It has come to my attention that the soft-cover print edition of my memoir, His Daughter’s Remembrance, is not and never was available at as announced after its March 2017 publication.

Excerpts, including photos not in the book, were posted on in June and July 2017.

Readers interested in my story may contact me for a soft-cover print edition.

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By Lee Schaefer

At seventeen, I dropped out of the tenth grade at Richmond Union High School in California to enlist in the U.S. Navy January 17, 1944.

The first time I saw snow was at boot camp in Farrugut, Idaho, where we learned discipline and teamwork. We marched as a group everywhere—to and from classes, on the parade grounds, and down the road to row boats on Lake Pend Oreille. Each of us took turns standing guard duty with a wooden replica rifle.Lee Schaefer Navy Photo

I graduated electrical school at the State School of Science in Wahpeton, North Dakota, as a 3rd Class electrician’s mate.

On Liberty home, I rode a vintage “Jessie James special” train with wooden bench seats. Locomotive soot blew in through the open windows and turned the white stripes black on my Navy uniform. I spent Liberty at home in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving on to Camp Shoemaker, east of Oakland, a naval training center for personnel on the way to or from the Pacific theater.

At 5 a.m., I stood in line with hundreds of other recruits carrying seabags. Each of us reported our name and serial number to a yeoman who checked them off on his clipboard.

“You’re scratched,” he told me. No one knew why. Recruits don’t question authority. All my schoolmates left without me and I never saw or heard from them again.

Rumor circulated that for a little cash, a yeoman pulled your records to set aside for later release if you wanted to postpone deployment.  Your records went with you. Without your records, you couldn’t leave. Someone mistakenly pulled or switched the wrong records. I remained behind for two weeks’ work detail moving sprinklers to water the football field.

Every morning I checked the barrack bulletin board for my name to deploy with a group. Finally, it appeared. The next morning at 5 a.m., we boarded a bus to Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. We were kept in the stockade to prevent any AWOL then packed like sardines on a ferry to a ship docked near the San Francisco Ferry Building.

The five day cruise to Hawaii in the hole of a ship with bunks stacked six high around bulkheads was hell. A large garbage can looked out of place in the center. Just outside the Golden Gate in rough sea (called the potato patch), we learned the purpose of the garbage can. On deck for lifeboat drills, wind blew vomit down like rain on everyone. I volunteered to wash pots and pans in the galley to keep busy so avoided throwing up.

I spent fourteen days at Aiea Naval Base in Hawaii waiting for assignment to a ship.

The chow line must have been a hundred feet long. When I learned of the shorter chow line and better food at the nearby submarine base, I ate there. The submariners’ barber shop gave better haircuts, too.

On Liberty, I rented swim trunks at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel where the submariners lived. To avoid hassle by the Shore Patrol, who enforced proper dress code or failure to salute an officer on the street, I sat on the beach all day and acquired a tan.

Finally, I was assigned to the O.H. Ernst, a transport ship with everyone who had been AWOL. I never knew why or how I got in that group. Marine guards patrolled the ship, ordering anyone sitting in one spot too long to keep moving.

I spent three months trying to catch up with the fleet for my assigned ship. At every port, the fleet had just left. On 13 September 1944, we crossed the Equator south toward Guadalcanal. Everyone received a certificate signed by Davey Jones and Neptune Rex for participating in a stupid ceremony similar to a fraternal initiation.

Equator Certificate

Anyone who worked received three meals a day; if not, two meals a day.
I needed something to do and asked the chief if I could see the engine room.

When the ship weighed anchor, the crew never knew where we were going. And when we got there, we didn’t know where we were until afterward.

We caught up with the fleet in Ulithi, a more or less safe harbor for ships because of a surrounding reef, where ships picked up supplies and personnel. I boarded my assigned ship, the U.S.S. Mobile, a light cruiser. The speed of light cruisers kept up with the carriers to protect them in the task force group.

Ulithi was also a recreation island with ball fields and gambling, dice and cards. I loaned cash to friends I knew and trusted at 10 per cent interest. All repaid the loans and my $20 month account increased.

The required dress code on the main deck was to cover up with dungarees-long sleeves and trousers and hat to protect burns from any torpedo explosions. If a man overboard, his hat turned upside down and knotted trousers filled with air helped keep him afloat.

We were in three severe typhoons. The ship lunged up and down and rolled from side to side. During typhoons, mess tables were tied against bulkheads and we sat on the metal deck to eat. Coffee spilled easily. People slid back and forth into each other pinned against bulkheads. Cooks were unable to cook in large pots and made only sandwiches.

