December 7th 1941 “A Day That Will Live In Infamy!”

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 10:35 am, December 7th, 2010  

Today is December 7th, 2010. 69 years ago at this time Japan was attacking our American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor Hawaii. Following is a recollection from a then young sailor that was actually there during the attack. Reposted with permission of fellow Realtor Saul Klein the son of this sailor.

REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR by Marcus Klein, US Navy Retired, CWO-4

“Today is December 7, 1991. Fifty years ago today, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. I’m going to try and tell my story, the best that I can remember, of the events that occurred on that day to me.

I was attached to the USS Medusa AR?1, which was a battle ship tender. Our duties were to repair battleships. I never was able to get back to my ship.   Being married, I lived outside the base, and rated overnight liberty. The first thing that happened to me was the woman across the street whose husband was a Chief in the Navy came out and started screaming, “The Japs are attacking Pearl Harbor!”   I ran out of our house and looked up in the sky over Pearl. We weren’t too far away. We were next to Hickam Field. I saw the bombs exploding in the air and the planes diving all over and I just couldn’t believe what was happening.

My first thought was they were having a mock battle, but I had the ­radio on and the announcer said all personnel return to your ships. As I ran down the street, I told Lani, “You run up to the hills and hide if the Japs land. You don’t want to be caught by them.” I got on the highway. We lived right near Dillingham Highway. An officer in his car stopped on his way back and picked me up. We headed towards the base and before we got there a plane came straight down the highway, strafing, and we ran off the highway into the cane fields and bounced along until we finally stopped, got out, and ran the rest of the way to the base. As we went through the gate, the Marines were firing at the planes with their 45’s. The only thing we could to do was throw stones at them. That’s how close they were.

We headed toward Fleet Landing which was just a short distance away. When we got down there, there were lots of sailors coming back. The sailor on duty said, “Report to any place on the base that you can be of help. There are no boats running, there’s no possible way to get back to your own ship.”

My ship, the Medusa, was tied about as far away as it could be from the landing. We were on the other side of Ford Island. The battleship row was on this side. The Medusa was on the opposite side at a place called Middlelock, which was off of Pearl City. Next to the Medusa was the Curtis, a seaplane tender.

Along side the Medusa, on the other side, were destroyers.   I think there were 4 of them, old 4?stack destroyers. In the mean time, near the landing, I ran towards a group of men. We all ran towards the Navy yard figuring that was the best place to help. We were almost at the Officers Club when a Jap plane came diving straight down towards us. Several of the men in the group were hit and killed but we kept on going until we got to the docks.

I saw a whaleboat along side the dock, and I told one of the other fellows, “Let’s take this thing out and see if we can help the men in the water.” You  could see the flames and all the water was on fire around the battleships, mainly the Arizona and the California. The Nevada was on her way towards the channel. We ran and got into the  boat and I said, “I can run the engine if you can steer it.” So I started it up and got underway.

We started out towards the Arizona. That’s where most of the fire was. While heading that way, I looked up and saw we were going towards the channel. I turned around and yelled at the guy with me. He had been shot and was over the side in the water. I found I didn’t know what to do. I turned the engine off and dove into the water. I couldn’t do anything for the guy who was in the water, so I swam over to the Okalala, which was over by the drydock and I got out of the water.

The Pennsylvania was in the drydock and the Casin and Downs was forward of it. I remember my dad telling me that, when there was fire you always put water on the building next to it to keep it cool so it doesn’t burn too. So we grabbed a hose. I got another guy to help me. The hose had a suicide nozzle on it and we started spraying down the bow of the Pennsylvania. It was then I could see that this fire was getting out of control. It was really bad on the Casin and Downs, so we started shooting out a stream of water on the Casin and Downs. It wasn’t too long before the fire reached the magazines of one of the ships and she blew up.

The concussion was so great, that in the Pipe Shop, which is along side the dock on the other side of the cranes, the corrugated metal on the walls blew off. I noticed, at this time that I was bleeding from a head wound. The shrapnel from the Casini or the Downs must have hit me; or that of a plane; I have no idea. I don’t know what happened. It didn’t hurt too much. There were too many things going on.

All of this was just hard to believe. Here our fleet, the greatest in the world, was destroyed, being destroyed, and no way of doing anything to fight back. This was a terrible feeling. So I kept thinking I better go and get under somebody’s command. After all , the guy said “go wherever you can to help.” I feel a lot of the ships’ men had been killed because some hadn’t gotten back to their ships. I reported to the first ship I could. At least I would be under the jurisdiction of a command.

