February 3, 2011

New London Redux

New London
May 14, 1919

Dear Mother,

Again I take my pen in hand and drop a line from New London, although it's been a long time since I was here in the Y.

We got here last night about 8 o'clock and tied up to a buoy in midstream, but they didn't give us liberty until today at 4 o'clock.

They are putting on the compensator to the devices we got put on in Philadelphia. When they get on, I will have to look after that as well as stand quartermaster watches.

The trip from Newport was great -- warmed up, so we lay on the mats on deck and had a "jake of a time" all the way. Got some pictures of her as she was making about 30 knots, an surely hope they are good -- will have them developed here if we stay long enough and I think we will. Tomorrow we paint ship, but thank the Lord we don't have much of that to do -- just the bridge, while the deck force has to go over the side on stages [Ed. note: scaffolds] and bosn's chairs.

Haven't had a letter since last Friday but know they are just being sent around following us. We will get them here in New London, I'm sure.

We surely have a good bunch of officers -- no regulations whatever. We wear anything from dungarees to a combination of blues and whites, and the liberty party came ashore with everything from white hats to flat hats on. Seems funny to have to get in a motor sailor (whale boat with motor) [Ed. note: generic term is liberty launch] to go on liberty.

Didn't get to go down to Wilmington before we shoved off, and haven't even written them. However, haven't much better writing home.

One thing I like about the Blakeley, they don't make us get up til we want to -- up to 7:30, when we have chow. Just roll out of our bunks and step about 3 feet to the chow table -- wash if you really feel equal to the occasion.

New London seems rather tame compared to Philadelphia, and the fellows are just wandering around the main street for the shows or dance halls to open up.

Last night we stayed on the bridge and "chewed the fat" -- that is, carried on an animated conversation by means of the blinker -- with other ships in the bay.

We have liberty til tomorrow at 7:30, but am going back on the 12 o'clock boat and turn in so I won't have to get up so early.

Can't say where we will go from here, but hope we run up to Boston and then back down to New York.

I forgot to tell you I got your liberty buttons, and I thank you from the depths of my heart for the bond. I took out a $50 one myself, and if it's not paid out by the time I'm discharged, I'll pay the difference out of the $60 I'll get. I don't think it will be ten months before we get out.

Thanks again for the check for twenty -- I may be compelled to cash it sometime if we aren't paid in the next month or so, but will keep from doing it as long as I can.

Love to you and Dad and the kiddies,

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, May 14, 1919)

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