30 May 1956
Just had a mail call, & got two from you—the 23rd & 24th. Mother said my letters sounded "different" lately. Hmmm. She didn’t say "good-different" or "bad-different," but I can imagine. I suppose they have lost some of that Rover-boy luster & sparkling good humor. Unfortunately, you have never spent six months in Europe. That is enough to dim anybody’s outlook.
My, how I talk—like an embittered old man. Actually, I’m not—I’m an embittered young man. I guess it’s just this continual "Well, we’re going back home…oops, no we’re not" routine that gets very tiresome in almost no time.
Well, I shall try to regain my boyish charm in the future. It’s sort of like playing Russian Roulette with all six chambers filled. Really, I shouldn’t care one whoop in hell, but it is contagious, being with two thousand other guys who want to go home & don’t know when they’ll get there.
I’m rather worried about my car—with my phenomenal luck, it will need several major repairs.
Nothing new here—people kept running through the mess decks & galleys all day; everyone from Turkish naval officers to the crew of a KLM (Royal Dutch) Airliner.
As for the Commissary office—my 20 x 20 green & grey world—there are more people per square foot running in & out of here all day every day than there are in Times Square. We’re considering installing traffic lights & railroad timetables.
Tomorrow is payday, & I have $273 at my disposal, from which I am going to draw $60. I owe the Chief $20 & figure that since we get into Genoa on the 16th (next payday) & the tours to Venice begin on the 18th or so, I want to get my ticket early.
Can’t you see me running into the living room yelling "Hey, Mom, can I go to Venice?" And dad saying "Now think of all that money—you can use it for school." Oh, well, times change….
Now here it is five till ten. I had a fascinating dream last night, if only I could remember it—I remember I was having a mental duel with some alien thing whose mental powers were next to omnipotent. I had, it granted, 18 questions to try & discover its weakness & conquer it. I said: "Well, if you can foresee the future, you can foresee the outcome of this debate. Will I destroy you?" And then I woke up. Darn, & it was better than a movie, too.
August 4th. Question of the day—will the Ticonderoga get back to the States in time for Roger’s discharge, or will there be still another extension? Can Roger adapt himself to civilian life? Will his parents & his faithful dog Stormy recognize him when he does get home? Tune in August 12th for the next thrilling chapter in this true-to-life adventure.
It is now five after ten, & I am going to bed.