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

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

Renaissance Man

 

Port of Spain, Trinidad, B.W.I. October 22, 1947

candle

David W. Shields

Dearest Betty,

Came across the following while perusing a book of early essayists:

Her divine skill taught me this;
That from everything I saw
I could some instruction draw,
And raise pleasure to the height
From the meanest object’s sight.
By the murmur of a spring,
Or the least bough’s reselling;
By a daisy, whose leaves spread
Shut when Titan goes to bed;
Or a shady bush or tree;
She could more infuse in me,
Than all nature’s beauties can
In some other wiser man.

That’s all! Doesn’t it seem a little strange to you that I should enjoy poetry as I do? Maybe it’s because I work with the sun, stars, and planets and wagering my wits with the counter currents of the sea. Anyway, I enjoy reading good poetry.

Honey, I appreciate the fact that you would like to know when I’ll hit the states, in order to arrange your time etc.. But, nothing will be definite until written sailing orders come aboard, and we are actually loading for the states.

The New York office has been flooded with phone calls about the “Hawser Eye”. Enough of those, “when will my Johnny be home’s”, and we may go back sooner than I think.

I shall send you a wire just as soon as I find out for sure when we will leave for “Home”. When you will still have time to talking “Fluffy” into giving you your vacation when I am there to share it with you.

Maybe we can go skiing together, for a day anyway. I’d like to stop in at the old “Arlberg Inn” for a weekend though. Just to be once more in the spot where it all started.

The best estimate, it’s only a guess, mind you, of our voyage from here is as follows:

Port of Spain to the jungle
Jungle to Port of Spain
Port of Spain to jungle
Jungle to port of Spain
Port of Spain to jungle
Jungle to Georgetown, British Giana
Georgetown to Port of Spain
Port of Spain to Dominica
Dominica to St. Thomas
St. Thomas to New York City (arriving last week in Nov. or first week in Dec.)

You see darling, we can’t seem to get any information out of the “Alco” office down here about when we are leaving. Guesses run wild! You never really know until the written orders are on board.

imagesS9Q9LTC1

There is still a chance that I may get home in time for that dance you mentioned. It will be wonderful to go out with Tom and Gwen again! And, oh Lady! would I love to see you in an evening gown again! With that corsage stowed in the usual place!

We have had wonderful times together my love. When you remember them, also remember that it is only the beginning. We have scarcely begun to enjoy each other.

Do I want to drive down to 3rd Cliff when I get home?

20-Collier-Rd-Third-Cliff-Scituate-MA-02070-6000-71500977_0_listing

Third Cliff. Scituate, MA

Honey, that’s almost like saying, “Do I want to hold you in my arms again!” You know the answer to that. Third Cliff has been intricately and inseparably into every year of my life. All the years I was at sea, I returned, if only in thought, to the treasured, longed for beauty of Third Cliff in summer.

Now, I love it more than ever, because, as long as I live, when I think of Third Cliff, you will be beside me.

Yes, we will go to Third Cliff!

My darling, love me a little, have patience with me, for I’m not long from your arms. When your read this, the days shall be even less than now.

There will not be the slightest flaw in my work when we aim the bow north, and I navigate “home” to you. The Gulf Stream is strong this time of year, and I shall have a fair current all the way “home” to my darling Betty.

God Bless You and keep you for,

Your Dave

At Sea. Enroute Port of Spain. October 15, 1947

 

photo (11)

David W. Shields

Dearest Betty,

Well, it looks now as though I shall be coming home to you about the second or third week in November. In any case, no later than the third week in November.

I have the Chief Mate’s berth on here next voyage, if I want it. But, I’m going to have a talk with the Port Captain when I get back and see about a Chief Mate’s berth on one of the Liberties or a C-1 out of New York. Then I’d be home every five weeks. Wouldn’t that be great huh? Then you wouldn’t be able to forget what I look like.

imagesRNCEEUMS

Gosh darling, I’ve missed you terribly. There are so many things I want to talk over with you. I value your thoughts, and the interpretations you give. I want to share so many of my thoughts and ideas with you, and get your reactions. But, I don’t want to do it by mail. I want to wait until I have you beside me, once more. Has it seemed a long time since I’ve held you darling? Have you really missed me? Not just when your alone or feeling blue, then it’s easy to miss a body. Do you really miss me? At odd times in the day. Have you looked at the office door, perhaps, wishing I could come in and take you to lunch? I hope you have. When someone, whom I’ve never met, but am terribly jealous of, takes you home, do you find yourself wishing, occasionally, that the arms you’re in were mine? Please!

Girl of mine! Just think, in less than a month, I shall be “home” and for awhile, you shall be really my girl again.

I hope that each time I leave you in the coming months, you shall come to miss me more and more, then we shall both know and this affair shall be one-sided no longer.

Well, my love, I must sleep a few hours, (very few) in order to be fit for my watch.

Sleep very well my love,
Goodnight!

October 25, 1947

I happened to come across the rest of this letter in my drawer. Must have forgotten it was there. However, I could just as well have written it today as the same thoughts are in my head.

Except for the sailing date. as you know by a previous letter, we are due in Newport News, Va. on the 6th of December, and I’ll be home one or two days, at the most, after that. So, sweetheart, if any event arises that you think you’d condescend to be seen at, with me, I shall be free each and every night until after Christmas.

Cold as it probably will be, Brr! I shudder to think of it! We shall have to go to 3rd Cliff one day. And if there is snow at Guilford, we shall have to go there one Sunday anyway, (a visit to the scene of the crime?)

See if you and Tom and Gwen can decide on a few thing we could do, and a few places we could go on double dates. A good play, a ball game (I guess the season will be over by then though). How about “Pops”, have they started yet?

DSC_0777_b70091b9-a94e-458f-ab31-37af21d96f09_medium

But, don’t you dare have anything planned our first night, for I want to rediscover you without too many witnesses.

I imagine, allowing two days to discharge cargo, another for annual inspection, and one more getting my relief, that I shall be home on the 10th of December; one day either way at the most. So far as I know, that is definite.

Honey, I’m giving you fair warning on this so I don’t expect any surprised comments from you. I expect to see you my first night home. If you should be out on a date, and see the Shields’ car in your yard, upon return, it will mean that I’m inside, waiting for you, and I don’t care who your date is, get rid of him but quick and come “home” to your Dave. Forewarned is forearmed!

Can you still not understand why I’m so positive and insistent about our love? Think this old one over:

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
The evidence of things not seen!”

“The heart has reasons, of which, reason has no knowledge.”

I love you,

Yer ole Sea Daddy!