In 1942, Molly Johnson, an Australian woman, married Robert L. Wilson, aide-de-camp to Admiral Van Hook of the 7th Fleet, at a naval base near Brisbane, Australia. Molly had worked at a nearby American army base before they married, but quit soon thereafter. When Robert was ordered to return to the United States in 1945, Molly had to wait with 5,000 other brides for transport to the United States.
During the long wait, Molly lived in barracks near the army base, passing her time reading, writing letters, and attending a flurry of parties and events put on by the Army, Navy, and the Brides' Club. Rumors abounded about the imminent arrival of transport ships. Molly wanted to return to her job at the army base, but she learned that family friends did not want her to work. "I'm tired," she wrote, "of well-meaning people telling me what to do" (1946 January 2). She never returned to work during her two months at the war brides' barracks, but instead took music lessons and wrangled with immigration officials.
On January 23, 1946, Frank DeCellis, Robert's fellow officer, notified Molly that he obtained passage for her on the Monterey in February, but cautioned her to keep it secret, because she was taking precedence over women who had been waiting longer. "The longer the husband has been in the States, the quicker the wife gets over..." (1946 January 2). Molly wrote that she "[p]ut the word around that she was going to Perth to see her mother, then she will get on the ship a day before the other brides."
She traveled to Sydney by train in early February, 1946, and was robbed of her wedding ring and money by someone she knew, but never named. In Sydney, she discovered that obtaining a petition was unnecessary due to passage of the War Brides' Act; she needed only to prove her marriage to a United States citizen. She boarded the Monterey on February 14, 1946, and arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii, two weeks later.