My memories of the war years are few, dark and scary

I lived in Boston, not far from the airport and Navy Yard.

By John Peterson  b. 1937


I recall talk about both being possible targets of German submarines and aerial attack by Japanese bombers, which of course was a remote threat.  However, they seemed all the more real to me when I was told, truly or falsely, that an anti-aircraft gun was mounted atop the roof of the Navy Yard.  But I think that the older boys in the school liked to tease the first-graders about this and other things.  Yet the possibility seemed real to a five or six year old who regularly participated in air-raid drills, standing against the wall in the basement of the school, and who had to wear an ID tag around his neck.

I recall trying to identify the shape and size of US bombers such as the B-17, B-25 and later the B-29, so  that when I saw a bomber overhead (which occurred frequently) that didn’t match these I would be ready to run for cover! I also had a book with pictures of Japanese bombers one of which as I now recall we called “Betty”.

The whole thing was made more real by the fact that I had two older cousins serving in the Navy aboard the Wasp and the Portland (a carrier and a cruiser, respectively)  in the Pacific and hearing some bad news about both ships. The Portland took a hit on her rudder at the Savo Island battle but returned after repairs to participate later on in the Battle of Leyte Gulf where she came through unscathed.

As for the original Wasp which as a child I believe I once boarded when she was in port in Boston, my memory is that she was sunk.

I remember we had to stand in line for some food items which were rationed. The government issued red and blue tokens to be used for food. the red ones I recall were for meat and the blue ones for non-meat items.

Sorry I can’t right now think of any other memories of this time.






3 thoughts on “My memories of the war years are few, dark and scary”

  1. I understand. My Dad was an Air RAID Warden, and had to walk all the nearby neighborhoods to check that no lights were showing through any house windows.

  2. Great idea to post here. I’m identifying with all you said except the New England aspect, being a MN gal of the same era with strong memories of that time. Thanks for sharing here. Getting ready to order. Reading Karin Goranson’s comment above re: the planes overhead gave me “gut grab” — yes, all these decades later. All of a sudden I was frightened five y.o. again!

  3. I also grew up in new England during WW 2..remember black out and the black window shades we had to pull down and turn off the lights and being afraid when we heard plane fly over ..

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