Monday, December 11, 2006

6 April 1956

Dear Folks

Just spent a most enlightening, if not enjoyable, hour and a half trying to clean the white stripes on my dress blue jumper. I was spurred on to this Herculean task by the fact that tomorrow we arrive at Valencia, & I wish to go ashore, to see what kind of telephone connections I can get with home.

We have two Puerto Ricans on mess cooking, & I try to talk to them only in Spanish. Usually, though, the conversation breaks down into English when it comes to the main points. It will be fun trying to get around in Spain. Incidentally, I’m glad I didn’t plan too strongly on going to Madrid, since they canceled the tour anyway.

Mail call today &, wonder of wonders, I got a letter from home! It was strung out over three nights, & only goes to show you’re slipping. I want one every day, even if it’s only a movie schedule.

The latest "discharge" report hot off the grapevine—we get back to the States on the 17th or 16th, or the 18th of June; a "draft" (Navy term for "group") will leave the ship for the receiving station—those whose discharge dates come between 20 June & 17 July. On the 27th of June, another draft leaves: those getting discharged between the 17th of July & 17th of August—that’s me. I heard it from a guy who gets out the 7th of August, but it sounds good anyhow. That would mean I’d be discharged by the first week of July.

Yes, dad, I agree—I’ve done quite a bit of "gadding about," & I’d love nothing better than just to sit home watching TV, going to shows, and buying clothes. But—one never knows, in this outfit, just what is coming off.

Oh, yes, also received your package of cocoa & books. Someone had tied it up with string, but it still was trailing a stream of brown. Very clever idea, putting the cocoa in between the pages of the book. I salvaged three & a half packets from it—the half packet coming from between the pages & poured from the big envelope. I hope you read that article on Lebanon in that "Highways of Happiness" booklet, mother. The photo, which I’ll send back, was taken, oddly enough, on the exact corner where the USO Canteen was—the building it’s in can be seen to the right. It’s a small world.

Hope you’re buying & saving Life every week for me.

How nice it is to be grown up at last & have dad ask me what I’m planning on doing, rather than telling me what I’m going to do. Just think—I can do anything in the world I want to, & nobody short of the police can stop me.

I must give you credit, though—you were never too strict on me—not many nineteen year olds go galloping off to New York by themselves. Remember the first time I went to a movie all by myself? How old was I, anyhow? I remember it was either a double feature (at the State), or so good I sat through it twice, or both—anyway, I was late getting home & you nearly had fits.

Oh, yes, it was Easter, wasn’t it? I don’t remember a thing about it, except that Lloyd & I had gone ashore the night before. Speaking of Lloyd, he’s slightly sea-sick today—only seen him twice, & he went to bed right after supper. Me it doesn’t bother in the least.

Beautiful bright day today—still cold—& the sea is still rough. The Intrepid has been tagging along with us for two days now. She’s pulling into Valencia with us. So are six destroyers. That ought to be lots of fun—ten sailors for every two feet of ground.

Just clipped out the Beirut pictures & story, in case you missed it. The "x" is where the Ti was before she broke loose; on the far side of the sea wall. The second floor of the building at right is the USO, or Lebanese-American club. Your loving son walked right along the same road, & looked out the window beneath the second (pillbox) thing. Notice all the American cars.

Well, bed time again.



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