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March 4, 2017

In Living Memory

I was eight on Dec. 7th, 1941. We clustered around the RCA radio in our house and listened to the news. My two brothers (ages 12 and 5) and I didn't exactly know what it all meant. But we knew it was serious and our lives were going to change. In our small village of 700 people all able bodied men under 30 left to join up. Our father left to help build the Sand Point Naval Station in Idaho and later to build the Kaiser steel mill in Salt lake City. That lead eventually to our parents' divorce.

We lived in a small mountain town where air crews in training at Lowry Air Force base would come for R&R. Mostly they road horse back and drank (actually quite a lot) at the local bar. The last ones we saw were headed for Saipan and Tinian to fly B-29s over Japan.

We collected scrap paper, cardboard, tin foil, cans, rubber bands, bacon grease, and every bit of scrap metal we could find laying around anywhere. Every week or two a truck would haul our collection efforts away to Denver, which at that time was a six hour drive away.

Our only news was on the radio and at the weekend movie where they ran a movietone news on the war effort. Gasoline, tires, meat, butter, and many other things were rationed. Few complained. Most everybody pitched in. My brothers and I knew that if the war lasted long enough, we would be leaving for the military. There was never any question about it in our minds, It was what you did.

I remember VJ Day. We all cheered. People danced in the streets. Cars honked their horns all day long. There was a tremendous sense of jubilation.

It was a different sort of childhood than one has today, but I treasure the lessons I learned and miss the spirit of cooperation and pulling together that is sadly lacking in our world today.

Posted by Jimmy J/ at Comment on Global War by Lee Sandlin

Posted by gerardvanderleun at March 4, 2017 7:45 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

On Dec. 7, 1941, my dad was in pilot training at Pensacola NAS and dating my future mother, who worked at the Naval hospital. They were married the following week, before he shipped out. I still have a war ration booklet in my name, half full of coupons dated in 1945.

Posted by: Ga Gator at March 4, 2017 4:01 PM

Dec 5th 1941.

When I was remodeling the old house we tore the bathroom walls open (no insulation; insulate, sheetrock and paint. Inside the old wall (which was done when the old barn that the house had been was converted into a human habitation) was a newspaper dated Dec 5th 1941, the plumber probably read it during lunch and then threw it inside the wall before it was closed up.

A little slice of life just before everyones life changed.

To me it was much more important. It confirmed what I had suspected. The old bathroom was a Friday job.

Posted by: John The River at March 4, 2017 8:53 PM

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