Capt. Dan, part 17: ’56-’59 the East Coast again

Before heading back east, I traded the ’49 Ford convertible in for a new ’55 Chevy 2-DR coupe, aquamarine and white. We visited Aunt Bessie and Betty in Palo Alto and Eunice’s sister Eileen on the way. We also visited Sequoia Park and Salt Lake City. We tried to get to Yellowstone, but the south entrance was not yet cleared of snow. We stopped in Chicago for a night, and somewhere in Pennsylvania then NY. I have some movies of trip on reel #1. It was a good trip. Pat may recall some of it. Steve was only five at the time.
I reported for duty at COMTHREE 26 May 1956. A Capt. Morgan was my superior, a tough old bird, but I got along well with him. I was also designated as CO of Staff enlisted personnel. My duties involved making personnel assignments to various shore commands in the Third Naval District. One of the headache jobs was getting a good steward for the Commandant’s quarters, as his wife was very fussy. She was allowed three, but was always pulling strings to get five, two being in training she would say! The other Commandants were more reasonable on stewards. Captain Morgan and I made a study of the Reserves to see what we had available in event of mobilization. The study revealed that we were extremely top-heavy in certain categories, and way under in other billets. As a result, Admiral Felt in CNO accepted our findings, which recommended setting up pay billets based on what billets were necessary to fill in event of mobilization. We also, in conjunction with a Naval Reserve Mobilization Unit, set up procedures on how to handle mobilization, and ran a few f drills to work out kinks.
I had a lot of TAD orders to BUPERS and COMTHREE shore activities. As CO of enlisted personnel I had to conduct personnel inspections, etc. I had a great Chief Yeoman and a 1st class Wave Yeoman. I wore civvies going to and from duty via the subway. I was living in old house behind my parents in Elmhurst. They had restored one of its two units. It was 108 years old. We were comfortable there.
Pat first went to a public school on Woodside Avenue to finish eighth grade, then to Bishop Malloy out at Kew Gardens. He used the 8th Avenue subway system to get there, as I did to get to 90 Church Street.
In December 1958 I presented a large painting of the Battleship MAINE to one of its survivor. I got the picture through Maude Craig who had found it in her attic. It was inlaid with mother of pearl. The 81-year-old vet was very thankful.
My mother came down with cancer and died in 1957, April 2nd.
Pat and I went to the Army-Navy football games at Franklin Field in Philadelphia in 1956, ’57, and ’58. My nephew Jimmy Regan was a midshipman there during those years. We also went to an Army-Navy swim meet at Annapolis, and one at West Point, as Jim was on the team.
While at COMTHREE, I completed several Naval War College Courses at home, took a lot of my time. I use to take the family to Jones Beach and Far Rockaway during the summer, on Sundays. In other months, we occasionally visited my sister at Kings Park, and my cousin Virginia Taylor at Northport. I use to drop by Westside YMCA on way home from COMTHREE for a swim a few times a week.
Eunice and I got to a lot of formal affairs at Waldorf Astoria. On one occasion, I had to pick up Navy Secretary Gates who was staying at an estate in New Jersey. The day before we made a dry run using Navy vehicles to get an idea how much time we would have to allow. Day of the affair, which was honoring some 50 WW II Admirals and Marine Corps Generals, I went out with two Navy sedans in case one broke down. We got to the Waldorf on time. On another occasion, I led several thousand sailors up Broadway from City Hall to Columbus Circle; I had my white uniform on. My white shoes were not made to walk that distance! You should have seen my feet afterwards, blisters and black large toenails!
Steve started school at St. Mary’s. He was scared of the nuns, especially the Mother Superior. One day Eunice got called down to the school and the Mother Superior, who was only about five feet tall, bawled her out for giving Steve a meat sandwich on a Friday!
When not involved with summer training cruises, Johnny and Jimmy were guarding at Jones Beach. We had great barbecues in the back yard with my Dad doing the chef bit. He made the best ribs, chicken and filet mignon steaks! We visited the Ralls at Delgren. Pat and Steve also went there by bus one summer. Libby and Charlie visited us one summer. They stayed at a hotel in NY City. They had a good time with us at Jones Beach one day. My father introduced Charlie to a lot of important people in the sports world.
We chartered a small sailboat for a week out of Sheepshead Bay. Pat, Steve and I picked it up there, and sailed from there to Long Island Sound via the East River, have movies of it. Eunice and I had lunch aboard the SS United STATES when it was in port. Steve made his communion at St. Mary’s, have movies of it. On this reel are shots of Memorial Day weekend at Southampton, visit to Rails at Dahlgren and a get-together at Lake Sebago of my Class of ‘4l School of Education, NYU.
Jimmy Regan got a Congressional appointment to Annapolis in 1955 through my father and Madge Cuggy. He graduated in 1959, and became a Naval Aviator. His brother Johnny got an appointment in 1957, but just missed passing entrance exam. I sent him to Columbia Prep School for a 5-month cram course. He retook the exam, and passed, entering the Naval Academy in 1958. Jim did 12 years active duty, and then resigned his active commission, and went into the ready reserve. He was a LCDR at the time. He eventually made Captain in the Reserves. Johnny did 26 years, and was CO of a sub, and retired as a Captain.
I bought an Old Town canoe while in NY. Have some shots of it on reel no.1, with Johnny Regan.
We had great dinners in the old house at 45th Ave, plus tasty barbecues in the back yard. “Corky” and “Jacque Pierre” were always looking for some of the meat. (Have some good movies of these events on reel no.l). Interesting aspect of old house, it had a very large kitchen. It was 4″ lower in SE corner, as it was over an old well that had settled a bit! Eunice wallpapered the living room, even going up the staircase to the bedrooms. We only had one toilet, which was off the kitchen, with the bedrooms upstairs it made a problem. Fortunately, I had no prostate trouble in those days! Pat went to Bishop Malloy HS out at Kew Gardens, Queens. We had a steep ramp from back street up to our yard. Steve and pals used it in winter to ride their sleds down. There are movies of it on reel l. There also was a basketball hoop in backyard. There are movies of Steve shooting baskets.
I built a nice model RR setup in cellar with the Marklin HO trains.

to be concluded…

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