Post Time: A Sunday morning in Florida: then boys die and a war begins

Readers: Next week marks the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. If you don’t already, soon you’ll know what was happening in Hawaii every moment of the time leading up to, during, and immediately after that day of infamy. But what about here?

Ralph Hollis and Claude Rich of West Palm Beach, and Eugene Lish of Fort Pierce, died that morning, leaving shocked and grieving family and friends in California, where Hollis’ family was living, and here in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Here’s more, some from a 50th anniversary piece that ran in the Palm Beach Post on Dec. 7, 1991:

Dec. 7, 1941, was cool and rainy in South Florida.

Nine people had been hurt the night before in a two-car accident in Loxahatchee.

The Delray Beach Recreation Club and the Gulf Stream Bath and Tennis Club were opening for the season.

Advance reservations on the Seaboard Railway indicated an increase of more than 20 percent in the number of rail visitors over the holidays.

“Birth of the Blues,” starring Bing Crosby and Mary Martin, was playing through Monday at the Lake Theater. Admission: 35 cents.

The smorgasbord buffet at Jerry’s on Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach, was $1.50. And a fur coat sold for $49.95 at the Mather Co. in West Palm Beach.

In Hobe Sound, a diner opened to serve the thousands of soldiers training at nearby Camp Murphy — now Jonathan Dickinson State Park. The diner is now the Harry and the Natives bar and restaurant.

The Sunday morning Palm Beach Post said its Empty Stocking Fund had collected $1,847 in its first week but that much more would have to come in to help the area’s many needy families.

Another article said Sheriff Jack Baker warned that the onset of winter weather meant to expect “drifters,” some who just were looking to escape the cold but others who “make their living preying upon the public.”

And yet another said carrier boys of the Post and The Times had gathered Saturday to be sworn in as agents to sell U.S. defense stamps. Just in case the federal military needed money in a hurry.

The newspaper also carried an ominous front page story: “President Roosevelt has dispatched a personal message to Emperor Hirohito of Japan in the midst of darkening war clouds in the Far East.”

Soon it was midafternoon in West Palm Beach — 7:55 a.m. in Pearl Harbor.

Read The Palm Beach Post next week for full coverage of the Pearl Harbor anniversary.

Submit your questions to Post Time, The Palm Beach Post, 2751 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL 33405. Include your full name and hometown. Call 561-820-4418. Sorry; no personal

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