SEC’Y: CAPT Dave Carruth, USN (Ret.)
CLASS OF 1948 SHIPMATE COLUMN
| Currently we have a pretty even split of those with email addresses and those without. This poses something of a dilemma of posting current class news on email but frequently needing to repeat it in Shipmate. The following is one of those items which merit exposure in both venues.
Warren Ortland 5 th Co., was trying to help me with a positive, happy item after a really bad run of obits on email. He sent this picture of himself and his grand daughter Grace Sklopan saying she is a prospective member of the Class of 2022-soccer, swimming and track. Neat picture. Thanks Warren. We needed that.
A note from Bill Ayers 20 th Co. he is a member of the MIDWAY memorial museum which many of us visited during the San Diego reunion. Bill says the museum has exceeded all expectations and grows better every time he visits it with more spaces opening up and additional aircraft on the flight and hangar decks. MIDWAY is in an absolutely wonderful location on Harbor Drive which makes for a lot of visitors each day. This is providing sufficient funds to keep the ship in good order. Also being in a huge community of active duty and retired Naval Aviation people makes for many volunteer workers. Trying to meet the needs of ship upkeep normally accomplished by ship’s company working essentially 24 hours a day, 366 days a year is a real challenge. So far the MIDWAY is doing very well.
In the Jan/Feb issue I commented on natural disasters and said no matter where you live something can happen. When the big twisters were going through Arkansas in early February I got concerned about Carolyn and Sam Smith 14 th Co.in Conway so I sent Sam an email. His response-“We are fine. The Tornado touched down about 30 miles west of us at Atkins and proceeded northwest thru Clinton which is 30 miles north of us. We are grateful to have been spared. It was a terrible storm with much, much damage.”
On a slightly different level I was working in my office yesterday, Sat. March first, when I heard what sounded like a distant explosion. I went to see if Betty had heard it and we met on the stairs with her telling me one of the trees in our backyard had fallen down and had hit our neighbor’s house. No one was hurt. I spent the rest of the day getting a tree service company to come remove the tree and take it away. Two holes in my neighbor’s roof. Had the tree fallen ten feet to the right it would have wiped out our master bedroom.
At our age all of us have health problems of various degrees. Teen and Hart Stringfellow 1 st Co. are no exceptions; however I like the way he addresses it---
Regarding Teen and myself, we have been having a run of bad luck (old age). She had back surgery in October of 2005 which never healed and drove her wild with the pain, then last month had a full knee replacement. Last October I had a massive pulmonary embolism and nearly died…don’t know why I am still here, but doing well and hoping to be out on the links again soon. Right now I am up to my armpits taking care of my beloved wife, a frying pan in one hand and a bed pan in the other, hoping I don’t get the two mixed up!!! God willing and the creek don’t rise; we’ll see you in Annapolis in June! “
I’ve given recent examples of “extracurricular” activity by classmates and their wives. Fran Jackson is deeply involved in Eastern Star so she and Fred 18 th Co. will be attending several Grand Sessions which will preclude them being at the 60 th. Their travel schedule at the moment takes them to Canada on Eastern Star matters, then to Detroit on family matters, then to WV to visit their daughter and finally a possible trip to the Bowie area to see many old friends there. That last stop will fill in a bit for missing the reunion but they won’t get to join us for Charlie’s picnic. Their schedule certainly drives home the point that we aren’t placidly sitting in front of the TV growing old. That also prompts me to make the observation that the members of the Class with whom I have come in contact look as though they are generally in pretty damned good shape for our age, far better than our civilian counterparts.
Another genealogist checks in. This is from Scorchy Smith 21 st Co. and there is no way I can edit without losing the train of thought so here it is as he wrote it.
Your recent emails concerning the Herndon Monument sparked some interesting thoughts in regard to William L. Herndon which came to my attention rather circuitously. My wife Mary’s mother passed away in 1969. After several years, her father married a lady named Virginia Ford. I learned from Virginia that her late sister had been married to the grandson of President Chester A. Arthur. I also learned that William L. Herndon’s daughter, Ellen was married to Chester A. Arthur, and that William L. Herndon’s sister, Elizabeth was married to Matthew Maury (Maury Hall). Herndon had worked with Maury at the Naval Observatory. It was Maury who sent Herndon on the famous Amazon expedition. That was the first time I realized that there had been both a professional and family connection between Herndon and Maury. Herndon went down with his ship off Cape Hatteras in 1857. Maury opted for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and afterwards became a science professor at V.M.I. passing away there in 1873. Sadly, Ellen Herndon Arthur died from pneumonia in January, 1880 at the age of 42, before Chester Arthur was elected as Vice President in November of that year. Arthur succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of President James A. Garfield who died in September 1891. Arthur’s married sister, Mary McElroy, served as his nominal first lady spending several months each year in the White House. She also raised the two Arthur children, a boy and a girl.
