Letters from the Good War

A running series of World War II letters written by a Navy Seabee who served in the South Pacific theatre taking the reader through the entire war experience.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

From July and August 1945

7/26/45 Dear Mom, Not more than an hour ago, I was splashing about in a paradisaical, lucid, tropical stream. Great stuff - makes me feel like wading home. The freedom of going nude, forgetting the heat, relaxes body and mind and is a relief. Since I struck these islands, I've acquired a pleasant, carefree attitude. I wander about like a vagabond and feel like a million. I no longer take the job or the service more seriously than I have to. What a triumph it is to learn not to worry. Pass on my thanks to George. [a neighbor] I'll enjoy the candy he sent, but somebody else will get the better portion. Once upon a time George thought he had converted me to communism. He certainly tried hard. Now, more than ever, I'm an individualist. Poor George. We have a few men in the outfit that have a sense of humor. One or two of them announce clever witticisms over the PA system. I had mentioned that a good number of our men practice free marriage, even support families. Without a doubt they will eventually abandon these abject girls. Most of the girls have an inkling of what to expect, but for them only the present matters. So they assume the role of married women, a jealous lot at that, while the men let them rant about their temporary home lives. The girls frequently visit their "husbands" in our tents, which can be quite embarassing to the "husband." Meanwhile the other fellows take advantage of this opportunity to exploit their difficult situation. For instance the PA system might blare, "Jack So and So, your wife is waiting for you at the tent with the groceries." It's certainly true that a good many of these freak romances could be branded as adulterous. A fair number of the "husbands" are married men. But it's also true that they expect the same behavior from their wives back in the States. So, another gander at the human side of life, eh. Amidst the immorality, there's humor and decency too. It's a quaint mixture of blameless circumstances. Living with all kinds of men, I have no choice but to resign myself to approve their behavior. It's all simply one big, insane, hilarious experience. A war can't be won any other way. I guess people must be human. 7/31/45 Dear Mom, Again, taking off to the country for three days, I relaxed amid the freedom and hospitality of the country folk. I don't stay with one family, but rather divide my time among several. We also congregate at various homes for discussions. I have stayed with the Reyes, the Quiboloys, the Sangcos and the Santos', all friends of mine and each other. I might have dinner at the Reyes, supper at the Quiboloys etc. One night we'll have discussions at the Sangcos, another night at the Santos' villa. They haven't placed me on a pedestal yet, but mighty near it. I've happily made a hit with all of them which I attribute to my straightforward approach. The men listen to me reverentially, which I sincerely try to discourage. Time after time I insist that I rarely practice what I preach. I feel very much at home with them, and they know it. As for the girls, of whom every family seems to have a goodly share, they listen with fascination to my discussions with their fathers. They ask me to help them with their lessons, and above all they want to know all about the romanticized U.S. Sometimes we have long discussions, occasionally on delicate subjects. They love music, especially American ballads. (By the way, would you send me song sheets of songs on the Hit Parade or whatever nonsense is being sung nowadays?) The Sangcos have an organ, and Sunday night their eldest daughter, Virginia, played a piece from Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria and the wedding march from Lohengrin. The other night in a discussion with the girls the subject of dancing arose. The girls, the home type that is, don't indulge. There I was, an abstainer myself, now considering its merits, it's necessity as a wholesome social outlet. I told them that dances are held back at camp. They asked if I went, and I said that I did. Then they asked with whom, and I said, myself. They asked why I went, and I said for the ice cream and cake and they laughed heartily. Although convention restrains them, they still have an innate desire to dance. My relationship with them is strictly platonic. I know how they think and anticipate their reactions pretty well. They are intrigued by the dashing American, by the very high bridge of his nose. I'm aware of what they say to each other because, as with all girls, they talk about each other to me. After slitting a few throats they are satisfied that they've well disposed of their opponents. And as with all girls, for whom mirrors are an obsession, they make sure their jet black hair is just so. Whenever I swiftly scour the room and my glance meets a few eyes, smiles cross their faces. However, they fully realize the futility of becoming involved with an American. The infatuation and desire must remain silent, dormant. Ironically the more timid a girl is, the more she's infatuated. An American is perfectly safe if he sticks to a "ne touche pas" policy. This recent vacation was in the main similar to the others, except that I was introduced to some new varieties of fruit. The villagers insistence that I keep returning put me