I ran down the docks and saw the St. Louis had gotten under way. She had been tied alongside the Honolulu. I figured the Honolulu would go next. I’ll get on her. Well, unknown to me, she had been hit by a 250 pound bomb. It went through the dock and exploded under the water ripping the seams of the Honolulu’s magazines.  Although she’d been casting off her lines, she came back and tied up again. I reported to the officer of the Deck and I guess It looked pretty messy, bloody, and wet. He said,”You’d better go down to sick bay.” I didn’t know where it was so they sent a messenger to take me down and the corpsman put some sutures in my head.

Then I went back to the quarter deck and he said, “What ship were you on?” I told him I was a Fireman First on the Medusa as a metal smith. He said they’d assign me to the metal smith shop. They needed help because they had several oil tanks that were ruptured. They had splits in the seams from the concussion of the bomb that went off in the magazine.  So, I reported to the metal smith’s shop and I went with a working party down into the magazine. I spent the rest of the day and all night in the magazine tearing off insulation so we could get to the seams that were torn open. After I got out of there, I became part of the crew on the Honolulu, so, actually, I was never on the Medusa on December 7th. I was on the Honolulu, a light square?stern cruiser.

As I look back, I don’t ‘remember how I got clothes. I had no money and no clothes. I guess some of the sailors in the shop had given me clothes to wear and maybe an old toothbrush. I asked if could go back to my ship and they said that eventually they’d get me back. It was ten days before I got back. There was no way I could send word to Lani about what happened. I asked one of the yard workers who was working in the yard if he would stop by my house and let my wife know I was okay.   This one yard worker finally told my wife and the family that I was still alive and aboard the Honolulu. After ten days, I was sent back to the Medusa with a letter stating that I came aboard and received a commendation on the work that I did while I was on the Honolulu.

The first thing the kids aboard the Medusa wanted to show me was my battle station. It seems the destroyers alongside on the starboard side had destroyed the crows nest while firing at the Jap Kamikaza which dove into the Curtis. The destroyers were firing over the Medusa at the plane right through the crow’s nest. If I hadn’t been home, I would have been aboard the ship and would have been killed by my own bullets.

The events were terrible, even after the battle. Remembering December 7th and the things that went on when you look back seems like a lifetime ago. It’s hard to believe that we lived through something like this.  I was in three Wars. I was on submarine war patrols. Nothing could compare with the     sight of seeing the fleet destroyed.

I worked on and got my request approved for submarine duty. In June or July, I was transferred to the Naval station awaiting transportation back to the mainland. While there, we were sent on working parties, digging bodies out of the Arizona and some of the other ships. We were taking them up to Red Hill to be buried.

Looking back today, I hope no one has to go through this again. “This is a sorry day in our history,”as Roosevelt said, “a day of infamy.” Only those who were there can really understand how dreadful, how horrible it all was. I think the wound I got from the ships or from the planes that day is a small thing to happen, compared to what could have happened.”

Post Note by Saul Klein:  My Dad and Mom are both Pearl Harbor Survivors. My Dad, passed away on January 15, 2005. My mom now lives in a “55 or Better” community in Palm Springs. Mom and Dad met in Hilo, Hawaii in January of 1941. My Dad was a sailor, a Jewish kid, 23 years old, from Detroit. My mom was a 17 year old local girl (Hawaiian, Portuguese, English, and a little Chinese for good measure some say). Mom and Dad were married on June 28th, 1941 in Honolulu, by a Justice of the Peace and on December 7, 1941, they lived in Navy Housing Area 3 (NHA 3) on Ninth Street right outside of the Main Gate of Pearl Harbor. My Mother’s parents lived in a little shack on “P Road” in an area known as Damon Tract, which is now where the Honolulu Airport is located. Visit

Biking the Cade Cove loop road in the Great Smoky Mountains

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 11:10 am, May 24th, 2010  

UPDATE May 22, 2010: Made a trip around the Cove on the newly paved loop road. Spectacular! Those of you that remember the old crumbling and patched road there before won’t believe the difference. Still the same scenic beauty but a much better roadbed to enjoy it from now.

Original post follows:

One of the many great things about living in the Knoxville, Tennessee area is it’s close proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There are many very scenic and beautiful sections of the park but one of my special favorites is Cades Cove. Going from Knoxville through Maryville and Townsend to the Cove is about a 40 mile drive but because of the narrow, windy roads in the park allow about an hour for the drive one way.

“The Cove” as it’s known to local folks was originally a pioneer settlement first homesteaded by John and Luraney Oliver around 1818. The Olivers and their descendants lived in the Cove until the Park was established in 1934.

Cades Cove is a very special place to me. The “Cove” as the local folks know it, is an oasis of peace and tranquility in an all too “hustle & bustle” world. Spending a few hours here amid the surrounding green mountains in the meadows and woodlands are like a relaxing ‘mini vacation’. I always come out the other side of the loop road a happier, more tranquil person than when I started off.

A lot of the original buildings have been preserved by the national park service to illustrate how life was back in those days. One of the very enjoyable things you can do in the Cove is to ride your bike around the 11 mile loop road that circles this scenic valley.

