Sunday, June 28, 2015

I Didn't Ask and Marlow Didn't Tell

From my late mother-in-law Marie's Postcard collection I pulled and  posted this to facebook saying I have been to the U.S.O. in NYC and L.A. and they had free punch, coffee, and donuts, and that is about all I said.

However, there is a story around the New York City U.S.O. visit.  Pull up a seat and I'll tell you.

When I first became part of the Helicopter Squadron HU-4 at Lakehurst, New Jersey,  I was awkward and shy.  I was the new kid on the block.  I was assigned a cubical with three other men.  Two of them were on leave and the third one was Marlow.  We hit it off, and Marlow took it on himself to introduce me to New York City, the next day, Saturday. 

NYC was 60 miles north.   Saturday we took a bus.  I was impressed looking out the bus windows and seeing the huge city unfolding before me.  We went down a hill, then through the Lincoln Tunnel. under the Hudson River and came up a hill on 42nd Street to Port Authority.   I soon found out that 42nd Street had all the tourist traps kind of joints.

We first took a subway to either the Bronx or Brooklyn and looked up an old friend of Marlow's.  The friend wasn't there but his wife was there and they talked about family and friends.  I think they knew each other in Marlow's home state, which is on the Mason-Dixon Line.  I was amazed at all the clothes lines with clothes hanging on them between apartment building, just like in the movies.   WHOOPEE!

We hit a few bars and when it started getting dark we took the subway back to Manhattan.  I think that is the time we saw Chubby Checker in a lounge singing his "Twist" top 40 song.

we also went to the U.S.O.  There we had our dinner of  Donuts and coffee.   There were music and a dance going on.  People were all smiling, but in a phony kind of way.  They were doing their part to make the service man feel at home.

We left.  Just outside the U.S.O. a man came up to and started a conversation.  He was a smooth talker.  He asked if we had a place to stay and we said no.  He said he had room for just one of us... Marlow was more worldly than I, and also a smooth talker, somehow they worked out a deal. Marlow would spend the night at his apartment and the strange man would pay for me a room and give me a few bucks for breakfast  the next morning.

We walked just a block or two away to the William Sloan W.M.C.A.   The strange man, Marlow, and I walked into the lobby and he registered me at the desk and gave me the key to the room and $50 for breakfast.

I hope Marlow was worth it.

The room was small and had no bathroom.  The head was down the hall.  I didn't know we were staying overnight so I had no toothbrush, shaving gear, or anything. 

So, I slept and the next morning just used the bathroom in a room crowded with men and left and found a place to eat breakfast. 

I don't remember how Marlow and I met back up.  We probably agreed to meet at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at a certain time.

When we were back together,  he never mentioned what happened that night then or never.  I didn't ask and Marlow didn't tell.

 However, another new friend quickly figured it out.  Stay tuned.

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