On Dec. 9, 1941, two days after Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor, my father’s army unit at Fort Ord in Monterey caravanned to remote areas of northern California to guard railway bridges from similar bombing attacks.
Here he is in Keddie in the Feather River Canyon where his unit was patrolling the Keddie Wye, a railroad junction in the form of a “y” on the Union Pacific Railroad.
He said he was often assigned the night patrol. I later wondered if he volunteered for it. He told me he wasn’t frightened, that it was peaceful and quiet, and that the starry nighttime scenes under clear skies and a full moon were beautiful.
Although he never said so to me, it would have been in stark contrast to his life one year earlier as a gay man caught up in an LAPD sting operation. Until the LA Times exposed the extortion scheme, he was required to hand over his hard-earned Depression dollars to a conversation therapist indefinitely or be jailed.
My dad (1918-2008) was an honorable soldier and man and, after four years of war, an honorable father of four. I miss him.
My Dad’s Closet: A daughter’s memoir is scheduled to be released in Summer, 2021.