4 Days from “Home”.

rose

Dearest “Cyclone”,

Wasn’t it fun darling! Every minute of it is treasured in my mind.  Yes, even the tender shiver of pleasure that I felt run through you when you tasted that kiss.

I’m starting to go to daily Communion this voyage, to thank God for his lovely blessing, you.  I hope I don’t get in the habit of writing mental letters.  Oh it’s good, in a way, I say things much more eloquently, but they are mental and you can’t read my them, or can you?  Perhaps you love me enough and are close enough to me in spirit to read my thoughts.  From the thrilling feeling of your love in my arms I wouldn’t doubt the possibility of it.

Oh darling, I love you!  I love you!  I love you!  I love you!

This ship is absolutely maddening.  Always at sea!  First, plowing Southward, ever, southward, each day 400 miles further away from “home”.  Then after 19 days, we turn north and push, push, push, uphill across the broad waist line of the earth, past the Statue of Liberty, into New York.  FOR WHAT?  Only a FEW precious hours in which to feel the rich, warm, loving, softness of my beloved in my arms.  Then, plow southward separating us 400 miles each day, racing past Latitude lines as though they were merely cracks in the sidewalk in front of the house.

I need more of you.  You need more of me.  THIS IS ONE HELL OF A STRAIN ON BOTH OF US.

Oh!  That the time were here already, when I would shut off the light, climb into bed, curve your body next to mine, and your head nestled in it’s favorite spot, and just relax, and bath myself with the glow of our fulfilled love.  Just to lie there like that through the sweet velvet blackness of the night enveloping us with an overpowering blanket of sweet, tender, of fulfillment.  Ah my darling!  My sweet, lovely, beloved cyclone, how I love you!

I would die content if I could but have you now, this night, instead of the pain, and the unavoidable Technicolor dreams!  Truly I know what it means to love so deeply, and strongly, that it hurts!

Darling, I’m speechless!  I miss you so urgently tonight that I can’t even find anymore words to express it.  I just sit here, all “cyclone” inside and can’t put anything on paper- except,

Dearest heart, ever true,

Love me always, as I love you.

G’NITE,

Dave.

25 July. One Day and a Half Out of Rio De Janeiro

Dearest  “Cyclone”,

Hello Darling!  Still love me?  Say, remember all the kidding we’ve done about “champagne”?  Well, the other night they had a masquerade ball for the First Class passengers, and one woman, a Met. Opera Star, bound for a season in Rio, came up to Capt. Sadler and wanted him to help her decide on a costume.

I guess, because I did a little extra work last trip, Capt. Sadler thought of me, and gave me the job.

None of the mates liked the idea, myself included.  The Steward’s Dept. handles passengers.  Deck Dept. has a few other things to do, not the least of them being keeping the ship afloat.

Well, orders are orders, and the Captain was on the spot, so, I took half a sheet, stretched it out on the bridge wing, and drew a chart of North and South America with all the BRAZIL’s courses on it for a skirt!  One of her friends went as a Moore Mac Cormack smokestack, and her three children (triplets) went as the Good Neighbor Fleet:  Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.

MCCORMICKWell, they won first prize, so, the opera star sent me a bottle of French Champagne, which we shall investigate at the Henry Hudson Hotel.

I have Choppy all fixed up, so far, with Johnny, so everything is ok.  The room is all reserved, commencing the night of the 22nd of August until sailing day.  If, for some reason Choppy can’t come, don’t you fail me darling, after all we are engaged now and we know how we feel about such matters, as I presume, your mother also does.  Don’t fail me sweetheart!  Please!

Heart of mine, faithful and true,

Love me always, as I love you.

All my love Cyclone,

Dave.

28 July 1948. Rio De Janeiro

breakfast

 

My own darling “Cyclone”,

You now have only 277 more days before you have to get up and cook my breakfast!

I received one letter when we got in, and am enclosing my only copy of addresses in this letter.  I’m afraid I won’t be hearing from you too much this voyage, unless you send a few letters, as soon as you receive this new list of addresses.  Do your best though, please darling.  You know how much getting letters means to you, well, just put yourself on the other side of the equator, where only a few people speak English even, and then try to imagine how priceless a letter, direct from the heart of your loved one, becomes.

