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
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
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
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 (Bill’s 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
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.
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
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
Ed Black - Dot Cole
Guy Rich - Frances Livesay