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23 June 2005

Ok, You Caught Me...


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very so often my mind goes blank and I don't have a clue what to write about. I sat this morning in front of my computer for 2 hours trying to come up with something entertaining. I didn't. So I've done the next best thing. I dug out an old posting to reprint right here. I figured there must be hundreds of people out there that missed this great piece of blogging-at-its-Best...

My ship, would be departing Little Creek Amphibious Base in Virginia and head towards the Mediterranean Sea. This cruise was going to take 8 months, stopping and visiting places like Italy, France, Spain, Corsica, and Sicily and I was so looking forward to it. Just getting to our first port, Rota, Spain took almost 3 weeks... Three very long weeks aboard an LST, which was flat-bottomed and which made it rock back and forth, back and forth, back and forth... Ugh! I had a lot of friends aboard the ship but my closest buddy was Rich from Brooklyn. As time would reveal, he was just as goofy and nuts as I was.)...


Anyway one night, before we left the States, Rich and I decided to each pick out a school in the U.S. and write a letter. We both picked an all girls college... I forget where now. We sent our letters to the student body class president. We explained that we were two sailors heading to the "Med" and we would like to correspond with any girl that wanted to write to us. We both figured this was a good idea and we could have some fun with it. About a week went by and we finally got 3 letters, from 3 girls from 2 Catholic colleges. They were nice letters but kinda not what we had in mind. We considered the project a flop. Rich and I being the adventurous duo pondered, "How could we have improved this project to make it a success? what did we do wrong? maybe we needed something on a grander scale?" Little did we know what was in store for us...

It hit us like a ton of bricks. We sat down and typed out a letter... made copies and mailed those copies to EVERY all girls college in America! Every single one! I forget now how many, but trust me it was a lot... maybe a couple hundred... shrug.

So now we pull out of Little Creek for our "Med" vacation defending our country" cruise. Three weeks later we finally arrive in Rota, Spain. When you arrive in a port of call they always call for "working parties" to bring aboard the food, ship parts and the mail from home. Over the PA system we heard "Five man working party report to the main deck" No big deal, normal proceedure. Everyone on the ship is always excited when the mail arrives. Letters from home, boxes of goodies, lonely heart letters from girlfriend and wives... sometimes letters from both girlfriend and wife. Finally it came "Mail Call" Rich and I were sitting in the office coniving some idea I'm sure when our mail clerk came into the office. He looked at me, then Rich and said, "there's some mail for you guys at the post office... go get it." Rich and I looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders... Ok, no big deal. We go out and of the 5 big canvass mail bags, the entire ship received 1/2 a bag... the other 4 1/2 bags were for Rich and I. We were dumb-founded. Hundreds and hundreds of letters. There was cookies, candy, underwear...and a few self photos... Everyday in port it was pretty much the same thing... it just kept coming and coming... it never stopped. The mail wouldn't stop. I was having nightmares that Freddy Krueger was delivering my mail. We had mail falling out of our lockers, stuffed in laundry bags, bras, panties and letters under our mattresses.. if a space was empty there were piles of mail. We did they only thing that 2 sailors knew what to do and how to handle the situation... we started selling the letters to the guys onboard the ship. We tried dividing the letters into categories: virgins and non-virgins. Those were the days when the non-virgin pile was much bigger. Not a good selling point when trying to sell to sailors. We tried geographical... nope... guys wanted females close to home or base. Finally it just boiled down to content.

One dollar for a normal, boring letter... Two dollars for a letter with a picture and Five dollars for a letter with a REALLY ahem, good picture!

Business was great! At that time we also had about 150 Marines onboard the ship and word got to them about what was going on and they wanted in. Rich and I started to feel like pimps. Laugh. Some days were slower than others and we had our own 2 for 1 sales.

Throughout this ordeal we did have a goal. We tried to at least read the first paragraph of each letter after which it went into one of the piles or categories. There was a special pile that wasn't for sale. These were letters from extremely perspective "dates" and girls we became quite interested in and possibly even visiting.

At one point we kind of looked at each other and thought "this has got to end" We were too busy unloading and selling letters that we were ignoring our "hot letters" department... the ones we were hiding away for ourselves. I think towards the end we were having "handfulls of letters for $5" sales and many were virgin letters, never even opened.

We started to narrow down the special letters. We were going for geography... girls near Little Creek... ever see the maps on TV in detective shows with the circles? laugh. We had circles and X marks the spot deals.

Unbelievably we managed somehow to get the special pile down to one letter and she had a girlfriend also and she started writing as well. In a non-conceited way we thought that these two girls were the lucky winners. Plus both were from New York... very close for travel purposes and Rich's hometown.

The correspondence became mini-olympics as to which side could write the more interesting letters. One time we received a letter from these two written entirely on a roll of toilet paper. We responded with a letter typed on a typewriter using wax paper. Rich and I even taped an entire radio show that we told the girls we had onboard the ship. Of course there was no such radio show. Rich and I were awesome catches, even if we thought so ourselves. Laugh. The one thing about this is that we based our interest in these girls strictly on their written words and ingenuity.. we never saw pictures of them as they never sent any. We kept asking but they never sent any pictures.

Finally, an envelope arrives and Rich says it feels like photos. He rips open the envelope and goes right for the pictures. I'm looking at his face for reactions, any reaction at all. Nothing... his face was so solemn. He looked at me and said. "we've got a problem... a big ^$*@*&% problem." He handed me the pictures. The first thing I saw was a hand-written note on top of one picture and it said: "we love seafood" To be brutally honest, to this day I'm not really sure if they were females or 2 guys. Very stocky and a tad muscular, all in the wrong places. We felt dirty... we felt used... violated... We were stunned. I wondered if we had stashed away any other letters somewhere we could fall back on.

Naturally we never wrote back. But these two in N.Y. kept writing. We got tired of getting the letters from them. Rich and I agreed we had to take care of the situation. It was the only honorable thing to do... so we flipped for it. I won the toss and he was elected to write a letter back to them, telling them this was going nowhere.

About a week later Rich told me he took care of it. "Oh?", I said. He said, "yes... I told them you died in a car crash and I was too broken up to continue letter writing." Hey, good one Rich... that must have taken all of 3 seconds to think up... laugh. Instead of being astonished and horrified at what he had told them I simply said: "Good idea, think they'll buy it?"

Apparently they did... we never heard from them again. I was kinda upset that they didn't even care enough to send sympathy flowers. For about a week or so after that, we were both depressed... all of our efforts... up in smoke. About this time our ship was pulling into Naples, Italy. We went on liberty and met two Italian girls... REAL girls... but that's another story.

Every time Rich and I talk on the phone now we always go back to that time and start laughing, just like I've been laughing and shaking my head as I've been writing this article. Just too, too funny.

Observations and Questions
Come up with your own questions and answers...

Today's Birthday

In 1848, Antoine Joseph Sax. Wanna guess what he invented? The Saxophone. WOW, if I had invented it, we could have called it the Shaneophone.

Gentle Reminder of the Day

Come on gang... get your picture to me if you want it displayed for the world to see. We still have time gang, email me and I'll give you my home address... zip off a postcard and give me your address and I'll zip one off to you. It's been really interesting so far!

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