When I was twenty-two years old in the spring of 1939, World War II was in progress in Europe, unsettling but seemingly far away. I had enrolled at the University of California, Davis to major in Animal Husbandry.
Two years later, in June 1941, after graduating, I was hired by the university as an official milk tester for six dairy breed assosiations: Holstein, Jersey, Guernsey, Ayeshire, Brown Swiss, and Milking Shorthorn cattle.
On Sunday, December 7, I was supervising the milking of the cows on an official test at the Leo Coppini Dairy in Ferndale, Humboldt County, California. After the testing, I attended church with the Coppini family and after the services returned to the ranch and learned of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
As I dimly recall, the first impact was disbelief and then a sinking feeling that we would be in the war. Then I thought of what my mother, my brothers, Bob and Jack would be feeling.
After completing the testing at the Coppini dairy I drove 150 miles to Mendocino State Hospital for the next test, thinking of what the future held for my family and all the other families in our country. On my drive from the dairy to my next text, I stopped for gasoline in Garberville. The attendant mentioned that a reserve officer near town had been called up and he needed to find a home for his two hunting dogs, a Llewellan Setter and a Springer Spaniel. I contacted the officer and ended up taking his dogs. One I gave away at the Mendocino hospital; the other I kept for a year until I enlisted, and then sold her to a hunter for 4125.