To Know Me Is To Know My Family: Mom at the Lookout Station during WW2 (#2)

Mom went out on many dates with servicemen, mostly she double dated with her sister, Edith. One of their favorite routines would be to tell the soldiers they were dating that they had to be back at 10 pm. As the soldiers brought them home the girls would wait for them to leave and 30 minutes later up came their second dates for the evening. Mom would frequent the USO Canteens, where she would help out and dance with the soldiers. She also was a dime a dance girl for a short time.  Mom received many marriage proposals, but until my Dad Albert came into the picture, none seemed right.

On one date that she told us about, she was to meet a soldier at Fort MacArthur, in San Pedro. He was going to be off duty shortly. Mom drove up to the fort, parked, and got out of her car; at which time she approached the guard shack. She spoke with the M.P.’s and her name was on the list. She was escorted inside to a lookout station where her date awaited. He was assigned to searchlight duty. The station was located in the cliffs of San Pedro and Palos Verdes looking over the Pacific Ocean. It was quite the sight to see, all the searchlights shining over the sea.  The soldier, her date, was off in an hour, at which time they would continue their night out. They chatted while he kept watch for incoming aircraft, he spotted a plane coming toward the shore, “Identify yourself” he radioed. The pilot called out his name, Earl Patrick, and followed with his rank and serial number. Then he mentioned his branch of service; the Navy. That was all fine and good, but there was one problem, he couldn’t remember the code word for the day. This was necessary to be able to enter the air space into Los Angeles County. Mom recognized the pilot. She told her date, “That is my Brother-In-Law.” Her date did not care who he was, he would not make an exception. Her Brother-In-Law, Lucky Patrick, would be circling over the Pacific Ocean for at least 30 minutes, and almost ran out of fuel before he would finally remember the code word. Another close call for Patrick, and that would be the last date my Mom would go on with that soldier.

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