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December 16, 1995

Zella Aigner provides us with another tale from the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Her brother, Chester Loveless, was serving in the U.S. Navy aboard a submarine which was in the vicinity of Hawaii on that fateful morning. He was 26. His sub was not in the harbor but from an offshore position he and his crewmates could clearly see the terrible destruction taking place.

"We were reared on a farm south of Red Rock," Zella relates, "and Chester grew up with a great fear of prairie fires, because we saw so many of them." They were fearful to behold as they swept across the plains faster than they could be contained. "Chester told us that the firestorm at Pearl Harbor looked just like one of those great prairie fires. It gave us a very vivid picture of how it must have seemed to him at the scene."

In October 1944, Chester lost his life in the Pacific when his submarine was on the attack against Japanese vessels off Formosa. Apparently, a torpedo fired by the sub reversed its course for some inexplicable reason, and the submarine itself was hit. One of the survivors told the Loveless family about the incident after the war. He grew up on a farm in an area between Perry and Enid, and for that reason he and Chester had been close friends aboard ship. He told how the sub survivors were brought aboard a Japanese vessel, forced to disrobe and survive on the deck. Most of them were badly blistered by the sun because as submariners their skin was very pale, but that was just the beginning of their ordeal as prisoners of war. It was not a pleasant experience.

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols appeared this week before the new federal judge who has been assigned to preside over the government's trial in the Murrah Building bombing. Cameras will not be permitted in any of the courtroom proceedings and security keeps news photographers far away from the prisoners as they arrive or leave the building where hearings are held. So, I guess for some time to come we'll continue to see that video tape of Mr. McVeigh leaving the west door of the Noble county courthouse last April. It's been shown countless times on TV network news shows and people all across the U.S. are familiar with it by now. That seems to be the only good view cameramen have had since all this began, so we'd best get used to seeing it again and again. Maybe eventually we'll be able to identify all of the local officers shown in that clip. How many can you name so far?

Melva Pancoast from Sumner has been around for a few years and she's proud of it, but she recently made an interesting discovery. During a trip to the local C.R. Anthony store, she was pleased to find such a fine array of merchandise. At the cashier's desk she was politely asked if she had a Visa card, or Master card, or any of the others. She had never bothered with getting one, so they offered to send in an application for her. After a few days she received a nice reply thanking her for the request, but stating that they could not issue one because they could find no credit history for her.

That set her to thinking. "Paul and I celebrated our 60th anniversary before he passed away," Melva recalls. "During all that time we made it a practice to pay cash for everything we bought. If we didn't have the money, we didn't buy it. That's the way both of us grew up, and that's the way I am today. But it suggests a bit of advice for people who may just be starting their adult life. You need to charge some things and pay for them promptly if you hope to have a major credit card someday." So, there's a word to the wise if you need it.