December 7th, 1941
Story By Paul S. Strobel('43)
There was a swimming pool and a tennis court, which were owned by the school, close to a house which was also owned by the school. Mr. J. Brackin Kirkland and family lived in that house. On Sunday morning, 7 December 1941, Tate Russel('44) and I were playing tennis there.
A fellow student came down the hill to the tennis court with the news that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. It was, without a doubt, shocking news for young fellows who could only imagine the horrors to be unfolded and who thought they would somehow be involved. Tate and I ran back to our dorm to listen to the radio for more news. Needless to say, it captured our attention, not only that day, but for years later.
The war news in those days soon seemed to be a curious bifurcation. Those who resided on either the "left" or "right" coasts not only seemed to get the news more quickly, but also much more in depth. It was not because of stronger interest in coastal areas than in inland areas, but rather, it was the result of the era in which our culture existed combined with a feeling shared by coastal residents of potential exposure. Blackout curtains, victory gardens, meat and gas rationing, were a few of the matters to be coped with. Also, the extensive mobilization necessitated by hostilities was concentrated on our east and west coasts. Technology, too, was far different and comparatively slower. There was, of course, no television and communications from urban areas to rural locations were slow.
We at SII continued on with our academic responsibilities, but from the 7th. of December onward, a gray pall had settled over the campus and our lives somehow became more serious.
Eventually, I found myself in the U.S. Navy and served in the North Atlantic, Omaha Beach, and The Mediterranean. I came back to SII during the war for a day. I never again saw my classmates. I have kept in touch with a few of them, the ones that remain and for whom I have addresses. This reunion is very significant and important to me, for many reasons. I know I will probably see only one or two that I know, but at least, and at last, I will see them. And I will be home, once again, at SII / LWMA.
Forgive my rambling. Recollections, happy and sad, are part of reunions. Perhaps, if you don't realize it now, you will surely know one day how important LWMA, your teachers, your classmates and this country really are. Moreover, how important you are to each of these.
Paul S. Strobel('43)
Written - 3/30/98, one month before the Centennial Celebration at LWMA.