On the Home Front
In mainland America the day began innocently enough: a calm Sunday at the end of autumn. Football season was almost over, and most high school athletes were glad, because they were tired of being tackled on the frozen, cleat-marked ground. Basketball in the heated, crowded gymnasium was something to look forward to.
The weather was dry and sunny throughout most of the country, although people in Norfolk, Virginia, complained that it was the coldest day of the year. Perhaps the coldest city in the country was Chicago, which reported a temperature of 37 degrees with a strong wind off Lake Michigan.
All across America, Christmas decorations hung from lamp posts and adorned store windows, and municipal Christmas trees had been decorated and lit in squares and public parks. A few homes had a decorated tree in front of the living room window, but most families would wait until two weeks before Christmas to get a tree. Many families would make their own decorations: strings of berries and popcorn on heavy thread, paper chains, popcorn balls, stars or other figures of cardboard covered with tinfoil, and perhaps a store-bought angel for the top of the tree.
Most families would rise a little later than on the other six days, and breakfast would be later and less organized. Some fathers and children would prepare their own breakfasts and eat in silence while reading their favorite sections of the newspaper. Some would listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the radio. Children reading the backs of cereal boxes were likely to find military aircraft identification kits, biographies of fa-