Northbound 27 September 1948

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Hello Darling,

By the time you receive this, I suppose I shall already have been “home” and gone again. It takes longer, usually, for mail to reach New York from Trinidad, then it takes the “Brazil” to get there.

What a case of “channel fever”, I have this trip.  It seems as though each voyage is worse than the preceding one.  Every click of the compass, as it follows the ship’s yawl back and forth to the rocking rhythm of a quarter sea, seems to say:  7 more days, 6 more days, 5 more days.

As I pace back and forth, back and forth, becoming so impatient to be in your arms that the delay seems almost unsurpassable.

So I pace back and forth and examine, once more, the unbroken line 360″ line between sky and water, and make another firm resolution with myself to stop wasting my life away at sea. ( to be cont’d after I go up on the bridge for 4 more hours of pacing )

Darling, a group of Argentine Exchange Students came up on the bridge today to take pictures of the mates getting a noon position.  It’s a wonder we even got a position, every time we’d turn around we would nearly stumble over two or three getting candid shots.  Anyway, one of them took one of me when I was getting my sight so I’ll send it along for laughs.  I’m not really as fat as I look in the picture.  ( must be poor exposure or something! )

My precious, it’s simply no use!  I can’t write anymore.  I’m too close to home and I keep drifting off into dreams of you.  Oh Betty!  My sweet darling Betty, I love you so much!

214 more breakfasts alone!  Then we shall each find contentment, peace, and happiness together in this fear torn world, in a fast disappearing haven called family life.

Your are my heart!  Beat strongly for me, I love you with my life!

Yours Forever,

Dave.

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29 August 1948

My own Darling Cyclone,

Whew!  Gosh, thanks for being you, my love.  What a week we had!  I never dreamt that so much could be done in so little time.  I keep thinking of you going back to work tomorrow morning.  I hope you wont be too exhausted.  I know it was rough on you, especially since, as a rule, you go to bed rather early.  But, oh my dearest, it was wonderful, and well worth the lack of sleep, don’t you think?

Honey, I’m sure we can go the rest of the way to May, without further occurrences like our recent one.  I shan’t even try to describe how miserable I felt, watching you break down.  What a helpless feeling!

We will have no more of that I’m sure.  It’s too much for us to take.  Sincerely though sweetheart, the toughest part is past.  We haven’t too long to wait now and I’m sure that after seeing you the other night, that all will be ok.

Honey, we sailed right on time, darn it!  And I got to bed promptly at 11:00p.m..  Was I tired?  A little!  The next day I compiled the following:

There are approximately, 8 months, 34.8 weeks, 244 more breakfasts alone, 5,856 hours, 351,360 minutes, 21,081,600 seconds until you are mine forever!  Your love, and BED, HERE I COME!!!

Yours alone, forever,

Dave.

14 August 1948

14 August 1948

Darling Cyclone,

If you should feel a warm, sweet, all enveloping blanket of content, fall over you some evening about 6:30 p.m., you’ll know that my thoughts of you are reaching all the way up there and tugging at your heart saying, “Hey Cyclone, be of good cheer, I’m way down here but I think of you more than you ever hope, and I love you with a love that is an ever-increasing, not to be denied, flame!”

I think of you often during the day, every day, but when the end of twilight comes and Jupiter creeps into the golden moon glow, you are beside me, I can feel you, I know you are there, and my heart sings.

In fact one night, when the helmsman made seven bells, and the lookout answered bell for bell and sang out, “All’s clear, calm night, lights are bright sir!”, my heart sang so strongly for joy of our mutual, beautiful love, that I made up a song on the wing of the bridge, while watching the birth of an evening.  I’ll sing it to you some time, if you can stand it.

Cyclone My Cyclone

I love you so-I guess you know,

How I stumble through each day,

Whenever I’m away.

But when evening rolls around,

And lays its curtain down,

I dream a dream,

A Technicolor dream,

A dream about,

Cyclone-My Cyclone,

I’m living for the day,

I come ashore to stay,

Then I’ll never take

My arms away-from,

Cyclone-My-Cyclone! 

Oh well, at least you know I love you and that you are in most of my thoughts in some way each day.  You asked me to pray for you darling!  Remember.  Well, except for the mornings when we have been docking ship or something, I’ve been to Mass and Communion every day, both in Thanksgiving, for you, to God, and as a love gift to my cyclone.

I pray especially hard at that part of the Mass where the Priest takes the paten, makes the Sign of the Cross on himself and says, “Grant of thy goodness, peace in our days, that aided by the riches of thy mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all disquiet”.

Gosh!  I’ve missed your letters since you lost my addresses.  When you get the next list, write them on the wall of your bedroom, you can’t lose that.

Speaking of your bedroom, I still recall fondly, the luscious nights’ sleep I had in your bed, with my head on your pillow, your perfume around me and a Technicolor dream inside me.

About 259 more days my darling cyclone, and you’ll be mine forever.

Goodnight my life,

I love you, my wife,

Forever,

Dave

13 August 1948. North Bound

stamp

Darling “Cyclone”,

We are only 6* south of the Equator now, and headed “home”.

