14 February 1956
Today, as I walked down the passageway on my way from the Photo Lab, I glanced at the tour ticket in my hand & saw, really saw, for the first time, the words "Rome, Italy." For a moment then I regained the thrill of the new, the exciting, & the unknown. But pleasure is so dampened by reality that very little can be really enjoyed in the present—it must wait until it becomes the past, when it can retain some of its magic.
I suppose this is partly coupled by the fact that the view changes, but the house doesn’t. It’s as though you were to get up one morning & step out the door into a completely different city. But when you come back home, everything is the same.
Our brief run from Sardinia to Italy was one of the roughest we’ve ever been through—water rolled back & forth across the hangar deck in tidal waves with the ship’s rolls. It washed into the mail room to a depth of about a foot. One jolt during the noon meal broke half the plates in the Chiefs’ quarters, spilling tables all over the deck.
When I returned to the office after the movie, it had been secured for heavy weather, so I had no chance to write.
This morning service-wide examinations for Petty Officer Third Class were held in Hangar Bay #1. I took the test for AK (Aviation Storekeeper), but I might as well have stayed in the office—having spent only five days in the Aviation Supply Office when I first came aboard, I didn’t know beans.
Tomorrow is payday, thank God! I spent my very last dollar for the tour ticket ($28.00). I haven’t been paid in six weeks.
A batch of new men came aboard tonight, fresh from the States—most of them fresh from Boot Camp. It only took them a month to get here—flying—via Scotland, Heidelberg (Germany), Frankfort (Germany), & Port Leyute (N. Africa).
One of the first purchases I make when getting home will be a tape recorder (Webcor). It will come in very handy for college. Some of the guys have been tormenting me with the thought that they may release me as much as two weeks early. But that would be too much to hope for—they can also hold you 30 days over your discharge date, which is more likely.
Vesuvius, which I hope may someday destroy Naples as completely & more irrevocably than it did Pompeii, is coated in a somber cloak of snow, which makes it look very impressive—sort of like an English judge.
The snows here must have been very bad, as the mountain is white to its very base.
Unless we can buy bread & flour ashore, the USS Ticonderoga is going to be in very poor straights, having only eleven days’ supply of flour left—& our next replenishment is not scheduled until March.
Just finished Milton in the book of Poetry—the poets are in more or less chronological order—I still have three hundred years or so to go. So, "con su permiso"….