Garrett (garote) wrote,

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A test of my OS X livejournal client:

An apple IIgsSubject: World War II

Mr. Hagopian's class

January 1989

My father Ben was about seven and a half years old during World War II. He lived in Richmond, California with his mom, dad, and brother.

Just like everywhere else, Richmond was preparing for the worst. Blackouts were practiced. Ben's father was captain for thier block, and some nights he would put on a steel hardhat, pick up a flashlight with a cover over it's top, and walk out around the block, making sure everyone's lights were off after a specified time. This was all done so that if enemy planes went on night raids, they wouldn't know where to drop their bombs. The streetlamps had special caps put over them, to keep the light from shining up into the sky, and nobody could drive without installing shielded headlights. (Not that there were many cars being driven. Gas was rationed, as well as were tires.)

Since so many people were being drafted, work opportunities were numerous. People joined in mass migration to the cities to take up jobs that were left behind. Youngsters were earning money themslves for the very first time, and adults earned more than they thought possible. Ben's father got a job driving a tractor for a construction company, helping clear lots and put up rentals for the thousands of people flooding into the cities. Previously he had been working in the Golden Globe Brewery as foreman of the bottling division. Ben's mother, however, stayed a housewife throughout the war. "Takin' care of me and my bro'." as Ben calls it.

Near Alameda, Ben saw large groups of blimps held earthbound by long, thick cables. "It's not the blimps, it's the cables", Ben told me, "Because they're almost invisible in the air, and if a plane ran into one of them..." (He chuckles, and I get the point.) If a plane were to hit one of those cables, if would be cut in half. Even a clip off one of the wings could send a plane out of control and down into the ocean.

The schools took precautions too. Students were taught to duck and cover when an alarm sounded, with their heads under their desks, similar to earthquake drills today. It was at school that Ben had first heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when the principal stopped by his class to tell them.

Trains filled with troops would sometimes pass through Richmond, and since Ben lived two blocks from the railroad station he often got to see them. They would stop and accept various gifts from the citizens, resting and stretching thier legs before going on their way again.

According to Ben, the War didn't have that much of an effect on him because he was too young. He was lucky, in that no one in his family had been drafted except for two distant cousins, and he had known very little about them.

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