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  July 1, 2003

Hello Again Shipmates and Friends,

    A second childhood is just wonderful. Going to the “beach” is not what it used to be, but I did enjoy the fun, frolic, and camaraderie filled Hospitality Room of last weekend. Seldom have I seen Dot have so much fun... with “Thunder Bolt”... promising to cook him butterbeans if he would play the piano with her. And Thibaut (del Giudice) saying, “Iff vee are playing zee piano, who vill bee coooking zee butt-ter-beeens?” (see below for a Thibaut piano CD.) For those unable to attend last year, Thibaut is our young ‘French Lieutenant’. In the general mayhem of “hospitality”, M. H. Green was in the thick of things... you know, spreading oil on troubled waters... Yes, M. H., I was taking notes. Had I taken better notes in my youth, Don Juan would have his match... I kid you not. But folks, as I revel in the excitement of the weekend, I forgetting that I am talking to mature adults. Right, Bruno?


Jane & Roy Hudson

   Now back to my serious, loveable self: We did have a wonderful reunion at the Oceanfront Inn in Virginia Beach (VA) . I trust everyone returned home safely. Fortunately, we can do-it-again in Lynchburg VA (next year) for our 60th Anniversary. Roy & Jane Hudson are planning a splendiferous affair (love those big words), which includes attending the 60th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford VA. Man, that is some place. If you have not availed yourself (of the opportunity), next year is the time... and you will be among friends! If you wish more information contact: Roy & Jane Hudson, 204 Lemon Drive, Lynchburg VA 24502, or ussrichroy695@msn.com.

     On with the events of the Reunion. (See how easy it is to lose concentration?) Doris & H. B. Sims (with help of Miss Hospitality, Cindy) kept us in snacks and drinks (of all kinds), as we milled and mixed in the Hospitality Room. Cindy flew to the Reunion Saturday noon, blessed us with sunshine, and flew back early Sunday morning... before I woke up, I tell you! That woman is dedicated... and important... to split her time with us and a new job at work. Let me also give a plug for Walmart and Nabisco. Walmart has again providing Doris (Sims) a $50 allowance to help with the drinks, snacks, and set-up supplies that we all enjoyed... and to Nabisco for letting Frances (Livesay) purchase nuts and cookies (you know, whatever they cook in their wonderful little ovens) cheaper than retail. Thank you, thank you. Hey, I am forgetting the “other” favors sent by our “Sweetheart” Cindy. Many thanks to Cindy for the little jar of “Georgia Peach Butter” and for the pet rock (Doris might have captured the pet rocks, but I digress). Dot won’t let me eat the Peach Butter (bad Dot, bad Dot), something about metabolism... but I can keep that pet rock on it’s little pillow. Guess what, it just sits there and grins! Like, “You think I will be right here tomorrow, when you want to stroke my fur”. “When the lights go out, I’m gone!”

    Oh, oh, oh... the things I forget. Cindy & Doris made four batches of cookies for us freeloaders. There were peanut butter w/oatmeal, butterscotch, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip. I was busy licking my fingers, because Dot won’t let me eat these at home. Something about being detrimental to my manly physique. Eternal optimist, that woman. You gotta love her. Now, I apologize for anything missed. As you see, my memory is like picking blackberries... sort of dis-organized.

     Lets see... we arrived Thursday afternoon to a bountifully supplied Hospitality Room (thanks Cindy, Doris, & Frances). Friday was “open” so many of us took advantage of various Norfolk Harbor Cruises (Headed-up by Doris Sims). As the annual Norfolk “Harbor Fest” was in full swing, several attendees drove over to walk-about, to enjoy the sights, and to see the tall ship’s parade (in Elizabeth River). The USS WISCONSIN is anchored next to the Nauticus Museum for ‘deck tours’. You could absolutely take a day just going through the Museum itself. Needless to say, I didn’t go to “Harbor Fest”, but rested-up for the evening’s Wine/Cheese Party, courtesy of the Oceanfront Inn and hosted by Joe & Alta Podorski and Bob & Shirley Aluni. They did a good job.


Bob and Shirley Aluni

   The Business Meeting was the following day (Saturday) at 11 AM. (See Enclosure 1). Let me mention again our 60th Anniversary Reunion next year at Lynchburg VA... hosted by Roy & Jane Hudson. It is going to be fantabulous (another big word). Make your plans now. George Fryberger read a letter given to him by Karsten Laqua (Enclosure 2) to read at our Survivors Reunion. Here I ramble and haven’t told you who was at the Reunion this year. See all the pretty people on Enclosure 3 and the handsome gentlemen in the 2003 Group Portrait.


Frank Doody - Jody Doody

    Frank & Ruth Doody’s son and wife, Jim & Jody Doody, were visiting from New York. (Jim is a physician’s assistant with a group off physicians.) On to the Memorial Luncheon, which was in the outside dining area with the protective rollup-sides. Vacationers were everywhere.. on the boardwalk, playing volleyball (on beach); kids playing chase on path (to the beach). Amid the beach bedlam, Roy Hudson opened the memorial luncheon with prayer remembering “Nib” Cunningham (Bills wife), Thomas Cook, and Mike Calabrese. (Bill Cunningham, Benny Cook and Virginia Calabrese were at the luncheon with us.) The opening prayer was followed by Frank’s (Doody) oration on the “missing sailor”, turning the plate, the glass, and laying a roster of the deceased saying “Not Present”.

