Friday, January 16, 2009


Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it has been nearly four months since my last post. Jesus, on how many levels can a nice Jewish boy like myself blaspheme!

I continue to lurk and occasionally post on several different crossword blogs, particularly on Rex Parker's, if and when the spirit moves me, mixing pieces of my life when they intersect with things that are related to the puzzle at hand. I couldn' t resist when Minot North Dakota reared its head one day last week and a Commenter posted that his grandfather was a rabbi in that community in the 1910s and he couldn't imagine a Jewish enclave in that part of the world.

Well, it just so happens that I have first hand knowledge on that subject as that was where my family was stationed after we returned to the United States after spending five years in Japan as part of the US Occupation Forces. My father was a career military man in the Air Force and we were one of the first families to accompany a serviceman to the Orient in the 1950s.

My father went over first and that left my mother, a 27 year old mother of three sons, ages 7 (me), 5 and 2 to get our household goods packed up, shipped to Japan, and to drive from Dover Delaware to Seattle Washington to meet the USS Gaffey, a refurbished troop ship, and sail away with her three children to meet her husband in Yokohama Japan. All this in the pre-Interstate days in a 1952 Mercury. Not bad for a country girl from Easton Maryland!

After our tour of duty ended in 1958, the emphasis in the world had shifted from containing the Japanese to confronting the Russians. Since my father's area of expertise was aircraft maintenance, sending him to where the airplanes were made a lot of sense. Minot (the natives pronounced it MY-nut) Air Force Base was part of the nuclear umbrella that protected the United States. My family had spent the majority of our time on the East Coast which meant we were surrounded by Jews. We believed that being in the Upper Midwest would leave us cut-off from our people.

We were right and wrong. The Jewish community was sparse, true, but, we found out, close-knit. We joined Temple Beth Israel in nearby Eastwood Park and found people who were just like us - far from home and disconnected. The natives were sympathetic to our plight and friendly.

This post was prompted by a random comment posted on RexParker's blog that sparked a memory.

Go figure.

1 comment:

allan said...

Glad to see you were up to posting. I've been subject to some flashbacks blog myself, and I've started chronicling them on my blog.

I am really getting into commenting on Rex's blog, and find myself spending way too much time there.

Looking forward to your next post. Hope you're up to it soon.