Betty, my love, it’s twenty minutes to 8:00 p.m..  I’ve got to sleep to eleven because I work from midnight to 8:00 a.m. in South American Ports.  So, I’ll have to cut this letter short.  I have to go on deck and earn the price of a finder for our new car and maybe a little for our “baby” bank account.

I’m sorry this letter is so short, but, I’m in a hurry and I wanted you to have those addresses right away, so I can read some more of your lovely letters SOON!

Yours as long as I live.

Love,

Dave

 

 

 

One Day Out. Bahia, Brazil

Dearest Cyclone,

Now, don’t start thinking our schedule has changed.  It hasn’t.  We only stay 8 hours in Bahia, then, on to Rio and, I hope, a few letters from you.  The first stretch of each voyage, I think must be the hardest part.  After having been in each others arms, to have to wait about 12 days to read a letter from your love is a little rough.

Darling, I have reserved a room for you and Choppy for 5 days, starting on the night of Sunday August 22nd.  The Henry Hudson Hotel on W57th street.  You’ll like the hotel.  It’s only a few blocks from the West side raised highway, so I can get from the hotel down to the ship in no time. 

Henry Hudson 

Also, one of the ass’t. managers there used to be Deck Dept. Yeoman on the “Brazil”.  I stopped in to see him on my way to the ship after I landed at La Guardia Field.

FLASH!!!  Do you know that you only have 280 mornings before you have to start getting out of a nice, cozy, warm bed to cook breakfast for me?  It’s a long wait my love, but, we will manage somehow, and won’t we be happy then!  I have to close now.

Dearest Cyclone, loving and true,

love me always, as I love you.

 

G’nite,

Your Dave

8 July 1948

8 July 1948

Dearly Beloved,
Well, usual routine! Up at 3:00 AM, on watch until 8:00 AM, walk down two decks to the library, go to Mass, and communion, walk down three more decks, and off for breakfast. Pretty soft eh! Each time I do it, I can’t help but think of the walk that you have to Mass.

The “Brazil’s” priest is a Monseigneur. Not bad eh! After two years of navy services in the Pacific catching Mass and then Sacraments whenever I could, I’m now on a ship with a “Monseigneur” and have daily Mass.

I’ve been trying to get a good tan before I take you swimming, but I don’t have enough time during the day to lie down for a sun bath, and when you stand up, and work, in a bathing suit, (when I’m off watch; on watch I have to be buttoned up in dress whites regardless of the heat.), the sun is so high, that your shoulders get burned and the rest of you stays white.

Honey, I have no intentions whatsoever of mailing this letter, we are far at sea, on our way home, with no chance of mailing this before I get to New York. In fact, you probably will never see this letter.

It’s just that I’m so anxious, now that the time is drawing near. So anxious, to hold you and that warm, lovely body made for my love, in my arms, I try to express sufficiently well, what you are now as aware of as I am. That my search in life has ended. That I have found a woman, sweet enough, loving clever enough, exciting enough, fruitful enough and trusting in me enough, so that I can concentrate more love than I think you, who are just awakening to the depths of love, are aware exists, on one woman alone forever. Therein lies part of the beauty of love. On this ship I see, during my rounds of inspection, many things, some of which it might be better I didn’t see, but which are nonetheless, part of my job. I don’t come in contact with, but notice all the different married and single couples, and the usual female shepherdesses with their flock of eager sheep.

When the feeling, which someday I hope to explain, comes over me, you are right beside me, I glow with happiness, a new spring comes into my walk, my moods are brighter, I’m actually polite to obnoxious passengers, my heart sings with joy, and I start to whistle softly as I continue my inspection of the ship. Because I realize that everything I see is a different stage in the attempt of so many people to find a semblance of what we have, are aware of, and hold dear.

While so many, like the “Kraft Cheese” Heiress, on board, are extremely wealthy, on the other hand, I find so many ways in which they are sadly lacking. So much that they miss, and I humbly realize that I am wealthier far, than the majority of them will ever be. Because I have a “true blue” woman who is absolutely faithful and true, and who has sense enough to know that I derive more than a good deal of content out of being absolutely 150% trustworthy and faithful myself.

