With a group of Cedar Crest College for Women students, I was touring the Amish Country in eastern Pennsylvania when we heard the news on a car radio that Sunday afternoon -- Dec. 7, 1941.
The next day, we met in school assembly at Allentown, our acting president had to tell us the news. Dr. Charles Rominger -- a German citizen -- with tears in his eyes and his heart breaking told us that now his native country and ours were at war.
My husband, Joe, and I were engaged to be married on Feb. 15, 1942 (my parents' anniversary) at high noon.
Unfortunately, an air raid drill was called for the same time. The bridal party, running late, got caught halfway to church. The wardens were adamant and the entire group -- bride, bridesmaids and relatives -- was herded into a barn along the Lehigh River for 15 minutes. Needless to say, I finally met a very irate bridegroom at the altar.
Never miss a local story.
On our 50th wedding anniversary last February, a cousin wrote me: "You may not know this, but my father was drunk and passed out in our car. The air raid warden could not arouse him, so he slept through the alert, undisturbed."
Due to the war, I had to leave college. We did get heavy yarn and instructions to knit socks for the French soldiers.
My brother was ineligible for service at first, due to flat feet. Then they let him in and he had progressed to staff sergeant at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
When the fighting got heavy, he had himself demoted to private just to get into the fray. The very first day of the Battle of the Bulge, he stepped on a mine and there went my dearest brother, Johnny.
Later, a buddy who traveled with him aboard ship told us that Johnny had told him he had a feeling he would not return alive.