Posted 2 years ago
During the days beginning shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, and ending in 1946, I - as the younget of our family, have perhaps the least recollection of wartime events. But that doesn't mean I don't recall the day when I met "Captain Dave", a Flying Tiger at the Soda-fountain... Now, I recall that a photo was taken by someone behind the counter, and also that my mother had to get a release signed by my father who was at his USO director's job.
Oh - I was very intently listening to the airmen describe how 'his boss' taught him and the others the art of aerial pursuit, or better said 'tactics' which took the Japanese by surprise - diving thru their formations from above, with guns blazing; two at a time with a third member flying 'cover' above... then diving away; climbing above and repeating it on other enemy aircraft.
It would be two year later and several moves opening new USOs for my father & mother, before my sister's National Geographic arrived and she showed the back cover to our parents - sure looked like Jacoby's Drug-store and my sister, I and Dave... but my mother's khaki USO uniform was a dark brown, and a hat (which she never wore) was upon her head. Capt. Dave looked just the same though; going thru a gesture he had used more than once. My father remarked that there was only a 'fair resemblance' and it was laughed about and forgotten for years...
When my mom pased away we found several items in a tin lock-box - two coins which was all her father had left after they immigrated from Holland and found jobs in the celery fields of lower Michigan; a novel of China which mom had been given by author Pearl S. Buck in 1946 when my father closed down the Philadelphia Naval Yards USO; my maternal grandmother's crystal Rosery, and a paper-wrapped June 1944 National Geographic with our first names - Sadie, Jeanne, Phil, Dave and Pauly(the soda jerk) going from R to L on a piece of tellowed paper dated: July 30, 1942 - the date the photo was taken.
Back then we didn't know about the D'Arcy Illustrators of St. Louis, MO who often gave interesting photos to their illustrator for Coca-Cola ads... nor did anyone know I'd be a Flying Tiger & CBI artifact collector for over 50-years from age 12.