I Felt the Earth Move by Gary Ives

Gary Ives' character persuades her grandmother to tell her surprising life story.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941 would take the lives of over 2000 sailors, soldiers and civilians but would also alter the paths of nations and the lives millions, some for the better, some for the worse. Who could have predicted that attack was actually the beginning of drastic changes that would bring the end of old imperial Japan, and that after much suffering democracy and prosperity would quickly emerge, or that the United States would ascend from the war the undeniable leader of the free world, and that former enemies would become allies and important trading partners who would come to admire each other's cultures. The surprise attack that no one suspected, not even the military, caught everyone off balance. If you ask any old timer where he or she was, or what they were doing when they learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor, they'll all remember clearly their circumstance at the time of the news. So the December that I turned seventeen I asked my granny Ginger if she could remember the moments when she first learned of the attack that brought America into the war. It came as no surprise to see her head tilt back and release a sigh with the hint of a smile. Oh yes, honey, I remember it well. Sure, I do.

So Granny, tell me.

Some other day, perhaps.

No, now please. Next week I'll be off to the university and will have no grand raconteur to satisfy me. I'm a big girl now. It's not just Pearl Harbor, either. Please, Gram, I want to know all about you. I've been asking your history for years and you've been putting me off. C'mon Gram, I've shared some pretty hot stuff with you. Suppose you were to croak on me while I'm away at the university. I need your story, Gram. You know mom doesn't give a shit; it's me who'll carry on. I'm the only one because I'm the only one left who cares and who truly loves you.

You are very convincing, child, very, very convincing. And I reckon you're right. Well, maybe it's time, sweetie, be a dear and fetch Granny a gin and tonic. Fix yourself one too, if you'd like.

As old as she was, she still had her gin and tonic every afternoon. Since my last year in high school, it fell to me to mix her drink and serve it to her in her big chair in the library every afternoon at five-thirty. I loved doing this because she was my favorite person in the world, and bartending made me feel mature. I had been raised more by her than by my mom who was a general surgeon at St. Vincent's, and when not working was attending conferences or sleeping. There had been no dad since he left Mom to live with another violinist in the philharmonic orchestra he conducted, a younger man named Byron, as it was. The divorce was quick and uncontested. Dad was still with his darling Byron and had nothing to do with us. At the time of the divorce, mother was just finishing her residency and took the job at St. Vincent's so we could move in with Gram at her palatial home. With 19 rooms situated on 22 manicured acres it really was palatial, you could call our place an estate.

Gram, you see, is well set financially, thanks to my Grandfather Bennington, who died when I was still an infant. He had been a wildcat speculator, who had amassed a fortune in oil and shipping, a millionaire before he was even thirty years old. Unfortunately, in his 20s, an explosion at a gas well he was inspecting had left him a physical wreck and totally deaf, though still a genius at business.

Gram Ginger had seen that I attended the best schools, wore the best clothes, and was exposed to the culture of good music, theatre and art. And she supervised all this with the most loving, albeit Bohemian and permissive, tour de force. Nothing at home was conventional. A housekeeper, cook, and driver/gardener attended to the three of us. Each October Gram would book a suite at the Waldorf and the two of us would do the museums during the day and Broadway in the evenings. Did I live a pampered life? Would you say I was spoiled? Of course, I was. Probably because Gram doted so on me and because of my mom's hectic professional life, my mother simply ceded my rearing to her, an arrangement we all favored. Gram was so good, but she was also secretive about the past. Whenever I asked about her younger days, my request was always deflected or answered with something flip. So, I learned early to respect her privacy. But I was a young lady now, she was my closest friend, and I loved her more than anything and wanted to know who she was. I thought the question about Pearl Harbor was a good, penetrating question which might open that secret vault of hers.

She settled comfortably into the big leather chair and took a sip from the gin and tonic, sighed and began.

