Friday, March 4, 2011

Gaston Hospice: A Story of War Brides

She left France 65 years ago, a war bride with a baby boy.

Speaking no English, with little money and only the clothes on her back, she found bad news waiting in the U.S.: Her GI husband wanted her to go home and leave the infant behind.

Even though the soldier offered to pay for the trip, Josette Laney, then 23, knew there would be more opportunity in America.

In Gaston County, where her husband was from, she built a new life as a single parent. She worked in textiles and raised her son, Jim. They supported each other, and she helped put him through college.

At 88, Laney recently came under the care of Gaston Hospice, where staff heard about her experiences.

Officials with the nonprofit - celebrating its 30th anniversary this year - put Laney's story on the front of its winter newsletter. As the face of hospice, she helps call attention to the soon-expanding program.
According to the World War II War Brides Association, about 65,000 women married American soldiers and sailors; 7,000 came from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

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