Cades Cove great smoky mountains national park knoxville tennessee

This past Saturday I took my bike up to the Cove and set off about 8:00 am to ride the loop. I got a bit later start than usual and there were lots of other bikers either on the road already or getting ready to go. There are also usually quite a few walkers and some runners as well; no exception today.

It’s a great ride with several pretty good pulls up hills that get your heart pumping. Since it’s getting pretty close to fall I saw several bears up in Oak trees stuffing themselves with Acorns in preparation for going into hibernation soon.

cades cove gsmnp knoxville tennessee

This looked to be a pretty young bear. He was busy stuffing food into his mouth and oblivious to everyone below his tree watching and taking pictures.

The Cove also abounds with lots of deer and it’s not unusual to see as many as 100 or more during your tour. Other game include big flocks of wild turkey like the one pictured below, black bear, wild boar, and multitudes of small game and birds of all sorts.

Cades Cove 002 wild turkey in great smoky mountains national park

Wild turkey in Cades Cove

Wildlife in Cades Cove are very used to visitors and it’s usually easy to get some terrific photos of the plentiful bear, deer, wild turkey, and other wildlife.

One cautionary note; these are wild animals and there are no bars between you and them like in the zoo. This is also their home; you are the visitor so please respect them, don’t try to get too close, and above all else DO NOT try to feed them or touch them. It is against the law and the park rangers will cite you or arrest you on the spot if they see you. It also does harm to the animals by teaching them to go to humans for food instead of finding it on their own as nature intended.

Here’s another shot of some Cades Cove deer having breakfast. This photo is from a previous visit.

cades cove gsmnp knoxville tennessee

If you’re visiting, the Cades Store has a bike rental for you. $4.00 an hour for coaster bikes and $6.00 for geared models. I highly recommend the geared models for an extra two bucks unless your name is Lance Armstrong.

Riding the loop road takes anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on your fitness level and how much sightseeing you do along the way. I recommend taking your time and enjoying all the Cove has to offer.

If your time is short there are also two roads, Hyatt and Sparks Lanes, you can cut through the middle of the Cove and finish much quicker.

From early May until late September the Cove loop road is closed to vehicles on Wednesday and Saturdays until 10:00 am. I strongly suggest planning your ride during these times especially on Wednesdays if you can arrange your schedule.

Cades Cove is a very, very popular destination and the loop road is typically clogged with vehicles especially during the summer and a bear sighting brings all traffic to a halt.

We usually try to hit the road on Wednesdays just at first light. That’s the time the most animals are out feeding and the crowds are almost nonexistent then.

Enjoy your ride, take along plenty of water, stop and enjoy the views often; I guarantee it’s a ride you will remember for years to come.

Knox County Tennessee Register of Deeds property transfers for the week of March 28th

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 9:44 am, March 28th, 2010  
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Take a look at this charming, North Hills home. Beautiful hardwood floors, updated, and 3 bedrooms.

It appears as if the Knoxville area real estate market is showing some signs of life based on the past week’s sales figures. the Knox County Register of Deeds office is reporting 175 property transfers compared to only 92 the week before.

Days on Market (time from listing to contract) was 122 days this past February compared to 120 days in February 2009 and 100 days same time period in 2008.

knox county tn real estate knoxville homes for sale knoxville properties for sale

For the week of March 28th, 2010

A very nice increase.

The Knoxville News Sentinel had a very nice, tongue in cheek article today about the soon expiring $8,000 tax credit titled:  $8,000 – nah, you can keep it Pretty funny article and full of useful information about how the tax credit works.

As of today, March 28th, 2010 at 10:36 AM, there are 5,089 homes currently for sale in Knox County and 13,643 total in all the counties our Multiple Listing Services reaches including Oak Ridge, Maryville, Loudon County; a total of 19 counties I believe. If you’re a potential buyer that means there is a huge selection of homes for sale in all price ranges.

I wrote an offer on a home yesterday and my buyer got a 4 1/2% fixed rate, 15 year mortgage and 30 year loans are available for 5% fixed interest rate.

$8,000 in tax credits to buy a house, 5% of lower interest rates, and thousands of homes to choose from. It does not get any better than this and that tax credit expires at the end of April.

visit Knoxville Home now to pick one out for you and your family.

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Knoxville Real Estate Transfers for the week of February 28, 2010

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 8:34 am, March 1st, 2010  

See 11,509 Knoxville area homes and condos for sale right here.

February 2010 is now officially over. The total sales from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors won’t be available until around the 15th of March so as to include late closings from February. We can however take a look at last week’s property transfers from the Knox County Register of Deeds office.

Knox County TN real estate property transfers

I count 104 for the past week which is about on par for this year’s totals. Last year we were averaging around 150 a week but I still believe this year’s numbers will increase as the spring selling market gets in full swing.

