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Watching from a Kitchen Window

I was 23 days short of my 5th birthday on December 7, 1941. My father, Oren S. Blennerhassett, was stationed at Wheeler Field. 

My mother first saw the hangars down the street burning.  We then saw the Japanese planes flying overhead from our kitchen window.  Being so small I could see the pilots in their leather helmets from where I was in the adjoining room.  We had a very large picture window in our kitchen.  The neighbor next door was killed while he was watching the action from his kitchen.

My mother had friends who lived in the country. They took our family in and we stayed there until my mother, grandmother and I were put on a Navy ship and sent back to the mainland. I remember having to participate in a life boat drill in very stormy, choppy seas.

We arrived in San Francisco on Christmas Day 1941. I was upset because only the children were fed Christmas dinner but not the adults. My mother and I went to live with my aunt and uncle in Maywood, Illinois, and my grandmother went to my uncle’s house in California. My father remained at Wheeler Field  but was sent home when he became ill and spent several months in the hospital until his recovery and reassignment to Lowry Field in Denver, Colorado, where he was the Sgt. Major for several years.

When he came home I remember my mother and I went to meet him at the train station. He was on a stretcher and we could only see him briefly. It was late at night and we were staying in a hotel. It was Easter and when we went back to the hotel there was a large Easter bunny and an Easter basket waiting for me.

To this day I don’t know how my mother pulled that off.  She was an amazing woman.

— Katherine Blennerhassett Robinson

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