My father was a medical officer on a ship patrolling the west coast of South America when Pearl Harbor was bombed. His ship was harbored in Callao, Peru.
He had been dating a woman who he hoped to marry. Pearl Harbor clinched it. He called her at her family’s home in Manhattan and proposed.
Dad’s ship was headed for Vallejo later in December. My mother did not want to miss Christmas with her family so they agreed to meet in Reno, Nevada, where they could marry after a 24-hour residency.
Mom resigned from her job with Young & Rubicam and left home on the day after Christmas. Meeting in Reno, they took separate rooms in the Hotel Cortez, met with a priest at the cathedral to arrange for the ceremony and bought two $15 gold rings.
They were married the next morning.
— Martha Counihan