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Vance Esplin’s Christmas That Never Came

by Jean Esplin

Everyone has heard of the Grinch stealing Christmas, but how many people has heard of the year the Japanese stole Christmas?

It was 6PM on December 24, 1944. Vance Esplin was on the USS Eridanus, a merchant marine ship that had been converted into a Navy ship designated AKA 92. Tokyo Rose was singing “White Christmas” and the men were feeling homesick. They were carrying jeeps, trucks and other general supplies to Somoa, Espirito Santos and Talagi.

Then the Eridanus crossed the International Date Line and it was then 6PM December 26. Six hours later it was December 26 and Christmas was over. The men hadn’t gotten any of their Christmas mail except for the Red Cross package containing cigarettes, shaving supplies, candy and mittens. They wouldn’t get their Christmas mail until May.

Everybody enjoys Christmas and likes their Christmas memories, but Vance Esplin’s most memorable Christmas was the one of the year it didn’t come at all.

Vance S Esplin is my father