Most families hope for memoirs from grandpa, curious to know the boy and young man that was, before becoming family patriarch. 80 Years of Memories... is just that, William Wright Jr's life memories put to paper. From Tom Sawyer-esque mischief, to precise details of the Pearl Harbor attack and how it felt to be in Honolulu at that time, Wright reveals his most personal experiences. If the autobiography doesn't resemble your own grandpa, perhaps more treasured in the book are the insights it gives into the customs and normal shenanigans of young boys in the 1930s.
Generally, children's mischief was fairly innocuous back then, judging from Wright's anecdotes. "There was no hesitation when Anna took a carving knife and sliced one end of the loaf to expose the warm bread. Leaving the outer crust intact, she and I cautiously peeled out the bread and ravishingly devoured the 'good' part. When we finished eating the bread, Anna carefully replaced the outer crust and rewrapped the package so it looked like a whole loaf."
At boarding school during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Wright could see the Harbor from the dormitory windows and his description of life under siege, told vividly through the eyes of a naive boy witnessing the incident, is gripping. It must have been somewhat surreal because the boarding school children fortunate enough to own brownies (cameras) stood and took pictures rather than seek shelter.
William Wright, Jr. was a professional engineering writer, and so, not surprisingly, the book is grammatically superb and detailed. He passed away in 2013, but readers can relish the era through his memories in his autobiography.