Historical Note: This comes from Larry Peahl's 53 page compilation of the "Chronology of History of Taft" from 1863 until October 2009:

March 22, 1944 -- Local 'Rec" at former North Street Kindergarten opened.  (Carl Peahl band played.)

March 27, 1944 -- Shamrock and Hopkins buildings at 409 and 413 Center Street burn.  $75,000 loss.

October 15, 1944 -- Jack Benny Show broadcast from Gardner Field.

Historical Note: This comes from Larry Peahl's 53 page compilation of the "Chronology of History of Taft" from 1863 until October 2009:
   March 22, 1944 -- Local 'Rec" at former North Street Kindergarten opened.  (Carl Peahl band played.)
   March 27, 1944 -- Shamrock and Hopkins buildings at 409 and 413 Center Street burn.  $75,000 loss.
   October 15, 1944 -- Jack Benny Show broadcast from Gardner Field.

Remember When

    I recently received an e-mail from Athens, Greece from Socratis Smyrnis, who is the editor of a quarterly newspaper that is sent out to residents or former residents and the off-springs of former residents of a little village in the mountains the south western Peloponnesus in Greece.  Because my father was born in that village the newspaper comes to me and my brother and sister.  The village is called Lynistena.  I have visited the village several times.
    Socratis had read in an Athens newspaper called Katharmeni (meaning daily) and is published in English an article about the Typhoon that hit the island of Okinawa in the South Pacific. Knowing that I had been on that island about that time, he wanted to see my version of what happened because Socratis questioned the accuracy of the article.  This is my version of what happened:
     I was in Okinawa when the typhoon in 1945 hit Okinawa Island in the Pacific Ocean.The 41st Infantry Division was aboard ships heading for Japan as occupation troops. The ship sailed into the harbor at Okinawa and almost immediately started sailing out of the harbor because a typhoon was coming.  It was an unusual sight to see every ship that could sail leaving the harbor.  
We sailed right out and into the typhoon for about two days, and we could not go top side because of the storm.  The ship tossed and turned and went up and down.  At times the front of the ship would come out of the water and then go down hard, back into the water, and the whole ship would shudder.  
We had to stay down below in our bunks all of that time.  When the storm was over, we sailed back into the harbor,  I know that anther Taft boys went down with the ship that he was on because his ship sunk.  His name was George Thompson. from the class of about 1943.
    I also knows that a good friend, Gus Harris, in the Air force, who lived in Bakersfield, was on Okinawa when that typhoon hit.  He told me that it was a terrible storm that it blew most of their tents away.
    After they had cleared the entrance of mines where we were to go in Japan, we sailed to Japan and into that harbor where we were going to unload the ship.  We landed in October at night on a large asphalt field near the Kure naval base.  We had no idea what kind of a reception that we would get.  This was the beginning of what was called the peaceful invasion.
    The next morning we were driven in trucks to the barracks north of the city of Hiro where we were going to stay.  On our way we passed through Hiro and there were no people around anywhere,  Every twenty yards or so there was a Japanese soldiers standing on the sidewalk with his back toward the street and their rifle hanging from the shoulder by the sling with the mussel pointed down as a sign of respect.  
That was all that we saw. All of the people had left because of fear what we would do to them.  The had been told we would do terrible things to them.  Before many days we began to see the people coming back and before long we were visiting them in their homes as though nothing had happened.
    By mid-December, I was sent back to this country for discharge from the service, sailing into Seattle and spending my third Christmas day overseas aboard ship,  On New Years Day I was in a barracks waiting to be shipped home.  From Seattle I boarded a passenger train and headed home after three years in the Army and 2 1/2 years overseas in the 163rd Infantry Regiment, 41st.  Infantry Division with five amphibious landing in combat.  Three landings were  in New Guinea and two in the Philippines.
   After several days the Sothern Pacific passenger train took me to Bakersfield.  At a stop along the way from Seattle I telephoned home to tell them when and where they could meet me in Bakersfield.  My father and brother met me at the Southern Pacific railroad station  and drove  me to Taft.  I remember that they let me drive the car, and I was very impressed to be in a car other than an Army vehicle for the first time.  I though that we had a flat tire because the ride was so smooth.  We stopped to check the tires, and they were OK.
    When we reached our house at 504 Lucard Street in Taft, I was able to see my mother and sister for the first time after all of those years,  When we met, we hugged each other and cried.
    And that is the way that it was.

Reader Responce

From Patricia (Christian) Sordia-Lawhead, Class of 1961, from Ojai, California  
    Hi Pete, love getting all the news each week. George and I just came back from a trip to San Francisco and the San Joaquin Valley. We saw Crawford play last Sun. at AT&T park; what a good game against the Rockies. San Francisco is such a fun city lots to see but take all your energy for climbing those hills. We came through Stockton where my bro. Robert (63) lives he gave us a tour of Stockton and the gold country. Bakersfield was our nest stop for 2 days had a good time visiting friends but it was starting to warm up. It was there watching TV we learned the sad news that the city Maricopa is out of $$ and soon to become a ward of the county; so on our way back home to the coast we came highway 33 on the Taft bypass and through Maricopa and yes it looks like ghost town too bad they can't turn it into a tourist attraction similar to those we saw in the gold country such as Columbia. I am sure there is plenty of history and interest in seeing how the residents and their families lived in 1911 and after all Maricopa is the gateway to Taft coming from the west. Perhaps the mayor and the folks who are well rooted there could make it happen the 2 block main street has always been so interesting and unique. Oh and by the way I was told Bakersfield's population has grown to 687,000 is that true? To you and all your readers take care and enjoy each day and remember the fun times we had in Taft.
    Love to all
    Patty Christian Siordia Lawhead

From Trice Harvey, Class of 1955, from Bakersfield, California
    Big Brain:
    Always some good for you to report, but there has to be some bad. Don Scales was an older friend of mine and he
helped teach me to play foot ball. I will never forget how he helped a freshman like me! Don was a true friend, who I haven't seen for years.
    A younger friend on mine was Jerry Strang. He was a funny one for sure! I hate to see my friends leave us!  Jerry was a fun loving person, and it sounds like Alaska will miss him;so will a lot Taftians!   Good to hear that Jim McDaniel's has some real Athletes in his
family. Took his Sister to produce them!?   I'm sure Uncle Jim will take some credit??
    Little Brain