7 December 1941

by Lorraine on November 26, 2010

ladylibwarBlast from the past~~~I know what I was doing the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941. Oh yes, I was pretty busy. I was “helping” my Mom and Dad clean up the “rec” room, they’d had a party Saturday night. I even remember (nah, not really) the smell of stale cigarette butts in the ashtrays, and the sour odor of equally stale beer. Ah, to a 10-(11 in 3 weeks)-year-old, this was ambrosia. Movie stars smoked like chimneys in the films then, what did we know? Ignorance is bliss.

I wasn’t really helping. I was sitting at the bar with a cocktail glass that had a stem and looked groovy, just like in the movies, with soda in it, and a straw as my cigarette. I was a hep-cat, boogying to the beat. (Only in my mind though, my folks had polka music playing on the radio).

I was imagining myself in a sparkly gown with shoulder pads wide as a Packer defensive end, and an impossibly high swoopy hairdo, with the back hair captured in an equally sparkly “snood”. I was Hedy Lamarr, Joan Crawford, I was so glamorous, so gorgeous!! I was also in a “nightclub” (whatever that was) and Tommy Dorsey’s band was a-bumpin’ and a-jivin’.

Looking back, I realize how shaken my parents were with the announcement on the radio by President Roosevelt about the attack, but it didn’t mean a heck of a lot to me. Our teacher explained all that stuff to us, but we just blithely tossed it aside and skipped home for lunch. Kids really had it made then, I think.

I consider myself a very lucky American to have grown up in those days of innocence and patriotic unity. (Not to mention living a good, middle-class life in America, where people gave their employer a good day’s work for their wages (instead of sniveling about one darn thing or another?) — and a lot fewer citizens had their hands out to the government for freebie entitlements!!! (Yeah, I know — The Great Depression started not too long after I was born the end of 1930 and it was tough for everybody….but it wasn’t my fault, I swear!!)

My Dad started working at Pabst Brewery in 1926. Before that he delivered milk around the neighborhoods with a horse-and-wagon. Then after the Depression got its grip on the   country, he still had a job at Pabst. He firmly believed that “as long as a man had a nickel to spare he would buy a glass of beer”. Well, maybe he was right?

Yup. The *biggie* breweries are long gone from Milwaukee now. Pabst Blue Ribbon — Schlitz — Miller — Blatz — maybe some smaller breweries also that were around.

The only thing I knew about beer when I was very little was when my Dad would walk to the nearby grocery store to pick up whatever my mother instructed him to pick up….lol…..and inevitably we’d stop in at the neighborhood tavern so Dad could get a cold draft from the tap. I was offered a bottle of Orange NeHi soda and a small bag of pretzels.I loved to go with Daddy to the tavern.

My mother always acted a tad miffed because *we* were a little late in getting back from the tavern, but Dad usually smoothed ruffled feathers with a big kiss on her cheek……. she always asked the same question, though. “Did you and Daddy go to the tavern?” Faithful little daughter always said “No Mommy, we didn’t”. Alas, my orange soda “moustache” pretty much gave our secret away. Daddy and I were busted.

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