HOBART C. TAYLOR
BOARDED USS WASHINGTON BATTLESHIP BB56
September 14, 1943
As I went aboard and saluted the Officer on deck I had good feelings. We were taken to sick-bay and met the doctors. There was the Commander Dr. Kruze who was in charge. He was a short man with a short temper, which I found out later. He seemed to be wearing slippers and walked like his feet hurt. He wasn’t in sick-bay much unless there was an emergency. He was supposed to be famous because he invented the foot splint. I never saw one, or used one, or ever heard of it before.
Next was Dr. Allen my favorite. He was a Lieutenant Commander. A nice looking man probably about 40 years of age. He was certainly the most knowledgeable and experience in the group.
Then there was Dr. Marvin. Demanding and not very likeable. He was probably close to thirty five.
Then there was Dr. Lindsey, a true Southern boy with all the manners and a Southern drawl. You couldn’t help but like him.
We also had an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist. He was a strange man. It’s no wonder I can’t remember his name. No matter who he saw or what was wrong with them, he did the same thing. He worked out of a barber’s chair. He would take two steel prongs about a foot long and wind cotton around the ends and stick the cotton end up the patients nose. Anyone that came to sick-bay and saw this just wanted to run out. It was gory. I’ll never mention this guy again.
We had a dental room where three dentists worked. Each one had his own dental technician. So we didn’t mix much with them.
Our whole compound was laid out pretty simple. As you came in the door the clap shack was on your left, and sick-bay was on your right. Straight ahead was the dental office as you turned right, and went down the hall. On the left was a storage room, a pharmacy, the doctor’s office and an accounting office. Then you went into the ward. If I remember correctly we had twenty eight beds. Most were bunks, but we did have one big regular bed for serious hurt patients or officers. There were bathrooms and showers, just beyond the ward. In the middle of everything there was sick-bay, where sick call was held each morning and each night. Also, in the middle there was the operating room and sterilizing room.
I seemed to like everyone I met, and us three newcomers were welcomed. My first assignment was in sick-bay. This was a great place to learn. Kline was assigned to the ward and Holmes worked in the office.
While I worked in sick-bay Dr. Allen seemed to like me. He started teaching me extra things and I became interested in learning. One day he asked me if! wanted to help him with his operations. I loved it. But all I had to do was check the patients pulse and blood pressure and be sure the intervenes was working. It was an introduction to the operating room. I wore a sterilized grown and a mask. On my first day aboard I learned Gee Dunk was a candy bar and pogey bail was ice cream.
We left Efate on October 30, 1943, and hung out with the aircraft carries Enterprise, Essex and Independence. I hadn’t ever seen an aircraft carrier before. The airplanes were different in those days. They all had propellers and were very slow compared to today. It looked like a hornets’ nest when the planes took off and landed. The ships practiced maneuvering and target practice. One of our sea planes would pull a large red sleeve and that is what the gunner would shoot at. I must say the gunners and crews was top notch and were good at their jobs. I was fascinated with the 20MM guns. That is the kind that has a cushion against each shoulder and is fired by one person. They asked me if I wanted to try a couple of shots. I was fascinated and jumped right in. I hadn’t fired but two or three busts, before they grabbed me and said I almost hit the plane instead of the sleeve. The gun is set to adjust for distance, and I didn’t know that. I didn’t apply to be a gunner’s mate after that.
We soon joined some other ships and we bombarded the Gilbert Islands and Nauru. Our main job outside to bombarding the enemy island, was to protect the aircraft carriers. The whole war turned into an air war. I seem to remember we bombarded these island for three days each morning. Remember this was the first time I had heard the sixteen inch guns being fired. You would have thought that nothing could survive after these shillings. Also our planes from the aircraft carriers, were dropping bombs. When the marines went ashore they were all slaughtered. It seems they miss-calculated the tides and a lot of the landing craft got stuck to the bottom, before they reached the beaches. All our shelling was a waste of time. In the first place we had the wrong type of shells. On one island there were 5,000 Japanese troops and 3,000 laborers from China and Korea. Remember Japan invaded parts of China and Korea and made slaves of the men. All but about eight of the Japanese soldiers were killed and most of the slaves. We lost almost 5,000 marines and all most that many wounded. All this happened in three days. What a disaster and a learning lesson.
