- Category: USS Arizona Survivor Stories
- Last Updated: Monday, 23 November 2015 02:59
- Published: Saturday, 21 November 2015 02:41
Barbara Ellen (Goodwin) Reid
Wife of Everett O. Reid on 7 December 1941
Excerpt from letter to Nina Hart, 1985
First printed in "Arizona's Heart Beats" - 1985
Reprinted by permission of daughter, Eileen Reid Johnson
We are enclosing a copy of the invitation issued by the Captain and ship's company of the USS Arizona to a dance at the Moana Hotel on November 24, 1941. This was only two weeks before World War II started, and for us, marked the end of carefree times. Back in 1941, the Royal Hawaiian and the Moana were the two largest hotels at Waikiki Beach. Sometimes we would go to the Banyan Court of the Moana to see and hear Al Kealoha Perry and his orchestra. We can remember the sound of the Hawaiian ukuleles and guitars accompanying the melodic Hawaiian songs. We spent happy afternoons in the sand and surf. The war light sand, the palm trees along the beach, and the blue skies of an unending horizon all contributed to our feelings of happiness, peace, and contentment. As of December 7, 1941, the Waikiki atmosphere abruptly changed. A few days later, we walked along the boulevard and we saw that Waikiki Beach was deserted, except for Marines patrolling, with bayonets attached to their rifles. Barbed wire had replaced outrigger canoes along the shoreline.
The holiday season of 1941 can be remembered for the contrasts in observances. On Thanksgiving Day, we had a traditional turkey dinner at Lau Yee Chai's, a Chinese restaurant at Waikiki. Though far from the mainland, we felt that we were observing Thanksgiving in a typically American way. Four weeks later, Christmastime brought us a holiday totally different from any previous Christmas. Martial law had been declared after the Pearl Harbor attack. Grocery stores had been closed for inventory to assess the amount of food on the island until food-carrying freights could arrive. By Christmas week, the stores were open again and the day before Christmas, several of us Arizona wives went shopping and succeeded in finding one of the last turkeys in the store at Waikiki. We could find no potatoes in the produce section however, so we bought cans of small white potatoes then heated them and mashed them for our Christmas dinner. I think that we had canned peas and carrots, and corn as vegetables. Several of the wives baked rolls and pumpkin pies. The Arizona couples sharing this Christmas dinner of 44 years ago were; Lee and Edith Crothers, Ralph and Virginia Fowler, Jim and Jeanne Vlach, Howard and Rose Watson, and Everett and Barbara Reid. After this length of time, I do not remember if there were others.
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