Sunday, December 31, 2006

16 May 1956

Dear Folks;

Eight-ten—the office filled with odd, lobster-colored creatures with very bleary eyes (S-2 had a beach party complete with beer today). Luckily I was working, & therefore not one of those present.

For some reason, I don’t feel much like writing tonite—I’ve started a "light" book that shouldn’t take too long—but I have got to start practicing willpower sometime, & now is as good as ever..

The movie for tonite was "State Fair," made in Technicolor in 1942. It is now 1956 & it was in black & white (which might be called Technicolor of sorts, if you only happen to have a two-color spectrum). Oh, well, it was good anyway.

We leave Rhodes tomorrow morning—several ships have left today, including two of the cruisers, of which at least one is returning directly to the States. Still no "official" word on what comes next but everyone says Istanbul, which must make it so. One nice thing about being at sea—we’ll be able to wear dungarees instead of these hot blues.

Oh, yes—tonite while we were standing in the movie line, about fifty rosy cheeked Airmen Apprentices came on board, fresh from the States. They all had on nice starched whites with two bright green stripes on their arms, carrying their sea bags. You should have heard the wolf whistles. Four of them will be sacrificed tomorrow on the great Mess Cook altar, to replace four we lost when one of our squadrons left.

The rover boys have all gone someplace else to collapse. Nick came in completely saturated last night, so tonite Coutre had his turn. A good time was had by all apparently, including the one inevitable fight. Botz, a huge CPO cook who reminds me somewhat of a St. Bernard dog, took a swing at Steidinger, who’s about my size (his distinguishing features being his tattoos & his eyebrow—he only has one that runs clear across his face, only dipping slightly in reverence to the nose), "Stinky," as we call him, just laid there in the sand, while Botz tried to get him to get up & shake hands. "Oh, no you don’t, you S.O.B.—I’m not going to get up just so you can knock me on my ass again." Then he started crying. Coutre asked him what was wrong—"Oh, nothing—I always cry when I get drunk." As I said, everyone had an excellent time.

Botz has one of those "Ho-Ho-Ho" type laughs that sounds like a mad Santa Claus—he gets playful after a few drinks, & he plays rough.

A chief came over this morning from the Roxbury, a troop transport, to borrow 5,000 lbs of flour & 3,500 lbs of sugar. Naturally, the good old Ticonderoga, the cornucopia of the 6th Fleet, poured forth.

Aha!! The word is spelled Corniche—not Corneesh or Kornech or however I spelled it in describing the road along the sea at Beirut. My will power sagged a bit & I started reading my book—the trials & tribulations of a war correspondent in the Med.

Well, if you’ll excuse me, I will close now. Till tomorrow.



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