rather on the spot. The expect me to be a second "I shall return" MacArthur. They read about MacArthur returning on the leaflets that were dropped prior to the invasion. Having taken pictures of this visit, I'm now faced with the problem of having the film developed. Somehow I'll manage. Anita, who is apparently my favorite, was miserably ill with a cold, and absolutely refused to talk to me because her voice was unpleasant. After learning that she had a fever, I demanded that she be given aspirin. These people have no idea how to deal with sickness. A few weeks ago when Lucio had an eye infection, I made him apply a hot solution of some Boric Acid that I found in the house. His eye quickly got better. During the three days I spent in the village your pictures were on exhibition. They were fondled and marveled at by everyone whose gaze fell on your happy faces. The villagers positively couldn't get over the youthfulness of my parents and the handsomeness of my brother. Why, some even thought you were almost young enough to be newlyweds. You three reinforced my prestige three fold. Now that's the honest truth. I was bursting with pride. When they look at pictures they examine every detail - your clothes, ornaments, shoes, the crease in your pants, your hairdo. The girls went completely daffy over Ronnie. So help me, I wouldn't stand a chance against him. Mothers and middle aged women looked at you in awe. They branded Dad a middle aged executive type. Mind you, I did no prompting. I'm sure, Mom, Ronnie's new experience, so utterly different for him, won't do him any harm. A little grime, a few pounds lost, associating with a few wise acres, are all part of learning self-reliance - provided he keeps on the straight and narrow. Soon he will learn to make what is inconvenient less so. The first thing he should learn is how to spend money. Now and then a splurge that pays dividends won't hurt. His reversing telephone calls is wrong. It's his business to pay, his task to manage that thirty cents per day. He'll learn to leave the chow hall full regardless of how little food is served or how poor it is. He can't be choosy about what he eats; he need only know what benefit he can derive from it. Most important he should keep his body well rested, and free of tension. The two things necessary to maintaining this condition are sleep and cleanliness in both body and clothes. To learn how to sleep anytime anywhere is a great thing. I've succeeded at it. The eyes, the head, the entire body needs rest. Bodily cleanliness means, whenever possible, taking at least one shower a day. If it's not possible, then use a bucket or helmet, and make sure that water cleanses every portion of the body. This is impossible only when the boys are in battle. Clean clothes means frequent changes. As soon as they become grimy, change them. I wear two (sometimes three) pair of trousers a week, three to five sets of underwear, two shirts (sometimes one), and three to five pairs of socks. In wet weather I make a complete change daily. To avoid running out of clothes more frequent washing is necesary. If washing isn't possible, then beg, borrow or steal more clothes. There should be at least a part of the waking day when you feel clean and refreshed. This is essential to ease the mind as well as the body. I've seen men that relax their personal habits, especially on board ship, become a miserable, wretched lot. Frankly, it took me a while to realize the value of such seemingly minor things. Ronnie will learn these things too. I hope so. Above all he shouldn't be over-enthusiastic, or anxious to do things because nobody cares whether he will become tired or not. The only one that cares about you is you yourself. 8/1/45 Dear Mom, I hoped that this weekend would see the war end. It wasn't an altogether absurd possibility. Damn them to hell, unfortunately the [Japanese] leaders, driven by a frantic and futile determination, are willing to let their own people be massacred and their cities laid waste. They are guided by a bent and twisted logic. To ignore our ultimatum means sheer disaster, yet they persist. Apparently they cling to a flimsy hope for negotiations. They remind me of the stubborn fellow, who in the throes of losing an argument, can't bring himself to back down. Or as with Germany, they need more proof of our might. Whatever their reason, their decision makes me angry, and, for the first time, I wish that none of them will be spared. I can't help but believe that wars, like people, die when the forces of nature and chance are good and ready to let them die. Last week was a gala one for seeing movies. I saw two notable mysteries, one with Gene Tierney, and the other with - well, she was an eyeful anyway. I can't remember the names of the stars or pictures lately. I know during the most recent picture, despite the beauty that adorned the screen, my eyes were more often drawn to the eastern sky as I watched a bewitching moonrise that gave an exotic cast to the land and the sea. The clouds, massed behind a magnificent golden sphere, were radiant with green, yellow and pink tints. The maneuver was serene and fleeting. Oh yes, her name was Ella Raines, but her powers weren't as captivating as the moon's that night. The tropics can be so lurid and infectious at the same time, so completely magical and inspiring. Here's eighty dollars, a tidy sum, to use if you need it. I still have a little over a hundred on the books.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Arriving Home

