It was on Saturday, December 6, 1941 that a good many of the family had
gathered at the railroad station in Vacherie to tell Earl ,"Goodbye" as
he was leaving on a long journey to go for a job in Pearl Harbor,
He had taken some training here in New Orleans at
the NYA, National Youth administration, which was located at Moss
Street and Esplanade Avenue. It is now the location for the Police
Academy for training policemen.
So Earl was on his way to San Francisco for a few weeks
before departing for Pearl Harbor. The next afternoon while some of us
were sitting outdoors in the pleasant sunny weather, O'Neil Bourgeois
came in to talk to us which was his custom to visit
when he came in from New Orleans, where he lived. But the news he gave
us that time was shocking, scary, and almost unbelievable. We just could
not get it all together for some moments and for days afterward.
The Japanese had attacked PEARL HARBOR with a very
powerful and destructive force catching all our military forces by
surprise and shock! There was widespread terror and fright.
By that time Earl and his comrades were in Fort Worth,
Texas where they received the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and they
continued on their journey. At that time Earl made a promise that
from now on he would always try his best to spend Christmas with his
mother and father as much as he possibly could.
When he reached San Francisco he
reported to his station and performed whatever work he was required to
do. When he had time off, he went to visit a cousin who was living in
that big city. I knew she had a wonderful personality and with her
hospitality, Earl felt most welcome. He accompanied her for Sunday
Mass. Mama said that she saw him praying his Rosary.
He remained in San Francisco for a few weeks and then shipped out for his
planned destination. He had plenty of work in Pearl Harbor and he was well
paid. Of course we were now at war with Japan,which was going to last 4 years. It ended August 14 1945.
During that time he met many young men from the
states who had volunteered or had been drafted to serve their country in
war. Earl befriended many of them. He felt he should be with them
fighting and we had to talk him out of it. We wrote letters every week and
we advised him to stay where he was, that he was doing a very essential
work that was helping our country. We told him we have Lewis, John, and
Woodrow in the service and that was ENOUGH.
He did get passes to come
visit his family,usually in August, and August is usually a very hot
month, so he complained about and couldn't understand why we lived here,
It was so much cooler in Hawaii. But we did not listen to that. He would
visit everybody he knew. He made a trip to LSU (which he attended one
year and had a good time!) He made his way to the LSU radio station and
gave talks to the LSU students about the conditions in Pearl Harbor.
When he had completed his work ,he volunteered to go on Army Transport
to retrieve the bodies of our fallen heroes to bring them HOME.
He had fallen in love with this beautiful island and he went back many
years later to visit and then decided to come back HOME!
Dear Earl died from complications from diabetes on MAY 31,1996. His body was given
to the LSU Medical School. The remains were later cremated and returned
to Nell. His box of ashes were then placed in a larger wooden box and we
buried him in the cemetery of Our Lady of Peace Church right next to his
brother Vic and also where the aunts, and great uncles were buried,also
the grandfather and grandmother. God bless you!,Earl. He had made his
peace with God. He was a devoted son and brother, and he loved his family.
He was a fine and decent man. Although he had lost his vision
completely, he never complained. He accepted his trials with dignity and
Earl,we love you and may God bless you!