By Almeda Girod
Marian Jaeger “could never have imagined” when living her childhood in war-torn London that one day she would live her adult years in the United States.
Marian’s father, a single parent, enlisted in the Royal Marines, sending his three daughters to live with his mother in her large home in London. The grandmother was known for her hospitality and the house was a refuge for many. Marian remembers the family heading often to the outdoor bomb shelter. The adults demonstrated fear hearing the air raids, but the children thought this “routine.” Although food was rationed, the family did not go hungry. When her father remarried near the end of the war, their stepmother moved the girls to a cottage in the country.
Marian met a “quiet U.S. Army Corporal” named Hal Jaeger at a dance in the village hall when she was 17. He was deployed elsewhere but returned three or four times and the couple became acquainted. Marian explains that “these were such uncertain times and I did not count on anything” and so she did not expect to see Hal again when he returned to the States.
She was working in a clothing factory and dating a local boy two years later when her stepmother called, saying “Hal Jaeger is here to see you.” Hal was on summer break from his studies at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The couple had not been in contact and Hal used his “experience in Army Intelligence” to track her down. He stayed for three months helping on the family farm. They married in the village church just before Hal was to return to his college studies.
The couple settled in their home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and Marian remembers “a country of abundance.” People were more “informal” and neighbors hurried over to meet this “new girl from England.”
The family that included their two daughters lived in New Carrollton, Maryland, Hal worked for the National Security Agency.
Marian remembers thinking it a “big adventure” when Hal proposed marriage. She affirms 70 years later as she sits in her Victoria Place apartment that “indeed it has been.”