Max Dean entered the USN the fall after his high school graduation. After joining the Navy, Max spent a few months stateside in Philadelphia playing trombone in the band and was asked to remain instead of going on a ship. He was from a small town in the thumb of Michigan and wanted to see the world.
In his late seventies he spoke about the places he’d been during his four years, having received ribbons for serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatre. I wished I’d taped those conversations.
My dad didn’t talk about the war. It wasn’t until I was in high school and reading the required book, The Bomb that Fell on Hiroshima, that he opened up to me. When I told him about the report I was going to write, he added some information. His Navy LST (landing ship tank) was in route to take Marines over to Hiroshima when they hit a reef, which made the LST tip and sink. The guys were close to another ship, so they threw a rope and a breeches buoy was put into service to rescue the sailors from the damaged LST. Dad said once they got to Hiroshima, you could see forever because there was nothing to view - just openness where the bomb hit. The only way you could tell a place existed above ground was from the vaults that were seen periodically when walking. He was tested for radiation for two years following his release from the USN.
When Dad left this earth for his heavenly residence in 2004, mother gave me an album he’d kept while serving in WWII. He was a radio man on the ship and learned how to type. He collected currency from countries where he’d traveled. They were paper, and may have been for five, ten or fifteen cents, and different colors and sizes. He typed information about them. One story remained with me, and I’ll share that.
Dad and two other sailors went into an areas where Japanese people had businesses, and often took something to barter with. He had sugar to trade for Sake cups that he brought back and are mine. One day a couple with a four year old girl pleaded with dad to take their child back to America on the ship. I don’t know what they were willing to give, but of course, the men would never do that. The urgency to give their daughter to someone they didn’t know, to keep her safe, tugged at my dad’s heart, and it was sometime before he could stop thinking about it, if he ever did.
We know war is horrible, but WWII had the support of those around the country on the home front. My mother sold war bonds and was the Victory Queen, wearing a long formal, her attendants seated on a float beside her. Parades were part of what was done to support the War; writing letters to those in service, sending baked goods and giving up certain things during these years was never questioned. I’m grateful for the book I have, now in safe-keeping, and I’m glad Dad thought of keeping his memories to share.
Diane started her writing career at an early age when she asked for a typewriter for Christmas. She pounded the keys writing poetry and short stories in grade school on an old black Royal manual. It wasn’t until her husband’s work took them to a southern town she wrote her first column, “Yankee Viewpoint’s” for a local newspaper, covering hard news and feature stories in the area. Upon returning to their home-state of Michigan, she did stringer work, ancestral history, and donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations; while doing her favorite job ever, as a stay-at-home Mom. She is the author of Beach Walks and Carolina in the Morning. Diane was a columnist for a weekly magazine, for four years, and her stories have appeared in a number of magazines and books. She is the author of over three-hundred short stories. Her book, newly released, On a Summer Night, is a story of suspense and romance. She and hubby, Stephen, have been married for forty-one years, and they are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals. Diane thanks the Lord daily for her loving husband, three great kids and for giving her the desires of her heart.
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