While the ship was under repair in San Pedro, the men left on leaves – half gone for three weeks and the other half doing light duty on the ship (with plenty of leaves and down-time.)
I had a twenty-one day leave and I came home. At that time, they had DC3’s. I spent most of the time on my flight home sitting on the coffee urn talking to the stewardesses. We stopped in Texas and another place or two on the way home.
After I went home, I headed back to San Pedro. One of my old girlfriends from high school was married and living in San Pedro. I visited her a couple of times.
My aunt had a cousin who lived in Hollywood, right next door to Walt Disney. I got to meet Walt and tour some of the studios. Jane Russell was just coming in at that time and I got a quick peek at her in the studio.
We had lots of leave. Me and a buddy from the division (his name was John Slade) met a couple of girls in Long Beach and we stayed with them for a couple of days and nights – dancing, drinking, you know . . . When it came time to leave, I said to Slade, “I’m going back to the ship – pretty soon we’ll be AOL.” Slade said, “I’ll have one more drink and catch up with you.”
I never saw him again. He never came back to the ship.