Dear Hearts, October 1951Our ship is called the USS Butner. Our cabin is on one of the middle decks and consists of steel bunk beds, steel chairs, steel everything, including the mattresses, I think. There is a tiny porthole out of which we can peer to get our bearings, but alas, no bathroom facilities at all. We must use the public facilities down the corridor. (What is ship-speak for 'corridor'?)
Since this is a troop ship, we eat in a mess hall. This is a huge room with jillions of tables. It is smoky and not conducive to happy eating experiences what with people walking around with barf bags. The cooks were hired on from a Southern Port so our meals consist of an abundance of rice and gravy, sorghum and biscuits, and honeydew melons by the boatload.
There is a large common room that is used for gatherings and entertainments of various kinds, with game tables, and a stage.
I noticed that the chairs have wide legs with big rubber caps on the feet. These keep the chairs from sliding across the deck when the ship rolls. (hopefully)
We are sharing the ship with a troop of GI's. Unfortunately, the PX has run out of cigarettes so all these men are puffing on cigars and the room is blue with foul smelling smoke. I avoid this room when at all possible.
So far the October weather has been perfect. The ocean is not choppy, but there are huge swells--big hills of water--and our ship rolls slowly up one side and down the other, sometimes seeming to be almost to tip over, but then it slowly rights itself again.
I have become adept at running up and down the ships ladders, sliding on my hands, as I chase after the kids. I have given Mike over to the angels, as he is everywhere on this ship. The sailors have more than once had to haul him by the seat of his pants from an off-limits area. (He has later told me hair raising tales of his ship-board exploits)
I am looking after Olga's little girl during the day, as Olga has been down flat with a bad case of sea-sickness. Her cabin is in the bowels of the ship, and is hot and stuffy, and she is miserable.
I have made friends with my fellow shipmates.l We sit together out on the deck where the air is fresh and cool, and where you can keep your bearings and see the horizon, and keep your stomach right side up.
Patsy acquired a stomach virus and became feverish and ill. I was in a panic to know how to care for her with no bathroom facilities in our room. Mike saved the day when he took me to a little hidden room he had discovered on his travels. Inside was a fully equipped bathroom, a little kitchenette~~ everything I needed ! I went to the steward and asked for jello, and graham crackers and tea bags. No one else knew about this room, and It saved us from the horrors of the
public facilities. God was watching over us!