                                                                                     Morning 12/15/45
Dear Mom,
Being here is a sweet thing to contemplate. Though weary from standing in line, pushing about, and anxiety, I couldn't get to sleep right away. My mind brimmed with the happiness of realization. And now it's not so hard to wait when waiting is only a matter of days. What are days when compared to months and years of waiting? My patience is drained because these are such crucial days, but this impatience is far more bearable than the nearly futile impatience over there.

Of course, everyone would like to be home for Christmas. There's a real effort being made to get us there by then. However, we don't know what or when transportation will be available. Meanwhile, we reside in warmly heated naval barracks just ten blocks from the heart of the city. And quite a city this is

more impressive than New Orleans. Compared to what we've been used to, the facilities are heavenly. The chow is elegant. Before I left Subic Bay I weighed 169 when tropically nude. [pre-Seabees weight: 150] Last night in full uniform I also weighed that, indicating that I probably lost a few pounds on the voyage. With milk flowing liberally and foods long since missing from our diet plentiful, I should thrive and be able to combat the cold more easily.

It seems that the Seattle natives find the cold as repugnant and hard to take as we. The weather has been unusually frigid, not only for this region, but for the entire nation. Wherever I've been from Gulfport to the P.I.s.

the weather has been unusual. I now assume that the unusual is usual, what else? But the cold hasn't been as fearful as I expected. The fourth and fifth days out were the worst. A wool lined jacket borrowed from Ray which I wore over a tropical jacket over a velvety sweat shirt over a regular shirt over a skivvy shirt, sustained me beautifully. Now I feel invigorated and at home in the Seattle air.

We are being issued a pea jacket free of charge today. Last night I wore my blue uniform, still intact through it all, and my infamous army jacket. Strictly against regulation, it was an appalling combination but mighty necessary.

I walked down the street dreamily gazing and smiling at the civilians, curious and awed by the beauty of the delicate white complexions of American girls. It was almost as if I had never seen such creatures before. Everything was both strange and familiar: strange in my recent life, familiar from a life more distant and nostalgic. At times it was as if I had never left the country, as if I went to sleep in L.A. and woke up in Seattle and the South Pacific was only a dream, or some concoction of the imagination. There's a kind of continuity between L.A. and Seattle with no interim. Except that now I see things with a strange, childlike awe. This awe, which applies to everything I see, is a distinct pleasure. Last night, I was ridiculously overwhelmed by it and had no idea how to handle it. So I returned to the barracks in time for taps, instead of staying out until reveille, discouraged with myself, overcome with unfathomable pangs of sorrow.

We are permitted to leave camp every night and our daily duties are academic. Despite arriving here weary early in the afternoon, I had to go out last night to telegraph home on the same day I arrived. Although there's a pay station in the barracks, I elected not to phone, not because of the expense, but because I couldn't deal with the presence of your voice and not you. After I adjust to things, I may yet muster up enough courage to phone.

Under the circumstances the voyage was fine

extraordinarily short and comfortable. The ship was big, bigger by 110 feet than the West Point, and fast and famous. Constantly ahead of schedule, we had to slow down to an agonizing 14 1/2 knots not to arrive too soon. So we had big, fast ships both ways. We aren't pikers, that's for sure. Examining the armored splendor of the Hornet [an aircraft carrier, the second by that name] kept us occupied the first few days and the monotony was considerably relieved by three movie showings a day and frequent games of pinochle. I listened earnestly to a roundtable discussion presided over by the captain on the current labor squabbles. Managing to take a hot shower every day, easy to do on this ship, I kept clean which is essential to being comfortable.

I have no address because my station here is temporary. I'll do all the writing and avidly.

My love to all of you, Hughie

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Americanization of a Village

Dear Mom,
We hear so much about the havoc and destruction in Europe that we take pity on the populations there. We are like healthy people watching cripples, and we have no way of understanding their plight. Only a cripple can know what being a cripple is like.
Here the destruction is far less drastic. We have no big cities, only the torrid forests and small, unimportant villages. Yet, the local village in this area demonstrated for me on a small scale what war can do to someone's familiar back yard or field.

