24 January 1956
What’s this? Only five thirty? Will wonders never cease. I can’t give you too accurate a description of the day’s events because it isn’t over yet. About an hour ago, after eating supper, I decided to go to the movie, & went to the compartment to change from dungarees to blues. When I got back, the office was dark & locked. The OOD was standing by wanting to get the evening meal evaluation chit. He’d been there for some time, waiting for someone with a key, I don’t have one, & had to run all over the ship looking for Coutre or Nick, or one of the MAAs.
Nick & Cou had gone to the movies—the MAA with the key was nowhere around. The OOD glanced impatiently at his watch; he shifted his weight from one foot to the other; he paced back & forth. And all the while his face was slowly going through a Dorian Grey-ish transition. At long last he left, the rumble of his parting echoed through the mess decks, though not a word was said.
Soon the missing MAA showed up with the key, & I grabbed the chit & hurried to the quarterdeck, where I presented it to the OOD with apologies for having him wait. He took it & said: "You’ll have to wait." I didn’t. I came below to the office & called the Bos’un Mate of the Watch & told him that if ever the OOD signed it, to call us.
After finishing the paragraph before the one above, the door opened & the OOD himself appeared with the chit, signed. And his comments were favorable. Oh, well, it all goes to prove something, but I’m not sure just what.
A beautiful night—a steady, not at all unpleasant rain that wraps the whole world in a grey mist. Far off, on the calm grey sea, a liberty boat rode motionless & silent, with two black figures standing, one on the bow & the other on the stern, as though carved out of coal. It reminded me of Charon & his boat on the river Styx. If I were capable of walking on water, I’d like nothing better then going for a long, long walk.
You know, sometimes I get that way—especially when we’re out at sea; the waves are as large as small hills & capped with white. I wish they would solidify, just as they are, & that I were the only person in the world, & could walk for years in the valleys & on the hills.
Today’s scuttlebutt—one which is probably true, for a change—we are not going to Algiers because of the unrest there; instead we’ll be going to Valencia, Spain, which ought to be very nice.
Tomorrow is the day of the tour, so let’s hope it is a nice day. Down to my last roll of film, so picture taking will have to be curtailed for a while. When I first joined the ranks of the "black shoe" navy, I began saving crisp new one dollar bills—the object being that saving fifty cent pieces wasn’t getting me very far, & that $1 bills were nicer. I hoped to wave the accumulated stack in Dad’s face & say: "See, I can save money." At one time there were sixty-five of them—all crisp & crinkly & neat. Right now there are 47, & the pile is dwindling rapidly. I’ve decided to save crisp new twenties, which will be much harder but more valuable in the long run.
Therefore it is my plan to draw my pay only every three paydays, leaving the rest on the books. With much care & less spending on my part, it might be possible. But, knowing me as I do, it is also highly improbable.
A group of 150 orphans came aboard today—little boys & little girls with scrubbed faces & pink cheeks, wearing white smocks, the older girls wearing red-& black close-knit plaid dresses, long black stockings, & old maid shoes. There are so many orphans in Europe…
I remember one little girl at Christmas, crying as if her heart would break because she got a teddy bear instead of one of the hundred identical dolls the other girls had gotten.
It is rumored that the library has gotten some new magazines—the others are from about mid-December. I’ve got to go & see. Excuse me….
Dear Folks—just got four letters from home—among them the pictures. I couldn’t have enjoyed them more—of course, I got violently homesick. Oh, well. You don’t know how wonderful it was to see home again, after over a year—you come home to it every night.
Been showing them to everyone. Wish either I were there or you were here.
P.S. They made good time—only 5 days!