I remember WWII, although not this Day of Infamy (I was just a toddler), but bits and pieces of the ensuing years. It was not a pretty time , but it was a time of true patriotism : where Americans were Americans and not Democrats or Republicans ; where the enemy was not at home, but rather across the seas; where men and women, black and white, Jew and Gentile, atheists and Christians, and all God’s children served a common purpose : to defend America, the home of the brave. And following the victory , prosperity reigned.
A few personal memories————-
Our people in Lavonia were the same as patriots throughout the nation, working together to support the war effort in any way that a small town could. There was no criticism of the war ( regret, of course, but not criticism ) nor of the powers-that-be who made the decisions. Examples of efforts included saving scraps of soap in jars of water to make a detergent for hand-washing dishes and laundry. I was practically grown before I understood the reason for that. Others were Victory Gardens , growing locally , preserving other produce for the Armed Services. The stars in the windows represented those loved ones killed in action. And then there were the local Air Wardens, men like my daddy who responded to warning sirens, went out into the community to do their part to protect. This warning was almost always unidentified air traffic. The fear was bombing, so all home and businesses were darkened for the duration.
—–One quick story about the possible air raids that I remember quite well. It was February 13, 1944, and my mother and I were addressing valentines for me to take to my first grade class. When the siren sounded and Daddy grabbed his whistle and left the house, my mother had to improvise——and improvise she did ! She covered a table with a sheet, placed a small dimly lighted lamp under it, shoved me under it and we completed the task , a Valentine for every child in my class for I was taught early on to always be inclusive. This table is now a fixture in our living room.
And then there were the coupons : coupons for gas, sugar, leather, and a litany of other necessities. Shoes were at a premium because of the military need for rubber and leather. There was no candy, no automobiles for sale, no unnecessary road trips, and no extraneous purchases of any kind. Our town was virtually self-contained. If it couldn’t be bought in Lavonia, it couldn’t be bought at all.
—–My daddy was a cotton broker and cotton was essential to the war effort; therefore he was privy to extra gas coupons and was able to save enough for Mother and me to take a month-long trip to the beach. Friends had a home on Sullivan’s Island, and the beach was magnificent with its large sand dunes, human-built. Each dune was manned by a Marine, standing on guard. Truly a sight to behold even for a 5-year old. And then there were the amphibious vehicles. Never would I have believed that a Jeep could drive both on land and in the ocean.
—–But the most outstanding recollection has to do with bedtime. Sleeping in a single bed in a room alone, I was suddenly and violently thrown from my bed to the floor. Not hurt, but terribly frightened, I was picked up and comforted by my mother. Later we learned that a German submarine had been spotted off the coast, and our defense responded. The impact shook the beach house much like an earthquake. This story is told to this day by the tour guides on Sullivan’s Island.
This Day of Infamy brought back memories as you can tell. There are more and I likely will continue at another time with some of them. If you think this might be of interest to other people or bring back special memories for your friends, please scroll down and share. Until then———
GOD BLESS AMERICA !