31 August 2013

19 July 1944

Routine this AM -- with plenty to keep one busy. Knocked off about 1400 and caught a weapon carrier from the mole (breakwater), drove through town and out to the beach at Mondello. Wide expanses of pure white sand -- clear but rather too warm water -- and thousands of Italians. The Navy officers’ club is an old villa right down on the shore. Changed there and went down the line to the Red Cross Beach. Spent the afternoon swimming, bathing in the heat of the sun, sailing and exploring the native beaches with the Padre. Returned to the club for a few drinks, a steak dinner (other choice - lobster) served out in the gardens beneath the palms -- with the strains of an eight piece orchestra as accompliment. A young Italian lady (aged nine) spent the evening trying to teach us Italian -- and on her invitation we visited her family about 2100. (After sending some cigarettes for Pappa ahead of us.) The family were very gracious -- and we spent a pleasant -- if not conversant -- hour in their garden drinking vino -- and, truth to tell, dancing with Mamma, sister (age 15) and our hostess, Elda. Returned to the ship about 2230 and spent the rest of the evening until 2400 taking care of drunks, one case of total amnesia, and the injured. (What a life!)

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