The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

Joan Waterfield This poem was written for a War Brides Reunion in 2000 by Joan Waterfield, a Scottish war bride. Shortly before her death she was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada for her outstanding lifetime contributions to the community in performing arts and writing. Following her death, of cancer, her ashes were sent back to Scotland. She was a member of the Lethbridge Branch of Alberta War Brides Association. Joan gave me (Hazel) permission to send her poem to the list saying: "Yes, yes, of course my dear".

Please note that the songs mentioned in the poem are in quotation marks. 'Reemie' was the acronym for the "Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers" and the 'Palais' was one of many dance halls so named.

"They're Playing Our Song"

"I'll Be Seeing You" in all the old familiar places"
Brings to mind so many faces,
And a musical trip to those wartime years
Recalls for us both joy and tears.
A brief encounter, a remembered friend,
The lasting love that would never end
Are touched again when we hear a song
And sometimes it will make us long
To return again to our youthful spring
That in our autumn still makes us sing.

There's the "Nightingale Singing in Berkeley Square"
That made even the darkest days fair.
And "Yours Till the Stars Lose their Glory"
Was the start of many a romantic story.
And in a world gone helter-skelter,
"You are My Sunshine" brightened many a shelter.
We beat the black-out blues, made the nightime rock
With a cheery 'Oi' and "TheLambeth Walk"
And there were Bogey and Bergman to make us cry
When they parted forever to "As Time Goes By".

And, yes, we danced for all to see
To "The Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B"
"In the Mood", "Begin the Beguine"
Were special to the 'Palais' scene.
"The More I See You" was kind of dreamy,
Reminds me now of a lad in the 'Reemie'.
Slow dancing to that "Satin Doll"
Takes me right back to pilot Paul.
And then there was sweet 'Tangerine"
To make my friend Ena the ballroom queen.

The silly songs demand some notes
with "Three Little Fishes" and "Mairzey Dotes".
"String of Pearls", "Serenade in Blue"
"There Never Will be Another You".
That "Old Black Magic" wove a certain spell,
Eyes would meet and who could tell,
If this was the beginning, the very start
With one who was "Always in my Heart".

"Skylark" could speak to the lonely heart
When so many of us were so far apart.
Yet we could dream when the war would be over
With Vera Lynn and "The White Cliffs of Dover"
Yes, we were young then, perhaps not too wise
But we had "Stardust" in our eyes.
Now the years behind us are very long,
But always treasure your 'special' song.
Have that echo from our wartime past,
Be something of you that will ever last.
And let 'your' melody be always a part,
Of the music, forever, in your heart.
Joan Waterfield
Condolences to the Family and Friends of Joan Waterfield

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© 2005 M. Thomas