Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 1941

When we think of December 1941 these days, we automatically think of the Pearl Harbor attack on the seventh, and the declaration of war.   To hear my parents talk about it, though, at the time most people in the U. S. had never heard of Pearl Harbor, and Hawaii seemed a long way away.

My Dad was a senior in high school at the time, and after he graduated the following June, he'd be drafted straight into the Army.  In December 1941, he wasn't thinking about any of that, though:  in his teenage techie geekdom, he was more concerned about recording a Christmas greeting to send to his older brother, who was doing his medical residency in Minnesota.

This was the result.

This was recorded on a paper disk with a thin plastic coating on it, made on a record-cutting machine that Dad borrowed from the Calhoun County High School.  Pretty remarkable that it's even held up for nearly seventy years, much less still be semi-listenable! 

My favorite line:  when Dad complains about his grandmother and sister's "backwardness" (i.e., shyness), saying, "Brother, I tell you:  this is a trial." 

From left to right:  my great-grandmother Sophie Hathaway, my aunt Virginia Hathaway Kirby (looking just as uncomfortable having her photo taken as she was being interviewed), Dad, and his mother, Eva Hathaway.

1 comment:

Jane said...

This is not unlike people using Facebook to post little video greetings they've made -- my daughter does this all the time with her friends.

But the rarity of this must have made it exciting, to make it and to receive it.

What a treasure to have this artifact of your dad being him.