I mean who wouldn’t buy a house now if you wanted to and could qualify for a loan. There is a huge selection of homes for sale in all price ranges, motivated sellers who are willing to deal on prices and concessions to buyers, AND the lowest interest rates we’ve seen in a long, long time.

The only think holding real estate sales to their current levels is the jobs (unemployment) and the economic mess the United States (and a lot of the world) finds itself in right now.

The January unemployment figures held pretty much steady at 10% of the workforce. However, the real rate of unemployment — which includes part- time workers who want full-time jobs and people who want work but have simply stopped looking — rose to 17.3% from 17.2%.  Not good.

Only two more months left for buyers to get a home under contract now and qualify for the up to $8,000 tax credit for those that have not owned a home in the past 3 years and up to $6,500 for those that have. Call or email me for details.

Here’s what January 2010 sales looked like compared to previous Januarys. We were up 90 homes in 2010 compared to 2009 so that’s  good news.

knoxville tn real estate listings

January sales

Check out my exciting new website below to see all Knoxville area Realtor listings of houses and condos for sale. Search 1000’s of Beautiful Homes Photos, Prices, Tours, Maps & More!

See 11,509 Knoxville area homes and condos for sale right here.

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Knoxville, TN real estate transfers for the week of January 31st

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 9:35 pm, January 31st, 2010  
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West Hills all brick rancher in absolute move in condition. $209,500, call to see it today.

Today is the last day of January 2010 and the last published real estate transfer report for that month from the Knox County Register of Deeds. So how did we do? Let’s take a look.

knoxville tn real estate listings property homes and houses sole

Knox County TN real estate transfers

I count 108 property transfers for the past week. In 2009 we were averaging around 150 or so a week.

Historically Knoxville area real estate sales have started to rise early in each new year, building to a peak in the summer before starting a dip down as fall and winter approaches. Will the same thing happen this year? The next couple of months will tell that story and I’ll keep you posted right here.

visit to see all of the greater Knoxville area listings for sale as well as great selling and buying tips.

Listing price – Knoxville

Knoxville Homes For Sale

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It is cold in Knoxville, Tennessee this week but real estate remains hot for buyers.

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 9:33 am, January 11th, 2010  

Wow, we’re experiencing colder than normal weather in Knoxville, TN this week; it’s been below freezing for over a week now.

That’s a bit unusual for this area but it seems the whole United States has been experiencing below normal temperatures over the past few days. It’s supposed to get above freezing today with highs in the 50s toward the end of this week; I’m ready for some warmer (relatively) weather.

It appears from the weather map below that a high pressure system from the Gulf Coast and a low pressure system from Canada and further north are colliding over Knoxville right now. I’m pulling for the high to win.

US weather map

Although the air temperature is cold, the Knoxville real estate market is hot for buyers right now. Lots of homes for sale, motivated sellers, low interest rates, AND an $8,000 tax credit for most buyers.

Visit to pick one out and call me to go take a look at it.

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Knoxville, TN weekly real sales report for the week of December 20th

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 9:08 pm, December 23rd, 2009  
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This very motivated seller is willing to do a lease purchase on this beautiful country home in north Knoxville.

Here’s the latest real estate property transfers as reported by the Knox County, Tennessee Register of Deeds.

Year to date Knox County has been averaging around 150 transfers (sales) a week. The week just passed reported 135 sales which is a bit below the average. I’m putting that down to the fast approaching Christmas week and other things than home buying on people’s minds.

Knox County Register of Deeds, Knoxville, TN

You’ll notice from past reports that even the hot $100,000 to $150,000 price range sank down a little this past week.

I’m starting to hear from mortgage bankers all over the country that interest rates are on the rise and we will almost certainly be looking at 6% rates sometime before mid 2010, probably in the early months.

Of course 6% is a pretty phenomenal rate, I remember back about 30 years ago when I bought my first house and got an 8% fixed rate. I thought that was the best thing possible, which of course at that time it was.

If you’re thinking if buying, NOW is a great time. The $8,000 tax credit that most buyers will qualify for expires at the end of April in 2010 and I’m betting it will not be renewed again.

Even existing home owners can now get up to $6,500 if they buy another home for their principal residence AND your existing home does not have to be sold for you to qualify.

There is still a huge selection of homes for sale and motivated (for now) sellers are willing to make deals to entice buyers to buy their house over another.

And finally interest rates are still very, very attractive.

So putting all these factors together makes this sort of a perfect storm for home buyers. is the ‘go to’ place to see all Knoxville and Farragut Realtor listings as wells as many surrounding counties. Come on in and have a look around, you might find that “just right” home for you and your family.

Please feel free to leave your comments or email me with any questions.

Best wishes to everyone for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2010!

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