During World War II many men came home with foreign brides, and the Enterprise reported the arrival of the mother of one such Bastrop bride this week on November 9, 1948.
Mrs. Hughes, the bride of George Leo Hughes, married Hughes during the war and moved with him to Bastrop.
After Mrs. Hughes married and moved to Bastrop, her mother, Mrs. Jean Elizabeth Stephens, felt like England was no longer home which culminated in her decision to move to Bastrop to be with her daughter. She left on the 12 passenger ship, the Claiborne, on October 3, arriving in Bastrop on October 22. She was glad to be in America, one of Britain's allies during the war.
“I find America fascinating,” she exclaimed in the Enterprise article.
Upon arrival she had a heartwarming reunion with her daughter and met her granddaughter Barbara, then 20 months old. Five other English girls and their husbands stopped in to welcome her as well.
Mrs. Stephens expressed much gratitude to the U.S. for its help during and after the war. She noted that conditions were still inadequate in England. She thanked Americans for their generosity in making 'Bundles for Britain' filled with needed clothes.
“Not half enough has been said about how grateful we in Great Britain are to the women of America who sent so many bundles to our country during the war,” she is quoted as saying.
She explained that many lost everything, even the clothes on their backs, and that even one nice garment helped them regain their self respect.
Mrs. Stephens noted that there were still food shortages in England as well as rationing. She commented that one weeks allowance of meat couldn't exceed two chops and that sweets were a rarity.
She noted that America was not so different from England, and was excited to find a Woolworths upon her ships docking in New Orleans. There, she tried Coca-Cola for the first time, declaring that she enjoyed it.
When asked what she thought of Bastrop, she said that she liked what she'd seen of it, but thought it a little warm. She believed, however, that it would be a nice place to live.
“I know I shall like it here, and with my family and granddaughter I shall live my life over again.” she said in the Enterprise article. “
Today, World War II is long ended and a part of history, but the soldiers who gave their lives fighting are still remembered as are the brides some brought back. During that time, Bastrop came together as a community to help the men at war and the civilians suffering, and the stories of people like Mrs. Stephens are a reminder of just how much that help meant to so many people.