Sunday, January 14, 2007

10 June 1956

Dear Folks

Though it is now well into June, we are 5,000 miles from home, & the temperature is sufficiently warm to scorch cloth, I sat in Hangar Bay 1 & watched the movie "White Christmas." I’d seen it before, of course, but I liked it the second time almost as well.

Got a surprise during the "intermission" between the first & second movies—a guy walked up the aisle in civilian clothes (thereby he was an officer) & I’ll swear he went through Pensacola the same time I did. It was quite a shock.

Quite a bit going on for a change—Nick left this morning for transfer back to the States, while I still sit here. It sure will seem strange not to have him around.

It was a beautiful day, & the flight deck was littered with masochistic sun worshipers. I got brave & laid up there for an hour, watching helicopters take off like grasshoppers from the escort carrier Siboney (like the one we were on in Pensacola, mom). With me, though, a little sun is enough—I don’t get burned, but I just can’s see sitting &/or laying around doing nothing. I think when I get out, I’ll print books in assorted colors so that the glare won’t hurt your eyes so much.

Last two days I’ve read two books—one of them the biography of Robert Benchley, & the other a good pseudo-fantasy.

Naturally, they are having no less than five wonderful tours from Genoa—three days to Venice; three days to Florence; one day to Milan, etc. And I don’t dare go on any of them. Damn them.
In two days I have managed also to dirty two sets of whites. The ship generously deigns to press one pair a week. As you can see, things soon get out of hand if you don’t happen to have an iron.

On the Siboney came 79 new boots, all with the usual rosy cheeks & wide eyes. The first day they got here (Saturday) I overheard two of them complaining about the chow: "Gee, on that one we came over on we could get all we wanted to eat; we served ourselves, too." I tried to explain to them that A) we have almost twice as many men as the Siboney, B) we have been over here seven months & are surprisingly short on "pate de fois gras" & roast guinea hen under glass, & C) if we tried giving everybody all they wanted, we’d last about two days. They were not satisfied.

As the Chief says: "We’re here to feed ‘em, not fatten ‘em."

Tomorrow morning we’re having Quarters for Leaving Port, which is almost as useless a tradition as I can think of at the moment. Here we are, surrounded by mountains, where nobody can see us, or would be very interested if they did, yet we fall in on the flight deck in whites & look very impressive.

Short, but sweet. More tomorrow.



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