I don't know if your mama ever told you, but at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I was in Hawaii, but let's start at the beginning. In Arkansas the depression had hit really hard. My father, your great-grandfather, had come home from the Great War in 1919 shell-shocked, a little crazy, and unemployable. He left Ft. Smith with a clutch of Bonus Army veterans headed to Washington to protest for a promised but delayed $500 bonus. We never heard from him again. My mother, brothers and I were living on the dole in an attached shed behind a bakery. It was a miserable existence, Annabelle. We lived on day old bread, that and government dried prunes and apples. My mother, who was deaf, used sign language or shouted everything. She earned 50 cents a day at a laundry and would come home weary and moan and rant incessantly about a poor deaf widow's burden with three hungry kids.

Annabelle dear, the litany of her daily shouting at us went something like this, 'You kids eat, squawk and shit, but don't do nothin' to help me. Nothin', I wish to God I had never had you! Y'all are baggage. I shoulda drowned the lot of ya. God almighty, whatever did I do to have to bear this cross?' You see, it was not only her incessant rant, she was mean too. Looking back, I'm sure she was severely disturbed. We had to keep our distance whenever she began pissing and moaning because during those times she'd just as soon backhand one of us as whistle a merry tune. By the time I was 14 I wanted to leave, to go it on my own.

I felt terrible all the time. It was a most unhappy childhood, Annabelle. Poverty does that. Don't let anybody tell you that there's a nobility in being poor. It's misery is what it is, like a disease. But mark this, child, it's a disease with a cure. Money. Sometimes ma would explode in anger and thrash my head and shoulders with the fly swatter that hung by the door of our shed. We went through bouts of lice, hookworm, and dysentery and probably malnutrition. We were all of us skinny. My youngest brother Wayne died of the Spanish flu, then Robert didn't last a year. The death certificate said tuberculosis. I always felt guilt because I couldn't do anything to help those sad little boys. I felt that I was a huge burden to my mom who in no way could provide shoes and dresses for school. The hand-me-downs I got were from the church. I wore dresses and even panties that had once been worn by somebody else. I always wondered if the original owners were dead or maybe had belonged to some colored girl.

I was sick of my angry mother, sick of poverty, and sick of living among so many other poor people grubbing miserable existences like ours. Poverty makes a lot of people mean. So, when I was just a little younger than you are, child, I took it upon myself to strike out. A bus driver I lied to, telling him my daddy was dying at the veteran's hospital in Oklahoma City, let me ride free. I had no money just the raggedy clothes on my back. I asked directions to the Salvation Army where I was given a cot, good hot meals and two changes of clothes in return for sweeping up and telling them that yes I did accept Jesus into my heart.

I'd been at the Salvation Army for a week when the major told me it was time for me to find myself some work and another place to live. I had three days. Did I tell you that I was a pretty little thing?

Gram chuckled and took another sip from her drink. The Salvation Army was behind the Liberty Theater. Another girl staying at the Salvation Army and I would sit behind that theater to listen to the acts. A vaudeville act, The Demler Twins and The Amazing Waldo was playing at the Liberty. We had talked to the Demler Sisters between sets when Waldo and they came out to smoke. We told them that we were orphans and begged 50 cents from Waldo. He was the boss of the act who told funny stories, did magic tricks and introduced the Demler twins who sang mostly sentimental songs and hymns. We were impressed that Waldo let the Demler Twins smoke, Lolly and Naomi, who were 16 years old. The girls, runaways from some juvenile facility, had been discovered by Waldo, and recruited from a soup line in Baton Rouge. Waldo was very friendly, especially towards me, and asked me questions about myself. On my last night at the Salvation Army he asked if I liked to sing. I told him that I loved to sing and had sung in church ever since I could remember. Of course I liked to sing, it was the thing I did best. I told him I knew many of the songs his girls sang in the theater.