We returned to Efate and didn’t have to go to GQ (General Quarters) each morning and could sleep in. Anytime you are in the war zone you went to GQ each morning before light and an hour before dusk. At GQ the whole ship is secured with all hatches closed. This is because if we were torpedoed or a bomb hit the ship it would only be damaged at that point. My Battle Station was three floors down, and it was kind of eerie the first time we were under an air attack and all the guns were firing. I might point out here that we didn’t have any colored men in the crew. There were probably fifty colored boys on board to serve the officers. They had their own quarters.
Back in Efate we were allowed to go on the beaches for about four hours for a rest, and two cans of beer. There seemed like thousands of sailors on the beaches with nothing to do. The first day they had a barge with hundreds of cases of Budweiser beer aboard. Two beers weren’t enough for some guys. So they swam out to the barge and started throwing the beer to shipmates in the water. All hell broke loose when the shore patrol tried to step in. Every time so many sailors went ashore, the sick-bay would be busy afterwards sewing up the wounds and getting ice on the black eyes. One day when I was ashore and sitting in the sand under a palm tree, a real short sailor with a giant mate came along challenging anyone to a fight. I started to jump up, but thought the better of it. I was even getter smarter these days. Efate was the location for one of the episodes of Survivor on T.V.
Another time when we were here they asked who would like to go “Wild Boar Hunting.” I jumped right in and said “Yes.” The next morning they issued us riffles, and a landing craft took us ashore. It seemed to me there were six or seven of us. They were to pick us back up before dark. We started up the first mountain altogether. Then we split up to see if we could drive any pigs out. I must have been a coward, because I always stayed within sight of another guy, and I spent most of my time looking for Japanese snipers. I could imagine a sub dropping of snipers on the other side of the island, and I was a perfect target. Needless to say we didn’t see any pigs. When we got back to meet the boat one guy was missing. We went back to the ship without him, the next day they found him. He couldn’t find his way back and spent the night scared to death. He said be came across a stream and he followed it back to the bay.
We left Efate again as air cover for the carriers, and to bombard Kwajalein Atoll. On the night of February 1, 1944 we rammed the Indiana another battleship. The next few pages can explain it better than I can. On the night we had played hearts until 2 AM. I went to my bunk, real tired. I wasn’t in bed for long. But I was sound asleep. The ship made a real funny noise. I guess it was when they threw it in reverse. There was a thud and the ship rolled. I can remember I thought I would stay in bed and see what it was the next morning. There were calls coming over the intercom, that I had never heard before. Finally GQ sounded - abandon ship. It was so confusing. We ended up at GQ and didn’t know what was happening. Finally they let us out. But there was so much confusion it was unbelievable. As we now know we rammed the Indiana. I was heartbroken when I was told that Dr. Allen had been killed and all they found in his cabin was his toes.
At light other ships searched the area for survivors, and low and behold they found one man and he was from our ship. They brought him aboard and down to sick-bay. He was shaking all over and of course we put him in the big bed. The doctors examined him and he didn’t have any broken bones or anything. It seems that when we hit the Indiana, he sprang out of bed, and as the walls opened up, he was thrown in the water. I asked him how he could swim in the cold ocean water that long. He said after he was in the water he tried to swim, and as his arms went forward he felt a mattress that he used to float on. Please read; STAND BY FOR A RAM. You couldn’t believe the damage. We were dead in the water and a sitting duck for the subs. We slowly pulled in The Lagoon of Majuro to be sure it was safe to proceed to Pearl Harbor without sinking. It was a real slow trip to Pearl Harbor. In Pearl Harbor shipyard we received a new bow. What they did was cut off our bow, and put steel plates across the opening. I don’t think we were in Pearl Harbor for more than a week to 10 days. At Pearl Harbor we got liberty. Where did all the sailors come from? There were so many sailors you had to walk in the streets. I noticed at several places there were long lines of sailors. I remember I thought the line was to dance halls. I soon found out the places were Cat Houses. It was prostitutes’ paradise. I skipped those lines. They said we all needed a rest. A lot of us were bussed up the mountain to a rest area. They had wooden framed rooms about the size of a large bedroom. The sides were netting and as long as weather participated, it was enjoyable. We were there for four days, and the weather was great. Everything was done for us, and all we had to do, was relax.