On the day that I first landed in this small, tattered village, I tried to reconstruct in my mind what it must have been like before the war. I saw stuccoed mansions, and cute thatched homes. I saw green fields, running springs, flourishing flower gardens, small children walking down the country road lined with blossoming trees, that passed through the center of the village. I could see it all as if it were still there. It took little imagination, and the longer I remain here the more realistic the scene becomes.

The ruins left me with that picture. But now those remnants have disappeared.

What I saw that day of my arrival was actually a town that had undergone a terrific naval barrage. Every structure, cozy bungalow, and thatched cottage was gutted and torn by bomb fragments. While no doubt the Japanese had changed the town considerably from what it was, they made use of its buildings. One home became a dispensary, another a headquarters, another a brothel. The Japs made use of every house. But the Americans are different. We are accustomed to using automotive and mechanical devices when waging war and building things. Narrow country roads and pretty homes don't fit our requirements for creating a base. So we change everything.

On that first day, the church, a simple stucco chapel with a corrugated tin roof and mahogany pews, had been completely riddled with machine gun bullets such that the plaster was crumbling from so many holes. Sections of the tin roof were falling off and not a window was left. Today both the army and navy are using the chapel in the very same condition it was in when I first saw it. Suffering least from the bombardment, a few of the sturdiest stucco mansions with mahogany verandas and attractive shutters were still standing. Some had antique furniture inside.

When I first arrived the army converted one of the homes into a headquarters. An order was flashed: Send a patrol into the hills to rescue two wounded Americans with two Jap prisoners.Orders such as this were common. The invasion was over, but the results were still ongoing.

As trucks and Jeeps ground sour rice into the earth, its stench clung to the air. Filth was everywhere. Rotting food manufactured flies by the second. A European car was a curiosity. A few cheaply made Jap trucks were the only things mechanized. With bullets and shells scattered helter skelter everywhere, souvenirs were plentiful. On the beach old European and Japanese vessels stood wrecked and desolate, their hulks combed over by us curious Americans.

The only unmarred remains were the crystal clear springs and gurgling brooks that crossed the town in a checkered pattern. These still flowed, somehow revealing the original quaint atmosphere that the village once had.

I found children's shoes scattered about, European footwear, European literature and children's primers, all evidence of a quiet, pleasing civilization of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. In some dismembered front yards, roses still survived and picket fences still stood in defiance of the bombs and bullets.

Not far from the village, in a pretty green glen beneath low branching trees, there was a small burial ground overlooking the bay. During scarcely twenty-five years, no more than a dozen people were buried there. It wasn't hard to surmise that each grave had a yarn to tell. A man with a European name had died at the age of forty-two. A woman died at twenty-three. A child lived only two weeks, June to July 1939. The stones were carefully carved, awesomely spelling out human sentiments of devotion and love. They were unlike our burial stones. Small thatched canopies were constructed over the length of each grave and an inscription in glass was framed at the head. A small spring ran through this hollow to the ocean, as if to keep the dead cool in the tropical heat.

Everything has changed. The grand scale of Americans in action has dwarfed and crushed everything. The weaker structures were razed and enormous warehouses now occupy their sites. After tarpaulins were thrown over their roofs to cover the bullet holes, the mansions became offices. The once green lawns have been trampled into dust. A supply depot now stands next to the chapel. The streets have been widened, filled with the hustle and bustle of Jeeps and trucks that kick up swirling, choking dust. Telephone poles dotting the area support a criss-crossing network of wires. Even the once clear brooks have been made into drainage ditches. The beach is coated with oil slick from the big freighters that tie up to docks only one hundred feet from the shore.

I don't recognize the burial ground now. Stones have been stripped away, name plates torn off the graves, broken glass strewn everywhere. A blue mark on one grave serves as an elevation point for the surveyors. A chipped stone on another grave bears witness to some American boy souvenir hunting. A road now passes through this once green paradise, and dust and mud insult the sturdy graves. In war there's no respect for the dead.

Now beside the Stars and Stripes a European flag flies over this unrecognizable village. Will the original inhabitants ever return? I wonder. The hundreds of thousands of dollars spent excavating, building warehouses and ditches will leave a permanent scar on this place. To bring it back to its former luxuriousness would cost countless millions. The fields and brooks and burial ground are gone forever. The spirit that once pervaded this green valley can never be revived. Those poor people.

