Sunday, August 27, 2006

8 November 1955

Just finished eating a small tin of chocolate chip cookies purchased at the ship’s store across the way. I will probably be sick. They had the vague taste of, if not being soaked in, at least baked near, rum. The taste lingers; a sort of gastronomic hangover.

A beautiful day today—warm with just enough clouds to make occasional shade—like driving down a tree-lined street. The sea was calmer than I’d imagined it could be. No waves, just gentle rolling swells. The water itself was a blue no ink-bottle could match, with occasional cookie-brown clumps of seaweed floating by. It was the kind of day when I wish the ocean were made of glass, & I could go walking for miles & miles & miles.

Been at sea four days now, & still no mail; none till we get to Gibraltar. I’d better get used to the idea.

This ship has the most remarkable laundry system; very efficient. You put your clothes in one of the large (6’high) white canvas laundry bags in your compartment. It is carried down to the laundry by the same people every day. Once at the laundry, it is taken from the bags & placed immediately in one of the large washing machines. The contents of one bag should be sufficient to just fill one machine. From the machine, it is put directly back into the same bag, brought up by the same person, sorted out & returned. So far, I have only lost ten T-shirts, seven pairs of shorts, two hats, & one dungaree shirt. How in hell they could get lost I’ll never know. Everyone else seems to get their clothes back. But not me. I think somebody hates me….

Yesterday afternoon we spent at least an hour discussing the advantages of staying in the Navy. I had it explained to me how much one could save, the medical benefits, the opportunity to retire at an early age with a large pension, etc. I was not impressed.

Lost another hour last night—I’d be willing to wager than on our return, we’ll have it arranged so that the hours will change during the day—that way they can get another hour’s work out of us. G.Q. again today—no warning this time, not even a book to read.

Played "Hannah the scrub-woman" last night with 7 ½ pairs of socks in a head wash basin. How I got 7 ½ pair of socks dirty is a complete mystery. But I swore I’d not send them to the laundry. At this moment, I am only wearing a dungaree shirt, because I only have two T-shirts left. Of course, there are always the three I folded my first day of indoctrination in Pre-Flight & have never worn. And I never will….

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