It was 1959 and my husband and I were standing on deck, hanging onto two toddlers and keeping an eye on our 7 year old. We were waving goodbye to our friends on the pier. The Navy band was playing 'California Here I Come.' After two years of duty on both Hawaii and Midway Island we were headed home.
As the ship pulled away from the pier, I took the lei from around my neck and toss it into the water. Tradition had it that if the lei floated back to land, you would return to the islands, as well. But, sadly that has never happened.
We made our way down to our 'stateroom'. Hey, we were on a military transport ship. No stateroom. I remember two sets of bunk beds, a porthole, a closet, a head (that's bathroom in sailor talk). Maybe there was more. I don't know.
As the ship eased it's way out of the harbor, there came a loud announcement over the speaker. "This is a drill. This is a drill. Put on your life vests and report on deck". I was beginning to feel weird... already. I'd taken a dramamine, not working. And, we weren't out of the harbor yet. Oh boy, I knew I was in trouble.
As hubby helped the children with their life vests and was headed out the door (do you call it a door or a hatch?) anyway. There I am struggling with that darn life vest. I got it half on and hurried after them.
Once we were on deck hubby took one look at me. 'You have your life vest on backward.' So, I turned it around. And, I am getting more and more unsteady. We are given instructions on what to do in case we started to sink. I had been so stupid. The week before I had gone down to the theatre and watched the movie 'Titanic'. Duh.. Bad Idea. Drill over, we go back to our room. And, I hit the head and then the bunk.
And, I stayed there for most of the entire trip, unable to stand up. Hubby kept saying that this is the calmest sea he's ever been on. Well, Goody for him. But, it doesn't feel that way to me. Every time I stood up, I threw up.
He took over the care of the children, a two year old, a three year old and the 7 year old who thought she was big enough to take care of herself and did. When he dressed our little three year old daughter, he had one requirement out of me. 'would you please brush her hair?' She had Shirley Temple curls that would be tangled. And, I had to tie the little sashes on her dresses. And, back on that pillow I would go.
Every mealtime hubby would take the children down to eat. The steward would ask, 'Missus sick again today?' and hubby would nod yes. So, the steward would bring fresh oranges and packs of saltines for him to bring to me.
The voyage took six days if I remember correctly. When we finally sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and docked in San Francisco I was one happy woman. I bet hubby was happy too. Now maybe some of his babysitting chores could be shared. I was never so glad to put my feet on land again! Oh hallelujah!
I had lost 10 lbs. that week. Not my favorite way to diet, I tell you.
As you can imagine, I have never been on a cruise or taken a ship again. Nope, that trip cured me of any future voyages on the sea.