Saturday, December 7, 2013

Rocking Chair Journey: A Day in Infamy

Rocking Chair Journey: A Day in Infamy: December 8, 2013––December 7, 1941 On a Monday, seventy-two years ago, our nation went to war one day after a jarring wake-up on a peacefu...

A Day in Infamy

December 8, 2013––December 7, 1941

On a Monday, seventy-two years ago, our nation went to war one day after a jarring wake-up on a peaceful Sunday morning. PEARL HARBOR HAD BEEN ATTACKED BY THE JAPANESE--ships were burning–many were sunk--hundreds of men killed.
The far away tumult in Europe was no longer mere words in the semi-weekly newspaper. Our old battery powered radio brought the horrors right into our living room:

That Sunday had been turned into a very solemn  and thoughtful day, especially for my parents, for they remembered WWI. But all wars are different. Different circumstances, different rules, different means of killing….and being killed.

Monday  December 8 at 12:30, President Roosevelt addressed Congress in what has become known as his "Day of infamy" speech. It was brief, running to just a little over seven minutes, and was broadcast to the nation. At school we gathered in assembly to listen to the words that changed our lives

What a hornet's nest that attack had disturbed. Going to war meant winning the war, and that's exactly what we intended to do. Men 'joined up.' Women went to work outside their homes. We bought War Bonds to help finance it, and endured severe rationing in order to supply our troops. Old methods of manufacturing were trashed and the assembly line created. Classmates were drafted or volunteered. And before the year was over, we learned some would never return.

Those who were left on the home front listened to heavily censored news. Letters from servicemen had sections blacked out. The newsreels we saw at the movies (no home TV watching of an invasion) were horrible, showing burning convoys of ships, bombing runs and then the resulting devastation. There was an unspoken fear––were we going to be able to win this war?

Two years ago, I saw the faces of survivors of Pearl Harbor––old weathered and wrinkled faces of men in their late eighties and nineties. There were photos of the young men they had been and there were a few stories of their war years that followed. To see those old warriors, to remember the battles they fought for our country, should make us all stop and give serious thought to what we have––and why we have it.

I have some yellowed sheets of newspaper showing our county's young men who had gone to war. Many are now retired business men – and many didn't come back.

Now we are still at war–-often a forgotten war for those on the home front but still a deadly one for those who serve. The 9/11 attack also stirred up a hornet's nest of outrage. But it soon got diluted by uncertainty, delayed action, and a general muddle of unclear goals.

 On this 72nd anniversary of the events that changed the world, I hope our values and goals remain as strong as they were in 1941.

We mustn't forget.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Old Things – from the bottom drawer.


         What would we do without that seldom opened drawer, or trunk to dump thing in? Sometimes it becomes an entire room – and then a house, and that's when you rate TV coverage.
        Today's search was for an old postcard that I've kept since childhood. I didn't find it but spent several hours digging through valentines, report cards, and crumbly newspaper clippings. Some of the clutter seemed worth sharing.

       This little pamphlet explained all we needed to know about rationing of food, gasoline, and clothing. Books of stamps to be used for these items were issued. When the book was empty no more of these items could be purchased until the next book was issued. Are those days gone forever? We can hope so.

After graduation many things are not certain, but the boys in 1942 could count on receiving one of these–sometimes before graduation.

        Have you heard anyone complaining about the lack of  handwriting skills being taught today? Take a look at the goal we once had. I never conquered anything near these examples. My mother was taught by what was called the "Palmer method" and  she wrote very well until her eyesight failed. The edea was to not shaep the letters by a clenched hand, but to instead, roll the forearm on its muscle ad thus shape the letters in a rolling movement. Try it!

 A card game of the early '20's
called Finch, I think. There was also one
named Touring and I remember enjoying playing it. It's certain to be here somewhere.  Both wmiles and delay penalties, such as flats and out of gas, etc.
 Both , plus a set of dominoes, were old games of my parents.

 Later Chinese Checkers became the rage…and were affordable in those Depression days of the late '30s. May have cost 25¢.

Simple pleasures in simpler times. Please share your memories with us. It's fun.


                                                    " Come little leaves, said the wind one day…."
They'll soon listen to the call.