December


The minister had made some references to “clouds over Europe” in his sermon that morning, but Johnny felt good and didn’t want to hear any of it. All of that ugly business was surely months, perhaps a few years away. He would be graduating from law school in the spring and he hoped to start a practice and marry Rebecca before the war.

When it came, sure, he wanted to be the first to enlist. He even knew where he’d go to sign upóWilliams Air Field, Chandler, Arizonaóbut for today he was playing tennis with Bill and had a date tonight with Rebecca. He had tickets for Tommy Dorsey and his band with Frank Sinatra at the Palladium. Nothing was going to ruin the day for him.

Getting home from church, he ignored the Life Magazine that he purposefully had left on the end table to read that afternoon, the December 8th issue with the cover of General† MacArthur. This wasn’t like him. Normally, he would have thumbed through it, at least looking for a picture of Lana Turner.

He didn’t know why and particularly he would never have guessed that by doing so, he would lose the last potential hour of his youth, but he was already getting into a dance mood. He flicked on his new Sears Roebuck Silvertone radio, the one with the mechanical push-button tuning. He loved the new technology.

There was no dance music on the air. He needed to hear only a few words and he dropped dejectedly into his favorite chair, where he still was an hour later when a much older sounding Rebecca telephoned to ask him if he had heard the news, if he was still playing tennis with Bill, if they should get married now.


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