Because of an earlier blog outlining my mother's adventures as a "war bride", I received an email from Michele who is Vice President of the World War II War Brides Association. Here's her website, which is devoted to war brides of every nationality:
Michele is a "war baby" from Belgium.
I also received an email from Erin who handles membership for the World War II War Brides Association. Erin is a "war baby" from Australia.
I'm so thrilled these two women reached out to me because I've been thinking a lot lately about war brides. As much as I like telling the stories of biracial and bicultural children, I also realize that we wouldn't be here if our mothers hadn't taken that huge leap of faith.
For Japanese women like my mother who spoke very little English, the prospect of moving overseas with a man she'd known only a few years must have seemed monumental. That my Moms coped with Southern racism and all the wild elements of Texas (snakes, tarantulas, cockroaches, red bugs, etc.) makes her all the more courageous in my eyes. And, she did it with me as a toddler and my sister as an infant, too. Now, that's what I call strength. While it's true that dodging bombs in Tokyo may have been a little more challenging for her, living in a segregated Texas town without her own family or friends--or anyone who even spoke her language, for that matter--must've been a waking nightmare. My mother used to tell us that she cried every day during her first, horrific year in America.
If any of you out there have some good tales about your own war bride mother, please drop me a line. I'd like to share them with my readers.
And, that's my mother as a young, idealistic woman BT (before Texas) in the photo above.
Your Hip Hapa,