Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Pearl Harbor Day

On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked.

A few years ago, my mother (who was born in 1931 on the bayous of Louisiana) shared an extraordinary story as follows:

In the fall of 1941 my mother started making homemade bread every Saturday. She used yeast on the first recipe, but after that she would save a starter, a piece of dough. Of course we had no refrigeration, so she would just take the starter dough and put it in a bowl in the cabinet. The next week she would use the starter dough to make a fresh batch of bread.

My oldest brother had taken off for something, and he came home with a friend. The boy lived about a mile away from our house, but since we lived along a bayou, we had to cross a prairie to get to his house. He walked in the house and the smell of fresh bread permeated the place. He was wowed, and Mamma broke him off a piece of fresh bread for him to eat.

He had gone to school with us, but like a lot of kids his age he joined the Navy at age 17. He told my mother he was stationed at Pearl Harbor on the Arizona.

This took place on Saturday November 22nd. Thirteen days later he died on the Arizona at Pearl Harbor. His name was William (Bill) Stoddard.

My mother stopped making bread. I was ten years old.

Needless to say, Pearl Harbor didn't just affect Hawaii.

It also affected a tiny little community on the bayous of Louisiana, and a 10-year-old child's memory of a neighbor boy who died for our country.

It was a dark moment in history. We're facing more dark moments in the future as international conflicts rise once more. Let's pray another Pearl Harbor doesn't happen.


  1. And in those days, Pearl Harbor was on the other side of the world in an area that wasn't even a state. Amazing the impact events like these can have. As a Navy veteran, December 7th will always be in my memory.
    That memory gave me chills.......

  2. The link shows the young man dying at the age of 21. Still horrible, of course, but not quite in conformance with the story.

    1. It says that he joined at the age of 17. It didn’t say he was 17 when he died.

  3. Well, my mom is 91, and this happened over 80 years ago, so she might have gotten some details wrong.

    - Patrice

  4. What a blessing to still have your mom!