From the moment my ring went on your finger, please realize darling that, I became completely, indescribably completely yours. So much so that if I even danced with another woman, I’d be miserable because my arms belong only to you and have no business around any one else’s.

When you come to my arms and we are “home’ once more, please realize that you are actually “home” when you are in the circle of my arms. Look upon it as your haven, a place to be thrilled, excited, happy, or have a good cry in, it’s a space that is completely yours and I forbid any one else to ever, as long as I am alive, trespass there. I’m yours completely darling. You do not actually leave my arms once during the whole voyage. The soft, tangible, warm, sweet curvaciousness of you is gone yes, but your memory is lingering strongly and it presents an insurmountable obstacle for any other woman.

All my love forever,
Dave

P.S. I’m going to mail this after all. It says a few things I want you to know.

beauty

April 9, 1948…Until the Day I Die

photo (21)

Hi my Darling,

Just received four of your delicious epistles. You’ve no idea how sweet and much looked forward to, your letters have become since you realized how much you are in love, and gathered enough courage to tell me about it. It really does wonders for me to read of your love and, our mutual desires, and wish for fulfillment.

Oh my love, we shall be so happy together! (and the time is going by, slowly, but steadily.) If you should become a little frightened, as the time goes by, please try to remember that all girls of our religion should feel that way, it’s only natural. But, also try to remember what I have told you about the patience and understanding I’ll give you after we are married.

Any strain or uneasiness when we are together is caused by necessary restraint, making us overly conscious of one another physically, in an attempt to be forewarned of dangerous waves of evolving emotion.

All that, and your thoughts resulting from that will cease when we become man and wife. Then, and only then will our association actually be as happy as it should be. Then, with kindness, and lasting love, we will begin to know each other, and act normally and unrestrained toward another.

Instead of being frightened about that time, try to realize that our love is strong enough now to keep us happy, and, how much happier we will be when we are united “straight up and down”, in a normal existence. (the only thing abnormal about it will be how completely well matched and happily wedded we will be).

So, next time you are “frightened”, or should I say apprehensive?, realize, PLEASE, my love, that you are over half way through the unnatural, “frightening” stage of our relationship, with flying colors, and am now heading toward the contentment and peace that awaits you eagerly in your favorite spot, when we are married.

My life,
My heart,
My happiness from April 9, 1948 until the day I die,

I love you,

Dave.

13 June 1948

13 june 1948

 

Dearest Heart,

Tonight the sky is clear and cloudless, the horizon sharp.  Venus, Denebola, Aldebaran, and Achernar crossed beautifully on the chart for a position of, Latitude 10′-11’S, Longitude 34′-36’W.

Can you hear me, way up there, beyond the broad waist line of the earth?  I love you, love you, love you.  Can you hear me?  Darling I know you can!

At the time you were teaching Sunday School, or finishing Mass this morning, I was kneeling in the library on the Promenade Deck, dedicated to a Moore MacCormack Mate who was lost during the war.  Hearing Mass with the rustle of the wave on the low notes in the choir and the gentle southwesterly breeze running over the soprano parts.  Truly the music of God for his divine Banquet!

Part of the time, I was in St. Pat’s with my love beside me listening to a Dominican Father talking about, “straight up and down”, and oh my darling, so it is, straight up and down!  So much so that, when in church, my mind wanders to you, as it persists in doing, I feel then that I am still praying, in a sense, and the most wonderful feeling of delicious content enshrouds me, and I am overjoyed, because I am positive that you, my love, loving as deeply as I, enjoy similar moments.  We are privileged, we too, in having each other.  God grant, fulfillment for us be not too long delayed.

I shall proclaim my everlasting, joyous love for you, and all you are a symbol of, to me, for as long as I shall live.  Just as long as you remain “Betty”, the Betty I love, I shall envy no man, and be content with my lot and God’s gift of you.

