13 August 1955
Yes, it is I, your long-lost son, writing to you from the quaint & lovely "capital of the Navy"—Norfolk, Va. You will notice that I’m using pencil again. Also, if you look closely, you will probably notice several spelling, diction, & punctuation errors, all signs of the Navy’s highly effective demoralization system. Yesterday, I spent two hours walking around & around a room with a rag, dusting woodwork. About five feet ahead of me, & five feet behind were two other guys with rags, dusting the same woodwork. Of course, when my time is up, I plan to rush right out & reenlist.
Today is an anniversary, of sorts. Exactly one year ago I joined the Navy. August 13, 1954—a day that will go down in my personal opinion with Dec. 7, 1941. What’s this?? Do I sound bitter? Heaven forbid. If you have somehow gotten the impression that I haven’t enjoyed every instant of it, & do not worship the very toes the Navy treads on, you are right!
I was even cheated out of my hurricane. Connie followed us all the way up the coast, though we were too far inland to be affected by her. Then she staged two or three sit-down strikes, sulking off shore, while everyone concerned felt rather like the smaller member of a cat & mouse game.
The Navy (bless her) sent all her larger ships to sea—downtown Norfolk taped its windows & piled sandbags in its doorways. Yesterday she came this way—tides rose, turning some of the downtown area into imitation Venices. The sandbags came in handy as salt water lapped up the streets. I thought "A-hah—tonite come the winds." I stayed downtown after the tide receded, & went walking in the rain, which was almost a fine spray. The streets looked very pretty—splashes and ribbons of color reflected from the neon signs overhead. But no winds came. Connie had passed meekly by, to the great relief of all (that is, almost all.)
We (a guy named Don Stalhut & I) bid a teary farewell to Pensacola at about ten o’clock Monday, August 8. By 8 o’clock that evening we were in Atlanta, Ga. (354 miles) where we spent the night. Left Atlanta about 9 the next morning, & arrived in Greensboro, North Carolina about 8 that night. Got to Norfolk at five Wed. night.
I was very proud of the car; it didn’t give me a bit of trouble. Of course, last night I had to spend $3.40 for new fluid for the window lifts, & they told me I should get a new voltage regulator—the one I have is not the right type.
Norfolk is an odd town—a business district completely out of proportion to the size of the town—probably because of the Navy. There are lots of bars, but the peculiar thing is they can sell nothing but beer! I can’t figure out how so many places can be supported by such a limited thing as beer. After all, there are only so many brands of beer. Of course, none of that phases me too much anyhow—I don’t care for beer. Even if they were regular bars, I’m afraid I have too much Scotch blood in me (national, not alcoholic)—I can’t see spending all sorts of money for drinks & then have absolutely nothing to show for it.
Well, I could go on indefinitely, but I guess I’ll end it here. I’ll write again soon.
Regards to all the relatives