Leaving our brooms for bombs

The Brooklyn Paper
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Each December we remember - Before the Thanksgiving Day turkey is fully digested, we see that last calendar page come up on our kitchen wall.

Then the memories pour forth and we go back to a day in our youth when god baked Sea Gate in autumnal sunshine and my sneakers walked on a crispy leafed Sea Gate street, to play cards at Steve Kirkel’s house, while listening to our football Brooklyn Dodgers against the always enemy NY Giants.

Steve’s mom moved her “girls” bridge game, so we could play Canasta on the front porch, listening to broadcaster Stan Lomax on WOR radio.

None of us were tuned to the outer world yet, Ace Parker got a touchdown pass in the air, Bruiser Kinard was holding Tuffy Leemans and the Giants at bay, when the Polo Grounds’ loudspeaker started calling the world to war.

“All Navy personnel attention back to duty: All leaves are cancelled.”

That was it, but we didn’t know it yet, other than the Dodgers took the lead, and we heard that some angered Japanese emissaries left the White House, politely slamming the door in the face of President FDR.

Brooklyn beat the Giants 14 to 7 but as the Jap emissaries slammed the White House doors on their way out, their Jap engines, were revving on their Jap carriers nearing America’s Hawaiian coast readying to rain torrents of explosive bombs and mines upon our helpless Pacific fleet, nestled in Hawaiian waters.

All hell fell out of the peaceful Hawaiian skies as torrents of bombs and bursting bullets rained and sped that tropical beauty into horrendous ashes.

Long after that football game was over shadowed by war tragedies, we turned on the radio in back of Dad’s men’s shop and listened to FDR call to Congress to declare war upon the full axis of Japan, Germany and Italy; Only one elderly congresswoman from Maine opposed, We were at war!

That summer Steve was in the Air-Force out west,Lou Powsner was at Ft. Dix, prepping to train for the Air-Force at Keesler Mississippi.

From there training went on.Powsner shipped out to Lou’s birthstate in South Dakota.

Meantime, all of America had gone to war. Housewives left their brooms to build bombs, to paint, or build aircraft and ships, or to nurse the war’s wounded and recouperators; or to fill the offices;and some picked up guns joining the WACS, the Waves, the Coast Guard or the Navy Yards.

Those at home faced constant blackouts and saw newsreels of how our allies staggered through theirbombings, losing homes and lives.

Too soon tragedies plagued our Nation - while enemies in our midst went to Nazi rallies in Madison Square Garden, or Yorkville in Manhattan.

Under our noses in newsreels we saw their Nazi swastikas that paraded on our screens, heiling their Hitler, or Tojo, or blackshirts hailing Benito.

Through it all, that long-ago era that can’t help coming back very early every December. We pause and remember that particular December the seventh that we must personally never forget. Back when this man had still been a boy.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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