April 20, 1942 (Monday)

San Francisco, California

Am leaving my first diary (kept from November 11, 1941 to April 19, 1942 — the beginning of the war — the South Pacific — Australia, Java — return home) with my stuff at Grams.

Awoke this morning in expectation of several days here in S.F. before sailing. Went over to Com-12 as a matter of form to check in and was a bit nonplussed to hear that I was to be aboard my ship, the Wharton, in an hour and a half! That’s the second time I’ve been screwed on sailing time by that bunch of crackpots in Com-12 — last time they gave me four hours notice to sail for Manila, after spending four days with the Army in Fresno, and with all my stuff down in Santa Clara. O well, I can’t grumble — at least I’m going back into the Pacific, which is what I’ve been hopping for. Orders to VP-51 in Pearl Harbor. I pray to God that they are a permanent Pacific squadron now, and never go back to Norfolk, Virginia. Going back out with me are Butler, Mosely, and Reid — all from the old VP-22 that was shot up in the Dutch East Indies along with VP-101 and 102.

Butler says VP-51’s planes are a bunch old crates (PBY-2s and 3s)that VP-22 traded them before going to Manila, or rather, Ambon. The older, the better — maybe we’ll get some new B-24s that much sooner. I hope this stupid Bureau of Aeronautics doesn’t try to stick to PBYs, or any other flying boat for that matter, too damn long.

Well, to get back to S.F. —In a last minute rush I called Dad in Pasadena, Betty Hines in San Diego, and Gram in Santa Clara ($8+). Also had Blums send 4 four-pound boxes of their special mix to Mom, Buff, Gram, and Trude ($22.00) (As I write this a few days later, the ship’s radio has announced the drastic rationing of sugar in the U.S. — so the candy should be doubly appreciated as it is just about the last.)

Arrived on the ship to find that Com-12 had sent down too many — for awhile I thought I might go back ashore, but they broke down and gave us some of their best cabins, on the top deck, which they hadn’t wanted to use because of it being partially incomplete as to refitting. So again, as on the Polk, I drew one of the best cabins — maybe my luck is holding.

Given liberty till midnight. Went to see Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper in “Ball of Fire” — an excellent comedy. Went out to see Aunt Elizabeth later in the afternoon. She’s sick in bed with some symptoms that don’t sound so good — hope she pulls through OK.

Sat in the Orchid Bar at the St. Francis for about an hour waiting to hear from Eleanor Watson. Finally at 7:45 a wailing phone call from the S.P. depot — there were no cabs — so I grabbed one and picked her up. She was a balm for sore eyes — was truly delighted to see her as I honestly hadn’t expected her to come — after all, these Stanford sorority girls have awfully high pedestals — but then, good old “Muskles” has always had a little more horse sense than most of them — plus a hell of a lot more on looks. We killed more more than our share of Daiquiris at the Orchid Bar before “floating” off to Pierre’s for a steak dinner. An hour in the Cirque Room at the Fairmont finished off a damned enjoyable evening. Dumped “Watso” on the 11 p.m. train to “Paly” and wondered where and when I’d see her again. Back to the ship. Flipped a coin in the dark with my new roommate — Sterling Williams — Austin, Texas — for the lower bunk — I won.

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