19 November 1955
Anchored today off the coast of Sardinia which, if my knowledge of geography serves me right, is an island about an inch or two off Spain & France, on a large map
Only got topside for a moment today, & practically froze even in that length of time. Sunny Mediterranean—HAH. The occasion for my going out into the harsh elements was to run a breakfast inspection sheet up to the Officer of the Day. Since he is located on the bridge, it gave me a chance to get my first look at the brain-center of the carrier. It is an angular, heavily-shielded room; or rather two rooms. The first one, furthest forward, is where the Captain &/or Admiral &/or OOD stand. From here, the ocean spreads out in front endlessly—the flight deck is far below & off to the left—almost the sensation of flying. This room is quite large & rather angular—like half of a twelve-sided sphere. The windows which run around it are set in thick protective steel, & have large shutters with only small viewing-slits which can be lowered in case of attack. Behind this first room is the steering room. The wheel which turns the carrier is about two & a half feet in diameter—a metal vertical disc rimmed in wood. Beside it are the small but complex machines & indicators which convey directions to the engine rooms. All quite simple, & yet very complicated.
The days of the bearded sailor standing on the quarterdeck amidst raging seas, struggling with a huge, many spoked wheel are over. The driver of the U.S.S. Ticonderoga was a young kid in blues, not over nineteen. Ah, this brave, new world….
Today I also did what may be considered a foolish thing, but I’m sure I shall never regret it—I signed up for a four day tour to Paris, leaving from Cannes, France the evening of the 22nd. The cost, as I believe was mentioned yesterday, is only $69, which is unbelievably low. But considering that I have only $100 to my name, representing almost two years in the service, it is quite a large sum. Also the fact that Christmas is almost here.
As for Christmas, I like to pretend that there is no Christmas at all this year (for me, there isn’t). But I’ve got to buy presents & send them home, even if they don’t get there until February.
I meant to mention it yesterday, but didn’t have time—yesterday morning I had the most unusual sensation—it lasted from about eight o’clock to five after 10—what those who are not confirmed skeptics might call a premonition. Of what I do not know & cannot guess. That would be about 2 a.m. back home in the States. Probably it was nothing, but it was an odd feeling
Tomorrow is Sunday—we replenish Monday. I suppose the only reason we’ve anchored is to save fuel. Now there is an example of clear & logical thinking. Oh, well, that is the way I keep house—it may be messy, but I like it that way….