Betty McIntosh was a Honolulu reporter when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. Her editor at the Honolulu Advertiser asked her to write a story about the week after the bombing from a woman’s point of view.
It was too true.
The editor spiked the story, said women readers would get too scared. Scared by the truth. Scared by Betty’s incredible writing.
But 71 years later, The Washington Post ran the story, along with a video interview of McIntosh, who is 97 years old and still smart and very much alive. In her 71-year-old story, which is a first person account of one woman trying to make sense of the carnage, panic and destruction in the week following the bombings, she visits a hospital emergency room. She wrote, among other things, that she never knew blood could be so red.
A great writer, she captured details even though she was clearly and understandably totally freaked out. Here is an excerpt of her story, in The Washington Post.
“I went to a bombed store on King Street, where I often, in times past, stopped for a Coke at the cool drug counter.
Seven little stores, including my drugstore, had nearly completely burned down. Charred, ripply walls, as high as the first story, alone remained to give any hint of where the store had been. At the smashed soda fountain was a half-eaten chocolate sundae. Scorched bonbons were scattered on the sidewalk. There were odd pieces lying in the wreckage, half-burned Christmas cards, on one, the words “Hark the Herald” still visible. There were twisted bedsprings, half-burned mattresses, cans of food, a child’s blackened bicycle, a lunch box, a green raveled sweater, a Bang-Up comic book, ripped awnings.
I ran out of notepaper and reached down and picked up a charred batch of writing paper, still wet from a fire hose. “
There is nothing left to say.