Now Reveille, Reveille, All hands heave out...
I remember the rush to get to the 'head,' to shower and shave.. oft times, our head was the only one working in our immediate area of the ship.. so the rush was often even greater.. Can you remember standing in long lines just to do your morning duty? And when finally at the commode, you had to quick grunt and get it over with, because there were 20 more guys standing in front of you, giving you the evil eye?
I wonder how I got use to that? I don't think I ever did.. but you just get num to it as we were all in the same 'boat' together, and privacy was something we left at home in our bedrooms.
I learned a very good lesson very soon after I came aboard the HANCOCK... about trust. Being tender in years, I had never been exposed to so many different kinds of people, with all kinds of different moralities.
One morning, as I was about to use my birthday present my dad sent me from home, a very fancy Norelco electric razor, which I was all excited to use for the first time that morning, I had gone to our head with towel, soap and razor, looking much like this fellow in the picture below.
When I got to the head, I remembered I forgot to bring the after shave that my dad sent with the razor, so I placed the new Norelco on the little shelf below the mirror for a second and ran back to my foot locker, to get the after shave. Finding it, I returned to the head, to find my brand new Norelco gone. I never saw it again. I learned very early on not to leave personal things lay around. We may all have been 'brothers' on ship, but some brothers weren't very honorable.
This here is a lesson I learned while young, and away from home for the first time in my 19 years of life: A ship is a small microcosm of the world where people of all walks of life, beliefs, morality come together, to teach you how to live in this world. Though the lessons were often hard, there came out of it all, manhood where structure became an important part of life, but along with the structure, came a feeling of fitting in and being a part of something Bigger than yourself.
We may have left our families behind for awhile; but we found we had gained an even larger one. The Idea of being a Crew began to sink in when you got over the shock of being with so many guys on a ship. There has never been the likes of this camaraderie to ever again be felt so well, and today, many years later, to be so much missed.
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