Almost 81 years after the surprise attack of Pearl Harbor, survivor Jim Dewitt still clearly recalls that infamous day. While this was an important part of Dewitt’s life, there is so much more to his story.
At only four years old, Jim Dewitt was left at an orphanage in Mexico, IN after his parents died of tuberculosis. While his older siblings were at the orphanage as well, he never got to see them. After being placed at a farmer’s home in Kimmel, IN, Dewitt soon learned he was more of a manual laborer than a son. So at 15 years old, penniless, he set out for California. He made it to Texas before something compelled him to return home. He ended up back at the orphanage for his sophomore and junior years of high school before inexplicably being returned to the farmer’s home.
After graduation Dewitt began to live and work at a nearby farm ran by a young couple with a three year old daughter, who became like a sister to him. During this time he met a girl named Mary, who he would later visit in her hometown of Panama City, FL before joining the Navy.
Read more of Jim Dewitt’s story in Issue 23 of Choices magazine.