Delightful War Bride From India

@Corbin5 (74153)
United States
September 3, 2016 1:51pm CST
Mom interviewed a war bride who was born in Calcutta, India. I found it interesting that Doreen, born of British parents, lived her entire life in India before coming to the United States to join her American husband. A bit long, but just reading a few of Doreen's responses may be of interest to some. On American girls: "American girls are stunning and they certainly know how to dress." On the weather in her American town: "Of course, when the mercury stays around zero as it has for the past two or three weeks, I long for the warmer climate of Calcutta." On Doreen's childhood in Calcutta "I used to spend my holidays on my father's boat. We would ride up and down the delta of the Ganges and the Bhrama Putre, called the Sunderbunds. This is the home of the famous Bengal tiger." On the war: "Calcutta was the victim of several Japanese attacks, the first being Christmas Day, 1943. There were also many riots between the Hindus and the Muslims. These riots made it impossible for us to get to our jobs without the safely of a military escort. It was so necessary for us to keep great stores of canned foods in our homes, as the fighting in the streets prevented us from going to town." On prices in Calcutta: "The prices seemed very reasonable there as compared to this country. The city had an enormous business section, although there were many things we could not get during the war." On traveling to the USA "I took a train from Calcutta to Bombay and there boarded the ship "Georgia," a 37,000 ton liner carrying 6,000 troops. We were under military surveillance at all times, and I was treated just like a soldier as they had no civilian accommodations. We arrived at Liverpool, England." On seeing England: "Rationing was so strict that it was impossible to anything, even necessities. I was allowed to take 75 pounds ($300) out of England." On life in India: "In Calcutta, during the war, all I had to do was take my drawing (we couldn't get fashion books) and and my material to the tailor, my dirzee, and within a few days my article of clothing was ready. All the girls designed most of their clothing." "We had to have so many costumes it was necessary to change clothes and bathe three times a day, due to the terrific heat. The temperature got as high as 120 and 130 degrees in Calcutta. The humidity was also very bad. Then there were the monsoons to reckon with. We had rain and hard winds for days without a break." "I do miss the luxuries of the east. Every family except the very poor, employed servants and they took care of all the domestic duties." "I like the sports here in America. In Calcutta, we also had football, basketball, roller skating and badminton. I loved to play field hockey and was quite good at it." On visiting Calcutta: "I would like to go back to my country on a visit. I think it will be a long, long time before peace is declared between the Pakistani's and Indians, due to religious differences." On schools in America: "I hardly think the public school system here is adequate. In Calcutta, they teach more geography and a wider scope of subjects in general. However, I think America has wonderful universities and these are a great advantage to your country." Just too darn cute: "When we docked at Brooklyn, I was leaning over the side of the ship. A dock hand looked up and gave a familiar GI whistle. I turned to my companion and said, "Now I know I am in America." Photo: Mom's article.
33 people like this
34 responses
@xFiacre (10117)
• Ireland
3 Sep 16
@Corbin5 Kolkata is a marvellous city. Crazy snd hot, but marvellous.
7 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
Crazy hot would do me in, but so glad you experienced and enjoyed Kolkata and did not perish from the heat.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Sep 16
Crazy how @xFiacre ?
1 person likes this
@ms1864 (6978)
• Bangalore, India
4 Sep 16
Thankx for taking the time to write this out for us. I have been to Calcutta 2 years ago...and unfortunately it was a very hot and humid climate. ...it felt pointless to shower because we would sweat right after getting out of it.
4 people like this
• Philippines
4 Sep 16
same here in the philippines
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
I can imagine the sweating would be a problem. I would be miserable.
3 people like this
@vandana7 (56747)
• India
3 Sep 16
Extremely interesting...I saw that you also came up with German bride...but I am having problem in opening posts...if I can, I will. :)
4 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
3 Sep 16
Yes, I have another German bride to post here. I will do that one soon. I was pleased that the war bride above grew up in India. I learned a great deal from the information this war pride shared with Mom during the interview.
1 person likes this
@simone10 (22271)
• Louisville, Kentucky
4 Sep 16
I can't even imagine living where the temps are 120-130 with humidity. No wonder they changed clothes and bathed 3 times a day. I guess if you lived there all your life, you get used to it.
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
I know! You and I would not survive in Calcutta!
2 people like this
@simone10 (22271)
• Louisville, Kentucky
5 Sep 16
@Corbin5 No, I definitely would not survive! I have enough trouble with hot flashes right now, let alone having to deal with those kind of temps.
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
5 Sep 16
@simone10 Same here. Hot flashes can last a lifetime for some of us. Evil thing they are!
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• United States
4 Sep 16
What a great article you mom wrote. She asked some very interesting questions. I'm surprised at the response on the schools.
3 people like this
• Philippines
4 Sep 16
that's what i noticed, too, @jeanniemaries, which gave the article breadth and depth and yet her @corbin5's mom, i think, was only 21 at that time.
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
I was surprised too, but even today, students in India score much higher than American students. My students in my classroom here in the USA who were from India did far better than American students.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
@hereandthere Yes, Mom was really young when she took that job. Mom was an avid reader as a child and as an adult, and that great volume of reading she did really did allow for her to write well.
3 people like this
@allknowing (54666)
• India
3 Sep 16
Calcutta is now renamed Kolkata. She must have meant 'Darji' when she said 'dirzee; which means a tailor. Yes those days we designed our own clothes and the tailor stitched as per our instructions.
3 people like this
• Philippines
4 Sep 16
it was that way here, too, when we were growing up because there were very few department stores then. now we have malls everywhere.
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
She probably did mean Darji. How wonderful to have a tailor at one's service!
