You’re in The Navy Now Part~8

18 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites



My transfer finally came through, and my orders took me to the U.S. Naval 1Base in San Diego, and assignment to the fleet repair ship, USS Hector (AR-7).  The Hector was one of three sister ships stationed in the Far East, to service the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s ships.  The three ships usually rotated their operations between the U.S. west coast and Japan.  The Commodore, who headed the Navy’s Pacific fleet repair organization, maintained his headquarters on board each of the three ships as they rotated through the San Diego Naval Base, about every six months or so.  Soon after I reported aboard, I learned, as an Engineman Specialist, I qualified for the vacant position as the Commodore’s driver.  What a cushy job that was!  I spent most of my duty hours cleaning his Navy staff car, running errands for him, and driving him to and from his many meetings ashore, as well as, to and from his home in town.

My family had friends living near San Diego, who stopped to see them in Albuquerque during their vacation.  DiVoran wangled a ride with them, as1 wedding they returned to San Diego area so she could visit me.  As she was leaving on that trip, her mother, Dora, had told her, “Now don’t do anything foolish while you are there.”  Of course, once she got there, we decided it would be a good time to get married.  Our mothers hurried out to California, made all the arrangements, and we did the deed on Labor Day weekend in La Mesa, California.  DiVoran and I spent the next four months in marital bliss in our little one-room Balboa Park bungalow, located just five minutes from my work at the naval base. 

It was during this time, when we had our first disagreement about automobiles.  When I first got to San Diego, I had bought a “Street Legal” 31932 Ford five-window coupe hotrod, and was in the process of restoring it in my spare time.  The car had been chopped, channeled, and gutted for use as a dragster before I bought it, and had only one wooden bucket seat for the driver, bolted to the frame.  Hey, it worked for me!  The rear end had been locked, so when you went around a corner, the inside wheel burned rubber.  DiVoran couldn’t reach the peddles, and complained, “This was not the kind of car she had expected her new husband to ask her to ride around in.”  That was mainly because there was no seat for a passenger, and she had to ride on the plywood floorboard, with no backrest and no seatbelt.  Also, she didn’t like having to ride the bus to get to work at the diner where she was waitressing,        

As it turned out, one of my shipmates had his eye on my hot rod, and I was able to swing a deal with him to trade my “Beloved ‘32” for his 1950 4pngMercury sedan.  DiVoran could drive that car, and life was much more peaceful in our little love nest after that.  When it was time for the Hector to leave for its six-month tour of duty in Japan, I took DiVoran and everything we owned, in that Mercury, back to Albuquerque, so she could stay with her parents, and attend beauty school while I was gone.





                                                 —–To Be Continued—–

One Response to “You’re in The Navy Now Part~8”

  1. oldthingsrnew September 18, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    I am so glad you were able to get a car for DiVoran to be able to ride in comfort.


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