SEC’Y: CAPT Dave Carruth, USN (Ret.)
CLASS OF 1948 SHIPMATE COLUMN
|Let’s start with incoming emails, which I have saved for this column.
From Angus McDonald 7th Co. on 2/10/14: I attended a reunion of the USS ULYSSES S. GRANT Alumni Assoc. last October in Charleston S.C. It was well attended-over 130 showed-despite GRANT’s having been decommissioned ten years ago. Best reunion so far. We toured the Hunley Museum and saw the vessel in a bath of clean fresh water. Also a mockup where one could sit athwartships like the reb sailors did. We toured the Drayton Mansion, which figured predominately in the Revolutionary War. We saw the Clamagore at Patriots Point where the group held a very impressive ceremony on the last day.
From Helen Orr on 2/16/14: Been out of touch since before Christmas and not ready yet to get back into the swing of things—an excellent surgeon removed the midsection of my right lung that had a benign mass clogging it up. I’ve recovered well from that but it left me in such a weakened condition that I’ve had 3 setbacks from the germs and viruses circulating around. Been so “out-of-it” I find myself just reading both Christmas & get well cards that came when I was in the hospital as well as a very welcome capital gains check in the same pile.
From Rhona and Chuck Gorder 12th Co.- We just returned from a week in Santa Fe where we sold our Condo. During the week, we stayed at Rainbow Visions in Santa Fe. That is where Fran and George Goodwin 12th Co. are living now in a really nice assisted living property. George Goodwin will be celebrating his 90th birthday July 4th! We had a lovely visit with them and they were very pleased to see us as we were them. The Goodwin children who were in town, Lynn, Lee (husband Jake) and Stacie were terrific hosts and took great care to make sure our visit was just right. Their son, Time Goodwin is married to a Brit and is living in England so we didn’t get to see him.
Scribe’s note: Chuck sent along a picture taken with Rhona’s cell phone but I checked it out and, as he suggested, there was insufficient resolution/contrast for the translation through another email into Shipmate.
Chuck and Rhona are arranging a visit with Jane and Harvey Humphrey 18th Co. who have returned to San Diego so we’ll be getting an update on their doings soon.
I recently exchanged emails with Harry Belflower about my “stuttering” fingers for I spelled his name with 2 “L”s vice one. His elaboration regarding his name’s spelling indicates that he, like many of you, has done some family research and I find it interesting. “Just a small point, Dave, but I spell my last name with one “l” as in Belflower. My grandfather was born with the double “ll” spelling but it was changed after the Civil War to the present one “l”. As a matter of interest, I am related to every single Belflower (however they spell it) in these United States. Small family. The first Bellflower was James and he was born about 1745. No idea where he came from. Some speculate that he may have been part Cherokee and others an indentured servant who came over from England. Paid for his passage that way and lived/worked for a Methodist preacher in Jamestown, Martin Co., NC. The preacher man was an English immigrant. There is no record of any Bellflowers in England that I have found. All of my ancestors entered this country by 1750. All but my Lamb ancestors came directly to the southern colonies. The Lambs entered in New York (Nieu Amsterdam in 1620) but my great grandfather soon moved to South Carolina.
Scribe’s note: Harry’s “hobby” these days is painting with watercolors and he is quite good. If you have a computer or can get access to one, John Tsiknas has posted one of Harry's efforts on our home page. Take a look.
Recently I sent all the email Classmates one of Harry’s efforts-a painting of the Clipper ship Cutty Sark. I then followed it with some coverage on the PanAm Clipper. That stirred up the following from Boone Taylor 13th Co. During WW II when I was an enlisted Photographer Mate 2/c in the Navy I was stationed in Port Lyautey, French Morocco (at that time). When I received my orders in Sept. 1943 to the Naval Academy Prep School at NTC Bainbridge, MD. I flew back to New York on a PAA Clipper. The Naval Air Station at Port Lyautey was located on the Qued Sebou River and it had facilities for the eastern terminal for the PAA Clipper flights across the southern Atlantic. Everything was cargo upon leaving Port Lyautey except for me, my sea bag and hammock. I was just stretched out on top of all the cargo. From Port Lyautey we traveled down and west side of Africa and spent the first stop at Dakar, Senegal. The second leg was across the South Atlantic to Belem, Brazil. There the plane loaded as much rubber (a Scarce item in the war) from the plantations as possible for the third leg to San Juan, Puerto Rico. After a stop there the final leg was to New York. Needless to say a much more pleasant trip than the 13 days convoy aboard the troop transport SS Argentina with 5000 other troops that landed me in Casablanca on Christmas Eve 1942.
Harry Belflower also had an interesting trip to get back to USNA for induction. I was in the port of Townsville, Aus. In April, 1944, when I received a radiogram notifying me to report in June for the 1948 class at the Naval Academy. I was a cadet/midshipman aboard a Liberty ship. I was told by the navy port captain that there was no available transportation back to the states. I informed my skipper of the problem. He told me to stick with the ship and all would be okay. After completing our cargo off load we cast off and set sail empty. It was then that I learned that our destination was San Francisco and that our ETA was about 30 May. The rest of the story you know.
We have been very fortunate since the last column in that we have lost only one friend, Iris Arnold, wife of W.S.M. Arnold 9th Co. Iris passed away on Sat. Feb. 15th. She and Bill had been married 62 years and had two children a boy and a girl. Our prayers are with the family.
On a brighter note Jack LeDoux 11th Co. writes, I think our class is a classic group. We are all near 90 and we are still here. ( Scribe’s note: 289 of us are still here as of this writing.) My friends and family and even my doctors are amazed at how well I am doing. Will be 90 in May. My sister is now 92. Some of you classmates may remember her. Dede was my Ring Dance partner and all of the wanted me to introduce her to them. She was an airline hostess and very beautiful. Well, my heart doctor thinks I am an amazing man and he told me that I have the health and heart system of a 60 year old. Hope he is right. I do not have any problems that I know of. Remember my low blood problem I had 2 years ago? That was due to heartburn. The PBH got down to 6 from a 12-20 level and I could have died if I did not catch it, but I did and I now take an over the counter medicine for it. My blood pressure is 120/70; my cholesterol is usually about 170. Two years ago I gave a talk to 44 2nd graders on the South Pole. At the end a little girl asked me how old I was since I told them that I was there about 50 years ago. I told them that I was older than their grand fathers and that I was in good health because “I never smoked, never did drugs, and I work out every week. “ I just hoped the no smoking sunk in. By the way I now have a relationship with a 72-year-old beauty. We have been dating for over 3 years now but getting married has too many problems. But we both like the fact that we see each other every week but not enough to ever have a fight. I have a married friend who wishes she and her husband had the same system that Barbara and I have. There is a lot to say for some separation. LOL
Scribe’s note: Now I am going to skip back to the subject of “getting to the academy for induction.” This narrative is long so it will be in two issues but I believe you will enjoy it. It came to me in Sept. ‘13 via snail mail from Gene Portner 13 Co. (see his auto bio. in the 50 year book).
(to be continued)