I remember him telling me, 'See here Ginger, we're leaving for an engagement in Waco, and I was wonderin' how you feel joinin' up with The Demler Twins and The Amazing Waldo? I gotta tell you there isn't much money in it, livin' on the road can be rough, but that's show biz, young miss?'

Annabelle, I was 16, one night away from homelessness, and considered Waldo's offer providential. 'Hell yes,' I said.

The three of us traveled in a little black Model A truck with a canvas cover over the bed. Two of us rode in the back amid bedrolls and trunks theatrical costumes and gear. The girls familiarized me with their songs and we had no trouble harmonizing amid the noise and dust thrown up by the truck. The sisters had sweet voices and I was able to add three-part harmony to the act which thrilled us all. Between towns Waldo, who was small, slept in the cab on the bench, his head under the steering wheel while we girls slept together in back like spoons in a drawer. In Waco Waldo rented two rooms in a cheap hotel, one room for us girls, the other for himself.

On our first morning in Waco, Waldo left the twins in the hotel with orders to not leave the room. He took me to a dry goods store where he bought me a pretty yellow dress, and a blue dress with pretty white piping, and a pair of Mary Janes, socks and a little purse. At the hotel he summoned the girls and we all went to a diner for hamburgers. Afterwards he told them to take a nap but summoned me to his room. See here, Ginger, I gotta audition you in my room. In his room he sat on the bed asking me to stand. He sounded a note on a little pitch pipe, beckoning with his free hand for me to match one note then another.

'Umm, that's good.'

I knew I had a credible voice and thought I had been pretty much on key, but his looks worried me. I was really counting on that show biz bug to bite. What else was there for me?

You try on the dresses I bought you now. And the shoes and stockings too. He handed me the string wrapped parcel from the store. Just change in here, we'll let the girls sleep. I won't look, and he turned his back. Did he peek, Gram? I asked.

Of course, but I pretended not to have noticed, and to tell the truth at 16 there wasn't much to see yet. Growing up in the rougher part of Ft. Smith of course I knew what men fancied. To my good fortune, Waldo never came onto me. Maybe he was queer, I don't know, but he was always good to me and never cruel. I wasn't yet onto his game, and did not know then that Richard Waldo Henry, his full name, was to become my mentor who would teach me how to talk, to walk, to sit at a table, in short to act as a lady should. Nor I did not know that I would eventually come to love him. That afternoon we walked to the theater and rehearsed the act. There were seven acts that night; we went on after the second act, a ventriloquist. The Amazing Waldo told a couple of jokes then did a magic trick that made flowers that were really paper, appear from nowhere, then he introduced The Fabulous Demler Sisters. I was so frightened that I was afraid my voice would freeze. But it did not, and our first song won a nice round of applause, as did each of the other three. Everybody was tickled, especially Waldo. Backstage he was all smiles and said the manager was so pleased he had booked us for three more nights. Waldo took us for tamales and ice creams. Each performance went so well that the manager had moved us up to the fifth act, going on after a man who juggled bowling pins. The girls said that the audience response was unusually good and we were proud. Lolly said it was because of me, that the three-part harmony wowed the yokels. She called them yokels. We were already a team after just one performance. I remember thinking how exciting it was to be all of a sudden out on my own in show biz. In the afternoons I'd stroll with the girls around town in and out of little shops and in the park where sometimes just on the spur of the moment we'd sing. On Sunday, our last day in Waco, Waldo bought us ice cream cones as we strolled in the park. We were a happy family. Ginger, he said, watch carefully but don't say a word, not a single word! Then something funny happened, Lolly stopped to avoid something on the path and a fat man in a suit bumped into her knocking her down and losing her ice cream cone. The fat man bent to help her up and apologized over and over again, offering to buy her another ice cream cone.

