Granddaughters Amy Waller and Catherine Waller were so fascinated they wrote a play about Gloria Stanford, who made international headlines as "The bride who wouldn't leave New Zealand". Now, almost seven decades after her colourful escapades, Gloria opens at Tapac.
"As a child, I was fascinated and inspired by Nana's bravery," says Amy. "She was a woman ahead of her time who made a bold, brave and independent decision and I have mulled over for some time what it would have been like to make such a risky decision."
In 1946, Gloria and her then 18-month-old son, Boyne, were to sail on the liner Lurline, which was carrying New Zealand wives and children to be reunited with the American men they had married during World War II. Gloria's husband, Charles Schwartz, had returned home to Cincinnati, Ohio, and had never met their young son; in fact, the couple hadn't seen one another for nearly two years following a whirlwind courtship during which she fell pregnant.
The Lurline sailing was delayed and Gloria, who had served in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, couldn't stop thinking about her parents and sister and all she enjoyed about life in New Zealand. Homesick before the Lurline left the dock, she scooped up Boyne and their luggage and begged to disembark. The ship sailed without them and Gloria cabled Charles to let him know she was not on board.
She says there was a finality about leaving New Zealand. In the 1940s, communications were slow and leaving New Zealand for the United States or Europe meant one simply did not know when or if one would see family and friends again. Gloria's dramatic departure from the Lurline was reported in local newspapers; she told reporters that she had started to discover how lovely New Zealand was and doubted Charles would miss her as much as her family and friends would.
However, she traveled to the US a few months later once her parents and sister gained residency, but never felt settled in Cincinnati. So, in the 1960s, the family, which now numbered six children, returned to New Zealand but this time it was Charles who found it too difficult to make a new home on the other side of the world. The marriage ended and Gloria later married Stan Stanford, who she spent the next 50 years with and with whom she had a seventh child.
Socialist Bookshops Auckland Limited
Registered Address 159 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland
Directors / Officers:
- Bruce Skilton, director, 18 Feb 1990-15 Mar 1994
- Donna Irene Lyon, director, 15 Mar 1994-
- Douglas Maurice McCallum, director, 18 Feb 1990-
- Emily Phyllis Vidanovich, director, 15 Mar 1994-
- George Jackson, director, 18 Feb 1990-15 Mar 1994
- Gloria Stanford, director, 15 Mar 1994-
- Bill Andersen, director, 18 Feb 1990-
- John R Stanford, director, 18 Feb 1990-
- William Eggleston, director, 18 Feb 1990-15 Mar 1994
- 1978 May 15-19, Gloria Stanford was NZ representative from Union of New Zealand Women with Socialist Unity Party's Nell Katz to the Council of the Women's International Democratic Federation in Moscow, Soviet Union.
- 1978 - August 14, wrote article in Tribune on UN Decade for Women.
- 1980 - Sept. 22, wrote anti-US warship poem in SUP's Tribune.
- 1982 - Wrote a parody of the NZ national anthem in September 6 Tribune, p 3.
- 1983 - Aug. 22, wrote poem in Tribune "Come join the new Peace Squadron".
- 1988 - April 25, wrote article in SUP's Tribune about the Combined Beneficiaries Union AGM on April 13 attended by MP Judy Keall (Union sec is SUP member Johnny Mitchell).
- 1989 - 30 October, wrote with Felicity Tuohy an article in Tribune on the visit of 2 French Peace activists.
- 1990 - wrote article in Tribune "Fireworks banned - and about time" on the banning of fireworks in NZ.
- 1990 May 7, the full text of her poem on Johnny Mitchell could be received by writing to Socialist Bookshops, Box 19-114, Auckland.
- 1990 April 23, Gloria Stanford wrote article in Tribune on Johnny Mitchell's retirement. Present at the party held at the Auckland TUC were George Jackson & Rene Jackson, Jim Knox, Bruce Skilton, Mavis Drennan, Ella Ayo, Jock Barnes, Frank Barnard & M. McLaughlan. Angela Foulkes spoke to the gathering &presented him with a framed gift from the CTU.
- 1999 - poem in Red Flag
- 2005 "It is truly an honour to have been asked by Bill's family and Party to reflect here on his contribution. Knowing Bill's capacity for love, I can only imagine the sense of loss for those closest to him: Jennifer, whose leadership and dedication Bill respected hugely; our comrades Karl and Glenn; Rochelle the grandchildren, and our friends, Sheryl, Stan and Gloria, Donna and others closest to Bill and Jennifer. Eulogy to Bill Andersen by Laila Harre at Bastion Point 17.1.05.