Back to the ship and off to Seattle. Actually we were going to Bremerton ship yard which is only a ferry ride away from Seattle. We were all to get liberty for a few days, and then a thirty day leave. We were shocked when we pulled into Bremerton, and saw the ship pulled into dry dock with a new bow setting there. It was amazing how quick they could make repairs. I can remember when we started into the Seattle area, it seemed like we came in an area that looked like a canal. We were barely moving and constantly checking the depth to be sure we didn’t hit bottom. Topside the atmosphere was eerie. Very quiet and it started to snow. A far cry from the heat in the Pacific. The first few days I had liberty each night. The first couple of nights I just wandered around the dock area. If you haven’t been there be sure to go. A very fascinating area and I spent some very enjoyable times there. After a couple of nights I found a dance hall. It was a big place with a band. I danced a lot and met a tall thin girl, with a beautiful face. Not my type at all. I think what I liked about her was the fact that at the end of each dance she would be at one end of the dance floor and me at the other end. In those days you danced apart. The dance was over about I AM and I couldn’t catch the ferry until 4 AM. We didn’t know what to do, so we road the streetcar for a couple of hours. We did the same thing for a couple of nights, and then I went on a thirty day leave.
I went across the U.S. to Lancaster, PA. Dad was in the hospital when I got home and I spent a lot of time with him. He had many things wrong with him. Heart problems and leukemia, were his main problems. He was very loving to me and seemed to be very proud of me. I wasn’t home very long, because by train it was a five day trip one way. Being home wasn’t that exciting, and I wanted to get back to the war.
I returned to the ship and called this girl (I can’t even remember her name) and she wanted to meet me at the docks. She brought her father along. He seemed happy to meet me, and was such a nice man. He drove us to their home which was very nice. Her mother had dinner all ready, and it was a very enjoyable night. Her dad took me back to the ferry, and I caught an early ride back to the ship. I went to their house for dinner several times. Her mother was a stout nice looking woman. She seemed to like me, as she made such a fuss over me. The extent of our dating was either at her house or dancing. A couple of nights I stayed at their house, and slept on the couch. Her father would get up at 3 AM to take me to the ferry. They must have really liked me, because I sure enjoyed them.
It was about June 1 ‘when the ship was ready to go and we proceeded to Pearl Harbor, with 600 passengers aboard. We then proceeded to Majuro Atoll. We were now ready for the “offence.”
It was June 13 when we reached Pearl Harbor. As we headed for Majuro a lot of the crew came to sick-bay complaining of a burning sensation when they urinated. This was a large outbreak of the “clap,” a venereal disease; you can get with unprotected sex. I happened to be assigned to the clap shack at this time. It was routine for them to come in, one at a time. Drop down their pants and milk it down. If puss came out “they had the clap.” We would put them on sulfur pills to clear things up.
Our big worry was how many had gotten syphilis a more serious disease. Syphilis was very hard to treat in those days, because we didn’t have penicillin yet. We had five or six cases of syphilis, and these patients were given injections in the butt over a long period of time. It seems to me they were injected with Barium and something else. Anyhow, the injections must have hurt because it was not abnormal for them to jump around, and cry from the burning pain.
While we were either in Pearl Harbor or in Majuro, the PHM went ashore for a basketball game and Dr. Marvin went with us. The court was outside and it had either sand, or gravel, on the floor. I was guarding Dr. Marvin and the game was getting a little rough. I grabbed the ball out of Dr. Marvin’s hand and started toward the other basket. Our feet got mixed up and I went down with a thud. My hands and knees were bleeding. That night the other Corpsmen said that Dr. Marvin tripped me on purpose. I’ll never know but it may have been a blessing. After that he treated me completely different. He started to take Dr. Allen’s place. It really affected me when Dr. Allen was killed. His family had to know he died in an accident.
We proceeded to join other ships and bombarded Saipan and Tinian. I particularly remember Saipan. It was a pretty good size island and I remember seeing the Japanese trucks going up the mountain. They were green. I thought to myself, what sitting ducks. You must remember that the task force was constantly under air attacks. Our radar system had been improved when we were in the States, and we now could pick up the enemy planes at a greater distance. The carriers had planes in the sky constantly. When enemy planes appeared on the radar, our planes would attack them before they reached the ships. The planes were after the aircraft carriers. The enemy aircraft would reach the ships often, and several times they would come from all directions. Our planes had to stay away from the ships, because the ships gunners couldn’t tell the difference. We use to sit topside and watch the radar. If it stopped and moved back and forth, we knew it probably was picking up enemy aircraft.