     Roy Hudson read his excellent, descriptive poem “ANSWERING THE CALL” (Enclosure 4), competing with the beach racket. But when MU2 Hodges sounded TAPS!... the crowds hushed, volleyball game ceased, boardwalk passers-by paused... placing hands over heart. Yes, that Bugler ‘stopped-the-train’! His melancholy notes bounded off the walls and ebbing out to sea; a fitting homage to our shipmates lost. Master Chief MUCM Richard Jasper (son of shipmate H. P. Jasper) has my undying gratitude for providing the talented MU2 Hodges with his Bach Bugle to bid our shipmates adieu. Few things have ever so touched me. Yes, my eyes were filled, as were most. Touching man, touching...



     On with the program, so much to cover, so little space. On Sunday we car pooled to an excellent worship service at the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Chapel . During the service, Chaplain Flint called the USS RICH Survivors (and family) to the front. He spoke of sacrifices for mankind, both 59 years ago and 2000 years ago. We were given a bumper sticker for Psalm 91 and a booklet querying “Where did I come From?”, “Why am I here?”, “Where am I going?”. Humm... good questions. Must do some serious reading here. Many in the congregation spoke with us after the service and thanked us. I have already written Chaplain Flint a note of appreciation.

     Back to the Hospitality Room for the evening, my friends. Have you noticed; Reunions are all about Hospitality. We gathered in the Hospitality Room before (and after) the banquet. Thibaut invited his lady-friend, Patti (Opera), for the evening... at the urging of M. H. Green (the previous day). But, lets cover the affairs of our Banquet first. Yours truly called the meeting to order with Pledge of Allegiance led by M. H. Green. Several attendees were then recognized:

Dave Hibbs & Janice Wherley as representing the USS BUNCH were thanked for all the help they have contributed to the USS RICH.

CMDR Jim & Ione Norton were guests of H. B. Sims. Before retiring, Norton had worked his way from enlisted man through the ranks to Commander in the Submarine Service.
 
John Monichett, who was guest of M. H. Green, is a former Destroyer Escort Sailor.

Guy Rich & Frances Livesay were recognized for contributions to success of the Newsletter.

George Fryberger was thanked for creating and maintaining an outstanding website for the USS RICH (DE-695).

Guest recognized were: Rick & Teresa Jasper, Benny & Kitty Cook, Virginia Calabrese & grandson/daughter (Stewart & Lisa Byers), and banquet speaker, LT Thibaut del Giudice.
 

     Champagne Sally was cheerfully toasted by everyone (she supplied the Champagne again this year. Thank you, Sally!). Chief Holler returned grace,... as we commenced a meal of prime rib or roasted chicken, your preference. LT Thibaut del Giudice was again introduced as banquet guest speaker. Yes, LT del Giudice has earned rank... now a full fledged Lieutenant. His eloquent talk on the history of the French Military, and how it has influenced his life... was well received. He spoke favorably of his experiences with the US Military, and how this training has polished his skills in working with interdisciplinary forces. LT Del Giudice did us proud. We are very fortunate to have him among us. The banquet was concluded with the ‘Flag Presentation’ and ‘Shell Presentation’ to Roy Hudson, as he and Jane will host our 60th D-Day Anniversary next year in Lynchburg. Chief Holler adjourned with a prayer of appreciation for our health and our ability to come together again as a group.

   Back to the Hospitality Room for human interactions, plotting, and scheming. The interaction between “Thunder Bolt” and Dot was tremendous (remember the butterbeans?). I was taking notes while watching M. H. (Green) conducted the “Opera” between Patti and the Frenchman. Patti (Opera) was the elegant, svelte, young lady of dark eyes and hair... the perfect “French Lieutenant’s Woman” (no pun). That Thibaut is a killer, what can I say?


M. H. Green and Lt. Thibaut del Guidice

     Joe (Podorski) was peddling the left-over wine to minimize waste. Stewart Byers (grandson of shipmate Michael Calabrese) was in there enjoying himself to the fullest. Stewart brought his grandmother, Virginia Calabrese, wife Lisa, and two children (or was it three?) to the Reunion this year. George Fryberger was passing out CD-copies of the USS RICH website for those wanting them. Thibaut had a bottle of 1997 VIGNE de L’ENFANT JÉSUS (to share with everyone)... as well as his piano CD. This kid has talent, I tell you. Fryberger agrees to make CD-copies of Thibaut’s piano playing for anyone wanting one. Get your order in now (georgef@informediate.com)

    There you have it, my Shipmates & Friends. Another year, another successful Reunion, another good time was had by all. You could feel it. Until next year, I am wishing you

Smooth Sailing and Following Seas,
 


 
Ed Black - Dot Cole
Guy Rich - Frances Livesay

            
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