Children's Hour

I remember my Dad telling about some of his time serving in the Merchant Marines. He told about some horribly rough seas, where you couldn't go out on deck. He told of a time he and a shipmate tried to make a little money on leave by claiming they could entertain by singing on a small stage. However, they had imbibed too much alcohol before going on, and his friend, who was trying to play the guitar while singing, fell off of his stool. The both of them were promptly escorted out a door. Dad would think ahead of telling his stories of sailing around the world during WWII. He had a Quaker Oats container full of monies he showed us, that he had acquired from all sorts of different countries. He served in the Atlantic and the Pacific. However, he would always reach a memory that would make him stop talking. We would ask for more stories, but he would stop. He would get choked up, and try not to cry. In much later years I asked my sister, the oldest of us, if she ever found out about why Dad would quit telling about his adventures. She told me that Mom had told her the reason. Dad had been on shore leave, and didn't make it back to his ship in time. He served on a tanker and was a machinist. He was going to have to take the next ship out. He was on the next ship following out at sea, when everyone on board could see smoke a few miles in the distance. The ship caught up with Dad's ship that he had missed. It had been destroyed by U-boats. It was too hard for my Dad to tell us about his shipmates that he had lost. My brother and I have always wondered what the name of his ship or ships were that he served on.

- Alice V.

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