During these times we were busy in sick-bay, and I was promoted, and put in charge of the Operating Room. WHY ME? I loved the responsibility. One time when we were heading out of the war zone and practicing maneuvers, one of the gun turrets swung around, and either hit a man in the head, or he hit his head when he fell off the turret. Either way he died. We couldn’t bury him for three days or until we got out of the war zone. When a person dies the fluids start coming out of the body pretty quickly. This man had to be embalmed and I was picked to do it. The procedure is to tie his penis, stick cotton up his ass, stick cotton in his ears, nose, mouth, eyes, and of course we had prongs and forceps that helped some. The clap shack wasn’t very big, and with the two butt tubs, that we used to treat hemorrhoids, there was hardly any room to work in. I then had to put him in a burial bag that was green and made of canvas. I finally got him in the bag, and it seems like I had to sew something with a big needle, and black thread. Either that or lace up the top of the bag.
When you bury a man at sea the whole crew comes topside and stands at attention. Taps is sounded, and the pallbearers bring the bag with the body up, on what looked like a metal table from the galley. The reverent says a few words and the table is titled and the body slides into the sea. It’s not a happy time. I had another case where we got a call to go to the garbage disposal room. It seems they had a plugged up drain and the room flooded. The water hit an electric outlet, and the one man in there was electrocuted. I stood at the door wondering what I could do. They got the current turned off, and we put him on a stretcher to sick-bay. Of course he was dead.
Laundry on the ship was a big problem. Can you imagine washing clothes for 2,800 men? It seemed to me that each man had a laundry bag, with his dirty clothes in it. These bags were washed and dried, with the dirty clothes in them, and then passed out by divisions
I am not sure how it worked but one day we had a frantic call to go to the laundry room where a man had got his arm caught in either the washing machine or the dryer. His arm was all mangled and twisted. We got him to the operating room and decided the arm had to be amputated. We didn’t have penitol sodium yet, so we sedated him the best we could. He was still conscious when we cut his arm off. We only had a hand saw, so there was an eerie sound as we sawed. He was screaming “NO NO.” His days in the war were over.
It seemed like half the crew had appendicitis. We had many operations. I’m not sure they were all necessary. A lot of the appendices looked normal to me. We took them out anyway. We didn’t have penitol sodium yet, and we had to use spinal injections as anesthesia. To do this, you put the needle between the bones in the vertebrae, and into the spinal fluid.. Sometimes it was tough to get the needle in, and put in the right amount of anesthesia, to last for the time of the operation. Today it’s much different.
We had a couple of clowns in our group. There was an Italian guy from Brooklyn. Back home he had a girlfriend and by her pictures she was beautiful. Every time he would get a letter, he would carry on about his girlfriend, Flo. One day he got a letter from Flo, and started flipping around and dancing like crazy. He opened the letter and turned absolutely white and started crying. It was a “Dear John Letter.” She had married someone else. The other clown was a short stocky man, and the hairiest man I have ever seen. We would go to the other quarters to shoot craps on the deck, or on the ledge of the door, to one of the large furnaces. I didn’t play much but when this guy rolled the dice, I would bet. I’d never seen anyone make nines like him. It had gotten real hot down there and a lot of the guys got sunburned. They make everyone on topside wear a shirt and if anyone got sunburned, and couldn’t do their job, he would be court marshaled.
I started sleeping in the sterilizing room on the deck, because it was so hot. Most every night three of us would play hearts on the deck. We played and sat on the cold metal deck. It’s no wonder that I ended up with hemorrhoids.
For operations I would make up packs of all items needed for the operations. We had a round metal tube for sterilizing. I would sterilize and have many packages ready in case of an emergency. In the sterilizing room there was a large canister of oxygen. It was about as tall as me. We needed oxygen quite often, and I would transfer some oxygen into a smaller tank. When I turned the valve, to transfer the oxygen, the valve exploded. It was so loud and powerful, I’m surprised it didn’t rock the ship. A piece of the metal about the size of my thumb nail, hit me in the chest. It was really red hot, but I was able to squeeze it out of my chest. It hit a rib bone, otherwise, I don’t know where it would have gone. The explosion noise made me deaf, for three days, and then my hearing came back. I am sure that this experience is the reason, I can hardly hear today.
One day a man hit his head against one of the gun turrets, and he was carried to sick-bay. His head started to swell, and the doctor’s didn’t know what to do. I know they went into the office and got their heads together, and decided to drill a hole in his head to relieve the pressure on his brain. When you break the skin in the head it really bleeds. You better have a lot of hemostat to pinch off the bleeders. The problem was that we didn’t have an electric drill. We just had a hand drill with a burr on it. We got the hole drilled OK, and the man was still alive the next morning, and we were able to transfer him to a hospital ship. We never knew what happened to him.
