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.

Archive for the ‘Balboa Park’ Category

San Diego Liberty

Posted by sundoulos2005 on April 1, 2008

I forget how many days there was to duty rotation at FLASWSCHL. I often was a supernumerary, meaning I had to be on base, was in a duty status, but did not have to stand a watch. Most days I had the ability to go into town on liberty.

My salary was insufficient for doing much. I think the monthly pay for a seaman apprentice (E-2) was $72.00 a month. I had an automatic allotment of $10.00 to pay for my life insurance. Other than that, I had to pay the launderer to clean, starch, and press my whites. We were required always to have clean and pressed uniforms. I lived in the barracks and ate in the mess hall so didn’t have the expense of room and board. There were minor expenses: shoe polish, brass polish, toiletries, etc. I didn’t have much left and it was never enough.

Even though money was always tight, I usually was able to find something enjoyable to do in my off hours.

One option that was always open was watching a movie at the Recruit Training Command Theater. The theater showed current or recent films. I can remember watching only The Robe although I went there several times. All movies commenced with a visual of the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem.

The USO provided free or reduced rate tickets for local attractions. I often went to the San Diego Zoo. Servicemen got in for $1.00 (a one-day adult admission ticket costs $34.00 today). That I could afford. The San Diego Zoo was state-of-the-art. And it was huge! Unable to afford the fare to take the tram, I walked the entire zoo. I would enjoy visiting it once again.

The Zoo is located in Balboa Park, a large inner-city park. Admission to the park was free, although some of the museums charged. The park is home to botanical gardens, pools, and rolling hills of green grass. On the far side of the park was the Balboa Naval Hospital, now Naval Medical Center, San Diego (NMCSD).

Sometimes I would head to Horton Plaza, which was surrounded by cheap-ticket movie theaters. The all seemed to show "B" movies, or worse. You could, for a dollar or less, watch three bad movies in a row.

A couple of times I walked out Rosecrans Blvd. to visit the Cabrillo National Monument and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. That is one long walk!

San Diego offered a wide variety of off-hours entertainment and while some was prohibitively expensive, by walking, using reduced-fare tickets, and generally conserving one’s money a good time was always within reach.


Posted in Balboa Naval Hospital, Balboa Park, Cabrillo National Monument, FLASWSCHL SDIEGO, liberty, Navy, San Diego, San Diego Zoo | Leave a Comment »