Before we left to go to the theater late that Sunday afternoon I opened a dresser drawer in our hotel room and was surprised to find a man's wallet with twelve dollars. The girls grew wary and quiet, and when I asked who put the billfold in the drawer Naomi, said, you'll have to ask Waldo. I did just that and received the shocking news that Waldo freely admitted that he had stolen that wallet on our walk. He rebuked Lolly for not ditching the wallet. 'You never keep the wallet! Never, girl!' The Amazing Waldo and the Demler sisters were a pickpocket crew, and the Amazing Waldo was a first class grifter.

Waldo, it turned out, was especially good at the dip. Later in Waco after our final performance we mingled in the lobby at the end of the show accepting compliments while Waldo expertly executed three lifts. We left Waco that night, merry and proud.

Waldo called himself a working abstractionalist. On the road to El Paso he explained some of the basics of pickpocketing.

'In El Paso we'll run you through the moves, Ginger. First you'll learn our stalls. A stall is like when Lolly got that man to bump into her knocking her down. I was right behind him and, oh my, but that wallet popped out as easy spitting a watermelon seed. That stall is called the bump and lift. The victim is called the mark. When I pick the mark I signal you girls with hand signs and we move in for the lift and the handoffs. There are plenty of other stalls: the fight, the oops, the fit, we're gonna teach you well, my dear. Also, we're going to work on your speech, teach you to speak like a lady. Now Ginger, you gotta tell me if you think you can do this? You got any reservations or hang ups, you gotta tell me now.'

What did you say, Gram?

What do you think Annabelle, I was thrilled. We got a three-night gig in El Paso where I did my first bump and lift in a downtown department store. Waldo celebrated my entry into the team with new dresses, shoes, and a steak dinner for us all. He sewed slit pockets into our dresses places we could temporarily tuck a lifted wallet. The number one rule was to trash the wallet as soon as the coast was clear. From El Paso we drove to Santa Fe where a circus was in town. We didn't even try to book the act, we simply descended on those fairgrounds like crows. Naomi had two jobs: to spot the bulls, which is what Waldo called the law, and to receive the first hand off. Carrying a large stuffed animal, I took the second handoff and ditched wallets. When she saw a crowd clear of circus people or the bulls she signaled Waldo who picked the next mark and then signaled Lolly and me. A hand over his heart meant the brush, on his rear meant a bump and lift, and a fist meant a fight. He'd identify the mark with a stare and a nod which one of us would answer with a nod. In the two days we worked the circus we lifted close to $300, enough to feed a family for a year.

Waldo was a good man. He was always square with us. At the end of a working day we would assemble in his room and on his bed he'd lay out the day's take. And the take was not always just money. He knew how to lift a wristwatch or pocket watch, bracelet or necklace. These were safely pawned in a distant city. I always thought it looked like pirate loot, and in a sense we were like pirates, freewheeling pirates. The split was half and half. Half to Waldo the other half divided among us three. Waldo kept the little moneybox in a hotel safe or chained to the frame under the Model A's seat.

We had contingency plans in case we were under suspicion or arrested. If one of us spotted someone eyeing us suspiciously or dogging us, we whistled. We were to immediately split and scatter, regroup at the hotel. Should Waldo be arrested we were to leave then find a boarding house until bail was made. Along with some top end jewelry he'd lifted, he kept a $500 stash in the moneybox especially earmarked for bail money. We had a spiel that our mama who was in the hospital had put the house up as collateral the bail money. If one of us girls were popped, Waldo would do the bail spiel. Luckily, we were never popped.

For a year we moved all over never remaining in the same town more than three or four days. Singing and booking in vaudeville houses became fewer and fewer in favor of working crowds. We worked baseball games, movie theaters, even a hospital, but fairs, carnivals and circuses were the most lucrative. Once in a while, at night Waldo would park Lolly or Naomi near a bar, always close to closing time to pull a bump and lift on a drunk. The other girls were more developed than I. Waldo said grifters and dips who worked only the bar scenes were lazy and usually not clever enough to make an undetected lift on a sober mark. Movie theaters were great places. The three of us would enter the darkened theater and separate to work purses under seats and coat pockets. Christmas week in Kansas City we pulled in over $800 working downtown streets and department stores.

