Sunday, December 7, 2008

Infamous Date

I'm old enough I actually remember listening to the radio on December 7th with my folks when President Roosevelt broke the horrifying news about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Because I was still pretty young, the impact didn't hit me quite then, but as time moved along, everything in our life changed. I grew up in L.A. where we had black outs, great fun driving at night during a black out with no headlights on or streetlights (fun for a kid not for my parents), if we were home, the blackout curtains were on every window, and the only place we could have light was an inner hallway. There we played games and ate snacks that were store in the cupboard just for the occasion.

Food was rationed, mom had to use food stamps for lots of things. It was impossible to find bubble gum anywhere, I once paid 50 cents for a piece when I was in grammar school. Since it was only a penny, that was really highway robbery and tells you how badly I wanted bubble gum.

Gas was rationed too, so my dad rode his bike to work so we could save our gas stamps for our vacations. It was a long bike ride from E.R. to Paramount Studios.

We went to the movies every Friday night, double features, saw everything about the war in the newsreels (a lot was horrifying), saw propaganda war movies, musicals, B-gangster movies, whatever was playing, no restrictions for us. (Had nightmares a lot too.)

We grew vegetables at school in the Victory garden, everyone worked in it. We had air raid drills and air raids and all went to the first floor of the brick school and waited for the all-clear siren while the talented members of our school entertained us. I remember one boy in particular who played the accordion very well. Just think how fortunate we were not to have been bombed, we'd have all been killed under that pile of bricks. The school was later condemned for being unsafe during an earthquake.

Every week, the air warden had a get-together at his house to teach the grown-ups how to grow veggies, wrap bandages, first aid, recognize enemy planes and I don't know what all, while we kids had a great time playing hide'n seek, spies, and whatever else we could think of.

I was at the zoo in Griffith Park with my 9th grade class, when the war was declared over. They announced it over the loud speaker system and the lion's roared.

Change of Subject: I had a wonderful book signing in the back room of the antique store yesterday. For details, read my blog.


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