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                                                                      JOURNAL ENTRY #237

                                                                              July 15, 2017

 

          I remember Pearl Harbor. I was six years old, enjoying a routine Sunday afternoon party at my Aunt Issie's. The radio was playing. People were dancing and laughing. And suddenly everybody got quiet and gathered around the radio, which was one of those large console types that we all had in those years. The sudden silence was spooky. The only sound in the house was the radio. I asked my Uncle Roy what was happening. He held up a hand, asking me to let him listen to the rest of the report, and when he'd heard enough he told me that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. It was the first time in my life I'd heard of the place. I don't think I quite got the message, because I still recall my first thought: That Pearl Harbor sounded like a great place to go for a vacation. It sounded as nice as Wildwood.

          The overall recollection I have of those war years was a sense of how the country came together. We all did. Every young man I knew seemed headed for the recruiting office. Women were looking for ways to help. And kids, like me, started collecting stacks of newspapers and magazines, which we took to a station several blocks away where, we were told, they would be contributed to the war effort. I wasn't sure how they could be used to beat back the Japanese, but I did what I could.

          I don't recall any divisions. We were all in it together. I was too out of touch to understand that African-Americans were still being treated like second-class citizens, and Japanese-Americans were sent off to containment camps. It's interesting that despite all that, my black neighbors still joined the military, and they owned one of the most famous fighter squadrons in the war, the Tuskegee Airmen. As to the Japanese-Americans, there is not one case on record of any of them acting against the best interests of the United States.

          A new Priscilla Hutchins novel, The Long Sunset, will be released by Saga in early 2018. Priscilla and her friends are out in a starship tracking down a radio transmission that is thousands of years old. Which is as much as I want to say about the book. Except one other thing that I don't think I'd realized until I'd almost completed the novel. Its central theme probably comes out of my recollections of World War II, or is possibly a reaction to today's United States: We're all in it together.