The Year of 1940 (I was 13 years old)
What was happening in the world:
- WWII rages across the world, but the USA stays out of it.
- Britain elects Churchill Prime Minister and its war-time leader.
- Germany invades Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Holland - then traps the retreating British Army at Dunkirk.
- The British retreat back across the Channel and Hitler has all of Western Europe.
- Russia invades Finland and the Eastern European countries of Bulgaria and Romania.
- Britain rushes its army to North Africa to protect Egypt and the Suez Canal.
- The Battle of Britain begins with the Nazi rocket attacks on London.
- Italy invades Greece.
What was happening in the USA:
- FDR is re-elected to a 3rd Term and the US goes into full-time preparation for war. However, Roosevelt still proclaims our neutrality.
- Rockefeller Center in New York City is completed and opened to the public.
- Sears Roebuck opens its doors for business.
- John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath wins the Pulitzer prize.
What was happening in sports:
- In the Rose Bowl, it was USC 14 – Tennessee 0.
- In the World Series, Cincinnati beats Detroit 4 games to 3 games.
- In the NFL Championship Game it was a slaughter: Chicago 73 - Washington 0.
- The Heisman Trophy went to Tom Harmon of Michigan.
- The national champion of College Football was Minnesota.
- The first national champion of College Basketball is Indiana.
What was happening at the movies:
- Best Movie was Rebecca.
- Best actor was James Stewart in Philadelphia Story.
- Best actress was Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle.
- Other great movies were:
- Grapes of Wrath (Henry Fonda)
- Stanley and Livingstone (Spencer Tracy)
- Great Dictator (Charles Chaplin)
- Abe Lincoln in Illinois (Raymond Massey)
- Knute Rockne All American (Pat O'Brien)
Memorable songs were:
- Along the Navajo Trail (Mills Brothers)
- Moon of Manakoora (Dorthy Lamour)
- When You Wish Upon A Star (Judy Garland)
- When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain (Kate Smith)
What was happening in my life:
- I was a teenager - 13 years old and in my final grade (8th) at Garfield.
- I was a Sergeant in the Traffic Reserves, and my younger brother Rich and I went to the UC football games every Saturday afternoon to watch the Stub Allison teams of Jim Jurkovich and Herman Wedemeyer.
- We would ride the Foothill bus to Shattuck Ave, then catch the streetcar out Shattuck to University Avenue. From there, it was a long hike to the Stadium in Strawberry Canyon. These were great days as an “older” kid.
- These were also the days (or nights) of the Boy Scout meetings at the Garfield Auditorium on Friday nights. It was here that I broke my arm.
- On Saturday afternoons when the football season was over, Rich and I would pack a lunch and go to the Palace Theatre to see the matinees. The weekly serial of Flash Gordon starring Buster Crabbe was most memorable.
- There was Chick's Magazine Shop on 23rd Avenue and the day Walt Santos told me all about sex.
- My older sister Eleanor and Hank were married at our house on 19th Street in 1940 and they had the reception there. I remember Richard and I hiding in Dad's bedroom. Hank's mother came in to meet us - she seemed very nice.
- Ma stopped voting in 1940 when they tried to get her for jury duty - she never voted again.
What was happening in 1941 ---->
Greater Bob (me on left) and Lesser Rich
At a Sunday picnic at Lake Merritt. Note Ma in the background.
U.C. Berkeley's old stadium in Strawberry Canyon
She was starring in the Wizard of Oz and she was my 2nd great love. Despite her fame and fortune, her life turned tragic - she killed herself at 47.
Spencer Tracy in Stanley and Livingstone
It was a major box office attraction.
These were the days of the Friday night meetings at the Garfield auditorium.
He retained his heavyweight title by knocking out Galento.
An extraordinary collection of photographs
Fishing Baja 2000
Fishing the Sea of Cortez off Cerralvo Island
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