Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Remembrance of "A day that will live in infamy"

 Today is the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The following is what my mother wrote about that day. She was a 21 year old beautician at the time. She loved to write, and I think she would have been a great one if she'd had the chance to pursue it.
"Well, this day began as usual. Being Sunday, I arose late and just about made it to 12 o'clock Mass at the Point Church in downtown Pittsburgh. After Mass, I followed the Sunday routine by waiting on the corner of Ferry and 3rd Avenue for Cass and Peggy, the three of us then making a dash across the busy streets, startling Sunday drivers by our bold jaywalking, walking briskly up Liberty and into the Jenkins Arcade to avoid the brisk December weather. And as always we looked into the windows of a shop displaying novelty jewelry before leaving the Arcade for another mad dash thru the Penn Ave. traffic and into the lunch room at Walgreen's drug store. We even had our regular order of ham salad on toast and coffee, lingering long enough to smoke at least three cigarettes, tongues wagging while going over the current capers of our clique. Yes, it was the usual Sunday for us. We had nothing more important to talk of than the surprise party we were planning for Jimmy McCloskey's birthday on the 12th. Nothing more important in our frivolous heads than thoughts of Tom, Jack and Larry, members of our clique for whom we three were bearing torches.

We left Walgreen's and walked down Penn, stopping to look at the clever window display in Horne's dept. store. Christmas was in the air. Everyone pushing, crowding, but everyone gay as they watched the huge Santa Claus in the window. As each person turned away from the window, he turned away with a broad smile and laughter in his eyes for the laughter of the Santa Claus brought mirth to all.

We three crossed the street to our car stop, boarded our car and arrived home about 2 o'clock as we did every Sunday. Daddy left for work just after I arrived home, mother was out for the afternoon, and just Joanne and I were at home. We just sat around reading the funnies and after awhile I curled up on the studio couch for forty winks. Joanne woke me in time to start preparations for supper. Mother, Aunt Clara, Anna Mae, Jack and the baby came in around five. We were just about to sit down to the table when Joanne turned the radio on for some dinner music. The program was soon interrupted with special bulletins. This was no longer our usual do-nothing Sunday. This was history in the making. This was an outrage to our government. While the Japanese Consul General was having negotiations with our government for peace, Japan was bombing our territories.

What little supper that was consumed was done so automatically. The coffee pot was twice emptied and the ash trays held too many cigarettes. The thought of war made your blood run cold. I resolved then and there if my business is affected in any way I'll close, store my equipment and do whatever I can to help with defense work. Every able bodied American will be on their toes now.

Peggy and I went to church in the evening for our novena. After church we went to the show where we met Bobby, Cass, Ernie and Jimmy. We stopped and had hamburgers and coffee in a little shop in the Rocks and then came home where we all sat around."

Fascinating, isn't it?

Here's a site that contains links to some of the radio broadcasts that people listened to that day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You gotta post more of your mom's stuff. How come I've never seen much of it? -Andrew