The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II


Beryl and Tamara Latham

Beryl Holzheimer Latham and daughter Tamara of Australia

My mother Beryl Holzheimer-Latham and I (Tamara Beryl Latham) left Australia on the USS Lurline in March 1946 to meet my father, James Samuel Latham, a counter-spy in the Counter Intelligence Corp in New York.

Arriving in America was a shock to her with respect to weather and the money system. I remember her getting diptheria and she was in the hospital for quite a while after arriving in the US. March was Winter in New York, and probably a shock to her system, after the warm Australian weather.

I believe she missed her family very much. She had four brothers, and was the only girl. She wrote to her Mother and Father often. She was offered a job as a live model in the Macy's window in New York. I think it was modeling mink coats, but she turned down the job, as she was too shy. She walked a lot and she loved gardening and swimming. She would often swim way out past the buoys at the beaches and the life guards would always wave her back. In Australia she and her four brothers used to dive off mountains. She was always a great swimmer. My mother had three daughters and had a great life in Queens, New York, and died in 1991 of breast cancer. She was very proud of all her daughters and we loved her very much.

There were two articles in an Australian newspaper about "babies embarking for America." There was a picture of me and another baby named Jacqueline, but I sent the articles to Australia recently, along with most of the pictures of my mother and me, so I don't have the articles to send you.

I remember the Lurline docked in Honolulu, Hawaii on its way to San Francisco, CA, and I still can see the Hawaiian dancers. They all had different pastel colored grass skirts and it was beautiful. When we left my mother was given a multi-colored lei and I was given a white lei. We threw them into the ocean, and my mother's lei went out to sea and mine went to shore. This meant I was to return and my mother was not. I still haven't returned though.

From Tamara Beryl Latham

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