Pre-War Life in Hawaii

            “We’d had a luau on the other side of the island. We had been having an egg contest. Two men sat about five feet apart and they threw an egg at each other. One throws an egg and the other guy catches it. Then they move about ten paces, and then they keep moving two or three paces after they catch each egg and the last one that has the fresh egg that hasn’t broken wins the contest. Well, it was over and I’d been drinking beer and everybody knew I was kidding around with magic. So someone hollered at me, ‘Hey, Roffman, why don’t you get up and do some magic?’ Well, I’m snockered and there’s a lot of fresh eggs on the table, so I said, ‘OK. I need someone with a hat.’ So who would stand up but Captain [Hugh] McCaffery, the Squadron Commander. He gets up and I’m feeling no pain, I’m not worrying about anything, so I said, ‘Captain, please take off your hat!’ and he takes it off. Everybody is silent now, and I break three eggs in his hat. He’s got a hat that has all kind of fishing flies on it. I broke those three eggs and put a handkerchief over it and made all kinds of gestures over it and I looked under the handkerchief and said, ‘You know, this worked last week!’ About that time the eggs were seeping out of his hat. I did it again and finally I said, ‘Captain, it don’t work but you can keep the eggs! I got to wait ‘til the next ship comes in with the instructions!’” - - Louis “Lou” Roffman, 31st Bomb Squadron (H)

            “We got paid ‘21 dollars a day, once a month’ as buck privates. After everything was taken out you were lucky to end up with five bucks cash which actually wasn’t so bad in those depression days, considering that your room and board was being provided and your uniform was also provided, and you didn’t have to be persnickety about how you dressed as you all looked alike anyway. My good buddy ‘Dinger’ [Donald Kundinger] was a poker player. I was never much of a gambler, but on one particular payday after everything was taken out I ended up with less than three bucks. Humph! Three bucks! What can you do with three bucks? You can get into a four bit crap game! Even if you lose, you aren’t all that much worse off; to begin with, you didn’t have enough to go to town, and suppose you win? Dinger got into a poker game and must have either been very lucky or got to deal most of the hands ‘cause he came out far ahead, and Mother Luck must have been beaming on me ‘cause when it was all over, we had more than one hundred bucks between us. Talk about bloated plutocrats! No care in the world and no concept of the value of money. Were we ever having fun! About halfway between Honolulu and Waikiki we stumbled onto a hula studio. Now what better place to meet and really get to know some pretty gals? We enrolled and paid fifteen bucks for twenty lessons and immediately took one. Had a gay time! It took only about a week to blow the hundred, maybe even not that long. Anyway, we were running short and in checking around decided we didn’t need the hula lessons. We tried to cancel them but no soap, so the only alternative was to take our hula lessons. We learned to dance the ‘Haleiwa Maiden.’ It wasn’t till much later and too late that we learned there is a big difference between the men’s hula and the women’s and what we had learned was the women’s!”  - - Ernest “Blackie” Thackham, 31st Bomb Squadron (H)