Sunday, September 03, 2006


16 November 1955
To continue—I got, for my five American dollars, one pound (roughly $2.80), a couple of half crowns ($.38 each) & assorted shillings & pence.

This bank was located on what might be called the town square—the other wide spot mentioned previously was flanked by Government buildings—the intersection of five streets. At one corner was a Lipton store; sort of a grocery, looking like it belonged to the Lipton Tea family. Across the street is the Cathedral—the only catholic church we saw there; of that type of architecture that is attractive without distinction & of an indeterminate age.

17 November 1955

Another of those wasted days that, when it’s done, you wonder where it has gone. There isn’t even much of a memory of it, unless you try hard to remember. And even then it is blended into a hundred other days just like it.

Yesterday we worked straight through from 0730 until almost 2300 (11:00 p.m.). Mr. Clower is very generous about taking on work belonging to other divisions—no job is too great for him; and we, as his underlings, have the privilege of doing it all for him.

One thing is for certain—I should be quite masterful at the typewriter when I get out—if I have any fingers left.

I hate days like these—trying to think is like running a race in a sea of tar. The mind is at once a blank & crammed with thought; there is nothing to do or say, & yet there are a dozen things which should be done immediately.

The only saving feature of the day was mail call—it was flown in from someplace—either Gibraltar or Cannes. Still no packages, though. Supposedly there are several somewhere between here & home; cookies & things. Maybe I’ll get them by Xmas.

An illustration of my laziness—or better still, lethargy—are the postcards lying in my bottom desk drawer; they’re all written—I just haven’t gotten around to putting a stamp on them yet.

Had terrifically stormy seas yesterday—the ship bobbed & jolted & moaned—I loved it. About noon I took a small break & went up as close to the foc’sle as I could get—we had been warned to keep away from the catwalks & the foc’sle due to heavy seas. I tried to get to the foc’sle anyway, but all the hatches leading to it had been secured. So I found a spot just below the catwalks, where a ladder leads up to them from a platform, & stood there watching & listening to the waves smash & roar against the ship. Went back to the fantail to watch our little destroyer-shadow plowing through the waves—her whole bow would rise out of the water, like a rearing horse; then she’d smash down into the trough, & only her top masts & a bit of the bridge could be seen. I’d love to have been on her. Several guys (mostly squadron personnel unused to sea life) were violently ill. How anybody can possibly get seasick I’ll never know. After finally getting to bed & asleep, I was nearly bounced out of the rack a couple times, but this morning there was almost no noticeable movement (though the sea was still choppy).

Been debating on whether I can afford the trip to Paris from Cannes. It costs $55, which is wonderfully cheap, considering, but still quite a bit when compared with what I have on hand. I’ve decided not to draw another cent on paydays until what I have is gone; I learned that if you don’t go to get paid, they keep it on the books for you—maybe that way I’ll be able to save some money.

For the past few days I’ve been thinking of what I’ll do when I get discharged—I’m going to sell everything the Navy ever gave me, aside from a few momentos, hop in my car, & roar away to New York as fast as I can. After a week there (maybe only four days), I’ll head for home.

Actually, if you wish to overlook the nasty incidentals which have comprised most of my career, my Navy life hasn’t been bad—I’ve traveled from Boston to Miami; from New York to Los Angeles, & from Rockford to Gibraltar, with more to come.

The jets on this thing evidently burn kerosene—reminds me of the kerosene stove we had in the trailer when I was very small. Certain smells & tastes bring back complete memories or, more maddeningly, sensations I recognize but cannot place.

And so to letter-writing…..


Ken Beemer said...

Posted at 4:20 am? You're either
quite the night owl or a very early
bird. I always thought that the wee
hours were a myth--I've never seen
them! Ha! Anyhway, I love this blog
(the letters). It would be great to
have them in book form. Keep up the good work.

Dave said...

Strange, I never even thought about Paris. I just wanted to do Nice and Monte Carlo. And so,the memories come flooding back.......