Our task force group lost one of three tincans (destroyer) in the heavy seas. Tankers supplied ships at sea with fuel. In addition to their regular assignments, both tankers and destroyers delivered mail. In return, we sent over shop-made ice cream from our geedunk stand.

I watched generator gauges in fore and aft firerooms and sat in a chair attached to the deck. Cold air blew down a chute from the overhead ventilator on deck about 30 feet above water on the side of a stack. I braced myself when I heard a roar during heavy storms because that signaled cold salt water was about to rush down the chute and shower me.

I was in charge of the electrical system in turrets and moved around from power shop to fire control shop. Each group helped the other. We worked as a team. The machine shop drilled holes in 6-inch powder cans for coffee pots. The electrical group made hot plates. Every group had a hot plate and a coffee pot.  The bakery returned favors by baking extra cakes for us.

One of my jobs was to check ice buildup around coils in ice boxes. I “lifted” two cubes of butter from the officers’ ice box and from the captain’s ice box for our group.

Once a warrant officer came to the power shop and asked what we were cooking. The aroma of bacon and eggs floated through the ship. It was better than standing in the chow line of 3,000 personnel. You only went to the head of the chow line if you had to relieve someone on watch.

Blacks were segregated with their own uniforms (better jackets and caps) in their own compartment as mess cooks for the officers.

In the Philippines, we served protection for our carriers. Planes left on early departures. Japanese kamikaze pilots knew when our planes returned. Our assignment was to shoot down the kamikaze planes before they hit our carriers.

We returned to the West Coast shipyards (Long Beach, San Pedro and San Diego) a few times for refitting, new artillery or replacement personnel. On one return trip to the South Pacific, our ship altered course so the crew could observe Christmas before we crossed the International Dateline; otherwise, we would have missed Christmas.

We were at Okinawa during the entire campaign, and directed our guns for continuous 24-hour bombardment.  In Buckner Bay, a minesweeper ahead of us shot and exploded mines. Observers in “gooney birds” launched to locate enemy ground troops. Japanese sent out planes during our dinner hour to disrupt our meals and sleep.
A war correspondent came on board and said the Marines appreciated our artillery.
My general quarters station was in turret three on the electric deck. We burned out our gun barrels and returned to Guam for repair.

In Leyte Gulf, supposedly a safe harbor with submarine nets, a two-man Japanese sub got through and blew up a tanker.
“Stand by to take torpedo mid-ship!”
I assumed it stuck in the mud because that’s where I stood.
When the sub surfaced, we shot off its conning tower and took the two men prisoners.
As far as I know, the U.S.S. Mobile was the only cruiser to sink a sub.

We listened to Tokyo Rose call the Mobile, Biloxi and Birmingham “the three unsinkable ships”.

U.S.S. Mobile

Nighttime searchlights, horns and noise were everywhere on our last return to Leyte Gulf for supplies.
We heard the war was over but our cautious captain ordered lights out and quiet.

Two weeks after the nuclear bomb exploded over Nagasaki, we arrived as a member of the “Magic Carpet” fleet to pick up Dutch, Australian, British and American POWs from the Bataan Death March and transport them to Guam. Able-bodied American POWs walked from the prison through the jungle to the other side of the island where they boarded planes.

When we tied up midstream waiting our turn to pick up POWs at the pier, Marines stood guard around the ship listening for any tapping noises in case a fanatic tried to attach explosives to the ship.

The POWs had been isolated with no decent food for years. Many ate too much of our food and were unable to keep it down. We gave up our bunks so the POWs had a decent place to sleep. One Dutch POW traded a small Japanese flag for the second pair of shoes I kept polished to wear for inspection only.

Sasebo, a Japanese naval base at the inlet of the East China Sea, was heavily bombed in 1945. A Japanese harbor pilot maneuvered us through the 3.5-mile long, 1-mile wide Sasebo harbor littered with Japanese ships on their sides.

After a work detail returned from ashore, the boatswain piped his high-pitched whistle for everyone who wanted a souvenir to report to the main deck. Japanese rifles and bayonets found in a warehouse were issued. Our names were checked off as we were handed our souvenirs.


We were paid in occupation currency instead of U.S. dollars to spend in Japan, given curfews, and ordered not to enter any houses in Nagasaki.

Downtown Nagasaki was not destroyed. I bought a Japanese geisha doll in a glass case at a department store, and three 78 rpm records in a music shop: one recorded by Nipponophone Co., Ltd., Kawasaki, Japan; Polydor, manufactured by Nippon Polydor, Chikwonki Co. Ltd., Tokyo, and Teichiku, Made in Japan Teikoku, Gramophone Co. Ltd, Nara. The Japanese woman behind the counter did not understand English and I did not understand Japanese. The few customers in the store stared at me while one of them offered to translate.

