February 11, 2011

The Azores

Ponta Delgada,
San Miguel, Azore Islands
June 17, 1919

Dear Mother and Father,

It's 12:25 and I have just taken over the 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. watch, so have time to write as there is nothing do but watch for the motor boat bringing the captain back aboard ship.

We left Philadelphia Tuesday at 1 o'clock, and got in here today (Monday) at 3 o'clock. Ponta Delgada is a funny looking place, but the houses are as clean as can be. We only got liberty til 10 o'clock -- but that was more than enough for some of the fellows, as saloons are wide open for gobs. All the people here are Portuguese, and are funny looking and talk like ducks.

We had rather a calm trip over -- naturally I was seasick the first day out, but got over it and enjoyed the trip the rest of the way over. We were flagship for five destroyers, and had to stand four hours on and eight hours off watch all the way. I never go one whole night's sleep except in snatches since we left Philadelphia.

We are taking oil aboard now, and I think will be underway in a very few days, but don't know where for yet. Hope it's the Mediterranean and that we stop in France and England as we go back.

It's 3:00 a.m. now. Had to stop a while ago, for all the officers who were ashore came back aboard. Just got up the radio electrician to get a tick [Ed. note: a time signal for coordination of ship's clocks] from Washington to set the chronometers by, and he said we leave tomorrow -- rather today the 17th -- at noon for Gibraltar, with two of the destroyers. The Evans and the Greer leave for England at the same time, I think.

Had beautiful weather all except one day coming over, and it's still cool and nice, although there is no wind blowing at all.

We are lying alongside an American oil tanker and around us are Italian, French, Spanish, and English ships. There is also a Portuguese gunboat. We passed the French cruiser Jean d'Arc bound for America, with the Brazilian president aboard. He was going to N.Y., Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, and was going to Texas and Georgia to look at cotton crops, but we got a wireless to forward saying that owing to illness, he wouldn't go to Texas.

Tell Donovan we saw three whales coming over. I know he would like to have seen them blow. I went up on the bridge and got a long glass so I could see them better -- we got by too quickly though.

Made 16 knots per hour up until Sunday noon, when we made 21 knots or about 24 miles per hour.

The yeoman aboard has been taking some pictures, and if I can get one he has just developed, I'll put it in the letter.

I talked to Clyde Haney again just before we shoved off, and he thought he would get out in July or August. I said I was going to stay in til I got across, and now that I am, I'm even more willing to go back any time they will let me. I'll drop in on you some time this fall about September -- all dolled up in civilians and everything. If I had gotten out I was going to buy some clothes in Philadelphia or New York before I went back.

We have a dog aboard -- or rather a pup. The fellows stole him in Philadelphia somewhere, and by the looks of him I'd say he was of good stock. He only got seasick once, and was the funniest looking pup you ever saw. His eyes rolled up and he evidently couldn't understand what made him so darn sick. Got all right in a few hours.

Remember the man who took me to the depot? Give him my regards. He told me to drop him a line from a foreign port, and said he bet I would forget to do it. I can't think of his name or I'd drop him a card.

Will knock off as my watch is about over, and I have to call my relief. Will write as soon as I get liberty in Gibraltar.

Love to every one of you,
Your affectionate son,

(Postmarked Buffalo, New York, June 18, 1919)

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