|Gerald M. Cartwright|
Australian brides of U.S. service men are now arriving in this country, and one bride has come to Eau Claire to make her home. She is Mrs. Gerald Cartwright, whose husband, a Staff Sergeant in the Army, is now in New Guinea. She was formerly Miss Henrietta Margaret Worthington of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Her husband is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo H. Cartwright of Elk Mound. He entered the Army in April 1941 and received his training in the Field Artillery. He has been overseas for about two years. He met his bride-to-be while stationed near Brisbane, and the two were married in that city on April 17, 1943.
When her husband left Australia for New Guinea, Mrs. Cartwright decided to make the long trip to America to await the end of the war and his return to his homeland. She wasn't the only American soldier's wife on this voyage. There were 30 on the ship, including two girls who had worked with her in Brisbane. One of them went to Detroit; the other to Bay City, MI. Mrs. Cartwright was the only one coming to Wisconsin. In the group were 13 babies.
The voyage was made on the SS Mt. Vernon, former luxury liner, now a Navy ship. The trip from Australia took 27 days. They went through the Panama Canal and disembarked to Boston. Mrs. Cartwright came directly to Eau Claire, arriving here about four weeks ago. She wasn't impressed by the large cities she passed through, Boston and Chicago, but she likes Eau Claire. She has taken an apartment across the street from the home of her husband's brother and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Sherman Cartwright, and is becoming acquainted with new countrymen.
It is a long way from Australia to the United States, and Mrs. Cartwright is sometimes lonely for her family, which consists of her parents, two sisters and two brothers, but people have been kind, she says, and she likes it here.
Mrs. Cartwright is strikingly blonde and has an informal, friendly way. Only her accent reveals that she is not an American girl. It isn't quite an English accent, though certain words and vowels are given the English pronunciation.
Besides her charm of personality, this newcomer has another advantage which will help her to adapt herself to a new background. She was manager of the largest food store in Brisbane, a city of 300,000 population before the war. (It is much larger now.) This experience and the ability she must have had to fill the post will doubtless enable her to cope with unfamiliar conditions.
Her husband plans to farm after the war, and she is looking forward, happily, to life in the country.
When asked for her impressions of American life, she said, with a little smile, "You really don't know there is a war here"; then explained that in Brisbane one saw few men out of uniform. "In my family, for instance, my father, both brothers, and my sister are all in service." Her father is in the communication lines. One brother is in the Middle East; the other still in Australia. Her sister is in the Women's Auxiliary Air Forces. These are not pilots. They are, it seems, like the Air WACs.
She finds that clothes are much less expensive here, but that food costs many times as much as in Australia. Butter still sells for about 25 cents American money in Australia. Butter, tea, sugar and meat are rationed. Girls earn much larger salaries here than in Australia, "but they need more," she observes, judging by the higher cost of living.
But clothes are much more plentiful here. In Australia, one has 56 coupons a year. A pair of shoes takes 13 coupons; a pair of hose, 4; a hat, 2; a slip, 8; and a frock, 12. Other household articles, such as towels, sheets and pillow slips, require coupons, so one must plan carefully.
Mrs. Cartwright had lived all her life in Brisbane. The summers there are very hot, but it is a dry heat, more bearable she says than our humid June days. This is winter in that Southern Hemisphere, she pointed out. Exchanging winter for summer is just one of the topsy-turvey changes her new life in America will bring, but she likes it and intends to be a real American, as so many have become who came to this country from over the sea.
Staff Sergeant Gerald M. Cartwright, Field Artillery, returning from 32 months overseas in the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations, arrived on approximately December 28 at Fort Sheridan, IL, prior to reaching his home at Eau Claire, where he is visiting his wife, Mrs. Rita M. Cartwright.