The Americanization of a village.
I guess this letter is quite impersonal, but perhaps it will help you visualize what it's like here, what I see.


Thursday, January 23, 2014


            Until recently, World War II was known as the Good War. During the conflict in which I participated, I never met a soul either in this country or overseas who doubted that the war was justified or that our foes were worth defeating. Everyone agreed that the U.S. represented the forces of good against the forces of evil.
            Perhaps that seems hard to understand today, but back then that was simply how people felt. I recaptured the spirit of those times not long ago when I discovered among my late mother's effects some letters I had written home during the Good War. They provide a window onto that period.
            A few of the letters concern the period after my Seabee battalion debarked at Subic Bay in the Philippines in early 1945. We knew that it was only a matter of time – possibly a long time – before Japan would be defeated. We had come up from spending a year-and-a-half in the jungles of New Guinea. Our forces had just liberated the Filipinos from the Japanese yoke. "When we entered the bay," I wrote to my parents, "as we hung over the rail staring with curiosity at the new land, the natives, shouting "Veectoree Joe!," drifted around the ship (in their outrigger canoes) wanting to trade bolo knives, sleeping mats, bananas, liquor and bamboo handiwork for cigarettes and clothes." This certainly wasn't a people telling us to go home.
            After we had set up camp and gotten settled in, we were granted weekend liberty, which permitted us to visit the nearby towns of Subic and Olongopo. "The Flips were exuberant," I wrote, using our nickname for the locals. "Skinny as rails, they greeted us in rags and were willing to give us what little they had." Everywhere we were invited into the Filipinos' homes, fed freshly killed chickens and rice, eggs, vegetables, fruit and caribao milk (and later our own beer and C-rations purchased on the black market) – all food that was hardly in ample supply.
            I made friends in several of the villages and spent time with them at every opportunity. Among my closest friends were the Reyeses who lived in the barrio of Lubao on the Pampangan plain in central Luzon. I wrote to my parents, "I was overwhelmed by my host's generosity. Mrs. Reyes said most pleasantly, 'You can't imagine how we prayed for you boys to come, and anything we can do, anything, can never repay what you have done for us.' That afternoon I listened to the frankly told atrocity stories by those who witnessed them. They are depressing and heart rending."
            The recent cruel past was fresh in their minds, probably never to be forgotten. "Everyone put in his oar telling me stories of the Jap occupation….The once well-to-do, from the upper classes to the men who made good by honest labor, are destitute today. The loyal resisters were pursued and hunted down everywhere. Everything they had was confiscated…The Japs commandeered their homes, stripped them bare….When I was last in the city, my friend Antonio muttered dejectedly as I was leaving, 'This is probably the poorest house that you've slept in.' Sure it was. No sense in denying what he knows to be true. I reminded him, however, that at the same time I found it the richest….The warmth and honesty of his family made it a mansion."
            How can a later generation suggest that we may not have been right after all? Yes, it was a terrible thing that we caused the deaths of hundred of thousands of innocent civilians by bombing German cities. Yes, it was a terrible thing that we found hate in our hearts for the German and Japanese people, when in truth they are no better or worse than we.
            Then I heard first-hand reports of the Bataan Death March. "The people of the town and villages lined the streets offering food to the starving Filipino and American soldiers who prodded by the Japs to move on. The women went into hysterics but the men became only more resolute. An American, a victim of the march, is buried in Mr. Santos's mango grove. When they found the lad he was too far gone."
            Who, knowing the facts could possibly question our rightness? I'm appalled by the statements of revisionists who fault our side for bombing the enemy's cities, for prolonging the war, and even for provoking it. I'm appalled because I remember well the world's reluctance to challenge Hitler and the expansionism of the Japanese, our ill preparedness and reluctance to enter the war until we were attacked, and, once engaged, our desire to end the war.
            But it was war. There are no rules in war. By definition war is the absence of civilized behavior. How can someone today, not having lived through a world at war, understand from this distance the rage and determination that led us to win it at all costs? We saw it as a matter of survival – not only our survival, but that of the entire civilized world.
            This is what I wrote from Subic Bay on August 1, 1945, less than a week before we dropped the first A-bomb, two weeks before Japan surrendered unconditionally: "I had hoped that this weekend would see the wars end. It wasn't an altogether absurd possibility. Damn them to hell. Unfortunately the (Japanese) leaders, driven by a frantic and futile determination, are willing to let their own people be massacred and their cities laid waste. They are guided by a…twisted logic. To ignore our ultimatum means sheer disaster, yet they persist. Apparently they cling to a flimsy hope for negotiation. They remind me of the stubborn fellow, who, in the throes of losing an argument, can't bring himself to back down. Or, as with Germany, they need more proof of our might. Whatever their reason, their decision makes me angry, and, for the first time, I wish that none of them will be spared. I can't help but believe that wars, like people, die when the forces of nature and chance are good and ready to let them die."
            If we forget how widespread such feelings were back then, we forfeit any opportunity to understand the Good War.
Now that everyone has had an opportunity to moralize about the dropping of the atomic bomb 50 years ago, if you weren't in uniform in the Southwest Pacific in August 1945, your opinion on the subject is relatively worthless, and driving a Toyota doesn't make you an expert on the subject.