My precious I love you, I love you, what else can I say except that I’m bubbling over with desire and need and want for your delicious comforting, presence, here beside me, right now, so I could hold you in my arms closely, caress you and know that, forever, you are mine, straight up and down!

Goodnight my life,

Love,

Your Dave

Courtship, Betty and Dave

Courtship, Betty and Dave

16 June, 1948

16 June

 

Hi Cyclone,

How’s your imagination this evening?  Coax on that lovely smile, cuddle up close, take your shoes off if you want to, kiss me once, now snuggle in close and rest your head on your favorite spot, now, just wait until I put your arms around you, one – here, and one more! – there, now I can tell you.

Oh Darling!  You whose heart beats as one with mine in a life long symphony, whose love is strong, bold, proud, fearless, and permanent, I love you!

Mmm!  Darling!  Do me a favor?  Always kiss me like you did just then!  Your lips are so soft and sweet and cool and lovely.  Every time you kiss me, the “little box” opens and your lips, wordlessly, speak volumes.

Keep your letters coming Darling, and, as things get organized on here, and I have a little more time, I’ll be able to write to you a lot more.  I love you!

Honey, we got into Montevideo this morning.  I have to work cargo all day, and we sail late this afternoon, so, if this letter is to go off, I’ll have to close it now.

Just remember that I have 10 days at sea to and from New York, before I reach, and after I leave Rio de Janeiro.  So you will receive no mail for 11 days. after I leave and 11 days approximately before I get home.  I’m sorry Honey, I’ve got to hurry!

Remember always, that you are my life, my heart, my love, my joy, forever.

 

All of my love,

Your Dave.

28 May, 1948.

15 June 1948

S/S Brazil.  100 miles east of Cape Frio.

Good Evening “Mrs. Shields”,

I suppose I should say, “Buenos Noches`s Senorita!”  ” Bueno?”

I hope you are feeling well, darling!  No more headaches aside from me, of course.  I hope that your love is beautifully tuned for the coming symphony as mine is.  If ever two people were contented, positive, willing, and eager for marriage as we are, oh what a wonderful feeling it is to be positively certain of one’s love, now, and positive of it’s growth later.

Even though we are apart 38 days at a time, we are always side by side in the certainty of the depth of our love.  I guess that’s God’s way of protecting those of His children who are trusting, faithful, and persistent in their search for the proper mate.

Sweetheart, I’ll arrive at Pier #32 New York at 7:00 A.M. on Monday July 12th.  About 3 weeks.  I’ll send you a telegram as soon as I get in to let you know what days I’ll be home, in case you have anything planned.  I’ll bring you a complete schedule for the year next time I get home.

Honey, I’ve been to busy even to get a sun bath so far.  At this rate, you’ll have a good tan before I even get one started.

My free hours in port, so far, I’ve spent in a futile effort to catch up on my sleep.  We have so much to do.  I won’t even bother telling you now.  I can let you know when we are together again.  I can scarcely concentrate on this letter, my eyes insist on closing.

That’s wonderful news about your vacation!  The second week would be the best for you to come to New York, I think.  Because I may be a senior officer by then and I could see more of you if you came to New York.  I’m sure of my time off after this trip, so it’s best for me to come home to you.  After I get to be a senior officer, all my watches will be rearranged, so that would be the time for you to be in New York, so we could see more of each other.

When you have any article you want illustrated, please send the information to me and I’ll do the best I can for my girl.  I have to close now, not from choice, but I just can’t stay awake.  Goodnight Honey!  I’ll see you in a Technicolor dream!  Oh darling, how I love you!

Dave.

5 June 1948. S/S Brazil

11:00 pm

250 miles due east of Bermuda

5 june

Good Evening my Darling,

Tired as I am, I couldn’t go to bed without saying goodnight to you.  I have been working since 3:30 this morning on charts, radar, and a slew of other things that you are not acquainted with as yet.

I’m suppose to be on watch 8 hrs. a day, only.  So far I’ve averaged 17 hours today.  It may sound funny to you, but the harder I work, and the less sleep I get now, the sooner I’ll get a crack at that Second’s berth and an increased bank account.