3 people like this
• Philippines
5 Sep 16
@Corbin5 orders can be backed up like when they're sewing for big jobs like weddings, school and office uniforms
2 people like this
@1hopefulman (18632)
• Canada
4 Sep 16
"The temperature got as high as 120 and 130 degrees in Calcutta. The humidity was also very bad." Oh, I couldn't take that temperature.
3 people like this
@marlina (58336)
• Canada
4 Sep 16
There is no way I could handle that kind of heat and humidity.
4 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
@marlina My thought too!
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
Me neither!!
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@thelme55 (10848)
• Germany
4 Sep 16
Very interesting story. I was fond of seeing British movies which stories were all situated in India. Stories in the time of British colonialism in India.
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
Oh, I would love to see one of those movies. I wonder if "Gunga Din" was one of the movies you saw. I did see that one.
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@thelme55 (10848)
• Germany
4 Sep 16
@Corbin5 I can't remember if I have seen that but maybe.
2 people like this
4 Sep 16
Love this. She sounds like she lived a very privileged life in India {as proven by the servants comment!} and therefore she comes across as quite naïve, despite presumably being an older woman {as she has a son from a previous marriage}. Interestingly bizarre!
3 people like this
@TheHorse (50085)
• Pleasant Hill, California
4 Sep 16
It sounds like a lot of people from middle class backgrounds could live a "privileged" life in India, then and today. My elementary and high school buddy from Chicago, who was half Indian and lived in a brownstone apartment in Chicago (down the block from me), said he had servants and lived like a Prince when he visited his relatives in India.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
5 Sep 16
@TheHorse Yes, our neighbors, both doctors, mentioned the same. They had servants in India and a huge home. Quite a shock to live in a middle class suburb and have no servants to lend a hand.
1 person likes this
@just4him (85245)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
3 Sep 16
Very insightful into her thoughts and views of American and Indian life during the war.
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
Fun to read and post the articles too. I have learned quite a bit from those articles.
2 people like this
@just4him (85245)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
9 Sep 16
@Corbin5 I'm sure you have. They are so interesting. I'm sure your mother loved interviewing those women.
1 person likes this
@Shiva49 (9021)
• Singapore
4 Sep 16
Very interesting and frank opinion expressed. An eye opener - siva
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
It is interesting to read of her experiences as told to my mother. So many more brides to enjoy thanks to Mom.
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@jaboUK (49034)
• United Kingdom
3 Sep 16
Fascinating stuff. I wonder if she regarded herself as British or Indian. I'm really enjoying these little slices of history.
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
It is interesting that she never mentioned in the article what she considered herself to be.
2 people like this
• United States
3 Sep 16
a most interestin' article fer certain. i don't reckon i knew there were rationin' there, like so many other countries. 'd to giggle o'er the servants thingy...i bet that t'was quite a shock. i believe her 'bout the school systems here, though i think that such's gotten worse.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
She was right about our school systems in the USA, then and now. My students from India in my Illinois classroom out-scored the American-born kids all the time. Heck, all the kids from other countries out-scored the kids born in the USA. Yikes!
2 people like this
• United States
5 Sep 16
@Corbin5 pitiful, aint 't? so many blame the teachers, but they've guidelines they must follow. lookin' purty bleak though :(
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
5 Sep 16
@crazyhorseladycx It is rather embarrassing to see the USA is so far behind when compared to numerous countries.
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@TheHorse (50085)
• Pleasant Hill, California
3 Sep 16
Interesting abiout the Hindus and Muslims beating up on each other even back then.
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
Mom used "Moslems" instead of "Muslims" in the article. I changed the word to facilitate understanding. Sort of a variation we are not used to. I was surprised to read of the conflict back then too.
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@MALUSE (30121)
• Denmark
5 Sep 16
@Corbin5 In German we also say 'Moslem'.
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@TheHorse (50085)
• Pleasant Hill, California
5 Sep 16
@MALUSE Danke. I figured the translation from...what...Arabic?...would vary widely across languages.
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@CRK109 (14381)
• United States
4 Sep 16
She sure did have a lifetime of experiences while in her travels to the states. I hope the rest of her life has been wonderful!
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
Me too. I also hope her life was a happy one here in the USA.
1 person likes this
@CRK109 (14381)
• United States
5 Sep 16
@Corbin5 I do, too. Such a huge difference in culture! I'm sure it changed her life in a lot of different ways.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Sep 16
Your mother has/had (does she still write ?) a very exciting job to be interviewing like this . . . learning all about different cultures -- thanks for sharing this
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
My Mom did work for a suburban newspaper in IL when we moved to the Chicago area. Mom lived to age 92. Her being an avid reader all her life helped her get her start in writing, I believe.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (91862)
• Bunbury, Australia
4 Sep 16
These posts are very interesting. It must have been stressful for some of them.
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
I would have been a nervous wreck. Brave ladies.
2 people like this
@jstory07 (56052)
• Roseburg, Oregon
3 Sep 16
She did a good job of telling what her country was like. That is good that she married and came to USA
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
She did do a fine job. Being born and raised in India allowed her to really give accurate information regarding the country.
1 person likes this
@cupkitties (6698)
• United States
3 Sep 16
I'd agree with her on American girls dress in those days. Now they dress like crap.
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
They certainly do. I love the style of the 1940s in the USA.
1 person likes this
@skysnap (17578)
3 Sep 16
That seems to be very old interview. its interesting turning back and read all this.
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@Corbin5 (74153)
• United States
4 Sep 16
Yes, my mom wrote it in 1946. She interviewed all the war brides in her area.
1 person likes this