Thought that I had heard something – maybe the doorbell – but, and since I was down stairs – and no extra rings nor any other noises – just went on with what I was doing – here at the keyboard.
Just like everyone else, today – had to check for messages – any important ones – and see what if any thing, that I had to do – in case I forgot all that I had planned for today or as sometimes, one can forget – something important – and not even realize it – till it is entirely too late!
Maybe twenty minutes later – when I was upstairs – just thought I would check to see if the “MAIL-MAN” had been around – opened the door – and what a surprise – just with in two feet of opening the door – a package of hand cut fresh flowers – no name on package – nor a for or a from – no other mail – so into the house I go in complete confusement, if ever – WHO and or WHAT day is it for a “FLOWER” delivery to me? WHO am I suppose to THANK – a real mystery?
“So Christmas – Then and Now!”
Back then, when we (kids) were little – in the 1940s – my Dad had to go to California to do “welding work” on the ships – and we , that is my Mother would write letters – and also enclose my “chicken-scratch” letters to DADDY and one of the important parts of the day – was waiting for the “MAIL-MAN” to bring something from DADDY!
Maybe there were fewer people living in the greater Saint Louis area – and of course there was no TV – we only had the radio and usually if a couple of the families had the same radio station turned on at the same time – you could be out-side and hear the program – and now thinking about listening to the radio then – you could mentally see what was going on – and still be able to do whatever you have to do! But today, with TV – you have to get yourself – right in front of the TV – so that you can “know” what is going on. You have to see “IT” – just listening you will miss out – so today you are – trapped – in front of the TV – but, it was fun for us – back, when you only had the radio – as you were free to do other things – and never missed out on anything important in the story or the program – something that I feel – people living now and today – are locking their selves into another world?
I remember having so much fun – just watching for the “Mail-Man” – when I was a little girl – because the “Mail-Man” came two (2) times a day! Something that we do not have today – and if you were to get your letter in the “MAIL BOX” by nine (9:00 p.m.) in the evening – that piece of mail was delivered the next day! Maybe because of the WAR going on and the mail had to be moving – so that everybody would know as soon as possible – what was happening in the world ! Even as fast as the mail was received – there were a good many times that my DAD would send a “Telegram” to us. My Daddy was always sending some little special things – just for me – and that is how I remember him – sending some of his-self – “sending little bits of LOVE – to me in the mail!”
During the WWII years – those young boys riding on the bicycles – delivering telegrams – usually were bringing “BAD NEWS” – and I know that when the young man would be ringing your door-bell – your heart would just sink – especially if you had a family member enlisted in one of the different branches of service! My DAD used the “Telegram Services” because being in California – a letter would take a couple of days – but, if you paid a few pennies more you could send your letter “AIR-Mail” and then for a few more pennies you could have that letter deliver with “Special Delivery” – so you were able to be in touch for pennies back then – and so fast was the service! – Remember that was yesterday – today it is different, and I am not a little girl – waiting to hear from my Daddy!!!
“Today I received a wonderful surprise of fresh flowers – for no special reason – and from someone I do not know – so to “YOU” – special person – “THANK YOU” – from me and everyone on our block – that I have checked with!”
Is it not a good sign – when your very FAVORITE “red” Bird shows up in her own favorite tree – and just to stop by and say “HELLO” – with a little fly-by here and there – and then all around the back yard area – and our extra special little “Cardinal, herself” just singing – her special song!
It is just so wonderful, to see your favorite backyard “FRIENDS” remember where they were in previous years – and that they also train their young ones – that – this is the very best of all places to return to – when ever you want to visit – your best of friends – that are always ready to give you a little special treat – when you decide to stop by their back yard!
“Just adding to the good memories, that we all have of “TOM Aldrich” on his BIRTHDAY, TODAY!”
Tom Aldrich with “MAN’s” Best Friend!
Thomas H. Aldrich in Korea with “WAR-DOG SHANE!”
This picture of Tom and SHANE – his “WAR-DOG” – reminds me of a movie “Call of the WILD” – the stars were “Clark Gable and Loretta Young” – you will like it – if you take the time to find it. What caught my attention was – was watching “Clark Gable” with this very “WILD DOG – Duke” – the control he had in getting him to obey him and becoming his “BEST FRIEND!” If anyone would even get near “DUKE” – he would come after him and kill – man or other beast!
That is what Tom had – that personality – that – no matter what type of dog – TOM would be working with – the dog and Tom were able to become best of friends – both knowing that Tom was the one and only “MASTER” – and the dog would know that he was protected by Tom and that the two of them would work as a “TEAM” – with the both of them – being able to read the other – a move – a whisper – a nod – each would know exactly the next action that would be needed and taking place.
