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Pearl Harbor Pop Pop

by Susan Henderson on December 7, 2006

When Pop Pop Henderson visited us last month, we decided to tape him telling his story of Pearl Harbor Day. He was eight at the time and living in Honolulu. He tells what he saw from his yard, the change in the grownups as they covered the windows in blankets, and how – once the schools reopened – he was required to carry his gas mask with him each day. It’s kind of a neat story, and if it bores you, you can watch Bach-Boy fidgeting beside him and Green-Hand chewing his toe nails. The tape is 8 minutes long.

To see the video on YouTube, click here.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin Slick December 7, 2006 at 11:19 am

Oh my god, it was a riveting story but who could keep their eyes off of Bach Boy and Green Hand, or, as I like to call them, miniature versions of Mr. H. and Mrs. H. respectively. Err…I was especially mesmerized by Green Hand and those feet! Ha! I like how he honed right in and summed up the whole story: “Okay, I’m ready for school, I have my shoes off and my gas mask!” (Notice how both boys perked up at the mention of “caves” and “gas masks”)

Best December 7 tribute ever.

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Jim December 7, 2006 at 12:52 pm

Wonderful dynamics going on there, Sue. It really brightened my morning. Thanks for posting and sharing.

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Aimee December 7, 2006 at 3:29 pm

Thanks for sharing that. I played it for my nine year-old and he really enjoyed listening. He was as amazed by the idea of gas masks at school as your boys!

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Megan December 7, 2006 at 3:37 pm

That was great Susan. I found it very interesting, informative, and very personal. Although I did have to watch it twice, once for the story and once for the peanut gallery. Both were riveting.

Your kids are a hoot.

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Gail Siegel December 7, 2006 at 5:09 pm

I have tried to listen a few times and keep getting interrupted by my boss (I hate the way work interferes with life!). David’s dad is much different than I pictured him. I love the way his arm ends up resting on Green-hand’s leg. It’s a very cozy interlude. The story is fascinating — everything from the wild boar hunting to the gas masks.

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Carolyn Burns Bass December 7, 2006 at 6:14 pm

Who would have thought in 1942 that Japan would one day be among our closest allies? Someday the NYC childen who survied 9/11 will be sitting with their grandchildren, telling about the day the twin towers fell. Is it too much to hope that by then terrorism will be a thing of the past and we will have great friendships with the countries that make up the Middle East?

Loved the visit, Susan. Is it my imagination, or do both of your boys have enormous feet?

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Aurelio December 7, 2006 at 6:25 pm

That is such an amazing and human-scale account of bombing! I was rapt. Please thank Pop Pop Henderson for sharing it with us all – it certainly made the history come alive for me.

The boys are great fun to see in action too. I love how they both grin when Pop Pop says there was no school for a couple of weeks.

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Susan Henderson December 8, 2006 at 10:03 pm

Robin – Yeah, Green-Hand and his feet are very prominent in the story, somehow. And you can hear Steve the greyhound groaning every now and then. He’s on the other couch.

Jim – Thank you for saying that and for taking the time to watch this.

Aimee – I was amazed, too. And that they carried gas masks to school for 2 or 3 years after that. Sweet that you watched it with your son.

Megan – Yep, “hoot” is one word for them.

Gail – How rude that your boss bothers you when you’re trying to watch YouTube at work! Isn’t the story crazy with the wild boar hunting? And the silver polishing – what a truly strange response to the thought they’d be invaded.

Carolyn – Both of my boys are peanuts. Green-Hand is smaller than all the boys AND the girls in his class, and he has little feet. I think it’s the camera angle. And the fact that his feet are kind of there in your face throughout the video.

Aurelio – I got something cool in the mail today. Thank you!

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n.l. belardes December 9, 2006 at 5:26 pm

Great oral history moment. I love the part about the cowboys patrolling the beach with their little carbine rifles. Although I don’t know what’s funnier, your kids playing with their feet, or my kids going punk shui on a crappy couch.

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