My three published novels:Plus new short fiction available now on amazon kindle!

My three published novels:Plus new short fiction available now on amazon kindle!
My three hardcover novels are available now for your Amazon Kindle device. Also find additional ebooks of fiction, and a two-volume photo book of Cuba's Classic Cars. Click on the book covers above.

Friday, July 6, 2012

In Scotland

I was recently reading the journal/diary my that my grandfather kept when he enlisted in the navy in World War 1. He wasn't very educated or sophisticated,  or travelled, and most of the entries just listed the drudgery of military routine - standing watch, washing his laundry, receiving letters from home, but rarely revealing their contents. Now and then, a detail cropped up that was intriguing, perhaps because the specifics were so lacking:

--On Lake Michigan, at the Great Lakes Naval station, he saw snow falling for the first time. He was 25 years old.

--An officer in one of the Great Lakes barracks went insane, and had to be restrained and taken away.

--Theodore Roosevelt addressed the assembled troops on the parade ground. But he was too far away for my grandfather to photograph him clearly.

--The sailor running the ship store was caught stealing, and was put in the brig on a ration of bread and water.

--On the Atlantic, homeward bound, escaping the crowded hammocks and stuffy air below, he slept on the deck of his battleship, the USS Delaware. During the crossing, he spotted a two-masted schooner, and a whale.

--While overseas, the ship and crew of the Delaware were inspected by the king of England.

Queen Elizabeth's grandfather

The one incident I could picture clearly was when he was granted a twelve-hour shore leave off the coast of Scotland, while the Delaware was at anchor in the Firth of Forth. He decided with his brother, who was assigned to the same ship, to walk three miles into the town of Dumfermline. On the way, the two of them  were caught in the open in a sudden rainfall. They took shelter beneath a bridge, and talked to each other for a couple of hours, about the folks back home, about their shipmates, how lucky they were not to be in the trenches, and all the events that had brought them to this place.

When the rain cleared enough to continue their walk, they bought post cards and tobacco, and found a photo studio where they had their portraits done in traditional Scottish garb.

my grandfather

my great uncle

They found the local YMCA, where they were given doughnuts and coffee. My grandfather, the one in the upper photo, played the piano there until it was time to make the walk back to the Delaware.

No comments:

Post a Comment