December 03, 1991


A Sorrowful Week

"I was living on Ashland Avenue in East Baltimore with my parents and had been working for doctors' families for several years. Then life changed. My mother died Dec. 3. The day we buried her, Pearl Harbor was bombed. I remember coming back to the house with my four sisters, my brother and father. We were still stunned from the loss of our mother, when we heard news of this sorrowful event. The very next month I began working at Edgewood Arsenal, loading 155mm and 81mm shells and working on gas masks. I was never afraid there but I witnessed several explosions. I remember the day they arrested two 'German spies' at the plant, a man and a woman. The demand to work in defense plants was so great at the time, plus I felt it was my patriotic duty." -- Ms. McCloud lives in West Baltimore. "I was an 'army brat' from Baltimore with a father who did two tours of duty as military science professor at Hopkins, a job he loved. This week I was working as a clerk in the post exchange at Fort Richardson, Alaska. I'd rejoined the family there after graduating from the College of Notre Dame. My two younger sisters stayed on as students in the primary and high school divisions. In Alaska, soldiers were crowding in to order Christmas trinkets. We'd just moved into a new town house at the post. But already we felt threatened . . . we knew from the start that the Japanese would strike first. When Dad came home and told us the attack had happened, we covered up all the windows in the home. -- She joined the Woman's Army Corps and became a brigadier general and its commandant. Now retired, she lives in Arlington, Va. "My dad had a popular bakery in the 1600 block of Clifton Avenue. I was 16 and helped out with the Christmas orders, things like our honey-dipped doughnuts filled with cream and iced with chocolate and our fruitcake. We couldn't make them fast enough. On the day before, Dad and I had been working in the front of the store setting up our Christmas garden. We had Christmas carols on the radio and Dad was singing along with them when they announced the bombing. Both of us were drafted. Dad was 37 but didn't come back from the war. He died from an emergency lung operation in the Canal Zone." -- Mr. Wolf, a retired dairy employee, lives in Hampden.

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