As a side note, Mary’s stepmother’s sister left Virginia some artifacts originally belonging to Ellen Herndon Arthur including Ellen’s Carriage clock and leather case, and several pieces of sterling silver including a tea set used in the white House. Mary in turn inherited these beautiful artifacts when her stepmother passed away.
Now here is a change of pace. Some time back Charlie Heid 17 th Co. and I were discussing plebe year and he recalled this- Plebe summer cruise…We occupied troop racks in the bowels of the Landing Craft…five deep..Nick Davis 17 th Co. , a rather large classmate, had the rack just above me. I couldn’t turn over since Nick had usurped much of “my space”, his canvas rack almost in/on my chest/backside. First night “out to sea” after “taps”/’lights out” whatever, Warren Graham 2 nd Co. in our sleeping area couldn’t find his “diddy-bag”. After a diligent search he decided that one, or others, had hidden the @#$%!! Bag.. He vowed he’d sing “ Dixie” all night until the “bag” reappeared. I’m sure that he would have, but some kind soul finally gave up the lost item. Graham sang that good ol’ tune a few dozen times…until the bag was “found”.. and before we had to fight that War all over again.
In the last column I started to give you some data from a document on 1947 Mid’n pay. Here are a few more excerpts—
A midshipman’s pay is $65.00 per month and his ration allowance is 85 cents per day, except that when he is serving on board a ship assigned for a practice cruise or is a patient in a naval hospital, the subsistence is furnished by the government in lieu thereof.
Service charges and the prices of various items are figured on the basis of current prices May 1, 1946.
ANALYSIS OF PAY AND EXPENDITURES
This tabulates the maximum amounts authorized for charges against midshipmen’s accounts for subscriptions and extracurricular activities which are list in detail as follows:
(1) CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION-dues, for annual expenses -25 cents.
(2) MASQUERADERS and (3) MUSICAL CLUBS—not more than two tickets for each activity at 50 cents per ticket, plus tax.
(4) NAVY RELIEF SHOW-not more than two tickets at $1.00 each, plus tax.
(5) “LOG”-ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION $2.50.
(6) ‘REEF POINTS” -EACH COPY 65 CENTS
(7) CHRISTMAS CARDS-cost per card not to exceed 15 cents. First class may purchase 20.
(8) “LUCKY BAG’—The cost of each “Lucky Bag” not to exceed $6.00. First class may buy 3.
(12) FAREWELL BALL and RING DANCE-Second class only--$6.00 to defray expenses of these dances for which they are hosts.
(13) CLASS RING—Second class only, not to exceed $75.00 (tax included).
CHRISTMAS LEAVE- first class $25.00
FIRST CLASS WEEK-END – Members of the First class are authorized to draw special money, when going on authorized week-end liberty, but in no case can this exceed $10.00 for all week-ends combined.
CRUISE MONEY-Members of the First class may draw $15.00 each for the six weeks’ cruise for the purpose of defraying incidental expenses in connection with the practice cruise.
There is much more and the document covers just about every imaginable item. I’ve limited this to first class but the other three classes got less. I’ve always teased Betty that she funded our courtship. The rest of the wives reading this can see from the above why your Mid’n wasn’t exactly flush with cash. Frankly I do not recall anyone ever handing me a check for any leave, weekend or cruise. I guess you had to apply for it.
Since the last column we have said good bye to the following classmates and wives;
R.D. Zelov 19 th Co. 9/17/25--2/13/08
Alice Kyros 2/14/08
Jean Rubenstein 12/28/07
Jane Wegner 2/23/08
Our condolences to each of the families.
As you read this in May our 60 th reunion is less than one month away. At this writing, 4 March, 121 stalwart souls have committed to being present. Betty and I look forward to seeing you there.
Finally, even though I worked closely with Sumner for an extended period I still find it amazing that he could manage to get enough input from the Class to produce a column on deadline. Oft times he was leaning on his in depth knowledge of the Class developed over his many years of service. My obvious point is that I do not as yet (if ever) have that blessing so HELP!!!!