Blog

Mrs. Penfire Begins a Project

March 26, 2019

Boxes. And boxes. And boxes…of photographs. Random envelopes of pictures. And a lot of albums, too. Do you have the kind of stash I’ve accumulated over the years? The albums contain pictures of me, my husband, and our two girls; for several years I kept up with dealing decks of prints into bargain priced albums,…

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Mrs Penfire Reads a Book

March 20, 2019

Ever wonder how things got to be the way they are in the “land of the free home of the brave?” Certainly, the America I’ve experienced as an adult is markedly different from the one I learned about in school. Ideals collide with reality And yet the idealized schoolgirl concept of The United States remains…

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March 3, 1943

March 3, 2019

Joe had proposed—and Rosemary had accepted—by letter. Joe, of course, was “long gone” with no idea when he would be back to the States. More weeks, and months, went by. The Redwood with its powerful winch and feisty oversized engine had installed, repaired, opened, and closed dozens of nets in dozens of harbors throughout the…

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The Ring

March 2, 2019

When narrating in infinitesimal detail the story of his and Rosemary’s wedding, Joe would often say, “I think this whole thing was planned in heaven. Some saint was taking care of us.” Chapter one was always  “The Letter.” And Chapter two was “The Ring.” When Joe graduated from high school in 1934, his mother gave…

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Future Unknown

March 1, 2019

Somewhere in the South Atlantic (Winter, 1942): Aboard ship, especially when on watch, a sailor had lots of time to think. And so in the engine room of the USS Redwood as it cruised from island to island tending the nets that protected harbors from Nazi U-boats, Joe thought. “If I survive this war,” he…

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The Chickens

February 20, 2019

This past weekend, I came across a photo of my Uncle Joe with his bicycle, taken about 1925 when he would have been ten. The glimpse of the old garage at my grandmother’s house reminded me of the henhouse out behind it. And the story Joe liked to tell about the time he was left…

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Uncle Joe's Stories

Falling

February 18, 2019

Yesterday, on my way to the grocery store, I saw the Goodyear blimp high overhead. For me, this means only one thing: Uncle Joe is checking up on me. No doubt he’s wondering why I have been so slow in getting to the stories he entrusted to me. In fact, I have over the past…

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No wall is big enough to keep out reality

February 15, 2019

Have you ever pondered the United States coastline from the sea? I had occasion to do so last week while out on Catalina Island for a few days with my cousins. Over morning coffee, with news of “The Wall” fresh in our minds, our conversation turned to the obvious conundrum this spectacular view presented: If…

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December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day

December 7, 2018

When the USS Redwood arrived at the Navy Yard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in early December of 1941, it was slated to be fitted out with some additional equipment—sound gear, radar, depth charges—military gear the ship builder in Ohio hadn’t been able to provide, and even some non-military gear—including a washing machine. From Portsmouth its…

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Vroom!

December 5, 2018

Whenever I see the Goodyear Blimp (or any blimp), I believe that my Uncle Joe is sending me a “Hello” from the great beyond. For Uncle Joe, who joined the US Navy for a six-year hitch in 1940, was a “lighter-than-air” sailor from 1943-46. During the last years of World War II he served on…

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