We were in Nagasaki for an extended period while our captain presided as a judge at the trial of a crew member accused of entering a Japanese home, raping a girl, and killing her father.

For something to do during that time, we boarded trucks for a tour of the valley where the bomb exploded in the industrial area where torpedoes and ammunition were manufactured. Our orders were, “Don’t tell anyone you saw it.”

I signed up for the duration of the war plus six months and helped to mothball the U.S.S. Mobile at the shipyards in Everett, Washington.

I received an Honorable Discharge 16 May 1946 as Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class from the USNB Personnel Separation Center in Bremerton, Washington.

Service Ribbons




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December 7, 1941, Day of Infamy

December 7, 1941, Day of Infamy

December 7, 1941, Day of Infamy

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American schoolchildren learn the first Thanksgiving occurred when the pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe shared a feast to celebrate the Massachusetts colony’s first successful autumn harvest in 1621.

American schoolchildren did not learn that East Coast Indians celebrated and gave thanks for their fall bounty for centuries before Mayflower pilgrims set foot on American soil November 11, 1620 at what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe belonging to the Wampanoag Confederation, served as an interpreter who taught the Mayflower settlers at Plymouth how to survive in New England.

Around 1614, Squanto was captured as a young man along with 23 other Native Americans by an exploring English sea captain and taken to Malaga, Spain where they were sold as slaves. Squanto escaped to England where he learned English, found employment with a London merchant, sailed to Newfoundland, and made his way in 1619 to what is now Maine.

Squanto showed the Mayflower settlers how to plant and tend 20 acres of corn and use fish (herrings) to fertilize the soil.

Fifty pilgrims, Chief Massosoit and 90 Indians belonging to the Wampanoag  Confederation  attended the three-day Harvest Celebration of 1621.

Pilgrims used only a knife, a spoon, a large napkin and their fingers to partake of venison (the Natives brought five deer); wild turkeys, geese and ducks stuffed with herbs, leeks, wild onions and shelled chestnuts; eels, clams, lobsters, and mussels with parsley and vinegar; beans, sunchokes, stewed pumpkins, plums, melons, grapes, currants, cranberries, and sweet Indian corn pudding.

The harvest festival was not repeated for 10 years. The pilgrims and Native Americans lived in peace until thousands of settlers arrived and spread a plague that almost decimated the Indian population.

On October 3, 1789, President George Washington declared November 26, 1789 a day of thanksgiving to express gratitude for the creation of the United States.

During the Civil War, On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the first national holiday to observe the harvest festival on November 26, 1863 as an annual Thanksgiving Day celebration for family gatherings to feast and enjoy each other’s company.

In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving observance from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday to allow a longer Christmas shopping season during that difficult economic year. The change was made again in 1940, and Congress made it permanent in 1941. (The fourth Thursday is usually the last Thursday in November.)

The USA is only one of several countries to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving for a year of good harvest.

  • Canada observes Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October.
  • Germany celebrates “Erntedankfest” (autumn harvest festival thanksgiving) the first Sunday in October.
  • The Chinese Moon Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month with a full moon. (October 4, 2017; September 24, 2018)
  • The island of Barbados in the Caribbean celebrates at the end of the sugar cane harvest.
  • The African nation of Liberia celebrates on the first Thursday in November.
  • Brazil thanks God for all good things in life on the fourth Thursday in November.
  • Since the 1948 American Occupation, Japan has observed November 23 as Labor Thanksgiving Day, an opportunity for unions and workers to celebrate their labor and production.

On Thanksgiving Day, present day Native Americans include a celebration of their survival.



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Frost on the Pumpkin

Frost on the Pumpkin

First snow of season, Friday October 13, 2017


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Mom felt well enough to accompany me on a two-week road trip across Nevada to Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon in my first car, a 1954 Ford Victoria. The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Sun Valley, Idaho, exceeded our expectations.

Craters of the Moon, Utah

Tetons through lobby window of Jackson Lake Lodge

Mom in Jackson, Wyoming

Yellowstone bear

When we arrived home, Daddy told Mom their friend and his coworker Agatha had filed for divorce.

As Mom’s condition gradually worsened, she consented to use a wheelchair.

