“The Last Time” …

This is actually a provocative half statement in that it does leave one dangling in midair, or in this case, mid-sentence, but maybe that is exactly what it is supposed to do: Make you think!

Well, here goes something! The last time I felt as uncertain and anxious about life as I do today was at the age of 5 and I was in the back seat of a taxi with my father, who, as I recall, seemed agitated, which I later learned was no surprise. I really don’t know why I was there and why my mother or young sister were not with us, but who was I at the age of 5 to question my father?

The taxi seemed to be speeding as I peered out the window to take in one of the most spectacular views I was to have ever seen in my life: the New York skyline, sparkling clear and majestic.

Suddenly Frank Sinatra’s latest hit tune was interrupted by the announcer’s urgent message. There was a lot of static and confusion, but I recall my father’s voice ordering the driver to pull off to the road and “turn off the meter,” that this was something serious.

The tension in the taxi was upsetting with the urgency of the bulletin, my father ordering me to “get on the floor and no questions asked!” and shouting loudly at the driver. Then everything came to a standstill, traffic slowed down and the interior of the taxi grew eerily silent as the bulletin’s message became bluntly clear and we learned what had just happened:

“Diddy, where is Pearl Harbor?”

That great skyline and “Blue Moon” never had the same significance again.

Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 – noon, Weehawken, New Jersey.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: