Wednesday, December 20, 2006

24 April 1956

Dear Folks

I’m starting tonite’s letter early, so that what it may lack in quality it may partially atone for in quantity. Of course, like I said last night, if I insist on writing so small, no matter how much I write it won’t look like much.

Slept like a log last night, & hated to get up, as usual. Today was a second-class day—cloudy but not really too bad. Oh, I forgot to mention in passing the last few days—Saturday while we were out strolling along the flight deck, we sat down on the edge where the catwalk had been torn away by the storm. When we looked down at the water, I couldn’t believe it at first—there were literally thousands of jellyfish—so light & transparent they could hardly be seen, floating just below the surface. They were completely surrounding the ship; whether we attracted them or they’re like that all over, I don’t know. They were almost a solid mass, just lying there, wafting slowly back & forth with the motion of the waves.

We’ve had more mail calls in the past week than in the preceding two weeks. Got a letter from you today, mailed on the 19th, which isn’t bad, all things considered.

Oh, about that Fantasia record again, mother—I know it has Swan Lake on it—it has all his great works, & I think it is beautiful. Please get it & I’ll pay you for it.

I have a box for your binoculars, dad, & will send them on in a few days. I think I’ll also put in several rolls of film with it; you may look at it once, if you like.

Tell me, mother—do you want me to pick up any silks or brocades if I get a chance in Istanbul/Ismir (whichever one)? I can get just plain cloth—roll or bale or whatever you call it—by the yard. I still kick myself for not having gotten any in Beirut. It was $9 a meter (39"), but would be about $15 or $20 in the States. I won’t pass up a chance like that again, if you’d like some. Oh, well….

Athens is supposed to have some good buys, too. If there is anything you want in the way of practically anything, let me know & I’ll try to pick it up. After all, my Mediterranean Cruise is just about over.

Here are some "advised buys" in Athens: "dolls in regional costumes, ceramics, ash trays, vases, plates, etc.; hand made silver & silver plated jewelry, mirrors, desk sets, etc.’ hand embroidery & hand woven covers for tables & luncheon sets, bags, blouses, & children’s clothes; hand woven silk & cotton by the yard; hand woven mufflers & scarves, men’s ties,….." The underlinings are mine. If you want me to pick up any of this stuff, either for you or for Xmas presents for the relatives, let me know. I have, or will have next payday, about $200 on the books, so you needn’t worry about my having enough money.

Don’t count too heavily on my getting out early—the other day I did what I should have done the first time I heard those rumors—called a buddy in Personnel & asked him. Personnel Office handles all transfers & discharges, & said they hadn’t heard a word about anyone getting out early. It’s possible, of course, but then almost anything is possible in the Navy.

Oh, yes—it’s official now about being 3rd Class ("glorified seaman") so you can address my letters AK3 instead of AN.

It’s been awfully warm down here (below decks) lately. Guess Spring is here.

Any further ideas or thoughts on coming out to meet me? You can no doubt get last-minute plane reservations at almost any time. I was just thinking how long it’s been since I’ve seen you. I remember mother standing before the Cathedral in New Orleans, & eating toasted cheese sandwiches by the swimming pool at the motel. That was a very nice place—too bad we didn’t get any pictures of it. And I remember both of you when you got off the planes—mom in a brown suit or dress—I can see it, but don’t recall which it was) & dad looking out that weird egg-shaped window.

Well, I think I’ll start cutting that box down to mail the binoculars. More tomorrow.



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