West Side Stories | Essay | Chicago Reader

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We were downtown at the library studying on Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941. Vince went out to Washington Street to have a smoke, and he came back with the extra--PEARL HARBOR BOMBED. I remember that we picked up our books and got on the el, and I cried all the way home.

And then the next day, Monday, I went to work, and everybody was in a panic. President Roosevelt was going to speak, so the whole company stopped work to listen to him. This was the "day of infamy" speech, where we declared war on Japan. Then afterwards Modie Spiegel got up there.

He was the president of Spiegel's, and he used to come to the cafeteria to eat his lunch with everybody else. One day he got his sleeve in the soup bucket. He laughed. Everybody thought it was so funny--the president of the company with his sleeve in the soup bucket. That would never have happened at Sears. They'd be in the executive dining room.

But anyway, after Roosevelt's speech Modie Spiegel got up there and said that what the president wanted was everybody to stay at his job and do his job and not to panic and to buy war bonds. So we started buying war bonds. You could have them taken out of your pay if you wanted. I still have two of them here I have to cash in.

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