Article: Recollections of Pearl Harbor, 1981-84: Talk To The Vets

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Image Recollections of Pearl Harbor, 1981-84
By Sandi Schmidt on December 7, 2010

This is strictly off the cuff, probably rift with errors, but I was compelled to write it this morning....December 7th.... And although it only took an hour to write, it took two hours to find two photos to accompany it.

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Imagenap
Dec 7, 2010 7:00 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
But you know, I have tried to discuss WW2 with a few of my relatives (who have since left this world) and they wouldn't talk about it. Oddly, not a one. They said it's over and done and they didn't want to relive it.

I don't know anyone from any war who wanted to talk about it. And I was very interested. It was disappointing, but I felt it would be wrong to try to change their minds.

I did have a rather strange experience today. We were at a nursing home visiting a relative, and my husband mentioned that it is the 69th anniversary today. An old woman who sat alone in a chair about 3 feet away had been silent until then. She suddenly spoke rather loudly and said, "That was a terrible day! Terrible!" She didn't say anymore after that.
Bubbles
Dec 7, 2010 7:17 PM CST
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx Zone 8b
Texas Gardening Cubit
That struck a cord because my DH doesn't talk about Viet Nam. Not to long ago when we were at dinner with friends, the other wife asked if he had ever been shot at. It was like a switch turned on and he started telling her about seeing tracers going past the plane...and that he almost flew into a mountain in the dark....and that he always flew at night... I was dumb struck. He never told me any of those things. Maybe for the best, who knows.
I had an uncle who always told people how proud he was to have met Gen. Patton. He had lots of WWII stories that he told after a few drinks...!!! That's amazing about the old woman!
ImageSharon
Dec 8, 2010 2:57 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Sandi,

What a beautiful tribute your article was. My Dad was stationed in the Philippines during the war. I was 3 before he returned, the first time I'd ever seen him. He rarely if ever talked about his time there, but he kept in touch with 3 of his friends, and every Dec. 7th he found a way to talk with them, even if only by mail. He was the first of the 4 of them to die in 1982, and I was asked by my mother to call the other 3. I did, and each of them told me a little something more about that time as it related to my Dad.

So I didn't hear much from him, but I did hear about him from them.

Thank you for reminding me.
Beautiful article.
Bubbles
Dec 8, 2010 4:49 PM CST
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx Zone 8b
Texas Gardening Cubit
Thank you, Sharran......I started writing because I was irked. The newspaper had one tiny afterthought of an half column article buried on the Editorial page. And then...as usual...my mind wandered.

I can hardly imagine what it was like to see your Dad for the first time. Did you know instantly that he was "Dad?"

So good that his friends were able to fill you in on some of his experiences. I'm sure it was comforting for you...and them to talk about it.
ImageSharon
Dec 8, 2010 5:44 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
I was barely 3 and he scared me to death. He was thin and frail and fragile, beard covered his face. He had been taken to Oklahoma and from there he traveled by train to Kentucky. It was a long trip and communication was sparse at the time, so we knew he was on his way home but didn't know when he'd arrive. I was downstairs at my grandparents home where Mom and I lived. I didn't know he was there. He started at the top of the stairs calling my name, and when I looked up from down below, I remember seeing a strange frail man coming downstairs toward me. He picked me up and I started crying, screaming actually, because he looked nothing like the picture that sat on our mantle. I'd never heard his voice, and he was hoarse, gruff. Scared me to death. I didn't know who he was.

I remember thinking that they'd sent the wrong man to me.

I still remember all of that, and it was not a moment of bonding with my father. It took me a long time to get over that moment. Him too.
Bubbles
Dec 8, 2010 7:25 PM CST
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx Zone 8b
Texas Gardening Cubit
Bless your heart....it wasn't just the men who had "war stories" to tell.

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