We had a detachment of marines aboard, and I think that was 120 men. One night when I was there alone their Colonial came in, and said he was having some foot problems. I had him take his shoe and sock off, and noticed he had a terrible case of athletes foot. He did have a real problem. I had him soak his feet in hot water, and I can’t remember what I put in it, he was back again the next night and asked for me. I treated him again and added a solution we had for athlete’s foot, his itching stopped and with treatment every night he got much better within a week. He wouldn’t see anyone but me. Not even the doctors. After a week he asked me if I would like to go on shore with all the marines for target practice. I said I didn’t know if! Could get permission. He said “I’ll take care of that.” When the doctor came down the next morning, he said, I hear you’re going ashore for gunnery practice today. That meant everything was set. A marine came down, and told me they were ready to go. I went top side and the Colonial put his hand on my shoulder, and lead me down the gang plank to a landing craft. When we got ashore they set up targets and started practicing. I was fascinated with the machine gun. I have never seen one before. They let me try it, and when I pulled the trigger the barrel of the gun went right over my head. You would have thought I would have learned my lesson after the buffing machine; I used to clean the balls. I learned quickly to use short bursts. When we got back to the ship he asked me if I would like to go ashore on the next landing as their Corpsman. I was very gracious and told him I appreciated the offer, but I liked it on the ship. Shortly after, they left the ship, to go on a landing. I wonder how many of them are alive today.
One other thing happened about this time. I was asked if I would like to go to Officer’s Training School back in the States. I said “yes” even though I really didn’t want to go. I was to take a written test the next morning. I bad a strange feeling that morning and everything seemed strange. It was a timed test in a dark office. I remember a question on the test that stumped me. It was like if two trains are on a track going the same way, and one train is 100 miles behind, how long will it take the second train to catch the first train, if the second train is going 20 miles an hour, and the first train is going 10 miles an hour. Of course I failed the test, but I really didn’t care. After that I swore I would never fail a test again.
By the time we were going all over the Pacific Ocean, we shelled some islands and put up air cover for the carriers. By now the good Japanese pilots and planes were depleted. Their losses were greater than ours. They had men volunteer to fly suicide missions with only a few days training. One day I was sitting on the fantail, and I noticed a black dot in the distant. It got bigger and bigger, and when it was about 2 blocks from us it turned to hit a carrier, which was also about 2 blocks away. When it turned I could see the pilot and the Japanese insignia on the wing. I was paralyzed. All of a sudden a 40 mm turret opened up, and hit the plane before the plane reached the carrier. When an object is that close these guys are good shots. They didn’t sneak in on us to often, but this one did. GQ sounded immediately, so I went to my station. They were a little late, and I got really lucky that day.
A very interesting and dangerous time, was when the ship refueled at sea. Especially if the sea is rough. I often wondered how they ever got that big hose over to us. They had a gun that holds a ball at the end of a rope, and when they shoot the gun, the ball carries the first rope over to our ship. We pull the rope, and they keep adding heavier ropes, until they add the hoses. We had a machine that pulled the heavy hose over to our fuel tank. It seemed to me, that it took about an hour to fill us. I remember that one Captain we had, would stand outside the bridge and scream instructions, to the Captain of the tanker. It was a scary time.
We pulled into Eniwetok Atoll, a couple of times for fuel and supplies. Once I was to go to a supply ship to get medical supplies. I boarded a very small boat with one propeller. This Atoll has a very strong current, because only very small islands surround it. We were going to board a supply ship that was alongside a cruiser. When we went to dock there was already another boat there. We had to circle the two boats. About the time we got in front of them the motor stropped. A life preserver got caught in the propeller, the Coxswain couldn’t get the preserver out, and we were stranded. The tide started drifting us right in between the two ships that were bouncing together. If we don’t get out or get the motor started we would be crushed.
I sized up the situation fast. I could jump out and try to swim. But it would be impossible against the tide. I decided that it was impossible. We started yelling our lungs out. I knew the supply ship wouldn’t have anybody up front, but the cruiser would. Just as we touched the ships the crew from the cruiser threw us a rope. They pulled us around the ship out of danger, while holding us secure, and now the Coxswain was able to get the motor started. I really felt panicky, and was scared to death.
