Christmas 1941 was the second-worst Christmas in Jane’s memory, the first being just last year—the year of her parents’ passing. Not even the lovely decorations on her grandmother’s tree, the aroma of the turkey in the oven, nor the brightly wrapped packages were able to lift her spirits. The Wednesday after President Roosevelt announced that the country was entering the war, Luke had driven the old family car from the coast to Portland. There he walked into the Navy recruiting office and, after waiting in a long line, signed up to join the war effort. He was to report for duty four days after Christmas.
Jane curled up on the end of her grandmother’s green velvet sofa, tucking her legs under a plaid, wool blanket made in Pendleton, Oregon. The sounds of Benny Goodman and his orchestra performing “Jingle Bells” bounced out of the brand-new zenith radio that sat in a place of honor in the corner. The strips of silver tinsel that Jane had helped place carefully, one by one, on the evergreen branches, sparkled. Finding no comfort in either the music or the decorations, Jane pulled the blanket up to her chin.
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