Probably from Shelby County News  in  1941

Mr. Clifton Goodknight and Family
Formerly of Simpsonville in P. Harbor

A Letter From His Wife To Her Nephew In Louisville
Paints A Vivid Picture Of Just What You Do When
You Are Mercilessly Bombed From Your Home

    That Americans thrive on adversity is clearly shown in a letter from a former Shelby countian who now lives with his family in Honolulu, and was in the midst in the dreadful Pearl Harbor bombing.

     Mrs. Nannie B. Goodknight of Simpsonville, gave us permission to publish her son's letter from his aunt, Mrs. Clifton S. Goodknight, of Hawaii. (Mrs. Clifton is the wife of C. S., who is the brother of Mrs. Nannie's husband, William B., who passed away 21 years ago.)
     Mr. Clifton Goodknight was born and reared at Simpsonville and has been in Hawaii for thirty years and is now vice- president of Lervers and Cooke, a large hardware and lumber Co.
     The letter shows exactly how the average citizen acts under stress, and any plans made prior as to how you will act when action comes are not carried out according to pattern by any means, so says Mrs. Goodknight. Her soliloquy on patriotism to one's county should be a lesson to all of us.

nannies.jpg (23266 bytes)
Nannie Byars Goodknight 1879-1957
click photo to enlarge

The letter:
       Thursday, Dec. 11, 1941.
Dear William:

     "Mid shot and shell" we are still "right side up, with care." Please tell all the family near you and ask the Louisville radio station to broadcast it so that my numerous relatives there and in the Blue Grass Region may be reassured. Not that we feel so important to anyone, but that we know many have been uneasy about us for some time.

     I talked to Mrs. Robert Gildart, wife of Capt. Gildart this morning by telephone. She is among the evacuees from Schofield Barracks and is in town with a navy family. She is well and unhurt and they all expect to be able to return to Schofield soon.

      It was all a great shock, of course. We could hardly believe it at first.

     Your uncle was called by telephone right after breakfast Sunday morning by an acquaintance who was working in a nearby office and heard an explosion on the top of Lervers and Cooke and said there was a fire. So Clif hurried right down and found a U.S. bomb had hit the roof and gone through and exploded on the third floor, but there was no fire. The fire extinguisher water system had gone into action and water was flooding the store from top to basement. Still, when he telephoned to me an hour later and I told him we had been attacked by Japanese planes he ridiculed the idea and said it was evidently our planes practicing.

     When bombs and machine gun bullets fell right here at Black Point and on the reef in front of our house that day and the next two days he became quite grave about the situation here. But now things seem to be well under control. We are absolutely unharmed. getting used to stumbling around in the dark at night, and 'all's well."

    Though we have a good store of canned food we were caught short on coffee and bread, but that has been taken care of now also.

     I have often thought just what I should do in case of emergency planning to remove my silver and great load of family records above all else and to pack all my very best clothes and have my chests of linens removed at once. But when I packed for a possible evacuation to the home of one of two friends in opposite ends of the island, silver, and even family records collected so laboriously over many years, seemed decidedly unimportant. A towel, soap, woolen blankets and pillows, a roll of toilet paper, canned food, a bottle of water, service-

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At Pearl Harbor

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able slacks and comfortable shoes and such things seemed far more important, and went into cases for each of us. They all stand ready at the door for any eventuality.

      Because of my badly strained back which has not yet gotten well, my bad eyes and general bad health I have not been out on any service. My Japanese maid did not show up for two days, so, since she really is a liability instead of an asset, I let her go yesterday. So I have had to take on the unaccustomed burden of household duties.

     Twice in the past month I have offered blood for transfusions, but my doctors, one of whom is at the head of the blood bank, have advised against my giving mine so long as there are still so many strong people to give theirs for the emergency.

     We sent our victrola and all our records, ranging from grand opera to hill-billy, and Christmas Carols and negro spirituals, to the Red Cross for entertainment of evacues now housed at University of Hawaii.

     We were all so very relieved to learn that the Hurline arrived at San Francisco safely. It had sailed loaded to capacity only two days before the attack, and we all worried for those aboard even though we knew no one aboard.

     Don't worry about us. Thousands will survive so why shouldn't we be among them. But if we shouldn't, don't grieve. Everyone has to die once any how, you know, and we are not afraid. Just "Remember Pearl Harbor," and redouble your efforts on behalf of our country in her great hour of need. Our ancestors fought to create this nation and to uphold its aims and ideals ever since its birth. Now it is our responsibility and privilege to carry on where they left off and to serve whether or not we are worthy of our fine heritage.

     Love to all and hope all are well,
                       AUNT LILLIAN