There are just a few things I remember back as far as when I was four years old. First, I remember listening to President Roosevelt announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was December 8th when he spoke on the radio and I can remember it as though it was yesterday. I was with my mom, my aunt Helen and grandma. They were all upset and I was confused as to why. But I do remember his voice and to this day when I see a video clip of him announcing the attack I can close my eyes and see us all huddled in front of the radio.
Figure 8 1942
Next I remember February 25th 1942, CBS reported about the great Los Angeles air raid.
“In the early morning hours of February 25th 1942, air raid sirens woke the fitfully sleeping population of Los Angeles at 2:25 AM. Antiaircraft batteries trained their barrels skyward and opened up on targets lighted by arcing searchlights. About 1400 rounds were fired for the next two hours, hitting nothing but homes and cars throughout the L.A. Basin. There were three deaths, and three elderly residents reportedly died of heart attacks. There was also one reported murder committed during the blackout of the city.”
The night of the air raid I was four and a half years of age. I remember my mother grabbing me out of bed and running across the street to my grandmother’s house. As she was running I could see searchlights all over the sky with antiaircraft fire exploding everywhere.
The Battle of Los Angeles CBS Radio
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When she reached grandma’s my mom placed me on the couch and then my aunt Helen, who was nine on top of me. Then my mother and grandma loaded themselves on top of her. I was being crushed to death as they were trying to protect me. I guess I finally screamed loud enough for them to realize what they were doing and we sat out the rest of the air raid huddled together in fear of our lives. At the time nobody knew what was going on, but World War II was less than three months old when all this happened that night.
Figure 10 File photo of barrage balloons
In the early 40’s South Los Angeles ended at 120th Street and Broadway. South of that was open fields until you reached San Pedro about ten miles. The entire area was full of hundreds of Barrage Balloons.
Getting to the only thing I remember about my father, I remember him pulling up in front of our court and I ran down the driveway to his car, jumped on the running board and he gave me a fifty cent piece. I was four years old at the time and my mother had divorced my father for bigamy. Yep, he married another woman while he was still married to my mom.
The three of us lived somewhere in South Central LA, I can’t remember where, but when my mom split up with him we lived across the street from my grandmothers at 241 ½ W 89th Street. I only remember one thing about my dad. In fact, I only remember a few things from when I was about four years old.
Figure 11 Our Court House 241 1/2 W 89th St. The one behind.
The above picture shows the drive way I ran down towards the street when I saw my dad for the last time. I got to his car, jumped on the running board and he gave me a fifty cent piece. I was four years old, boo hoo poor me, my ass.
The only thing I can say about that is I wish I still had the fifty cent piece, it’s probably worth a few bucks.
According to the story, my mom was visiting my grandmother when there was a knock at the door. My grandmother answers it and sees an older woman and a young woman. The older woman asks “Does Elisa Diaz live here?” My grandmother sensing something invites the two in and introduces them to my mom, Elisa Diaz. At this point the older woman asks my mom if she is married to Charles Diaz and with the answer to that all hell breaks loose because the younger woman was the older woman’s daughter and she too was married to Charles Diaz and neither wife knew about the other wife.
I don’t know what the other wife did but my mother immediately files for divorce and gets it. With the divorce my mother became a divorced woman with a child.
Back then there were no “single moms” as we know them today. That is, there was no government hand outs for single moms which translates into, there were no single moms. Think about that and what it means. It means shot gun weddings were still alive and well. A woman who had a child out of wedlock was looked down upon and the child labeled a bastard. They changed that to illegitimate later, but why should society pay for a girl or woman who gets pregnant out of wedlock?
Back then a divorced woman, like my mother, could only depend on a job and her immediate family for emotional and/or financial support. Her immediate family consisted of two brothers, (my uncles), two sisters, (my aunts), and her mother, my grandmother. Families were still families in those days and it was family custom to help each other in times of need.
Not so today because the government has taken the families place by showing up with a check when an unwed teenager or woman has a kid or becomes a single mom because of divorce. Later the government created the welfare state we all enjoy today. NOT!
Our welfare state has created a situation where a woman can get a pay raise by popping out another child, a welfare child that the rest of us pay for from cradle to grave. Talk about the wrong incentive. If the government had been handing out checks back then I’m not sure my life would have worked out as well as it did. There’s a lot to say about how important the family unit is and how the federal government has had a great deal to do with destroying the American family.
Hell, Hillary wrote a book entitled “It Takes a Village,” which basically says it takes the community to help raise your child. Community being another word for government, that is. And, no Hillary, it doesn’t take a village, it takes a family. The village way has been taking the entire country down the wrong path and we need to find the right path again.
But I doubt that America will ever return to the days of family oriented living. We’ve grown too selfish and have lost the work ethic that was. Mostly, we’ve lost what used to be called ‘honor.” It would take a really giant disaster to scare people into depending on each other again, but who knows, the way we’re going that giant disaster could be just around the corner.
My mom did work when I was young, She operated a Comptometer accounting machine, but didn’t make enough money to raise us into any middle class. As I write I remember not ever thinking about us being poor, I was too busy growing up, having fun and learning about life. We actually weren’t “poor,” as I said earlier we were a lower working class family, but poor is easier to write. So for this book the word “poor” will include lower working class families.
My mom never made it a point to visit my father’s family except one time that I remember. I must have been around six years old. Everyone was drinking and the men were playing poker or some kind of card game. I knew they really didn’t have time for me and I don’t remember if my father was there, in fact he wasn’t. That was the only time I had any contact with my father’s side.
But that all didn’t matter when my mom married Tony, the baddest guy in South Central.