Don’t forget, your room is reserved starting 22 August at the Henry Hudson Hotel on W57th street.  If possible, ask for Mr. Wilmot at the desk, tell him that I’m the “Mr. Shields” that’s an officer on the Brazil.  Then, he will remember me and see that you are taken care of properly. (Gosh Honey!  I’d like to be taking “care” of you properly, right now.)

Choppy has the pass and what information you will need to get in to pier #32 North River on Monday.
train

Oh darling!  I’m looking forward so to seeing you!  That’s rather an unnecessary remark, I suppose, because you are now thoroughly aware of how much my thoughts are yours.

Cyclone, just think, we’ll see much more of each other this time, than before.

I have a watch from 5:00 pm on Monday to 8:00 am on Tuesday morning, then 5:00 pm Wed. to 8:00 am Thur. morning, which means we will have:
Days- Mon, Tues, Wed, Thur.
Nights- Tues and Thur.

Maybe I can arrange to have you on board until 10:00 pm on one of the two nights I am on duty. Anyway, we will see a lot more of each other than last time.

Look, if for some reason you can’t get onto that pier, (a Narcotics Agents inspection, or something.), and I haven’t been able to get out along the pier to find you by 10:00 am, go back immediately to the Henry Hudson, and I’ll get in touch with you there.

Have a big “Welcome Home” sign out, because it seems as though I’ve been waiting to kiss those warm, soft, lovely lips of yours “hello again” for ages.

It won’t be long now Cyclone! 260 more days before you start getting my breakfast!

Oh my love, my love, your mine and I’m so very happy.

“Heart of mine, faithful and true,
Love me always,
As I love you!” Please!

Forever,

Dave

10 August 1948.

Aug 10

Dearest “Cyclone”,

Well, we are in Rio now, on our way “home”.  No mail from you!  What an empty feeling it gives inside.  But, I realize what happened, and when your letters do start coming through again, I’ll appreciate them that much more.

Darling, here it is, August 12th already, and I haven’t had time to write since the above attempt.  Oh!  I’ve written to you every night, mentally, on watch, in fact darling, I’ve written a song about, “Cyclone” (my cyclone that is).  But, it’s been so hard to find time to get words down on paper.  It’s not so much the fact that I’ve been busy, because I know you have been busy too.  It’s just that sailing hours are so inconvenient that they take all the pep out of you.

We are only in each port a few hours, most of that time I’m working cargo.  Then, we always seem to sail around 2:00 am which means I get into the sack about 2:45 am, and have to get up for my watch at 3:30 am, which, as you can see makes me rather tired the next day.  This procedure is repeated every two or three days until we leave Trinidad, then I can catch up on my sleep for New York.  Now, if I can only concentrate on getting a few of these mental letters that I write on watch, down on paper and mailed to you, I imagine you would be a lot happier.

Oh sweet cyclone, excuse me for saying it, but, I know how much you love me, and want my letters, even if they are scrawled fast and unreadable on the paper, just as the contact between our two hearts is as constant as possible, and I feel awful when I’m too tired to write.  But, I’ll work out a routine yet, so that the letters will keep coming even if all I can say is: 

“My love, my heart, my cyclone,

I’m your Dave forever.”

G’NITE

4 August 1948. Bermuda

bermuda

Dearest,

This will have to be short and sweet, because the stevedores are going to unload beer and wine, and I have to count the bottles.

Honey, you know how constantly you are on my mind. How often, on the bridge at night, my thoughts are of you. So, please, Betty, be a little patient for another week or so, then my letters will come faster.

You see, they don’t carry any pursers on these ships any more and the Captain and myself have to split up all the paper work.

As if that isn’t bad enough, all the cargo we are carrying at present is what you call special cargo. That is, expensive items that have to be counted separately by the mates before being unloaded. This takes up almost all my time, and the little bit left is usually devoted to sleeping.

But, in a few weeks, the cargo will be different, I can relax, catch up on lost sleep, wash clothes, mend socks, and WRITE to you. What? What? What? What?

Maybe I can add a little more to this later, but right now I’m in a hurry. Please excuse the writing. I’ll have more time later on. I hope.

I’ll certainly be glad when the rest of this cargo is gone. The trouble is, we drop off, 200 tons in Bermuda, 87 tons at St. Croix, 300 tons at St. Kitts, etc…, all down the line.  All while you are at one port, your time is spent checking cargo ashore.  Just as soon as you are done, it’s time to leave for the next place.  Oh well!  You get loads like this occasionally, and the only thing to do is forget everything else and concentrate entirely on the cargo and navigation between ports, and the mountain of paperwork.

I like the job because I am experienced in it and know what I am doing.  That is a big factor to consider.  However, right now, I should like to know about 12 hours in which to do nothing except sit down, look at your picture and write to you about a mate who loves you, and whose life will be incomplete until he holds you in his arms once more.

We have what it takes to make a happy and successful union, and the sooner you realize it the happier I shall be. (oops!  you should be too!).

Well, I’m awfully busy now Cyclone, so I’ll have to run.  Keep my heart in working order.

Darling-I LOVE YOU,

Dave.

 

 

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