Monday, December 25, 2006

6 - 7 May, 1956

Dear Folks

After several days’ silence, I rise from the dead & take pen in hand once more. Today is the Greek Easter—the Orthodox religion differs from Catholicism in this & many other ways. Today is also the morning after the night before, though I am quite proud of myself, having come through the entire ordeal with what I consider "flying colors."

Lloyd & I went on tour yesterday. The tour got over about three thirty—we got back to the ship at five minutes to twelve. Between the hours mentioned came God only knows how many bottles of wine. If it hadn’t been for the goodness of three Greek sailors, we probably never would have gotten back. We met them in the subway, & stayed with them a couple hours. A grand time was had by all.

I suppose I should be ashamed of myself—I’ve been spending far too much money, but who cares? This will be the last good liberty port we will hit until we return home. Which reminds me—did I mention our month’s extension? Now we’re not supposed to get back to the States until July sometime. (And then again, I heard today that we’d received another dispatch canceling the extension.) Oh, well, think what you will.

The guide we had on the tour did not have the gift of narration that would have been so helpful—I knew more of the legends & mythology than he, & carried on a sort of secondary running commentary on whatever he said for those who didn’t understand what he was getting at. Still, it was interesting to see what I’ve been reading about.

And here it is still another day—I have developed a muscular tic in my left arm, which is going to town at this minute. It only goes away when I concentrate on it. There—it’s gone. It will be back.

The weather here has been from warm to mild, with occasional showers & cold winds in the hills & mountains. Other than that, it’s been excellent. I shot another two rolls of film on the tour Saturday, & so when I get home we’ll have to spread them out over several evenings. Doesn’t Jack have the kind of projector you can stop on one frame to look at it like a slide or still picture? If so, we must borrow it. Maybe we can rent a hall for the showing.

I got a kick out of mom’s saying that the sea air might harm the film—they are inside a steel box in a metal locker three decks down in a steel ship. They never even see daylight, let alone salt spray.

Tomorrow we leave Athens—it doesn’t seem possible that we’ve been here a week.

Rumors still going around concerning our extension. It is almost a dead certainty now that we won’t be home until July. Just so long as we’re there by August 12, I’ll be happy. Which reminds me—I have only 97 days left! Let there be singing & dancing in the streets!

One of the movies yesterday was a new one called "Ransom." I had seen it as a television play when I was home for Xmas leave. It was almost exactly the same. Pretty good, though.

Someone has donated a tape recorder, to which we are now listening—the current selection is a classical gem called "Who Put the Devil in Evelyn’s Eyes?"—a question which remains unanswered through the entire three minutes it takes the vocal group to ask the same question one hundred thirty-four times.

Later this evening Lloyd & I are going to play canasta—for which we bought two decks of cards.

You know, Saturday night we tried to figure out just why it is we should be such good buddies—I’m not the kind to have tons of friends—in the Navy, anyway. I came to the conclusion it is because he is everything I am not, or would like to be, rather; & he looks up to me for some reason; I’m a combination of big brother & conscience. At any rate, we get along. Besides, I always wanted a brother.

Ah—tempus fudgits so fast—which is good for getting out of the Navy but bad on letter writing.

Oh—now they’ve got a real tear-jerker—a "mountain-William" with the heartrending repetition of the phrase "Dawn’t let me hang around if yew dawn’t care." (Excerpt from a conversation—highly intellectual—about the new records of a friend—"Man, they got some terrific stuff—Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb—man, that’s fine music." The horrible thing was that he meant it!)
I’m getting several members of our little group highly irritated. Now, I fully believe that "to each his own"—but why THAT? Only five thirty—which only makes me four days late.



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