The following story was written by my Mom. In 1941, when she was 13, she and her three younger siblings were often alone in their house in Horseshoe Bay, up the coast from Vancouver. Their older brother was away at school, their father in Scotland for the war effort, and their mother at work in Vancouver, an hour away by the old coastal road.
The day after Pearl Harbour, we got off the homebound school bus as usual in the dark. It was December. We went home, turned on all the lights, and as Mother was not home, began to make supper. We were startled by a loud knock on the door and a peremptory order to turn off those lights right away, that there were Japanese submarines off shore and there was a black-out in effect, that we could be shelled or maybe bombed, and who was in charge? Well, I was, until Mother got home. That was not satisfactory. He let us know what he thought of Mothers not being home when there was a black-out and he was going to keep an eye on us. He didn’t.
We were all four of us immensely excited by this news from the man with a helmet and a badge and a large flashlight. We had no experience of war so were not at all frightened. We went out immediately so we would not miss anything that was going to happen. Darkness had been achieved, but the stars were out and were reflected in the bay. So we walked through the village to the beach not to miss any submarines that might be about.
We really did not have a clue about anything, but I put that down, in my case, who was supposed to be in charge, to being 13. Mother, constantly annoyed with me, later demanded to know “Why on earth would you take those children out if you were expecting bombs?” Well, I really didn’t know.