As she stood looking out over the NY harbor she wondered what was she doing here, about to board this giant gray ship and travel to the other side of the world? Her thoughts were interrupted by the squeeze of a small hand in hers, the young boy said, "Mama the line is moving!" Up the gangplank they walked along with the other women and children and babies, lots of babies.
It was 1948 and the ship was the USS Buckner, former troop ship converted for dependent transport, headed to
They met while both stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, and married after the war was over, Christmas 1945. She quit her job making parachutes, well more like they no longer required her service, because the war was over. But before long the orders came in for him to go to
for the Occupation, rebuilding of the war-torn country. So she was alone with
her son in Georgia, until word came that wives and children were to come too. She was
skeptical but he said they would be living right on Yokohama Bay and it really was beautiful.
So here she was in
New York, after a long train ride from Georgia. The ship would leave and
go south through the Panama Canal and out into the Pacific
Ocean, a trip of six weeks or so. At first it was an adventure but
not for long. The ship was full of dependent wives and babies. The babies were
sick and crying nonstop. She decided if she ever got off this boat she didn't
want to see a baby for a long time, much less have one of her own. Be careful
what you say.
Her second son was born in
Japan. Living on the bay was hard on her lungs, having asthma. The doctor would send her to the mountains to recover, the higher elevation air dryer and thinner. This fact would come into play many years later when they retired in 1964 and moved to the mountains of north Georgia.
~family stories - James Austin US Army, Alma Austin WAC, little Jimmy Austin, baby John born in Japan - Veterans Day 2016