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Hanging In

by Trudy Raven

I knew this post was somewhere in the pile and hoped to find before Willie’s 90th birthday and make an appropriate comment. Anyway here it is, better late than never. Originally written by Archie with a mention of Billy G the other 17 yr old.

Hanging In Fri Jan 27, 2006

I don't have a memory as sharp as some people but I do remember an incident over sixty years ago when I came up from the mess deck and saw a friend sitting on a mooring bit on the starboard side weather deck where we kept one of our whale boats. He said he had stopped by before going up on watch to chat with me and another friend who lived nearby in V1T compartment. We were teenagers, two were seventeen with the old guy nineteen.

Several thousand sailors had been killed in recent weeks aboard our ships and while it was taboo to discuss the probability of dying, keeping it out of mind wasn't always possible now that the kamikazes were taking a heavy toll. Without any reference to our present situation the conversation turned to longevity. The old guy in the group said he had a grandfather who was ninety and if we got through this shit he believed he had a shot at eighty.

Skoal!! You old sunnavabich you made it. What's more, you drank enough beer along the way in those eighty years to float Yorktown.”


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