A man around the house

MARLENE DOWNSHIFTED and whipped the 1954 racing-green MG past a truck piled high with baled hay. She returned the farmer’s wave as she pulled away. With its running boards and big headlights, her new convertible was the ultimate in European styling and performance. Driving it usually made her spirits as light as the breezes on the Chesapeake Bay, which she had just crossed. But not today.

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Sea story: Second-Class Summer (1967)

1967-pri-flyIn the summer of 1967, I was given my one shot at leadership ashore while at the US Naval Academy. As a Midshipman Second Class, I was a squad leader in a cohort of other 2/c midshipmen (rising college juniors, for those needing a conversion) going through summer training. At the Naval Academy, the summers before our Third Class and First Class years were devoted to afloat training, the 3/c filling enlisted billets on ships and the 1/c trying junior officer roles. Continue reading

Sea story: Ice Off the Mark (1967)

frostbite sailing“Turn to, crew!” I barked, as I passed the Plebes’ room (Plebes are first-year midshipmen/cadets at US service academies). I kept jogging toward the stairs, confident that the two underclassmen would be scrambling after me, and catch me before I reached the door to Bancroft Hall. I knew well the exhilaration they must feel to be done with classes for the day, and heading away from upper-class harassment for a couple of hours. Continue reading