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The Day My Mom Cried…

Story ID:8519
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Location:Dillon Montana USA
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The Day My Mom Cried…
By Chuck Dishno
December 7, 2012

The time was December 6, 1941. Things in the US were getting back to normal after struggling through the Great Depression. Most of the country was back to work and the material things in life were becoming available again.

The Dishno family was doing well. My Dad had full time work as a timber faller and we had a new house. Our old shacks had burned to the ground early in the summer and the entire town turned out to build us a new one. This one had indoor plumbing and for the first time we could abandon the old outhouse in back, what a change. Pop had purchased a used 1936 Pontiac and we rode to Klamath Falls in style, instead of the drafty old Model A Ford. Christmas was just around the corner and I would go through the Sears, Wards and Penny’s catalogs that were always lying around. I would wistfully look at the toy sections and hope Santa was peeking over my shoulder to get an idea what I wanted. I was 7 years old and had been told that there really wasn’t a Santa Claus but I wasn’t taking any chances.

This all changed the next morning, December 7th. Mom, Grandma Etta and I had gone to the Methodist Church next door to our house. When we came home, Mom was crying. They had been told that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and the US was plunged into war.

When Mom gave the news to Pop, he immediately turned on our Philco radio and tuned into Gabriel Heater, a national news commentator. He was always referred to as “Gloomy Gabe” because of his slant on the news but this time he told it like it was.. My two half-brothers, Bud and Frank, who were 10 and 12 years older than me, started thinking about their future. They were both in high school but knew that they would be drafted soon. I think I began crying too fearing that I might never see my brothers again if they went off to war.

The next day, December 8th, President Roosevelt gave his famous speech to the nation declaring that a “state of war existed between the United States and the Empire of Japan”.

A few days later Germany declared war on the US and my world was changed forever. Bud was a sophomore in high school and Frank was a senior. Shortly after graduation, Frank enlisted in the Army Air Force and Bud followed him a year and a half later.

We all joined in the war effort by collecting scrap metal. My big thing was tinfoil and I remember having a ball of it about 6 inches in diameter. Of course we all bought war bonds with our change. Pop even took the bumpers off his beloved Pontiac to turn them in for the chromium and strictly adhered to the 35 mph speed limit, not that we went too many places since gas was rationed along with most everything else.

I am happy to say that both Bud and Frank survived the war and came home with war brides. The tragic thing for me was losing 5 of my school friends to the Japanese Balloon Bomb. You can read more about this with my posting on Ourecho.com “My Mother’s Premonition”.

Mom, Pop, Etta and my two brothers have all gone to Heaven now. I imagine Mom recalls the first time I saw her cry.