Friday, December 07, 2007

A date which will live in infamy



The single thing that fuels my passion for history is seeing how seemingly unrelated events in the past shape the lives of individual people today. That, and I love a good story. Whether or not a war is just, the cost in lives—both lost and permanently changed—is incalculable. But this isn’t a post about war; it’s about how the events at Pearl Harbor 66 years ago today shaped my life. Or rather, made my life possible.

Several years before Jimmy was born, I was up on San Juan Island visiting my grandmother. She told me firsthand the story of how she, born and raised in Boston, and my grandfather, who grew up on the Washington coast, met during World War II. I captured it on tape, but this is the gist of it. She was a Navy nurse stationed on the island of Oahu. One of the patients she cared for was a handsome young navy flier being treated for malaria, who made a pass at her after she gave him a shot of quinine. Apparently this was a big problem for military nurses because many of the men they met, both patients and officers on base, were married men looking for companionship. My grandmother told me about one of the other nurses who was dishonorably discharged when she was caught fraternizing with a married officer.

So when Clark Cottrell, Jr., asked her out, the first thing she did was look up his next of kin to see if his wife was listed. She found the Reverend Clark Cottrell, Sr., and decided it was safe to accept the invitation to dinner. And the rest, as they say….

6 comments:

Dory said...

So I wonder if you ever got a story about where Nana and Grandpa were at on December 7th? Just out of curiosity? I never did ask. Maybe Ramona, mom, uncle Clark, or Aunt Nancy knows?

chicklegirl said...

I never did get that story, but it would be great to find out, if anyone knows!

aubrey said...

what a sweet story!

lemon square said...

that's a great story!

No Cool Story said...

Sweeet!!

Thanks for visiting my blog, specially leaving such a sweet comment.
I appreciate it :)

chicklegirl said...

Thanks, Aubs and Lyd.

NCS, thanks for stopping by. Hope you are doing okay. ((Hugs))