After that big haul, Waldo said we all needed a rest and we sold the Model A in favor of trains. In Miami Beach we checked into a resort hotel. He said we would not work the hotel or streets because we were here strictly for fun. Waldo loved the luxury and service of a good hotel, and I soon came to appreciate the same. He bought us beautiful bathing suits and we spent hours on the beach and at the hotel's huge pool. Lolly and Naomi were taken in by a couple of young men who could not do enough for them, taking them to movies and restaurants. One night they failed to return to our hotel room. Waldo and I were in a panic until they showed up at 11:00 the next morning to pick up their things.

It's been great, Waldo, but we're leaving. We met these guys who are gonna set us up. We can make a hundred bucks a night dancing in a club. We love Miami.

'You've always been free to go, girls,' he said, 'but realize these guys will probably be pimping your young asses within a week. And that's a mighty rough road for ladies. Think it over. We're a good team. The money's good. It's safe. You can trust me. We'll be here for two more days. Think it over.'

Yeah, we've already talked that over, but give us our cut now. The guys are waiting.

Waldo went down to the main desk and then returned with the moneybox and counted. Half he put aside, the other half he divided into three stacks, each coming to about $1500. 'Good luck, Lolly, Naomi. I mean it. I really like you girls. Be careful.'

This was one fair and kind-hearted grifter.

Keep mine in the moneybox, Waldo, I said.

I saw this coming, he told me. Naomi has been holding out on us since Omaha, Ginger. Did you know that?

No, Waldo, no.

'It's true what I said to them. They'll be doing tricks real soon, and they know that. They'll fetch in a lot of money for those boys, but when they're ready to move on the men won't let them. They're cooked, Ginger, they're cooked. There are mean streets out there. Let it be a lesson, honey.

Of course, the Demler twins did not return. I don't know what happened to them, but Waldo was no doubt right; he usually was.

Waldo and I had to change our operation. We could do only certain lifts without a lookout or double handoff person. One night in Chicago we did a late-night bump and lift on a drunk who had flashed a big roll in a bar the night before. After the bump the drunk staggered, falling head-first into a fire hydrant. We left the mark unconscious in the street. The take was more than $2000. Back at the hotel Waldo said that there was a good chance the mark was dead. We checked out of the hotel pronto and the bus we were in crossed the state line into Indiana at sunrise. The newspapers identified the dead mark as a hotshot lieutenant of the old Capone origination.

He was probably making pickups for the mob. We've got to be far, far away quick, and we've got to change our game and our names, Waldo said. So, we boarded the Santa Fe for San Francisco the next afternoon. We dipped only one wallet on the train. After all, we were flush. And Waldo had an aversion to fouling one's next as he called it.

In San Francisco Waldo booked passage for father and daughter on a Matson liner for Honolulu. We had three days before sailing during which we bought elegant clothes. A tux and two suits rush-tailored for Waldo and two cocktail dresses, a gown, a robe and silk pajamas for me. Posing as a wealthy but grieving father and daughter we would work our new game on that cruise and on the return trip nine days later aboard the same ship very, very carefully, and with nice hauls. After the Matson Liner we took the Southern Pacific to Los Angeles and there booked passage to Honolulu aboard a Presidents Liner.

Shipboard life was luxurious and we both reveled in it. Nice people. Sumptuous food. Games, even trap shooting off the stern. Waldo dressed me to be noticed, and men were noticing me and to tell the truth, Annabelle, I was noticing them. Waldo continually coached me on how to move, how to walk, how to brush back my hair a certain way. Before the large mirror our stateroom he made me practice facial expressions and body comportment. The marks he chose were older, wealthy men on the make. He said that the difficult part of getting the right mark for a honey trap aboard ship was to make sure not to pick another grifter since well-dressed fortune hunters were always working shipboard cons too.

