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Meet Ted Masog, and some very dark memories of Pearl Harbor

Last Saturday afternoon found Ted Masog providing background music for the hundreds of happy folks under our big roof enjoying open house, just as he has for at least the last 15 years.

Ted was born in 1934 in Little Falls. His mother played the piano and Ted became interested in it at an early age.

Ted earned degrees in music from St. Cloud State University, with graduate work at UCLA. He was in the Army, stationed in Germany, where he played with the 3rd Infantry Division Band.

Ted taught music and Spanish in Verndale. Ted and his wife, Ladonna, have six children, 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Ladonna died seven years ago.

Jobs secondary to his teaching have been playing for the Staples Area Men's Choir as he has since 1976, the organ for both St. Frederick's Church in Verndale and the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Wadena. Listing other important soloists and groups he has accompanied over the years would more than fill this page.

While the word "music" is synonymous with the name Ted Masog, it is not all that has kept the spring in his step and the limber in his fingers. He decorates Ukranian eggs, starting work on this craft on Jan. 7 until after Easter. He usually decorates 75 or 80 white chicken eggs with delicate, intricate designs. The eggs make great gifts. When one breaks, he cleans the mess and starts over -- what else?

Over the years, Ted has been a biker and cross-country skier. He's been known to settle down with a lively science fiction book now and again.

Ted believes there must be something in each one's day to look forward to. He is ready to consider coping with whatever life sends his way. It may be to accompany some event, a great day for exercise, or maybe a new book. While nothing gives him an inside track on knowing the future, he is fairly certain there will be something he can enjoy.

Ted' generosity for sharing time and talent by playing whenever he is asked, if possible, is well known and appreciated.

More than likely it will take place in Verndale's Ted Masog Auditorium.

Memories of Pearl Harbor

Seventy years ago Wednesday, I slept under the dining room table, and for many nights thereafter in our California home.

During dinner that evening, with my husband and Loyal Harris, the announcement that Pearl Harbor had been bombed came over our little Philco radio along with the order to put out all lights immediately.

All the stations went off the air and the night went black. The air filled with the sound of screeching sirens from everything that had one. My baby, one year old, panicked as he was thrown from his quiet world into pitch darkness filled with terror. He wasn't out of my arms for the next week.

Milt and Loyal joined the neighbor men on the roof of their garage. It was more than all of the fireworks, all of the wild celebrations you have ever seen, even on TV, rolled into one with no end in sight.

The air was filled, came alive within a few minutes, with mostly fast, agile little P38s, ready to go, having practiced diving right over our neighborhood for months. Some planes -- I'm not sure which ones -- shot the sky full of tracer bullets that flashed when the lights went off. This was a sample of what many nights to come would be like.

All 10 aircraft plants within that square mile went to work at full capacity, full-time. The guys watching from the tops of garages didn't get to stay there long. For the next many months, Milt worked 14-day spans, 10 hours a day for North American Aircraft. Loyal was doing the same at Douglas Aircraft.

These men grew thin. Going and coming in the dark from blacked out plants made them pale. It didn't do their dispositions any good, either. When wives and families were urged to go inland, transportation headed that way became crowded. I couldn't be talked into it one the premise that my air crafter needed nourishing food and clean clothes. (Besides, I didn't want to miss any of the action.)

California construction being what it was, it didn't take much of a piece of shrapnel to go through a roof. Many people were injured when debris hit their houses.

That's when we put the mattress on top of the table with any extra blankets.

It was 1941, the year we slept under our mattress instead of on top of it.