Blackouts to Bright Lights: Canadian War Bride Stories by Barbara Ladouceur, Phyllis Spence

By Barbara Ladouceur, Phyllis Spence

During this best-seller, thirty-six Canadian battle brides recount their early lives, their involvement in wartime tasks, the magical/funny moments once they met their Canadian husbands-to-be and their trips from Britain to Canada. The tales show braveness and humour: traits that carried the struggle brides throughout the tricky warfare years and that give a contribution to vigorous studying at the present time.

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Betrayal was possible. Part way through the project, as it became evident to us that these reviews were intensely emotional experiences, we each took the most precious artefacts out of our own personal “libraries” and interviewed ourselves and each other about them. Our own interviews could not, of course, be identical to those we conducted with other women. Our attention was already drawn to the significance of the process. This awareness no doubt influenced us to focus more specifically on the meanings of our artefacts rather than on a detailed recounting of specific stories.

Other mythical grandmothers are developed as models or examples of particular virtues to which women themselves aspire. For Paddy, the re-invented figure was her paternal grandmother. Paddy’s father gave her his mother’s pocket watch, engraved with the grandmother’s initials, after she died. The watch is clearly a much-used object, showing the wear that comes from daily handling. Paddy likes to think of her grandmother holding the watch in her palm and running her thumb repeatedly across its silver finish.

She resolved not to be a housewife like her mother, but, with the best of intentions, ended up in an unhappy marriage herself. She next showed us a sewing machine she had bought. “The sewing machine was an admission that I was resigned to being a housekeeper, I think. Until I got that machine I felt like an individual. ” In contrast to 21 Creating and re-creating the self A best friend’s slippers received as a child and told us how she continues to use them to relax and distract herself. Barbara showed us the drums she has been playing since she was three years old, a set of bongos passed on to her by her father, which she will pass on to her daughter.

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Blackouts to Bright Lights: Canadian War Bride Stories by Barbara Ladouceur, Phyllis Spence
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