The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

My home is in the Southland

The daughter of a County Durham miner, Evelyn Haggan was a GI bride. During the Second World War she married U.S. serviceman Charles Burga. Leaving her entire family behind, she sailed on the Queen Elizabeth with all the other GI Brides to begin a new life in America. She never forgot her home in England as the  poem below testifies.  Evelyn passed away on April 19th 1999. Her ashes were returned to the place of her birth but as she said in the closing lines of her poem her "spirit is free to roam from shore to shore" between the two places that she loved.  Evelyn was Steve Thompson's Aunt Eva. And he has now set her poem to music.
Click here to hear her poem in song.

My home is in the Southland
My present home, that is
Where Bayous, lakes and swamps abound
With Crawfish, Crabs and Catfish
And grosbeak geese and gulls soar high
'bove alligators and Opossums
Magnolias reach to Southern skies
To sun their scented blossoms

There's much to love here in the South
Its beauty, clime and people
But why can't I look through the trees
And see an old church steeple
I've lived here now for many years
I've raised my children here
Though long ago I settled down
I daydream by the year

I don't want crabs and crawfish
Some fish and chips will do
And I'd gladly give up Spanish moss
For heather white or blue
To walk o'er hill and dale again
To see some winters snow
Instead of these great flatlands
Where lilacs never grow

I'm 'twixt and 'tween these two great lands
I love them both you see
Coffee I enjoy a lot
But I love my English tea! 
I care not where my old bones go
When my life is o're
For then my spirit will be free
To roam from Shore to Shore.

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© 2005 M. Thomas