April 3, 2010
Five years ago today, a few minutes before 2 am Pacific Time, you died just the way you lived — The Hard Way. Admitted to the hospital around 6 am on April Fool’s Day, you were in a coma. You faced death just the way you wanted to — unplugged; no respirator; no life support. The doctors said you’d live for a couple of hours. You hung on, minute by slow minute for twenty-four hours. Then you hung on for another twelve. Then, for good measure, you beat Death for eight more hours. You finally drew your last breath seconds before we changed the clocks to Daylight Savings Time — effectively wrangling another hour from the Reaper. The Hard Way.
I don’t know for sure how you were with my brothers or my sister as we grew up. But with me, everything you and I did was The Hard Way. You and I both know what I’m talking about.
You didn’t tell me about your “Navy Days” or your grueling experiences aboard the Boston. You should have. I didn’t ask. I should have. I had to find out on my own, the hard way. I started doing some research a couple of months before you died. Right after your funeral, I started in earnest. Then I started writing A Bird’s Eye View. My original intention was to write an account of your service for my three sons. Guess what, Dad? When I finally started writing my book, within six months I lost you; the company I worked for was bought out. I lost my job. Oh, and after thirty years of marriage, I got divorced. And there was that lawsuit thing . . . Rough six months. But I bore down and wrote through all that turmoil. Sound familiar? The Hard Way.
Oh, I meant to tell you . . . some sons and daughters and grandchildren of your crewmates have stumbled onto my book and this website. They’re sending me pictures and documents and such so that their dads can be remembered too. A couple of your crewmates have read it also. They told me they cried. They told me I did a good job telling it just like they remembered. Not so many of them left, it looks like.
I think you’d be proud, Dad. I say “I think”, because you’d never come out and say that. That’d be The Easy Way. You’d make me try figure it out for myself – The Hard Way.
I finished uploading a set of pictures I received from the national archives (the above picture is one of the entries). Please click on the left hand tab ‘Official Photos CA-69’. Most were shot in boston harbor after the first shakedown cruise. One was taken off the coast of California as the Boston was being escorted by the USS Grand Island (PF14).
I’ve made great progress on the crew list, soon the enlisted men will be complete.
I’ve added three new links, two are to the Rye Fire department of Rye New York which found themselves as the owner of the USS Boston’s anchor, the first story is trying to figure it out, the second story found some history as to how the anchor showed up in Rye New York. The third new link is for CA-69 Sailors who are still alive who want to join an organization devoted to US Cruisers, this site is added to the already existing USS Boston Shipmates site which is devoted to sailors and their spouses from all the the previous USS Boston’s, including CA-69.
I’ve deleted the chat function. We only had one person sign up and I was getting about 10 spam registrations a day. If we get 4-5 people who think this would be a good idea, then use the contact us form and let me know.. For now, just comment on a blog by clicking on the blog title and clicking ‘comment’.
We’ve added some new pictures into a link called ‘Official Photo’s of CA-69’. I purchased these photos from the National Archives and modified them to fit on the website. I’m trying to incorporate their national archive name as the link so anyone could order the picture from the National Archives if they want to.
I’m considering eliminating the bulletin board section of the web site in the next month or so, the ‘Chat about the Boston’ on the link section. I’m getting three to four request from spammers to join a day (really? three crew members from russia want to join? a day? Humm.) These spammers are really persistent, one of them has attempted to use a different form of the same email address over 100 times (he or she comes from russia, turkey, Luthuania, China, and at least two places in the US!) I’ll close down the experiment of a bulletin board in about a month if it isn’t working.
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My father served on the Boston during WWll. He was assigned to the ship while it was still being built and spent months in the city of Boston barracked at the Fargo Building. He almost never spoke of the war or his Navy days to his family. When he died four years ago, my brothers, my sister and myself could only remember a handful of anecdotes that he shared with us.
After he died, I spent three years researching and writing a book about his service on the Boston, titled “A Bird’s Eye View.” Many years earlier, a copy of a diary written by one of dad’s shipmates, Frank Studenski was given to me (the details are spelled in the book). Using Frank’s Diary and a mountain of info from the internet, I was able to piece together the remarkable story of the Boston and what her crew endured.
The task was a bit daunting, to say the least. I was never in the Navy. In my entire life I stepped aboard a ship 4 times: as a boy scout I visited “Old Ironsides” in Boston, and in the last four years I have visited the Missouri at Pearl Harbor, the Hornet at Oakland, CA, and the USS Salem (the only heavy cruiser still afloat) at the Quincy MA shipyard — where the Boston was built.
The book was completed in the early months of this year, and is available on Amazon and on my website: www.ussbostonbook.org.
In the few months that the book has been available, to my knowledge two of my father’s shipmates have read the book. One crewmember and his wife have invited me to their home for dinner and an overnight stay. The other emailed me “I have already read it and it is great. You say it just the way it was! I loved it. Brought back memories that I had forgotten a long time ago.” A few emails later, he ordered five more books — one for each of his children. I am very gratified by their response to my book.
A few months ago, my younger brother Bill and I decided to start this blog site, devoted to the Boston during WWll in the Pacific. We are not experts, we are not Navy guys, we are not part of any organization. We are not affiliated with any other group or website. We’re just a couple of guys with enthusiasm about our dad’s ship, the action she saw, and what the guys endured while serving our country and fighting our declared enemy.