In December 1941, thanks to the recommendations of one of y professors from Duke, David Cavers, I was offered a job with the Office of Price Administration in Washington. The pay was only $3,200 a year, not nearly as much as Pat and I were making together with her teaching and my law practice. But it seemed a good opportunity to go to Washington and observe the working of the government firsthand. I also think that my m other was secretly relieved by this decision. Although it would take me far from Whittier again, she probably thought that if war came I would stay working in the government rather than compromise our Quaker principles by deciding to fight in the armed services.
One Sunday shortly before we were to leave for Washington, Pat and I decided to go to the movies in Hollywood. On the way we stopped for a visit at her sister Neva’s house. When we arrived, Neva’s husband, Marc, said that he had just heard on the radio an unconfirmed report that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. I said I was sure that it was just one more of the frequent scare stories we all had been hearing, and we went on to the matinee.
Shortly before the film was finished, the theatre manager interrupted with an announcement that all servicemen had been called to their units immediately. When we left the theatre, I saw the headline: Japs Bomb Pearl Harbor. The newsboy held up the paper as I walked over. He said, “We’re at war, mister.”
From Victory At Sea (season 1, episode 2 —“The Pacific Boils Over”— first broadcast 2 November 1952):