Darling, you were wonderful, when we were together this week.  It seems that each time I take you in my arms, you find some tender new way of making me more aware of your love.

Honey, I just can’t keep my eyes open any longer, so I’ll have to continue tomorrow.

It’s a long way to the first of May,

But you are dearer

with each passing day.

Corny!  But, oh how true!  Maybe you’d better start wearing “Nighties” now so you’ll be used to them!  See you in half an hour, in Technicolor.  Gosh!  I need you tonight!  Goodnight Precious!

10 June

Sweetheart, I know you realize how anxious I am to keep you well supplied with letters from me.  So, when I say that 5 days have gone by and I haven’t had a moment to sit down and say things I want to say, you may have an idea just how busy I have been.

Eventually, I’ll be able to write a letter each night and have two or three letters to mail at each port.  But, right now Johnny and I are busy getting the deck department set for the peacetime schedule, and the navigation dep’t, set for Admiral Nichols inspection, at the end of each voyage.

Johnny has been wonderful.  On duty, he is Ch. Officer all the way and works me harder than anyone else.  He’s after me so much and giving me so many jobs to do that the other mates are beginning to think that Johnny has a grudge against me.  When I say he works me, I mean I have practically no time to myself, except the 4 hrs. maximum sleep I get each night.

What the other mates don’t seem to notice is that Johnny works hard too, in fact, he works with me most of the time.  But they still can’t see why he picks on me.

What they don’t realize is that Johnny drops into my room for a “night-cap” each night before we turn in.  Johnny says he never had a mate before that he could work hard and long any time he needed to, and have that same fellow as his buddy when off duty.  We are both very pleased at the arrangement.  You’d be surprised at the amount of work and reports and surveys, etc.. that we turn out.

While we have our night-cap, he becomes my friend again, and we talk about how lucky I am and how much we are in love, and what a wonderful feeling it is to be so delighted with the woman who’ll share your life and bed forever.

Then, we try to straighten his love life out.  He tells me all his troubles and, I don’t know why, but he seems to value my advice.

The captain on a liner like this rarely speaks to any of the mates, excepting to say, “Good Morning”, with the exception of Johnny and the Second.  He’s too busy, and it tends to keep him a sort of legendary figure, so, that when he does give an order, in an emergency it’s obeyed immediately.

Well, my drafting has come in handy.  I’m inking and plotting Route Courses on charts, and plotting the positions of wrecks etc… it’s a lot like drafting.  There’s a good bit of lettering to be done too.  The whole job will take over a month.  Well, Johnny was so tickled with the job I did that he called the Captain and showed  him.  There were several other mates in the chartroom at the time, so, the Captain merely said it was a neat job.

But later, he came in to my cabin and congratulated me on my work since I came on board as well as my chart work.  So help me, I was speechless!  It was what Johnny and I were working for.

You see, the Second’s job will be open after this trip and Johnny wants me to get the job, (over the son of the Port Steward).  That’s why Johnny and I both agreed that I was to work like “HELL” with the good chance of Second Officer after this trip and First Officer before the summer is out.

Captain Sadler has the privilege of picking his own officers and he’ll promote his own as high as he can before taking any from ashore.  That’s what he did for Johnny, let him go First Officer on a Chief Mate’s ticket (almost all First Officers have to have Captain’s papers).  That’s what Johnny is trying to get the Captain to do for me.  So far it’s going fine.  Say a few prayers darling!

Oh, speaking of prayers, when I go Second Officer, and get on the 12-4 watch, I’ll be able to receive Holy Communion every day at 8:00 am.  Now, I can’t because I’m on watch.  That’s Moore-McCormack for you.

moore-mccormick-saHoly Mass in the cabin class library every morning, at sea, and in port.  A priest makes every voyage with us, and usually about six or eight nuns also, (transfers).  This is the first time I’ve ever been on a ship where Mass was said every day.  I can’t wait until I’m Second, then I can go down two decks every morning, go to Mass, receive daily Communion, then go to the officer’s mess for breakfast, without even leaving my job.  Isn’t that wonderful.  You’ll have to go some to receive Communion as often as me during the next year.

My love forever,

Your Dave