December 7, 1941—a day that will live in infamy, and in the memory of Grand Junction resident Kathleen Takaki Davis.
Davis was 10 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. She and her family kept abreast of the news on the radio from their home on Kauai, an island about 90 miles from Oahu.
“My sister was ironing and listening to the radio when she heard the news,” Davis, 86, said. “She called to us, and we listened to news flashes all day with disbelief.”
The naval station at Pearl Harbor wasn’t the only U.S. military installa- tion attacked that fateful day. Schofield Barracks and what is now Wheeler Air Force Base were also struck.
While the bombing didn’t directly impact Davis and her family, a curfew immediately went into effect. Windows were blacked out and everyone was issued a gas mask to guard against mustard gas. Residents had to carry identity cards that listed their blood types and other information.
School resumed as usual on Monday morning, but it had changed.
“We carried our gas masks everywhere,” Davis said. “In school, we had drills overseen by U.S. military personnel who had set up temporary tents in the schoolyard.”
She recalled authorities searching her house, confiscating her father’s pistol and the Japanese swords he displayed—items that were never returned.
Life with the GIs
Davis’ father worked as a super- visor on a sugar plantation and her mother ran a general store, so when sugar and other goods were rationed, Davis’ family wasn’t affected as much as others.
U.S. infantry troops camped in a large grove of trees about a mile from her family’s store and spent a lot of money there.
The family never felt any animosity from the GIs, and her family was never subject to prejudice from other cultures thanks to Kauai’s multicultural nature and her mother’s generosity.
“My mother was good to them,” Davis said. “She cut their hair, sewed for them and did their laundry.”
When she isn’t writing, she teaches writing workshops and edits both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. She facilitates the Colorado West Writers’ Workshop and belongs to the Authors’ Guild. Visit her website for more information and links to her books and classes.
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