The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

German War Bride
Life In Tennessee

"This is a very neglected area of American history. I've had two students who did interviews with German war brides to fulfill an oral history assignment in my U.S. Women's History class. I'm sure that each would be happy to share this information.

Both brides moved to rural Tennessee. The following is an excerpt from Tim Daughtery's paper. "Trudy" said that she fell in love with a handsome American soldier--in uniform. She could hardly believe that the man who came to pick her up at the train station in Knoxville, Tennessee was the same guy she had married."
Carole Adams 11 Feb 1998

"Trudy was shocked to see how his appearance had changed. He was wearing clothes that were more suited for a person in poverty, not the neat soldier she had remembered four months before. His pants were brown, faded and too short. His shirt was faded, green, and his sport coat was a worm mustard color that had seen better days years ago... . They departed for Sweetwater [TN] in Jim's cousin's old cramped pick-up truck. It was hot, and the Tennessee heat bothered her. She asked Jim if they could stop at a Hostel to get a cold beer. To her surprise he jabbed at her in the ribs and stated that women do not drink beer in Tennessee. Trudy was completely taken aback by his change in attitude. What else could go wrong? Her worst fears were realized when they pulled up to the home Jim had prepared for them. Trudy said... 'I stood there appalled at what I was seeing. It was an unpainted wooden shack that sat on stones which supported the structure's four corners. There was not any running water or a bathroom. The water had to be drawn from an open well, and the bathroom was an outhouse. Our kitchen was a lean-to built onto the side of the house. The floors were rough wood slabs with cracks large enough to see the ground underneath the house. Cardboard lined the walls to keep out the wind. I thought in all of war-torn Germany we may have lived in bombed out buildings out of necessity, but never would we have chosen to live in such a pig sty. To make matters worse, Jim was paying half of his $97.60 G.I. Bill money for some dairy cows he had purchased. We were living in complete poverty."
Tim Daughtery, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville,TN. (From his paper completed for History 437, April 15, 1997)

previous story      next story

 Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my site.
Without your help this site would not be successful.

© 2005 M. Thomas