Monday, October 16, 2006

6 January 1955

Dear Folks

I suppose this is what would be called "the morning after the night before," only it should be "the night after the morning before." I was up until three this morning trying to untangle the mess made during the day. Seventy three came in & roughly seventy three went out; the smoke still hasn’t cleared sufficiently to get a really clear view. I signed my initials approximately two hundred & ninety-three times. Oh, well, it was fun, seeing all the happy faces (those checking out). The guys coming in acted, for the most part, as though someone had just offered them a cigarette at a firing squad in their honor.

Bless those wastebaskets! Every day at sea that I’ve had the opportunity to get outside has been beautiful. I’d just as soon we stayed out for months—God knows it’s the only way I’d be able to save money.

Palma is the next stop—on the 10th. Incidentally, the name of the island is Majorca, not Mallorca. There seem to be two of them—the other is called Minorca—I challenge you to figure out which one is largest. Found out also they don’t speak Spanish, but Catalan, whatever that is. Also that they are descendants from the Phoenicians & Carthaginians, as if it really matters.

Since we’ll only be there two days, I probably won’t get bored. Then back to Gibraltar, where they speak that beautiful language, English. Oh, how good it will be to walk down the street & actually understand what half the people are saying—the other half are Spanish, & if they carry on conversations concerning "big buildings" & "see the green tree" I might be able to understand them, too. Still have ten shillings in my wallet left over from last time.

Did a little office re-arranging this afternoon—Nick moved his desk away from the door (people are always running in & out bothering him), the MAA’s moved their desk to the spot Nick vacated, & Cou moved to where they’d been. I stayed where I was.

Zone inspection today. Since I’d been up till three, I didn’t come down till ten; Nick was just starting to hold field day. So he took one side & I took the other—we scrubbed, dusted, & straightened until the office looked spotless (which is very rare). Unfortunately, neither of us had bothered with the middle. Commander Custer (our Supply Officer) came steaming in, walked directly to the liberty card box—which is in dead center of the rear wall (bulkhead)—ran his fingers over the top, & came away looking like something from a minstrel show. He was not pleased.

This morning when I got up, all the heads were secured for field day, so I couldn’t wash. I’d certainly hate to have diarrhea on this ship, especially on Friday morning. Later, when I did go to wash, I was standing next to a gear locker when someone opened it, dropping a formidable sized piece of lead pipe on my foot. Nothing was broken, or you would have heard about it much sooner than this.

At the moment I have a strong hunger for waffles—earlier today it was popcorn. I’ve completely forgotten how milk tastes.

Oh how I wish we were back in the States. I think the biggest problem Man will have to face when he reaches for the stars will be homesickness. It affects even the most independent—to be placed in unfamiliar surroundings & situations. It’s bad enough just 3,000 miles from home—where there are at least some similarities. Imagine being millions of miles away, where your home is just a twinkle in the night sky.

Well, the shower calls—I feel filthy.



P.S. The two stains on the upper corner of the first page are peanut butter. I had to settle for that.

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