Sunday, July 14, 2013

This is Home, Part 20 - Pearl Harbor

This is part 20 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I was ten years old. Jean was just barely eight.

Daddy and Uncle Doc had been talking about Hitler's armed forces marching through and taking over various countries. I remember the big black headlines in the Moberly Monitor-Index about him goose-stepping across Poland. There had been headlines for a long time about Hitler. But America was very isolationist then and people were saying, "Our boys will never die on foreign soil."

Uncle Doc, Daddy and Mom thought we would eventually be in the war. England was being bombed and wanted our help. I thought how awful it must be to be bombed and to have blackouts at night. Uncle Doc said if we didn't do something to help them, we would be bombed in the future -- and our allies would already be defeated.

President Roosevelt thought of something. He started a lend-lease program with England and sent them military equipment.

We heard about Pearl Harbor being bombed while we were visiting Frank and Valere Rice, at Renick, Missouri. I remember how upset everyone was. They were saying that it wouldn't take long to beat the Japanese. Thus we were at war.

Everyone really hated the Japanese. None lived around where we were. People are having a problem now with the removal of Japanese in America to special areas for security reasons. They should remember that during the time Pearl Harbor was being bombed and all the American lives lost, two representatives of Japan were in Washington talking peace. They were at the very least sneaky and untrustworthy. How were we to know that Japanese living here weren't also helping Japan? They had relatives there.

I also know of another reason they should have been moved. With so much hatred in America, I don't believe they would have been safe mixed with the general population. They should have been moved for both reasons -- especially the first.

All of a sudden, neighbor boys were joining the service. Maudie and Irwin Williams' son, Denver, joined. Mary Ellen's boyfriend, Lawrence Burris, went and Bea met and fell in love with a sailor, Bob Bolton.

Mary Ellen and Lawrence got married, and so did Bea and Bob. Bea had been saying what I thought was a strange thing. She had been saying, "I have to get married and start my family now." In view of future events, maybe she knew.

Anyway, there were a lot of war time weddings. Suddenly, the streets of Moberly had a lot of soldiers, sailors and Marines walking around.

There were military planes flying over the farm. I think there were bases at both Kansas City and St. Louis.

Movie stars toured the United States selling war bonds. Some movie stars joined the service. Others entertained. We bought war stamps at school.

Some items were rationed all of a sudden. Just off hand, I remember coffee, sugar, shoes and tires being rationed. We had to have coupons to buy them. The men gave Jean and me their shoe coupons because our feet kept growing. We couldn't get silk stockings (hose). I think silk might have been used in parachutes.

New factories were created, old ones converted into turning out military equipment. Wives and single women got jobs there to help with the war effort and to feed their families.

There was one man in our neighborhood who got a draft classification that permitted him to stay and work on his farm. Farm work was considered vital. The armed forces had to be fed. But people in our area weren't too happy with the man. They considered him a "slacker."

The man was young and had little children and might have lost his small farm if he had gone. Although, he could probably have got his father to farm for him. He had a well-known last name.

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