Saturday, October 16, 2021

My life shaping memories (#1)

 In 1943 our family moved to Massachusetts. My dad had a new job in Boston and it was a big change for him, as it was for all of us. The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 took us into the thick of WWII and, although I was too young to understand the horrific effects of that, I was well aware of the drama.

I loved seeing the boys (and some girls too) in their uniforms and to my 9 year old self it was a time of great patriotism and wonderful music. Of course we didn't have TV then but our one big console radio in the living room was on non-stop and it was there that I heard about the British sailors bringing their war torn ships into the Fargo Naval Base for repairs.

I also learned that the crews from these ships stayed at The Union Jack Club. It was a place to eat and sleep but if their stay was long they had virtually nothing to do to pass the time away. This gave rise to “Host Families” who would invite the sailors to stay with them instead of being bored at the Club. The minute I heard about this I knew it was a way that our family could help out the war effort.

When my unsuspecting Dad asked if I had anything special that I wanted for my 10th birthday I told him that I wanted a British Sailor. Not only did I get my wish but, over the course of the next 2 years we entertained 126 boys and many of them that worked at the base became like family and would come to our house whenever they could. Let me introduce you to a few.

                                                            Ron and Bert


...and my favorite, Happy. He was an Australian in the Air Force. His plane went down and a British ship picked him up and brought him to the Union Jack Club. He said I was a dead ringer of his sister.

In September of 1943 the war came to an end … as did our hosting days, but I will always credit that event as being the opener for me that we are part of a HUGE WORLD (not just caught up in the wants of our country alone) and we need to recognize that and open our hearts and minds to differing customs and beliefs… truly an eye opening experience. 


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

It's good to hear about these boys again.

2:07 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

What a handsome group you got to enjoy. It was a wonderful program and would have made a great impression on a young mind that this is a big world and we can and should care beyond our borders.

6:16 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Good looking guys. Lucky you to get such a good cultural education in such an easy way!

8:06 PM  
Blogger Joared said...

Am your your family’s hospitality made a big positive difference for these boys.

9:50 AM  

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