Personal Histories

Bob Wills History

Fortuna at War - Pearl Harbor

Our second residence in Fortuna was in a yellow house at the southeast corner of Twelfth and K streets. It has since ceded to the high school. On December 7, 1941, I recall basking in the sun at that address, and observing Rodney Peterson and other bicyclists racing up and down the streets. They were waving newspapers in the air, and hollering, "Extra, Extra, Read All About It, Pearl Harbor Bombed." My first reaction was "Where is Pearl Harbor?" However, by the time the ten cents admission matinee had begun at the theater, we had it all figured. We kids sensed that the war would end within two days. Especially so, after the Army arrived with its P38's.

The next day a few of the teachers had radios at school and we listened to the United States declare war against Japan. After that day, things seemed to get down to the nitty gritty. The men folk began leaving for the armed forces and we kids began maturing a little faster. Almost all of life was geared to the war effort. There was food rationing, butter, coffee, shortening, flour, sugar, etc. and, of course, gasoline. We had scrap metal drives. The high school contributed by providing a cannery for the families to can their victory garden vegetables.

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