3 comments on “A Day That Will Live in Infamy

  1. Fred, my family’s loss of my cousin Donald was felt deeply by us all at that time. He was young and handsome and just married, and his beautiful wife never remarried – lived in Florida the rest of her days, I believe. My parent and she exchanged Christmas cards each year. I was just a young girl when Pearl Harbor was attacked – what a SHOCK it was. Donald liked to come over to our house to take a sauna after work, before the war. His family belonged to the Catholic Church in Gilbert, and the family was much loved there. Upon his death, they constructed “The Donald Kraker Memorial Park” on the church grounds, and there was a very large Dedication Ceremony there on a Sunday afternoon. We all attended, and I still have a photo of me and my young cousins, one of whom was Jeanie, Donald’s sister. They had lost their mother when Jeanie was just a young girl – one dark night as we were looking out of my brothers’ bedroom window upstairs, we saw a falling star streak through the sky. Jeanie said, “Oh! I think that was my mother telling me she’s out there!” I wasn’t sure about that, but I said, “Yes! I’m sure it was, Jeanie.” I couldn’t imagine how hard it would have been at that age to be without a mother. She had 4 or 5 sisters and another brother Jimmy (who lived here in Columbia Heights, and had a beautiful shrine in his back yard, to the Lady of Guadaloupe. Sometimes groups would come to say the rosary there, on the Lady’s feastday. Their father, John, raised them all by himself. He was the one Uncle I really loved best – very kind and with a good sense of humor. As for the Memorial Park, it no longer exists. I’m not sure the church is even there any longer in the same place. My dad’s various brothers who lived there (John, Pete, Mike, who owned the Mercantile Store there) died and their children moved away, and the only time my brother Joe and I drove over to Gilbert in the past 20 years or so, was so attend the Polka Masses that they had there, which we always enjoyed. I still have a CD with the songs recorded. It was always hard to go to communion at those Masses, as I liked to walk up slowly but the darned polkas would make me want to skip along…. Thanks for searching out Donald’s story – his was such a wonderful family.
    Your mother-in-law, Fran Abbott

  2. This is my uncle Donald. His last surviving sibling, his youngest sister and my mother is Jeanne Smith! How wonderful to read this on the anniversary of Perl Harbor. I have so many fond memories of all the stories my mom would tell. She is the last of the clan still around now that their sister Grace passed two years ago. Yes, they were a wonderful family and many photos of my dear family grace our home.

    Rebecca Ann Wessendorf (Smith)

    • I am so glad you enjoyed the story. It is nice to meet you. My mother-in-law is Fran (Kraker) Abbott. In her comments a year ago when I wrote the story, she commented about your mother. So it is nice to see this story come full circle. I have done extensive work on my genealogy and Laurel’s family. It would be nice to add more information to the family tree. It would be nice if you could help me in providing more information on your family.

      For future contact you can E-mail me at pahshepherd@gmail.com

      Merry Christmas as the season nears,
      Fred

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