Sep 14, 2008

British war bride story

It was a cold dawn, that March 8, 1946. The light was just beginning to come up from above the horizon. Most of the ship's passengers had already crowded onto the top deck and were looking at the new day appearing. 
We were in a strange country but somehow to me it didn't seem foreign. I felt that I knew it so well. There was a toothpaste sold then in England in the mid-40's, I believe the manufacturer was Gibb's? I remember fairy castles decorating the tins. To me, the emerging grey skyscrapers of New York were my childhood castles. They were not unknown shapes but familiar objects not to be feared. Perhaps all the movies I had seen about this fabulous country also helped me at that moment. The Statue of Liberty welcomed this cargo of war brides eagerly waiting to be reunited with their soldier husbands.
I had first met my husband on Christmas Eve, 1943. I was a Wren stationed at Portkil on the river Clyde, opposite to Greenock and Gourock, well known Scottish ports. There were only eight of us in our unit, some living in a small house commandeered by the Navy for the duration of the war while the others slept in a Quonset hut across the path. That particular holiday, most of the girls had gone home to celebrate Christmas. I was on duty with another young woman called Ruth. We didn't have much to do because it was Christmas and were delighted to get a phone call from a friend in the village, asking us if we would like to entertain two young American officers who were all alone, not knowing what to do on Christmas Eve. Well, we said, we would try. And that's how I began my romance!

Do you have a war bride story?

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