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Nuala Calvi | My Grandmother’s Secret Wartime Marriage
Author Guest / September 2, 2014

As a child growing up in England, I knew my grandmother’s husband Patrick as ‘grandpa’. But in the family albums I saw pictures of my mother and her sisters with mysterious American cousins, and over time I learnt that my real grandfather was someone else – someone my grandmother clearly didn’t want mentioned. There were no pictures of him in the albums, and my grandmother was happy to let people think that my mother and aunts were Patrick’s children. Yet once Patrick died, and my grandmother was approaching the end of her own life, she became more willing to talk to me about my real American grandfather, whose name she told me was Lawrence. He was an American captain and she had met him while working as a typist at the US Army headquarters in London during the war. Her eyes sparkled as she told me about the excitement she, like so many other young women, had felt at encountering Americans for the first time. After three long years of conflict, with most young, eligible British men off fighting abroad, the Yanks brought with them fun, romance, a ready supply of luxurious gifts such as nylon stockings and chocolate, and,…