I believe the thoughts expressed on this page are the thoughts of the majority of us.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dear Mom, 5/4/45

Dear Mom,
We were three days out to sea when I had time to think and review the worn past, and since then the front door bell has been ringing in my thoughts.
Last month barely existed; it all happened so incredulously swiftly. It was a fascinating conglomeration of ocean spray, a new land, and a new people, and a reintroduction to a perceptibly American civilization.
The voyage lasted the entire month of April, which included a stop for a week or so at an island south of here [Mindoro]. The 113th is still there. Feeling sad about leaving the old outfit for good, I said goodbye to my friends. I have gone a long way with those boys since August 1943.
During the one week I was on that island I made quite a few Filipino friends. When spoken to slowly they understood English perfectly, and speak well and intelligently themselves. Many discussions went on for hours. We talked about such subjects as the origin of the Negroes (They are curious about them), Philippine independence, (which they don't want because they fear a revolution), the United States (where all of them desperately wish to visit, make money, marry a beautiful American girl, and return), the Japanese occupation, about which they are explicit in their hatred towards the Japanese. Most of the men that I met had been guerrillas operating in the hills and harassing the towns. Most of the women went with them, but apparently returned when we came. The Japs never seemed to concentrate a large force in a single area.
I arrived here on Luzon armed with a few greetings in Tagalog, a shrewdness equal to the Filipinos' own, and a general knowledge of their customs, many of which are Spanish in origin. Despite ceiling prices, inflation is rampant caused by scant supplies, and the black market runs wild. The exchange rate is one peso to fifty cents. The Filipinos want clothes, soap (a peso per bar), cigarettes (ten to twenty pesos per carton), and Atabrine, all hard to buy items, and dear. Money is plentiful; most have full pockets.
A Filipino wash woman takes care of my clothes as well as you used to. She gets them whiter than I've seen them in fifteen months, repairs them, even puts pleats in my trousers. About your age, the mother of eight children, her name is Orange. I like her personality, especially her maternal manner that makes me feel a little homesick.
These people have personality. They are happy and smiling; they are always singing and humming popular airs. The women's voices in particular are sweet and melodious. Every house seems to have a song book, some over four years old.
On our arrival, my reaction (I don't know about the others) to the colorful civilian dresses, lithe figures and girlish faces, struck me as most odd. The sight of girls walking the streets made me feel nearer home.
The houses, which are somewhat unfinished and not large, are constructed of bamboo and wood. One of my friends has waxed hardwood floors in his largest room. He has no furniture, just a few chairs. He and his family sleep on bamboo mats on the floor. But their clothes are spotless and they look clean, although I see no showers or toilet facilities.
One problem I've had has been to make it clear to some of my Filipino friends that I don't care to go stepping out. They insist on fixing me up. Last night when I visited Rosalio (age 24; his wife Purlita, age 18), he and his wife had invited an eighteen year old beauty to their house for me to meet. Unlike our custom, no introduction is expected. The man simply takes the initiative. They kept egging me on, psst-ing, while the damsel stood in the shadows examining its prey like a vulture ready to pounce. I didn't know what the devil to do but play possum until finally the climax passed and everyone gave up. They couldn't figure out this new kind of American. I want to learn the language and customs, not waste my time in a courtship.
Love to all, Hughie