My first take down was the owner of a large Midwestern cannery. He was travelling with his wheelchair-bound wife. He must have been 70. Waldo got the chief steward to place me next to him at the evening meals. I flirted subtly and the old fellow picked up the cues right away, placing his hand on my knee the second evening of the cruise. On the third night I lured him into our cabin where we undressed just before Waldo burst into the cabin shouting, 'Damn you man, that's my 17 year-old daughter! I'm going to the Captain and I'll report you to the authorities, and as soon as we dock in Honolulu, I'm filing charges, you pervert!'

'Let's be reasonable,' the mark begged as he dressed. Then reaching into his jacket withdrew a wallet. The next day the purser cashed a thousand-dollar check. The mark took the rest of his meals in his cabin. We did one more set up with a loud-mouthed septuagenarian Texan who owned a drilling company. I lured his fat ass in from the bar.

'I thought she was a hooker, hey, she acted just like a hooker!' he pleaded with Waldo. But the magic phrases seventeen year-old daughter and I will bring charges! worked like open sesame on a fat wallet.

We stayed at the beautiful Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki beach and enjoyed a marvelous vacation. I fell in love with Hawaii, the gentle climate, the beaches, the food and the ever-friendly natives. Waldo would not work The Royal Hawaiian because he said the security was way too tight. He said there were house-dicks behind every door. So, our days there were pure relaxation. On my 18th birthday he gave me a beautiful gold necklace we'd lifted from a tray in Gimbels in Philadelphia. I was in love, but honestly, I don't think Waldo felt the same. Oh he had feelings for me for sure, but he never advanced himself sexually, something I had begun hoping for.

On our return trip we pulled off one more honey trap on a surgeon. Ashore in Long Beach to avoid attention ashore we stayed in a small travelling man's hotel in nearby San Pedro waiting for the President Wilson to sail. Waldo had become jumpy, saying that he suspected we'd been followed that afternoon. We skipped that hotel after midnight, taking a taxi into Los Angeles where we checked into a businessman's hotel near Union Station. Back then hotels were wary of unmarried guests and so we always registered as man and wife, and always under assumed names. The next day we spent visiting the La Brea tar pits. Upon our return to the hotel Waldo handed me a wad of big bills. 'Ginger, listen. I 'm pretty sure we've got a tail. Take this. You'll taxi to the bus station. Just mingle a while there then take another cab back to Union Station then catch the midnight Southern Pacific for San Francisco. As soon as you get there, catch the next train returning to LA. That will shake any tail they might have on you. Our trunks are at the docks ready to load. If I don't show up at the President Wilson by sailing time, go without me. Leave word for me at the Royal Hawaiian, but stay at another hotel. Don't try any cons without me.'

Who would be following us?

'Either the law or someone from the Capones. I'll try to lose 'em, I don't think there are two. Anyway, do I what I tell you and you'll give 'em the slip. Just do what I say. Wear the money belt.'

That night was the last I ever saw of my dear Waldo. Not until two years later did I learn that he'd been shot dead the day after our separation.

Aboard the President Wilson I had my shipboard wardrobe and cash. I was 18 years old, on my own, pretty, adventurous, and maybe too confident for my own good. I was practiced at flirting, but on my own I flirted with younger good-looking men. A musician with the Harry Owens band had little trouble seducing me in my own cabin. I guess after all those dry runs with geezers, I was ready. Annabelle, in truth my dear, I loved it. We romped every day and night of that cruise, and then said our goodbyes at the Aloha Tower as soon as the ship docked. I didn't want Waldo to know that I'd lost my virginity because I had come to love him. But then days, then weeks, then two months passed with no word from my beloved mentor. As my cash dwindled I moved in to smaller and smaller hotels, and finally a boarding house for ladies. Evenings I went to the better hotel bars, often allowing myself to be picked up by someone I deemed a gentleman and attractive. I actually liked this adventuresome life. I liked sex, but I was afraid of getting pregnant and of my libertine life style edging toward prostitution. I did not want to become a whore.

