At a reunion in New York in about 1987, Roy Murphy interviews New Zealanders who married American servicemen. Listen to a war bride talk about meeting her US serviceman husband at a wartime dance in Auckland.
War bride: He was in the army and he was stationed at a navy [camp] in Victoria Park and I used to go every week to the dances there and we used to be picked up by a truck and taken there and one night – there usually were civilian bands, but this one night there was an army band – and so we were all looking up at this chap and we said, isn’t he just like a friend of my girlfriends – and we were laughing and when it came time to go to supper he came down and asked if I’d go to supper with him, and then he said could he take me home and I said, ‘Oh’, I says, ‘we’re not allowed to go home’, so he says, ‘Oh, I’ll get permission’, so he got permission to take me and we started dating after that.
Ron Murphy: How do you mean, you weren’t allowed to go home?
War bride: Well, we were chaperoned there and chaperoned back. The army would pick us up – it was a great big truck, a canvas covered truck, and they would pick up the girls….
Ron Murphy: Pick them up where?
War bride: Downtown Auckland. And they would take them to Victoria Park, then after the dance was over they’d take us back to that same spot and we weren’t allowed to … you know, if we liked the fellas if they asked us to go out with us afterwards, but we weren’t allowed to go home with anybody, but because he was in the band and he couldn’t date anybody he asked and got permission to take me home that night.
US husband: Well my side of the story is that the ladies, the three of them, were sitting off in the distance and they were all smiling and looking right up at me. And I, but then I only had one thought, on the one person, and of course she is my wife today. And as I looked at her she smiled back, but the part of it was, the two other young ladies – they all three of them rather – stood up, the other two walked away and my wife stayed there. It seemed like it was almost meant to be. And I jumped off the stage and I walked and I went right to her and I asked her if she’d be willing to have supper with me. And this is how it all came about, she said, ‘Yes, I would, it would be nice’, so we went out and we had social, I went back up and played in the band – that was our intermission – I went back and played in the band, went out, as I say we got our permissions to leave together, and it was all set. So after the dance we got out past the gate and I got my good old whistle going with the mouth and beckoned a taxi cab, it came right up and in big style off we went to her home.