Wednesday, November 22, 2006

9 March 56

Dear Folks

It would appear that my "journal" has recently been shot to hell. I’m sorry, but the days seem to be getting shorter rather than longer. The Commissary Department of the USS Ticonderoga is coming apart at the seams; everyone is walking around on tip-toes lest the roof fall in on everyone. It’s like mother [Note: mom worked for a John Deere sales & service dealership] crediting sales of ten road-movers when they only had four to start with. Oh, well, if somebody stamps their foot down, I’m far too little a bug to get squished.

We left Rhodes this morning—a beautiful day with a chill wind—on our way to Beirut. We’ll arrive there Saturday.

Everyone who is anyone in the Commissary Department is now in the office, voices weighted with impending doom. I find it extremely difficult trying to concentrate amid talk of invoices & surveys & issues.

Got a letter from Effie yesterday—her sister had died the week before, of cancer. Someday it, like scarlet fever, will be a thing of the past, but meanwhile hundreds of thousands of us die without hope.

See what I mean about time flying & all that—another day gone by & yours truly has been busy most of the time. Ship’s Store got a load of candy bars in, which are hoarded & dispensed as generously as gold nuggets.

The brownies are all gone, & I’ll return the box soon, with odds & ends. Tell you what—I’ll send the films home on condition that you only look at them once, & then put them away till I get home. Otherwise, you’ll show them every time someone comes over & be so sick of seeing them you won’t care what they’re of.. Is it a deal?

I was thinking about getting married today—not that I want to or am going to—just thinking about it. I just can’t see myself in the role of dutiful husband. Oh, well…

Last mail call—yesterday or the day before—I got another Science Fiction book from mother—thank you; it’s very good. Wish you could pick up some "Mad" magazines for me; I’d appreciate muchly (a new word I’ve cultivated).

For some reason, I dislike dumping wastebaskets at night—I guess it stems from my old "don’t-say-you-don’t-like-one-thing-better-than-another-because-you-might-hurt-the-other’s-feelings" days. All I know is that I wouldn’t want to be dumped over the side on a very dark night. I’m afraid I was much too much influenced by Peter Rabbit—I don’t like to hurt anything.
Tomorrow we anchor off Beirut—the furthest point we’ll get beyond home. Three months from today we’ll be on our way home.

According to the magazines & newspapers we occasionally see from the States, I am missing myriads of good movies, including "Carousel"—Rodgers & Hammerstein—from which comes "You’ll Never Walk Alone." Well, maybe I can catch them third-time-around at the Rialto or Capitol.

You still haven’t told me what’s new in Rockford—any new buildings downtown? Is Jackie Fearn still planning on going to college? If so, when?

I think I’ll try to live off campus this time—get a room somewhere, where I can be all by myself & do whatever I want to with nobody to bother me, unless I want them to. All I think about lately is college. Hope I’m not building up too much of a dream so that I’ll be disillusioned when I finally get back.

Enclosed is a cartoon I got from Coutre—his wife sent it to him. Oh, yes, did I mention I comshawed (somewhere between "borrowed" & "stole") a large map of the U.S. & plotted my way home? I didn’t get the exact mileage, & won’t have a chance now because someone stole it from me, but I got all the routes & towns. I’d appreciate dad getting me a map from some gas station—the Eastern U.S.—that way I’ll have something to trace out & look at every now & then.

Today’s "Daily Press" listed the top ten songs on the Hit Parade—I haven’t heard a single one of them

Say, mother—there’s a record I’d like to have you get for me—I’ll send the money—it’s "Tchaikovski Fantasy"-all the themes from his works—really beautiful. I heard it this morning over the BBC

Everywhere is America—the Armed Forces Network broadcasts all over Europe from Frankfort, Germany. It seems so odd to hear them say: "Weather forecast for today is mild, with some rain in Northern France & the Low Countries—Italy cloudy & slightly warmer…" or "Come to beautiful Bertschesgarten—a holiday you can afford & will long remember." Remember Bertschesgarten? Used to belong to some guy named Hitler. Why is it we forget some things so soon & remember others so long?

Incidentally, save the Life Magazines, if you still get them. I very seldom get to see one & miss them.

The office looks like something from the burning of Atlanta sequence in Gone with the Wind. Gettysburg could hardly have been more littered. Miles of adding machine tape, acres of cigarette ashes, scissors, magazines, paper coffee cups, clothes, pencils, notebooks, etc. More fun. And to think, it’s only ten thirty.

Conrad insists on walking around with his teeth half out. I looked out my little window this afternoon to see Conrad leaning nonchalantly against the rack of foam cans (for fire fighting), his mouth half open & his upper teeth sticking out even with his upper lip. He looked like a horse. I looked away, quickly.

Well, enough for now. I’ll try & be better in the future.



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