On Thanksgiving Day I did not want to be alone and went to the Aloha Buffet at the Royal Hawaiian. The place was crowded. I sat down with my plate at a small table for two. Soon a good-looking older man took the other seat. He smiled the sweetest smile and waved a little hi to me, which I returned. In a strange flat voice he said, 'My name is Charles Bennington, what's yours?' indicating that he could not hear.

In sign language I spelled out my name, explaining that my mother had been deaf.

'May I buy us a drink,' he asked.

Annabelle, your grandfather was such a gentleman, impossibly handsome, and as it turned out incredibly rich. He cared not that I had been a poor girl from Arkansas. He asked to see me again, and I agreed to meet him the next day there at his hotel.

'Bring your bathing suit.'

We went onto the beach there at Waikiki where he rented surfboards and we spent the afternoon taking surfing lessons. From then on it was surfing every afternoon and dining out every evening. I knew he was getting stuck on me and I was more than willing to make him happy, I changed clothes in his hotel room, we sometimes touched while swimming, but he was such a gentleman he made none of the unseemly boyish advances that I had grown to expect from men. I was falling in love with this handsome man. Then one Saturday morning Charles rented a sailboat. We had such a delightful time, that we decided to sail again all day Sunday. We spent that night together for the first time in his hotel room planning to go sailing after breakfast.

That night was the most magnificent Saturday night ever. It was sex with love. We exhausted ourselves, even though he was 26 years older, Annabelle, but an experienced lover who made my young body thrum with excitement. I can't begin to explain the profound pleasure of the experience I hope you too will experience one day. The next morning we woke and picked up where we'd left off the night before, quickly rising to a pitch of intense, hot passion. It was thunderous. As we lay there our bodies drenched in perspiration Charles signed to me that he'd loved before but never like our time together. He signed, 'I'm getting older, Ginger. I decided sometime ago that if I ever met a woman as nice, as beautiful, and loving as you I would ask her to marry me. Ginger, I felt the earth move this morning. I mean it, the earth actually shook! I think you did too. Ginger will you marry me, will you be my wife?'

Yes, my love and I too felt the earth move and even heard sirens and thunder from the sky. We were too much in love and too exhausted that Sunday morning to realize that Pearl Harbor was being bombed by the Japanese.

Now, Annabelle you know my Pearl Harbor story. We'll let this be our secret, my dear. Your wonderful grandfather Charles Bennington never varied from his loving, gentleman ways. As our love grew so did our fortune. Now, be kind enough to get us another one of those delicious gin and tonics.

Thank you, my dear, dear grandmother. I love you so much.


  1. Grandfather Bennington was apparently a "physical wreck." according to the narrator. Maybe it was that wild time at Pearl Harbour, not a gas explosion, that made him so he he. My favorite character was Waldo.

  2. This is such a great story. I loved the characters and felt for each one of them. I really loved it and couldn't stop reading it.

    1. I too liked them, especailly Waldo. Thanks for taking the time for your comments.

  3. A good tale with believable characters and a new slant on the the Pearl Harbour bombing. An enjoyable read.

    1. I was stationed at Pearl Harbor during my Navy time and never looked out on Ford Island without conjuring images in my head of 7 Dec. Your comments are encouraging and appreicated; thanks, Beryl.

  4. Very engaging historical love story. What an interesting and wild ride for Ginger. We often know so little about our parents and grandparents from before we're born, glad the granddaughter got to hear this story.

    1. I was always curious. Neither my granddad nor my mother were ever forthcoming about their youths. I'd be willing to share my hisotry with our children and grandchildren but none has ever expressed any inerest. So, it was easy to slip into Annebell's shoes on this piece Thanks for your kind comments.