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Story Time: Newsreels in real life

Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 at 3:07 pm

By Lorry Myers

That morning, my boss walked through the lobby and stopped, his eyes on the black and white newsreel playing on the television mounted in the corner of the bank where I worked.

“Do you know what today is?” Wendell asked with a tone in his voice that caught my attention.

I was a young wife and mother when Wendell Mustain hired me to work in the Savings and Loan a few blocks from my home. I knew nothing about banking, nothing about anything really, but I was, and am, aware of the world around me.

Of course, I knew what day it was. “It’s Pearl Harbor Day,” I replied, hoping that was the answer he was seeking. I glanced up at the television screen and then back at Wendell where something about his distant eyes made me ask.

“What do you remember about that day.”

“Nothing was ever the same,” Wendell sighed, almost as if he was talking to himself.

He stayed in his thoughts, and I watched as he watched the TV screen where bombs were coming down and ships were blowing up. Finally, Wendell spoke again, his voice slow and low and full of words he never said. Pearl Harbor, he told me, changed the course of his life and the path of his generation.

War has a way of doing. With his voice growing rough, Wendell talked about his parents. brothers, and friends who rushed to support the war effort. That’s what Wendell did. He put aside his plans and joined the Army Air Corp, flying missions over Germany destroying and disrupting their supply lines. Wendell spoke of his mother and the worry she carried, and the friends he lost and the lives that were changed.

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.