Thursday, July 28, 2016

1950s summers

Still as death. 84° 78% and not a breath of stirring. Oh-three-something hours, coming up on oh-four-hundred. Where would I be if I could? Maybe 1959, my upper bunk in a destroyer underway in the Atlantic. With a Harvard degree in Russian language, my shipmate, also a lieutenant (j.g.), has just left our stateroom cursing me bitterly because he has the morning watch and I do not. Rushing, he must be on the bridge promptly at 0345 to be briefed and say, "I have the conn." 

Hating the Navy as much as I’m loving it, Don does not get my request to augment from USNR to Regular Navy, his plan is to return home to Boston, and his family’s Episcopal parish that serves sherry at coffee hour, and resume his Harvard studies toward a masters degree and beyond. Snuggling back down toward sleep I lean against the cool skin of the ship, soothed by the sound of water rushing by.   

Sometimes friends who somehow see through me send me links. Or pics. From Joe, waiting for me this morning, the wsj article about a 1955 Buick century hardtop coupe. 

It stirred memories. I don’t always say so, but more often than not, memories include a car, helping me keep straight my calendar of years. NOYB and not shareable, my summer 1955 memories include the Plymouth woody wagon 

we had through high school; and that delivered me to university on my 18th birthday. 

From 1955, a year later, sixty years ago, jiggled by the wsj link, my 1956 summer memory includes my mother’s Buick Century hardtop coupe. 

Our family’s first V8, medium dark blue with a black top, it was Buick’s small body size, same as the car in the wsj link but more pleasing features, with the Roadmaster engine. I was home that summer after summer school at UFlorida with Linda, talked mama out of it evenings whenever I could. The following summer we would be married and I would be shivering in the windy July of Newport, RI. 

Looking west and south across the bay, the bouy lights are still flashing, including my green light. Where would I be if I could? Somewhere in the 1950s, life with no urgency.


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