US, Japan tension high in Dec. 6, 1941, U-B

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Older homes reveal all kinds of surprises if a person knows where to look.

Over time, Tom Osborn has been replacing the double-hung windows in his Milton-Freewater home, built in the early 1940s, with energy-efficient vinyl ones.

During this process, he's recovered 70-year-old recycled evening Walla Walla Union-Bulletin newspapers rolled up and stuffed around the original window openings for insulation.

The first newspapers he pulled out were so dry and brittle, they crumbled in his hands.

But others he set aside happened to get rained on, which extended their life.

He was able to roll the tattered-edged, yellowing newsprint mostly flat and has been enjoying perusing their content.

Tom loaned me a few page fragments on Dec. 6, 2011, that are from the Saturday, Dec. 6, 1941, issue, the day before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, which swept America into World War II.

All kinds of news is featured over eight columns on the front page, with a photo of American-built fighter planes being in Burma before being flown into China.

The Japanese were in the area and the planes were intended to guard the Burma Road where U.S. trucks, drivers and technicians were on the job.

A major story out of Washington, D.C., at the top of the page is headlined "Uneasy Peace Hanging Over Pacific As U.S. Awaits Japanese Move."

The two nations were in negotiations about Japan's aggression in the Far East, and Tokyo's explanation for amassing troops in French Indo-China had yet to be delivered to U.S. officials.

The article also reported the unexplained recall of attaches from the Japanese embassy. Needless to say, the article reports extreme tension from both nations. A collective breath was being held all over.

Other news stories reported a German commerce raider sunk the British cruiser Dorsetshire in the south Atlantic; Columbia Broadcasting System heard a radio broadcast that reported the Russians broke through German lines along a highway in Leningrad; the British were readying for war in the Far East; and Russian ski troops were reported in action along their entire front.

In a story headlined "Hunter Takes 20 Years To Get Deer, Keeps It Only One Day," a hapless hunter from Steelton, Pa., had the misfortune of losing his 10-point buck to thieves, who swiped it from in front of a downtown cafe where he'd hung it for the whole town to see. Thieves evidently staked it out and made off with the venison in the night.

Businesses advertising on Page Three included B. Barer & Sons on North Fourth Avenue; Johnson Electric at 35 S. Spokane St.; Perfection Cleaners, owners Robert Smootz and C.W. Hobkirk, 206 E. Main St., radio repair by Elwyn W. Ley, 105 S. Third Ave., and Top Hat car service, East Isaacs Avenue.

A person could catch a heat-conditioned Super-Coach from the Walla Walla Bus Depot at First and Poplar Streets and ride to Portland for $4.50, Spokane for $3.40, Los Angeles for $18.40 or San Francisco for $13.40.

Crescent Drug Co. at Main Street and Fourth Avenue, "Where Most Folks Buy their Drugs," had 25 Xmas greeting cards, all different, for 29 cents (or $4.25 in 2010).

Montgomery Ward at Third Avenue and Main Street had a three-day sports coat sale with reductions in price to as low as $11.88 (about $174 in current dollars). The weekend specials also offered men's suits for $9.88, boys oxfords for $2.19; milk cans for $1.97 and cotton hand-hooked rugs, 24 by 44 inches, for $1.69.

New York Store, then at 20 W. Main St., offered Clotheraft and London fashion suits for $16.50 and dress hats for $1.50, regularly $2.95 to $5.

And finally, Falkenberg's jewelers and silversmiths, Glimme & Cundiff, successors, at 42 E. Main St., advertised Hamilton wristwatches from $44 to $85.25 (the more expensive watch is worth $1,250 in 2010).

The ad copy urges, "Why not make your fondest wish come true this Christmas? Get yourself the Hamilton watch you have put off getting - too long, now!"

•••

Its 1.2 million members makes Rotary International truly worldwide in scope. The service club's commitment is to "service above self" and members of its 34,000 clubs focus on making Earth a better place for everyone

Members of Walla Walla Sunrise Rotary hosted one of those global guests, fellow Rotarian Rampur Viswanath, who first heard about the service groups's efforts while a college freshman. The native of India received a grant to purchase books and once he learned about their international causes he became a lifelong devotee.

He and wife Treja settled in the Tri-Cities. He was a member of the Richland Rotary for 16 years and its president in 2004-2005.

The current Rotary District 5080 governor gave an inspiring talk to the Walla Walla group, said John McKern, publicity chairman.

