| Days of Infamy |
POD: March, 1941;
Relevant POD: December 7, 1941
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Relatives:|| Unknown ex-husband|
Oscar van der Kirk (second husband)
Susie Higgins was a recent divorcee from Pittsburgh when she visited Hawaii on vacation in December, 1941. Shortly after her arrival, the Empire of Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor and began an invasion of the islands. Unable to leave, she decided to continue her vacation. She took a surfing lesson from Oscar van der Kirk. After the lesson, Susie invited van der Kirk back to her room. In the midst of coitus, the Japanese launched a bombing run on the city. Van der Kirk suggested that they leave the room, saving both of their lives as the hotel was squarely hit. Van der Kirk rashly invited Higgins to stay with him. That relationship soured rather quickly, as Higgins couldn't stand van der Kirk's obsession with surfing. She left after the New Year.
Higgins found work as a receptionist for a doctor in Honolulu. Early in 1942, Higgins crossed paths with van der Kirk again. They took their relationship back up, although on far more friendly terms this time. Eventually, the relationship blossomed into a more substantive and loving one, and Higgins moved back in with van der Kirk.
In mid 1943, van der Kirk was disturbed to learn that his friend Charlie Kaapu had been arrested by the Kempeitai, the Japanese secret police. Higgins was horrified when van der Kirk insisted on inquiring into his friend's final fate, and was relieved when, after being threatened himself, he let the matter go.
However, Kaapu, who'd been sent to a prison camp, escaped as the USA's invasion fleet began its arrival. Van der Kirk hid Kaapu, although it did put a strain on the limited resources he and Susie Higgins had.
When US Marines landed on Oahu in 1943, the Japanese began stiff resistance, often fighting from house-to-house and block-to-block. In the fighting, Oscar's home was destroyed, but he, Susie, and Kaapu escaped unharmed. In the chaos, van der Kirk asked Susie to marry him, and she accepted.