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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JOE LOCKED HIS BICYCLE to the parking sign outside the Borghese Gallery. The trees that had inspired the first movement of Ottorino Respighi’s Pines of Rome cast a welcome shadow over him as he caught his breath and let the breeze cool his sweat-soaked body. Continue reading →
We heaved our caps into the air, and hugged our girl friends when they pinned our new Ensign shoulder boards on our white uniforms. Four years at the US Naval Academy were over, and that very day we began spreading out to our future lives. Continue reading →
In 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 →
“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 →