District 5080 includes 61 clubs in Southeastern British Columbia, Canada, northern Idaho and Eastern Washington. Also attending the meeting on Nov. 9 was Mike Tuohy, assistant district governor for Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities.

Rampur has attended eight Rotary International conventions and encouraged Sunrise Rotarians to attend the next one in Bangkok, Thailand, in summer 2012. The 2012 District conference will be June 7-10 in the Richland Conference Center. Rampur recognized the efforts of the local group and spoke of Rotary's outstanding efforts like combating polio and providing drinking water projects in developing countries.

Abby VanderPlaat presides over Sunrise meetings as president. John said the group meets at 6:45 a.m. Wednesdays for breakfast at St. Francis Community Center, 722 W. Alder St.

For more details, call 509-525-1752.

•••

Over three weeks in July, John and JeanAnn Mitchell of Milton-Freewater caught up with a former Rotary youth exchange student in Germany.

The couple shared trip highlights recently with Milton-Freewater Rotary Club members.

The Mitchells spent time with Peter Lubert, who hails from Berlin. They served as a host family for Peter when he attended school in our area in 2002-03. He's currently continuing his education and lives southwest of Berlin. The couple has also hosted other exchange students.

With Peter, the Mitchells toured art galleries, museums and historical sites. They also visited Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie, the security gate between East and West Berlin. Only a portion of the Berlin Wall that divided the city during the Cold War still exists as a reminder.

The Mitchells walked along a cobblestone trail that replaced the rest of the wall. They visited Dresden, where 90 percent of the city center was destroyed in World War II during intense allied bombing in 1945. They marveled at reconstruction efforts as many of its historic buildings have been rebuilt.

They told Rotarians that events with Peter's family were especially rewarding, including many meals and trips to parks and scenic areas around the region.

•••

Snow in mid-November didn't deter 30 students from Lincoln Alternative High School and the Walla Walla High School Latino Club from trekking to Pullman for the Utah-Washington State game as guests of the Washington State University athletic department.

Bundled against temps in the low 20s, the students watched the Cougars experience a 30-27 overtime loss to Utah. "There is nothing more rewarding than seeing high school students, for the first time, step foot on a college campus," said Gaby Salazar, a volunteer college counselor at Lincoln. "They show up not knowing what to expect, but once they get to see and talk to college representatives they light up."

Casey Fox, a Wa-Hi alum and WSU athletic marketing director, greeted the students and gave them a tour of Beasley Coliseum and Bohler Gym. Casey pointed out the importance and recognition of the WSU "brand," especially the WSU logo designed by WSC student Randall Johnson in 1937, which is currently one of the nation's most recognized school emblems.

"These visits help students realize that college is fun and exciting," Gaby said. "College visits help our students change their minds about just graduating from high school and joining the work force. Instead, they are to wanting to expand their education by attending Walla Walla Community College or a four-year university like WSU. Exploring Post 311 organized the trip, which received funds from Lincoln and the WA-HI Gear Up program.

•••

The USS Tarawa Veterans Association is seeking mates who served aboard the USS Tarawa CV-40 and LHA-1 for the group's 23rd annual reunion April 19-22 in Nashville, Tenn.

The Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Tarawa CV-40 was commissioned Dec. 8, 1945, at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia, according to the association's website.

It bore the name of an epic battle in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands in the central Pacific when U.S. Marines of the 2nd Division stormed ashore on Nov. 20, 1943, at Betio Island.

More than 200 ships stood off-shore, bombarding the strategic Japanese stronghold, disgorging troops and supplies. In a three-day operation, ashore and afloat, 2,000 American sailors and Marines gave their lives.

"Their sacrifice gave our forces a foothold in what became an island-hopping strategy that eventually led to the Japanese homeland. Five thousand of the enemy gave their lives in one of the bloodiest battles fought to that time in World War II's Pacific campaign," it notes at www.usstarawavets.org/TwoGreatShips.htm.

Contacts for membership and reunion details are Ken Underdown, president, 31 Islet Road, Levittown, PA, 19057, 215-547-0245; Walter Tothero, membership/treasurer, 106 N. Tranquil Trail, Crawfordsville, IN 47933, 765-362-6937, walsue@accelplus.net; or Sam Bornstein, publicity chairman, Tradewinds newsletter, 41140 Fox Run Road, No. 220, Novi, MI 48377, 248-960-4786.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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