Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7, 1941: Some Living History

My late father served in World War II in the Army Air Corps and my mother worked at Boeing in Wichita after the war started--where they met. Several years ago, we made some tapes of my parents' memories of the births of their three children, and when it came to making mine, my husband asked them about December 7, 1941. Seventy years ago today! I need to review that tape to recall my father's first reactions on that date, but I was able to reconnoiter with my mother:

She and two of her sisters were sharing an apartment in Emporia, Kansas. As it was Sunday morning, they were waiting for a friend to pick them up and drive them to Mass. They had the radio on, and heard the news that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. They went to Mass that morning, but everything started changing quickly. My mother did not return to college at the Kansas State Teacher's College in Emporia (now Emporia State University), partly because all the young men left to enlist! She came to Wichita and started working in the HR department at Boeing.

Thus she was in Wichita and available to go on a blind date with my father one July 4--they were engaged; he went off to training and was stationed at Kimbolton in England. A nose turret and waist gunner on a B-17, he returned to Kansas after his tour of duty--they got married and the rest, as they say, is history!

One connection that my father would not have been aware of was that Katherine of Aragon died at Kimbolton Castle on January 7, 1536--and how could he know that he would have a daughter who would be interested in English history and write a book about the English Reformation?!


  1. Most interesting. I'm often fascinated to ponder the threads of history that lead to one's ancestors taking the course they did: all the things that 'needed to happen' to place one where one is today.
    Thankyou - Valerie.