- Associated Press - Friday, September 19, 2014

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) - Shortly after her second husband died two years ago, Anderson resident June Allen discovered a box she didn’t realize she had. Tucked away were all sorts of memorabilia from her arrival to the United States on the RMS Queen Mary as a war bride following World War II.

Little did she know that little box would help catapult her into the national spotlight and make one of her dreams come true.

Last month, Allen flew to California to visit the Queen Mary and was interviewed about her experiences by CBS journalist Tracy Smith. Allen’s piece is scheduled to appear on “CBS News Sunday Morning” this weekend.

“Afterward, she gave me a high five and said, ‘June, you did a great job.’ And I said, ‘I sure hope so,’” Allen told The Herald Bulletin (https://bit.ly/1rkpAi1 ).

Smith’s husband is a producer on the show, and when Allen mentioned she watches “Sunday Morning” every week and loves the theme song, he whipped out his phone and showed her that it was his ringtone.

“They were just gracious and wonderful,” she said.

Allen said that when she was flown out to California for the “Sunday Morning” taping, she was also interviewed by a reporter from the L.A. Times. That story, she said, is scheduled to run Sunday, too.

It was something she never expected to happen, especially not at the age of 87, yet she found herself returning to the grand ship the same week as her birthday.

“Believe me, at my age to go through all of this, it was an unbelievable thrill,” she said.

Allen’s first time on the Queen Mary was when she boarded the ship in 1946 in England. A young war bride, she made the voyage to New York at the age of 18.

For more than six decades, she wanted to return to the ship, which has since been retired and permanently moored in Long Beach, California.

But it was that box of items she had long forgotten she saved that has turned her into quite the traveler.

In the summer of 2013, she made arrangements to visit the ship. Workers told her dozens of soldiers and war brides used to travel to the Queen Mary, but none had in a long time.

“I said, ‘I’m not too old to travel, I’m not in a nursing home, I’m not dead and I’m coming,’” Allen said.

Her travels didn’t end with that first trip. She’s already been there several times in the last year, and before she got the call to be interviewed on “Sunday Morning,” Allen made reservations to return to the Queen Mary in November.

Allen said that brings her travels to five trips in 13 months - four to Queen Mary and one to Ellis Island in New York.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s like a fairy tale,” she said. “I just wanted to go back as a part of my bucket list.”

She said she never could have imagined the opportunities she’s received. She’s become friends with Queen Mary crew members, been featured in a short documentary and now will make her television debut on one of her favorite shows.

“All I did was come over on a ship 67 years ago,” she said. “This has been the most exciting year of my life.”

“Sunday Morning” airs 9 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday on CBS.


Information from: The Herald Bulletin, https://www.theheraldbulletin.com

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