PM PDT ∞

Rosina Ibarra Weckmann, 90, with her daughter Annamarie Dawber. Weckmann, who became a U.S. citizen on Aug. 20, more than 68 years after she settled in this country, says she is proud to now be a flag-waving American. (Photo by John Raifsnider - for the North County Times) ESCONDIDO ---- Sometimes dreams take a while to reach. For Rosina Weckmann, it took 68 years.

The 90-year-old Escondido woman became a U.S. citizen last week during a ceremony for nearly 1,500 new Americans in San Diego, fulfilling a dream she's had since she settled in this country on her own in 1940.

When she was 9, her mother died while giving birth to Weckmann's youngest brother, and her father died of a heart attack two years later. She was taken in by friends of her mother after her father's death before deciding several years later to journey to America.

Born in Panama in May of 1918, Weckmann was a teenager when she arrived in the U.S. She lived for nearly two years in New York City, working as a nanny for a family of diplomats who encouraged her to become a citizen.

Weckmann said last week that from the moment she set foot on American soil, she wanted to become an American but felt her shyness and lack of education stood in the way.

"My father didn't have much education and he felt that little girls needed to learn to cook and to take care of the home ---- that girls didn't need to go to school," Weckmann said of her days growing up on her father's expansive cattle ranch in Panama.

"After I came to this country, it was hard for me because I didn't have an education. I didn't even know what the capital of Panama was until I came to America. "I tried to become a citizen after I got here, but I am a shy person and I got nervous when it came time to take the test. I was afraid I couldn't read the questions correctly. So I would walk out and say that I would try again another time."

Weckmann, whose maiden name was Ibarra, married Bernard Weckmann, a Texan, in the early ‘40s and the couple later moved to Southern California and raised their three children. Her husband died in 1989.

The couple's daughter, Annamarie Dawber, an Escondido realtor, said last week she wanted to help her aging mother fulfill her dream of becoming a U.S. citizen.

"Because she is so shy, she couldn't bring herself to go to the interview to get her citizenship," said Dawber of her mother. "We finally talked her into going in July, and the interviewer could sense she was shy and nervous and he really tried to make her feel comfortable.

"She was asked several questions as part of the test --- which she passed with flying colors ---- and then last week she finally, after all these years, became a U.S. citizen."

Weckmann said she now considers herself a certified, flag-waving American.

"It was always my dream to become a citizen, but I wasn't sure that I would be able to before I died," she said as she tried to contain her emotions.

"Becoming a American, it is the greatest thing to ever happen to me. It's wonderful. This is really a dream come true for me," Weckmann said. ... 6a3b64.txt