I married and moved a 30-minute drive away across the bay to Marin County and continued to visit her once a week. By then she was completely bedridden. During one visit, she told me, “You are the apple of your father’s eye. I want you to know some things because I can get back at him only through you. He spends a lot of time at Agatha’s apartment in between chauffeuring her daughter to and from school events. Agatha wants to take my place. Promise me that when I die, you will take my cup and saucer collection. I do not want Agatha to have it.”

I could not believe what I was hearing, but I agreed to her request.

On my next visit, Mom was very upset. “Your father sold my shotgun. He took it and sold it without asking me. My father gave it to me,” she said as tears welled in her eyes. He taught me to shoot it and to hunt with him. Your father had no right to sell my gun.” And she cried.

Note: Years later I learned he gave it to my younger brother Ransom. It would have given Mom peace of mind to know that her favorite child inherited her .410 shotgun. I’ll never know why Daddy lied to Mom.

Mom hanged herself seven months to the day I married. Within hours Daddy showed me her death certificate signed by the family doctor. I scanned down to read the cause of death: strangulation, self-inflicted.

“This could ruin me,” Daddy said. “Promise me you’ll never tell. Ransom must never know this happened.”

Note: After publication of my memoir, a cousin informed me that all the family in Martinez knew immediately after it happened. If I had known, it might have eased my burden of keeping Mom’s suicide secret for 60 years.  I’ll never know why the father I adored, admired, and believed could do no wrong, lied to me and later disowned me.

Another note: After Daddy died 40 years to the day he married Mom, I obtained a copy of Mom’s death certificate. It was half the size of the original death certificate Daddy showed me the morning Mom hanged herself. No cause of death appeared; only the date and place. Daddy fixed it so Mom’s suicide would never surface.

A month after Mom died, Daddy asked if I would go with him to attend his father Pa’s funeral in Martinez. Pa had never been a grandfather to me or to Ransom. He disliked Mom because he blamed her for his wife Laura’s death. Laura was dying from a kidney disease with no hope of recovery. Mom offered to help care for Laura during her final days at home in addition to working as a registered nurse at the community hospital. When Daddy’s mother died four days later, Pa blamed Mom because she happened to be with Laura when she died. Pa never acknowledged me as his first granddaughter or Ransom as his second grandson. Every holiday season, an envelope addressed to Manfred Richards arrived by mail to our house saying “Merry Christmas, Son.”

Four generations of Richards

Left to right: Great grandmother Ida Roberts Jones, born in a covered wagon on the Oregon Trail, holding baby Lynne Richards; father A.M. “Chick” Richards Jr.; and grandfather Arthur Manfred “Pa” Richards, 1934.


~ Fini ~



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He always knew the correct answers to questions that stumped me. I thought he knew more than my school teachers. I wanted to learn from him and, someday, know as much as he did.

He studied to be a contestant on a San Francisco radio quiz show among local newsmen. The subject was Abraham Lincoln. Daddy knew everything about Lincoln. Daddy was smart; I knew he would win.

At the appointed hour, Mom and I sat by the radio. Men answered the questions, but we didn’t hear Daddy’s voice at all.
“Is Daddy there?” I asked.
“Shh! Listen,” Mom said.
When he came home, Mom said, “I know you were there because the announcer introduced you.”
“Christ, I was so nervous I just froze.”

One winter weekend at Twain Harte, Daddy drove us above the snow line until he saw a “nice little slope” as he called it. He parked the car off the road and lifted the rental toboggan from the car.
“Let me try it first,” he said, “to make sure it’s safe.”
He pushed off down the slope and disappeared over a rise at the bottom. We waited for him to reappear. And waited. And waited.
I ran down the hill and over the rise. There he was, sitting on the toboggan in the middle of a shallow, icy stream.

Daddy planned more than one vacation a year: summer at the Russian River or southern California beaches, and the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl game New Year’s Day.

Mom & Lynne – Dad & Ransom, La Jolla Caves, 1948.

Dad and Mom, Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., 1948

Dad and Mom, Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., 1948


Mom, Dad, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, 1949

Mom & Dad on Ensenada beach, Baja California, Mexico.

I thought we enjoyed our times together.We never missed an episode of Hopalong Cassidy after Daddy bought our first black and white television set. For Christmas in1950, Daddy’s coworkers presented him with a Hopalong Cassidy doll.

Dad in office with Hopalong Cassidy doll presented by co-workers

Dad in office with Hopalong Cassidy doll presented by co-workers.

Daddy looks happy in all my album photos. Decades later, however, I heard that “his life was filled with unhappiness and frustration.”
He sure fooled us.


Additional excerpts from my memoir, His Daughter’s Remembrance, to follow . . .





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