90 Day Fiance and Mail Order and War Brides

90 Day Fiance and Mail Order and War Brides


Everyone has a guilty pleasure, and mine just happens to be 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After? on TLC, Sunday nights. (repeated throughout the week) I can tell you that TLC rounded up some real “sweethearts” this season and I wonder if they went out of their way to find “love” to shock us all.

Most of these male candidates on the new edition of the series are so much older than their future brides and I swear they act like they shouldn’t be allowed within 300 feet of their local high school.

The show’s shock and awe premise is based on couples who must marry someone they’ve met from another country in 90 days, or their special US “K-1 fiance visa” is revoked and the partner is sent packing.

Brides have been coming to this country for years in one form or other. There were mail-order brides which originated on the western frontier in the 19th century.  At that time, the number of men in the west far outnumbered the number of available women. Lonely farmers and ranchers would seek wives from “Back East” by placing ads in newspapers and magazines.  Interested women would write back and send photographs, and the couple did not usually meet in person until the woman showed up for her wedding to a man whom she had never actually met face-to-face.

My Grandmother was a War Bride after the first world war. In Cowansville, Quebec there were many women who had married military personnel in times of war or during their military occupations of foreign countries.

Mary Louise Deller Knight said she found herself coming over to Canada in a ship loaded with women. The war brides came because of the man they loved, and most brides had no idea what life in Canada would be like. They arrived tired dusty and weary, and some were met by their husbands and some had no one as their husbands were still deployed in the service.

My Grandmother was invited to a wedding shower within a few months of her arrival, and she went with a smile, but had no idea what it was. She thought that a shower was just a form of hospitality from a neighbour blessed with water. Mary Louise used to complain about the Canadian weather from the day of her arrival until she went back to visit England in the early 60s. She returned  from the UK saying she would never go back there because she froze the whole time because of their terrible heating system.

For a not-so-fortunate few, there were disappointments. The government had only undertaken to pay travel fares one way—so an unwelcome or unhappy war bride with no means of returning to her family faced a precarious situation. Eventually, they found help, from the Red Cross, sympathetic neighbours or communities, and managed to return to their families in Britain. In 1946 a total of 61,200 war brides and children came to Canada after WW11 and only 50 disgruntled women announced their return to England because of Canada’s high prices and housing and clothing shortages. Life wasn’t the romantic dream for Brit women who married a soldier.

Tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers had arrived and were turning the heads of young British women who were desperate for a distraction from the misery of war. No matter what year it was, the brides from any era were finally free to begin a much bigger journey. Good or bad—just like 90 Day Fiance.



Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 25 Apr 1957, Thu,
  3. Page 2



Janice Shail sent me this: My mother in law is Patricia Crawford …this is her story:

My mother in law is a war bride who came to Carleton Place at the end of World War 2. When she came, she and many others arrived on a special train for war brides. She travelled across the ocean, arrived in Halifax, and got on the train Many stopped in the middle of nowhere and she remembered they let off a young girl with her suitcases and continued on down the track. Many times she wondered what ever happened to them.
She herself was just 18 years old and that is amazing to think about–to come to a country for the love of a young Canadian soldier. She is now 90 and her husband passed away awhile back— but the memories of the war are there for her too in so many ways.

Thanks Janice


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  15 Jun 1946, Sat,  Page 13

Clipped from The Winnipeg Tribune,  19 Dec 1946, Thu,  Page 9

 - HUSBANDS FIRST. L ' i i Sir: Our husbands have...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  14 Aug 1945, Tue,  Page 6

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.


It Pays to Advertise… Classified Ad Brides

Pallbearers and Bridesmaids–A True Story

No Country for Old Bridesmaids Dresses!

Splinters of Sinders Nichols and Brides

Women in Peril– Betrayed by Heartless Scoundrels 1882

The Home for Friendless Women

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

Embroidery of the Insane?

Women in Peril 1868 — Mathilda Routh

Did You Know About the House of Industry?

The Very Sad Tale of Hessie Churchill

All the Single Ladies?

I’m Every Woman?

Screenshot 2017-08-15 at 18.jpg

I have been writing about downtown Carleton Place Bridge Street for months and this is something I really want to do. Come join me in the Domino’s Parking lot- corner Lake Ave and Bridge, Carleton Place at 11 am Saturday September 16 (rain date September 17) for a free walkabout of Bridge Street. It’s history is way more than just stores. This walkabout is FREE BUT I will be carrying a pouch for donations to the Carleton Place Hospital as they have been so good to me. I don’t know if I will ever do another walking tour so come join me on something that has been on my bucket list since I began writing about Bridge Street. It’s always a good time–trust me.

Are You Ready to Visit the Open Doors?

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About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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