Bill's Vignettes

This is my story. It will consist of little pictures, snippets, or vignettes, from my past. It is a legacy to my children and grandchildren and those that may come after and hopefully will also be of some interest to the casual reader who doesn't know me from Adam.

First Leave

Posted by sundoulos2005 on September 23, 2007

I had finished boot camp, and what a relief that was. Early on in my training I was offered a medical discharge because my nose would rupture and spew blood at the most unexpected times. This was 1964 and dropping out of boot camp would have been an humiliation. I stayed on and opted for surgery sometime during my enlistment.

I had grown a bit, also. I entered boot camp at 5′ 10″ and left at 6’0″. My shoe size had gone from a 9 1/2 to a 12. I was still as skinny as I was 8 weeks earlier.

We did not get much money to spend while in boot camp. There wasn’t much to spend it on anyway. One of the things I did manage to purchase were two sets of sailor suits for my much younger brothers. As you can see in the picture they wore the three stripes of a seaman while I sported the two stripes of a seaman apprentice.

That’s me in the middle;
Paul is on the left and Ian on the right

I was proud of my uniform and proud to have finished boot camp. I looked forward to my short tour in San Diego where I would attend “A” school. I boarded the train for the 13-hour journey to Rochester filled with a ton of thoughts. I do not remember much about the trip except for the incessant clickity-clack of the wheels against the tracks.

We were living in downtown Rochester at the time, on Court Street. Court Street is still there but the apartment building we lived in, along with its two sisters, is long gone — a victim of urban renewal. I arrived back in the city around 7 A.M., grabbed my seabag, threw it over my shoulder, and walked home.

My folks, of course, were glad to see me. We had to go have a family portrait taken with me and my brothers dressed in our sailor suits. The only copy I have of that photo became stuck to another photo and has lots of other-photo remnants on it. I also went to the bank where I had worked to see my former fellow-employees and visited a few friends from high school days. And, of course, I spent some time with my girl friend of several years.

Most of the two weeks was spent goofing off and helping around the apartment. The only important thing that I can remember happening was that Carol and I discussed our futures and decided to break up. She was about to start her second year at Robert’s Wesleyan College in North Chili where she was studying to be a teacher and I was about to go off to the other side of the country. I wouldn’t see her for another five years, and that only fleetingly.

When the two weeks were up I was ready and excited to move on to the next phase of my life.

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