When you can work with “DOGS” as Tom did – my feeling is that you have received a very special talent – an extra special “TALENT” that not too many receive from the Almighty Yahweh – and more of us should try learning very early – what natural talents – they may have and work with them – to the glory and with much thankfulness be to their “Creator” – everyone should know that, what you receive, you should use and then, you will receive even more! “Try it out, and see if you don’t receive so much more – “YES” you will definitely know, where that extra “MORE” is coming from!”
Put this message in the History Books – and have the students read it. Prayer and Love for our CREATOR – can help US Live in PEACE… maybe? My son, Lee was also in the NAVY – and I know, that we all should pray and read our bibles – working for PEACE for all NATIONS!
HONOLULU — Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Don Long was alone on an anchored military seaplane in the middle of a bay across the island from Pearl Harbor when Japanese warplanes started striking Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, watching from afar as the bombs and bullets killed and wounded thousands.
The waves of attacking planes reached his military installation on Kaneohe Bay soon after Pearl Harbor was struck, and the young sailor saw buildings and planes start to explode all around him.
When the gunfire finally reached him, setting the aircraft ablaze, he jumped into the water and found himself swimming through fire to safety.
Now 97, Long will remember the 77th anniversary of the attack from his home in Napa, California.
In this Dec. 7, 1941 photo, a patrol bomber burns at a military installation on Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. (U.S. Navy via AP)
He shared some of his memories:
DECADES OF ANNIVERSARIES
Long was fresh out of boot camp when he arrived in Hawaii in 1941.
“I got off that ship with my sea bag over my shoulder and we threw it on a truck and they carted me over to Kaneohe from Pearl Harbor where we had landed,” Long recalled.
It was a different experience when he flew to Hawaii for the 75th anniversary in 2016, a trip that was paid for by a survivor’s group.
“We came in on a first class United chartered jet. All the girls with the leis were there with the Hawaiian music,” he remembered. “We ended up not in a bunk in the barracks, but in a very nice ocean room at the Hawaiian Hilton.”
He attended a dinner where survivors were seated at random with dignitaries. At his table were Japan’s Honolulu-based consul general and his wife.
“He and his wife were there in full regalia,” Long said. He asked if they might be able to help him identify the pilot who attacked his plane 77 years ago.
“They did some searching I guess, or told somebody to do it, but within a month or so I got a message from them and the proof is not positive but they sent the information on three Japanese pilots. It was probably one of those three,” Long said. All three have died, but Long was impressed the consul general had taken the time to find out.
On Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Don Long holds up a replica of the military seaplane he was standing watch on when Japanese warplanes attacked Hawaii 77 years ago. Long was alone on the anchored plane in the middle of Kaneohe Bay, across the island from Pearl Harbor, when the attack happened, watching as the bombs and bullets killed and wounded thousands. When the gunfire reached his plane, setting the aircraft ablaze, he jumped into the water and swam through flames to safety. (Eric Risberg/AP)
Long no longer harbors ill will against Japan or its people.
“I don’t know when that feeling left me. But as you are probably well aware, we were taught to hate those people with all our hearts, and when you’re looking at one down a gun sight, you can’t really feel much love for anyone — that’s for darn sure,” he said.
“That has long since changed.”
Long has not always marked the anniversary like he does now.
“For about 50, 60 years or so, it was a day that rang a little bell to me, but I did not do much,” he said. “In the past 20 or so (years), I take part in some kind of activity that I’ll say is appropriate for the day.”
This year, Long plans to visit school children to talk about Pearl Harbor , then will light a beacon atop Mount Diablo in Concord, California. The beacon, known as the Eye of Diablo, was put out shortly after the attack in 1941. In 1964, Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, commander of U.S. Pacific forces during World War II, relit the beacon, beginning a yearly tradition.
On Friday morning at about the time of the attack, Long spoke with the AP at his home as he prepared for the day: “I recall the day very, very distinctly,” he said. “I don’t usually think of it as this day but as the day that started the war for our country that caused so, so much havoc. And I do recall the friends who never came back with, oh, much sadness.”
HE STOOD WATCH THAT DAY
Long remembers that weekend of the attack as routine, “or so it started out,” he wrote in a 1992 essay that he provided to The Associated Press.
The 20-year-old seaman from Minnesota enrolled in boot camp in March 1941, a “snotty nose kid, fresh off the farm.” That Sunday morning was his first day of operational duty with the squadron he had been assigned to about a month earlier.
