Friday, 16 March 2018

St Patrick's Day in New York 1965.

The Americas and St Patrick's Day 1965
     We arrived back home in England in late August 1964. Baby William was born in Portsmouth, the UK on 30 October 1964. William Andrew Spencer had been conceived in, or more aptly put; ‘Made in Hong Kong’ during a period of weakness in the Spencer family planning department around the time of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Little Willie was our fourth son. Shortly afterwards, I was drafted to HMS Maryland where there were much backstabbings and dissention. It was my last ship, thank the Lord. It seemed I was the only gunnery person on a ship without guns. My main duties consisted of overseeing what small arms there were and pandering to a bunch of stuck-up *dockyard matey’s whims. (*civilian technicians) on this ship was just as stressful as it was on HMS Marylebone. We visited Gibraltar, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Bermuda, New London, Charleston, and New York. What we did on the ship was classified, so even now it would be prudent not to mention it. The ship was based in Devonport near Plymouth, a long distance from home, so I did not see the family very often.

    While the ship was at the US Navy Base in New London Connecticut, a small number of our crew were granted permission to travel to New York in order to experience the parades and celebrations on St Patrick day.

    The train journey of 123 miles was most interesting particularly the comfort of the warm A/C Carriages. However, arriving at Pennsylvania station about noon- adjacent to 33rd Street, that was where the comfort ceased. it was freezing cold as we headed for the nearest pub-bar. where a local drunken peasant informed us 'arr to be sure it be me, lads, the bloody pawnbrokers sign down the street just disintegrated'. The activity in the bar full of pseudo-Micks wearing green attire was boisterous to say the least But the Pizza which was  on offer which was my first went down well
 After leaving the Bar we split up into small groups, our group consisting of the Guys who favoured comfort so we head for a cinema were I nodded off for an hour or so, then back to another bar for food where we met a local doctor who drove us around New York for a while and later let us stay overnight at his high rise apartment..

    The following morning the doctor had left home on a call out, but his charming wife made us breakfast and shortly after we headed for Grand Central station for our comfortable train journey to New London.


16 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

A very different St Patrick's Day. It must have been hard being away from your family for such long periods, and made even harder when (unless I read it wrongly) you weren't enjoying your work on the ship.

Vest said...

EC. Even The Captain meaning the commanding officer of Lt Cmdr rank was visibly stressed by the overbearing attitudes of the civilian so-called technicians attached to the ship. after returning to Devonport our UK base the matter was discussed later during our first ride to our homes in a shared car driven by a PO who was a close neighbour and friend. we all had a good rant. but it was over.

Andrew said...

The kindness of strangers. Made in Hong Kong was once a pejorative term in Australia. Times have changed. HK is now rich and no longer has sweatshops. Well, maybe it does, but everything in Australia now seems to come from the mainland China.

Vest said...

Andrew. Hong Kong now is integrated with mainland China since 1997.The son Mentioned in the Story is my 4th son Andrew, William.He is a very successful business person and an exceedingly generous and caring person with a Wife and Two lovely Children.He is also a great friend.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Made in Hong Kong is a great way to put it. I have a feeling your son's heard that a time or two.

I'm afraid the St. Patrick's Day celebration in New York is going to be mighty cold this year, too. With snow!

Red Head. said...

It must have been pretty cold in New York for a Pawn Brokers sign to explode sort of brass monkey weather, balls and all that.

Vest said...

Susan Flett Swiderski. I reckon the tourists would be mainly Alaskans Or Canadians seeking warmth.

Vest said...

Redhead. Where do you hail from? also, it means F T B O A Brass Monkey, Get it?.

River said...

Being in the Navy seems like an excellent way to see the world without paying for it, but wartime wouldn't be fun and of course there is still all the ship's work to be done. but seeing all the different ports has to count for something.

Vest said...

River. As the saying goes you cant have your cake and eat it. Nothing was ever normal, a life full of surprises.

Sharon said...

That doesn't sound like a very good memory. Especially the cold.

Vest said...

Sharon. Your comment plus reading your profile and the favourite movie part has triggered A memory relating to that favourite film of yours, The African Queen. My next post will be dedicated to you Sharon. Thank you for calling.

Lee said...

A New York St. Paddy's Day! So many Irish emigrated to the US...and so many settled in New York...The Hudson and East Rivers run green. :)

Vest said...

Lee. The Irish migration to the USA was probably orchestrated by the Potato Famine., Could this be true ?.If so, What was their staple diet prior to the guy who hailed from Genoa bringing the humble Spud to Europe in the late 15th Century?

Vest said...

Ok, Redhead, we all know now that the brass monkey weather caused the balls of the pawnbrokers' sign to explode

Vest said...

River. Hardly a dull moment, many surprises, and rolling with the punches. Is there an expression called un expectancy? Ah ha, S
so there is.

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