Staff Sergeant Mark Zotstein
Reflections on this veteran's military service
Submitted by Mark Zotstein
I was born in New York City, and my family lived in various cities in New Jersey. I was inducted into the U.S. Army shortly after graduation from high school and was sent to Fort Ord, California, for infantry basic training. It was there that I met my future wife, Toby, who was 16 at the time. I met her on a double date. My brother was dating Toby and I had another date. Ironically, we ended up switching dates that night. For our date, we went to a swing shift dance which was held late into the night.
After basic training, we went overseas to New Guinea to train for the invasion of the Philippines to take Manila back from the Japanese. After the Japanese surrendered, I was sent to Tokyo and many other islands and cities in Japan. When I came home from the war, I was recovering from malaria. I returned to New York for a while, then came back to California and to my future wife, Toby. We were married in August, 1946, and had a son and two daughters.
We purchased our first and only home in Lakewood in 1950, when it was still a dirt lot. I worked for a company called Wolfe Range in Compton for 43 years. This company manufactured ovens and appliances. I started out as a typist and retired as the president in 1989. We still live in our original Lakewood home. Our three children graduated from Lakewood High School and two of them also purchased homes in Lakewood, where they live today. We recently celebrated our 70th Wedding Anniversary. I am 95 and my wife is 90. We were blessed with 6 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.