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

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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.

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

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.

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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?

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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