Starting on November 5 we took the aircraft carriers everywhere, and we were involved when the planes first bombarded Okinawa and Japan. We bombarded Iwo Jima, and I didn’t realize we had bombarded Okinawa, I also never dreamt I would be back on another ship.
It must have been the first part of 1945 when I got notice that Dad had died. I went into the sterilizing room. Sat on the floor and cried my eyes out. I finally stopped crying in about an hour and decided, I couldn’t do anything about it. Life must go on.
It seems to me that MacArthur was trying to retake the Philippine Islands around the late 1944. 1 think the Japanese had two naval units in the area. One was going down one side of the island, and the other was coming down the other. MacArthur was screaming for help, so our unit was split up, and some of the ships went to help him. In the meantime, we were going to attack the Japs fleet on our side. It seemed that we stayed at ‘ forever.
The word came down that the Jap fleet was just out of range. The weather must have been so bad that the planes couldn’t take off. It came down that we were going to go through some strait, and since the Japanese controlled both sides, there was a chance we could receive some enemy fire from the shore batteries. It became apparent we weren’t going to catch the Japs. Halsey wouldn’t give up, and we had to go right through the Hurricane. That was on December 17, 1944. If you have never been through a Hurricane at sea, don’t try it. The page headed “Hurricane” will tell you about our loses. I went topside and actually saw the pictures that follows. We were rolling so much that water was coming down the vents. The destroyers would disappear and “pop back up like corks.” Of course we lost three destroyers. They would just roll over, and not come back up-right. The carriers lost 146 planes, and 778 men were lost. We figured it would be over a thousand. I think history will show Halsey, made a “bad decision” to make us go through that “Hurricane.”
I cannot figure out what the Japanese were thinking when they attacked us. After a year and a half, all they did was invade the Philippines, and make a defensive circle of islands in the Pacific Ocean. They built air fields on the islands, and put a lot of troops on them. They had to see you “couldn’t keep these places supplied.” Where in the world did they think, how they were “going to get all there man power?”
Sometimes after this mess the ship was cabled that I was to go home, because of Dad’s death. I said I didn’t want to go home yet, but they said “President Truman signed the order,” and I had no choice. That was hard for me to believe!
In late March we anchored in a Port, and I caught a ship for Pearl Harbor, and then on to Seattle. How could I have been so “lucky” to be assigned to the USS Washington, the only major ship that went through it all, and never lost a man or got hit by enemy fire. When I look at those kid’s pictures, I can’t believe they were the men that made up that “wonderful crew.” I have many fond memories, and some scary times, when I was on that great ship “USS Washington Battleship BBS6.
When I got to Seattle, I remembered that tall skinny girl I knew ten or eleven months ago. It now seems like her name was Jean, and we called her Jeannie. I wondered how her lovely parents were. I don’t know how I found her phone number; maybe it was with one of the love letters she wrote me. Think there were two. Anyhow, I called her and recognized her voice. When I told her who I was, all I heard was a gasp, and the phone hitting the floor. In a short while her mother picked up the phone, and asked me to wait. While I waited, for some reason I thought about the two letters she sent me, “that I didn’t answer.” When she got back on the phone, after fainting, I asked her to meet me at a bar and restaurant, where we use to meet by the docks. She said it would take her at least two hours to get there, and it was probably one or two o’clock in the afternoon by now. I walked around for awhile, and then went in the bar to wait for her. I was seated in an old wooden booth with a high back. I could see the front door from where I was sitting. Pretty soon this beautiful tall blond walked in, all wrapped up in a fur coat and high heels. I had forgotten how pretty she was. She had a big smile on her face. She sat down and opened her coat, and said “I’m Pregnant.” I was so shocked and dumb founded. I thought how you can be pregnant, we never had sex. Then I realized I was gone for almost a year, what a dumb thought. By now her smile turned to tears. I must have asked how come? She said she didn’t go out for three months after I left, and that I didn’t answer her letters. So she decided to go to a party with a girlfriend. She only remembers that she only had one drink, after she got there.
By now she was crying so hard I could hardly hear her. She said the only thing she remembers, was that she woke up in the bedroom about 2 AM., and she was sore and wet. She didn’t tell her mother for about four months, and her mother was furious with her. She kept staring at me, and put her hand across the table as if she wanted to hold hands, but all she did was touch my hand. As she got up, she said “I’m So Sorry” and walked out. It all happened so quickly. I thought about her Mother and wondered if she blamed me for not answering her letters.
Another five day train ride across the U.S. to Lancaster, PA. U.S.A.