For your orientation and mine I am writing this on 24 Nov. ’13 for submission on the 26th.
Let us begin with one of those items I have spoken of before, something I have sent to my email address book but believe you Shipmate readers without email will also enjoy it. The author is Tom Murphree 24th Co. (see both 30 and 50 year books if you have them.)
After we had been in the Academy 10 days or so, I convinced Geoff Beardall (non-grad) that he should get his mother to have a Sunday afternoon party at the Supe’s House and invite a half dozen of us Plebes to meet a few local young ladies. To my surprise, she agreed.
On 25 July 1944, 14 days after our entry I met CDR Sterling’s daughter, Janet, age 17 at that party. We six mids were waiting nervously on the first floor for about five minutes, and then the procession of young ladies began, down the stairs from the floor above. I had been out of any social circuit for a couple of years, so I was modestly keyed up and highly expectant. The appraisal began and we were not disappointed. One by one, they all passed inspection. From our vantage point, the ankles and legs came into view first, so by the time they reached the bottom of the stairs, a fair and just inspection had been completed. When the fourth appeared, I was impressed with the shapely legs and focused on the continuing descent. My intuition was rewarded, as behold, I saw a most gorgeous, beautiful young lady, naturally poised and unpretentious, good posture…..I was warming up to the occasion! I saw no tactical advantage to standing idly by, so I moved quickly to insure that I reached the bottom of the stairs at the same time as she. Presenting myself as best as I could, I smiled as best I could, and introduced myself, “I’m Tom Murphree”. “Janet Sterling”, she said. I offered my right arm (I can’t believe it!), she placed her left hand on mine (with a smile) and I escorted her to a less populated area of the large, sumptuous living room, suitable for what was to be an engaging conversation. No giddy, nervous talk, but communications were enhanced by an encouraging smile, an appropriate amount of humor and captivating, continual, encouraging eye contact. A wonderful experience…. We were married three years later, 7 June 1947 at 2pm, at their beautiful place in Bucks County, PA, Admiral and Mrs. Beardall, ex-neighbors, 6 classmates, family and friends attending. Cdr Sterling was the head of the Reserve Battalion, if you remember.
We reside happily at Shorewood Cottage on Bogue Sound, Carteret County, NC. When I look out the window and see Janet moving about our beautiful garden, I still get a charge out of the above reflections. I’ve never done anything to deserve it, but I am truly blessed. For proof, stop by 677 Hwy 24, Newport, NC, 3 miles west of Morehead City. 252-726-3737! Welcome
Next is a letter from Charlie Butler 8th Co.
As we observed the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, I was reminded of the unusual circumstances under which Rosemary and I First heard the sad news.
In the summer of 1962, I was ordered to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, which was our largest overseas base at the time. I was in charge of a large construction program that included a new base hospital, which I turned over to the Air Force in the spring of 1965, just in time for it to be featured regularly on the evening news as the first stop for the increasing numbers of wounded coming back from Vietnam.
In November of 1963, I arranged a 10-day leave to visit friends in Tokyo. They had just bought a new house and they wanted us to be their first houseguests.
Rosemary had recently read an article about Commodore Matthew Perry’s visit to Japan in 1854. He had anchored his fleet off the town of Shimoda, at the end of the peninsula that forms the west side of Tokyo Bay. Commodore Perry sent a delegation overland to Tokyo to announce his coming, so that the sudden appearance of his fleet in Tokyo Bay would not be viewed as a threatening gesture. In 1856, our first Consul-General to Japan also landed at Shimoda. With so much history to recommend it, we asked our friends to arrange for us to make an overnight visit to Shimoda.
Rosemary and I took a train from Tokyo to Kamakura, which is famous for its huge reclining Buddha. A taxi was waiting for us there to take us the 20 or so miles to Shimoda. Our hotel was small and very attractive. At dinner, we learned that we were the only Americans there that night, and that very few Americans ventured out to Shimoda.
When we went down to breakfast the next morning, we were a little late and the dining room was fairly full. As soon as we entered, everyone stood up and bowed to us. When they didn’t return to their chairs, the bewildered look on our faces prompted a Japanese gentleman to come over and ask, “Haven’t you heard the news?” “What news?” I replied. “Your President Kennedy was shot and killed in Texas.” We stood there in total shock and disbelief.
After we had regained our composure, we thanked the gentleman, bowed to the other guests, and returned to our room. We had planned to walk around Shimoda that morning, but, instead, we asked the front desk to call our taxi so we could go back to Tokyo as soon as possible. We will never forget the way the Japanese showed us their respect and shared our grief that day and in the days that followed. It was a very moving and reassuring experience.
Charlie also wrote:
Although neither of us is driving these days, Rosemary and I are managing to maintain an active social life, since we have many friends who are happy to pick us up and take us to lunches, dinners, and parties. Coral Gables still proudly maintains its reputation as “The City Beautiful” and Miami was recently named as the most diverse city in the world – more so than London or New York! In short: What a great place to live and enjoy our “Golden Years”! Best wishes and BEAT ARMY! Charlie
Since the last column we have learned of the passing of six classmates and five wives.
20th Co. Roth, R.G. 10/3/13
20th Co. Bass, R.W. 10/9/13 *
NG Wetzel, K.H. 10/24/13
8th Co. White, W.P. 10/25/13
22nd Co Bolger, P.H. 11/4/13 *
16th Co. Kunin, S.L. 11/14/13
- see autobio in 50 year book
Bacas, Jean 11/11/94, wife of Bacas, G.A. (deceased) 12th Co.
Wise, Barbara 7/24/13 Wife of Wise, R.S. (deceased) 6th Co. This was a second marriage for both and they had 23 great years together with a “second lease on Love”. They are survived by five children.
Norton, Jane 9/22/13, wife of Norton, M.L. (deceased) 11th Co.. 3 children, all boys. Lived 45 years in Lovington, NM. Passed away at her son’s home in Georgetown, TX
Hallman, Dorothy 10/15/13, wife of Hallman, A.B. (deceased) 3rd Co. Three children, 2 sons and a daughter. She scheduled tours for visitors and groups from around the country at Hillwood Museum, where her natural charm and good humor made her a favorite throughout the hospitality industry for two decades.
Deavenport, Mary Jo. 11/10/13 wife of Deavenport, J.E. (deceased) 11th Co. They had four children. She remarried to Jim Woodward in 2009. She was an accomplished watercolor and acrylic painter.
Scribe’s note: As you can see I’m struggling with memorials for wives. I don’t have much to work with but worse I need to know what you would like to see in honoring our life’s companions. I would appreciate some input from you on this subject. Please
An email from Harry L. Jones 23rd Co. Attached is a photo of ‘yours truly’ and my three great grandsons on the occasion of my 90th birthday. My complete family (total 10) and a few close friends attended a most delightful dinner at a local eatery. I send this message to motivate all you youngsters to keep your ‘eye on the ball (90 yrs) and foot on the pedal’ (of your stationary bicycle?) and reaching 90 is a snap!!......Between my auto, walker, cane and stair railings life goes. Best of luck and health you ‘all.