He was tasked with standing watch aboard a seaplane in the bay across the island from Pearl Harbor.
He arrived early and took a small boat toward the awaiting Catalina flying boat, cruising across the turquoise waters of windward Oahu with Hawaii’s 73-degree air splashing across his face.
“I recall it was a beautiful sunny day in Hawaii that morning,” Long said.
He relieved a comrade who had stood watch overnight, and began preparing for a day of signal drills and regular maintenance checks. He settled into the pilot’s compartment to wait for contact from the beach signaling station to begin his drills.
This photo provided by retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Don Long shows Long in his Navy uniform in 1941. Now, 77 years later, Long remembers that day and tells how he escaped a burning plane and swam beneath flames to get away, ducking into the water to hide every time a Japanese plane made a pass overhead. (Don Long via AP)
A few minutes later, he heard the roar of airplanes overhead and then the sound of explosions. He assumed it was U.S. military making practice runs, but quickly realized he was wrong. In the distance, Long saw planes flying over hangars and buildings exploding. Another plane that was anchored nearby was hit and burst into flames.
Seconds later, a Japanese plane made a run toward his moored aircraft. “The sequence of events during the next few minutes is not entirely clear,” he recalled.
Long jumped from the pilot’s seat and started looking for a life jacket, but bullets were immediately producing fountains of seawater inside the cabin. The fuel tanks in the wings were hit, and he was quickly surrounded by flames.
He gave up on the life jacket and made a run for the rear exit. Gasoline was ablaze on the water, so he jumped into the bay and swam beneath the flames to get away from the burning plane. He came to the surface and through the flames three times for air.
He soon realized his military-issued high-top work shoes were bogging him down, so he dove underwater and removed them. Still far from shore, Long found a wooden channel marker and swam to it, ducking beneath the waves to hide every time a Japanese plane made a pass.
Once the attack planes left Long saw flames, smoke and sinking aircraft all around the bay. He spotted a boat that was searching for survivors and flagged them down.
Swimming through the flames burned his head, face and arms, but Long considered himself in good health compared to the wounded and dead around him.
“Shipmates on the shore greeted me with comments like ‘we never expected to see you again,'” Long recalled. “I was told I looked pretty bad.”
“The attack was over, but much turmoil remained,” he wrote. “That’s it — the start of the first day of a long war.”
Associated Press photographer Eric Risberg contributed to this report from Napa, California.
“We all start out – in the “small size” department – and, it is a real “WONDER” in those first months of LIFE – that every day, we are learning all kinds of new stuff – all of which – will be needed in the future!”
I just LOVE this old PHOTO of baby, LEE – it is written, in his face – such “amazement” – he had this box in his hands – and, just so fast – it disappeared – landing on the floor, giving him this empty box to play with – I knew that sooner or later it would land on the floor – and no harm would be done – nothing that could break – and the only one getting the exercise of picking it up – was me – and, NOW I wonder if little “LEE” knew, that this was was more work for me – but soon – we would be taking a walk outside in the “Sunshine” and that, is the best part of the Day’s FUN!
Next is baby, LEE getting “BIGGER, and Older” – now going on “THREE” and – just for the “FUN” of it – Lee would blow the candles out – and then wait for me to re-light – so we could all sing and, he could “BLOW” again and again, – so that he could make a whole lot of good wishes, for everything – and to just having more FUN!
This is hat time of the year – “Christmas TIME” and we always had to have Lee’s Birthday completely celebrated and over, before we would start the “Christmas Celebration” – so as – not to mix and or combine – – as some children miss their own Birthdays – when they are too close to the Christmas Celebration.
This PHOTO is one that was taken at the “South County Famous Barr Store” and “LEE” could be in the First or Second Grade – as there were lots of things happening in those first years that we were now living in Saint Louis – after having been in Florida – prior to our move back here.
I just LOVE this PHOTO of “LEE” as he could almost pass for the twin brother, of “Bernard Riley” the son of my Aunt Irene and Uncle Wm.B. Riley. There is a very old PHOTO, that you can find of little “Bernie” – he was not suppose to be in that PHOTO – but, sometimes, things happen for a reason – and that reason was for me, to see the resemblance of our families and ancestors – and, this is where I have found – that the Almighty will let us see – some things, that are – and were – and just as a special Blessing – can be found – If we but take the time to LOOK!
It is wonderful, to look and find – to understand some of the mysteries of our LIFE – here on EARTH – and to give THANKS – for the many BLESSINGS we receive – while keeping our eyes open -just to receive and then, believe!