Friday, January 19, 2007

20 June 1956

Dear Folks

I wish I had had Shore Patrol last night; they had some lovely riots. At least five guys I know were involved; one got kicked in the face when a guy he hit fell backwards over the seat in a liberty launch. Another cold-cocked a Second Class Corpsman as he was coming to the aid of one of the fallen at Fleet landing—a Shore Patrolman then proceeded to pound lumps on his short-blond head. Fun? I tell you, boy….

Botz just came running in with a new rumor, which he handled like a hot potato—we will be in the States by the 16th of July (you may take this letter out on the 16th & chuckle to yourselves if we end up in Suda Bay again). A certain Chief who shall remain nameless (Humphries) because the Captain threatened to break him if he let out any more rumors—says it is in the Captain’s safe.

Mail closes out in twenty minutes, but it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it.

Everyone has emotional cycles, like a bowling ball suspended on a string & let swing. On the "outside," as I awesomely refer to That-Part-of-Human-Existence-Which-Does-Not-Come-Under-Jurisdiction-of-the-Navy, everyone goes their own merry ways, like the workings of a gigantic clock. In the Navy, though, the swinging is as ponderous & heavy as the steel ball used to wreck large buildings. Either everyone is going through a soft-shoe dance accompanied by witty sayings, or black crepe hangs thick over the entire ship. There are, of course, few exceptions—one guy in a bad mood will stay miserable all day & do his best to louse up everyone else. But everybody in a bad mood can smash flat anyone who has the audacity to feel halfway human.

Coutre had a wart removed from his finger about a week ago, & has been going about like something out of "East Lynn" ever since. Whereas Steidinger, who fell into a barbecue pit during the last beach party & was so badly burned on his arm & hand that he’ll be lucky if he isn’t scarred for life, never says a single word.

Godwin—the guy in the butcher shop who loves Hillbilly music & never wears socks, had a heart attack on the beach the other night. He didn’t want to come back to the ship & staggered into a bar, while guys tried to drag him back, saying "No, dammit, I’m going to get drunk if it kills me." Now that’s the spirit!

Please inform my bosom buddy L.D. Ayen Jr. That if he doesn’t get on the ball & write, I’m going to cancel his subscription to Howdy-Doody Comics.

Aha! Mail doesn’t close yet for another half hour—I can still make it (it was 2200, not 2100). So, con su permiso, I am

Su Hijo