Friday, December 07, 2012
I was only 6 when it happened. I will never forget the look my mom and dad had on their faces. Undoubtedly the same look that we had on 9-11. STARK TERROR.
The United States of America had been boldly attacked at Pearl Harbor. That was 71 years ago today and as I write this on this day of remembrance I wonder how many are still around to remember the shock, the fear, the as unknown and the realization that we were a nation at war. Everyone was talking about what was going on in Europe and how soon Ė or if - would we be caught up in that too.
We were still a nation suffering from the great depression and had been since its start in October 1929. My dad wanted to do his part but was too old for the services except for the Coast Guard, which he considered very seriously.
Mom and dad talked at great length at what our options were and they finally settled on picking up stakes and moving to California to work in the war effort. So we did. We moved in with momís sister and family in Fullerton, and dad commuted to the ship yards and helped build the LST and the ARB vessels. The LST, more formally named Landing Ship Tank, was a flat bottomed vessel designed to get close to shore so that its cargo could be launched through the huge clam shell doors in the bow. The ARB was the Aircraft Rescue Boat, a PT boat without the torpedoes and heavy armament. Get in quick pick up our downed flyers and get the hell out of harmís way.
I was a skinny kid when we moved there, but momís sister made huge amounts of sweets in spite of the sugar shortage and that is when the weight started to gain a foot hold on my life. But I digress.
Our home was large and three families lived there. We all shared what resources we had. I mentioned earlier about the rationing of sugar, well almost everything was rationed so it really paid off to combine our ďstampsĒ to help smooth the bumps in the road.
One memory that is seared into my brain was the day that we went to Los Angeles to see a parade given in the honor of General George S. Patton. The General was already a hero in my young mind. I had been following the war through the action maps in the daily newspaper.
The great days finally came VE DAY with the surrender of Hitlerís Germany and then VJ DAY with Japanís surrender and the war was over.
In spite of the fact that my mom was really ill and needed surgery quickly, she absolutely would not hear of putting off getting back home to Colorado. So we packed up and headed straight back to Grand Junction.
Montgomery Ward welcomed my dad back to run the tire department and life was good, very good indeed.
Only one small problem. My tendency to add weight continued. I weighed 185 lb when I graduated from HS and I never saw that number again until this last summer. Now at 165 lb, I face that frightening specter of MAINTENANCE.
I will succeed --one palm tree at a time.