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

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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

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.

 

 

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.

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

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

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

“Tag, You’re it Venus”

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At Sea, bound from Bermuda to St. Thomas
6 August 1947

 

Hello Darling,

 

I’m very close to you this evening.  It’s a truly beautiful night.  The ship has a merry pitching roll, as if deep down in her dark insides, she was laughing at a fellow who falls in love, then goes to sea.  For a while, tonight, I went on deck, smoked a pipe-full in that “skiing pipe”, and listened to my thought waves clamor with one another for your frequency.  How am I to know you are even tuned in?

Then, after a bit, while I relaxed there, smoking, the moon rose, and Venus started playing her nightly game of tag with her, and I was no longer here.  I was sitting on the porch at Scituate with my back against your knees, tasting the sublimness of an unforgettable moment.

About that time, “The Hawser Eye” takes a lively dip, and a roll, then another dip, frolicking happily in her unharnessed freedom, as if to say, cradling me, “I’ve got you now Dave Shields, you came back didn’t you!”

Sure I’m back temporarily!  But, one day soon, someone else will say, “I’ve got you, you came back didn’t you!”  And…that will be in East Lexington, not at sea!  And…that will be my love, not “The Hawser Eye”!  And…I’ll sign on for good!  Not three months.

This is the thought I shall have to close with tonight as I’m due on the midnight watch in 2 hours and have to get some sleep.  More tomorrow!  See you in a half hour.  Goodnight.

 

Love,

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?

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

Georgetown, British Guiana. November 12, 1947

Homeward Bound!

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Dearest “Cyclone”,

Originally, we were scheduled to begin loading operations for the States, today, the 12th of November. But, a week ago, while we were at sea, bound for Paramarito, our orders were changed by radio.

We have put in a very long week, believe me! Well, the outcome of it all is that right now, at 20:07 hours, 8:07 p.m., we are fully loaded and on our way home.

We will stop at Trinidad for bunkers, fuel, and fresh water, then Dominica for 120 tons of rum, then St. Croix for 2700 stems of bananas. From there we put in at Newport News, Va., for partial discharge.

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This change in plans is maddening, because it means that I shall be in the States about 2 days before Thanksgiving. But, I shall be at Newport News. The voyage won’t end until we reach New York, either on Thanksgiving or the day after.

Darling, there is a chance that I’ll be able to go to that Thanksgiving dance, provided I can catch a plane. (This ship is rolling so violently, that I have trouble writing.) So, my girl, if you haven’t a date with someone else for the dance, get your gown, the black one, I have something for our that will look well with it. Cross your fingers, because if I don’t make it, it won’t be my fault. I may die trying.

Also, be sure your skis are ready, or better still, let them wait, and I’ll put a good running surface on them for you.

Darling, do you realize we will have almost a whole month together. Maybe you could even get your vacation the first week in December. Try!

Oh honey, I can’t remember when I’ve ever been as happy. I’m bubbling over! I hear a loud voice inside me singing…”going home, home, home, home!”.

I don’t want to say much more, because if you could guess how terribly I’ve missed you, and could feel the butterflies running riot inside me now, when I think that soon I’ll hold you in my arms, you’d probably be afraid, and your mind would start moving around in circles of doubt, like the loveable “cyclone” that you are.

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One life,
One love,
Your,
Dave