Sunday, October 08, 2006

24 December 1955

Naples is such a friendly city—happy people bustling about the streets (all of them within a five-foot radius of you); inviting your presence at their social gatherings ("Hey, Joe—you like nice place? Many girls; you come, no?"), pulling at your arm. Three of them thus managed to walk off with my watch. Knowing that this was all in good natured fun, I chuckled heartily when I finally discovered it was gone, at the telephone office. I went back but they were gone, of course—bringing a little cheer into someone else’s Christmas eve. Ah, this wonderful, wonderful Europe!

It was very nice to call home—I only had to wait about an hour, which is much less than I’d expected. And it was also much less expensive than I would have guessed—only $12.80 or thereabouts. Oh, yes, while waiting, I’d bought two American magazines & read in one that the insurance company covering my car had gone bankrupt. Happy day—Merry Xmas.

Coming back on the liberty boat, which I just barely caught, I sat as far forward as you can go—on the gunwale in fact. Sitting directly in front of me, as I sat facing the rear of the boat, was a guy who made me mad just to look at him. He was one of those fat, pug-nosed characters with glasses & the kind of face that looks as though he were smelling something unpleasant. He had a gigantic sandwich, made of a half loaf of large Italian bread, crammed with onions, cheese, meat, pickles, & God knows what all. This he kept shoving into his face at an amazing speed—his cheeks were puffed out & his mouth was so full that crumbs kept falling out. Every two minutes or so he’d open the sandwich & peer at it closely, fingering through it to see what was left. Then he’d cram it into his mouth again. When we reached the ship, instead of dropping it over the side, he let it fall to his feet on the deck &, when getting up, stepped on it. I could gladly have shoved him over the side.

It is now four minutes after twelve—Christmas day. And it may as well be the 10th of August or the 31st of May for all I care. I’m afraid I’m getting sleepy & less coherent, so I’d better close for tonite….

Merry Xmas…….

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