He handed me the note and said, "Dick shipped out at 0500 this morning, and asked that I give you this note."
Stunned and in shock - I don't even recall if I thanked the messenger.
The note read: "My Dearest Marine, wherever you go on land or on sea, you'll always have a part of my heart, but someday soon, you'll have ALL of someone else's." signed... "Navy."
The first time I saw him - he was standing in the chow line. It couldn't be his Dress White uniform that caught my eye, for there were hundreds of white uniforms sitting, eating or waiting in line in this huge stadium-sized Mess Hall.
It must have been the face, the physique or the blue eyes, I don't know - but every day after that first glance, I'd scan the crowded hall looking for him. And when I did spot him, I'd wait until his eyes met mine, which they always did, then I'd look away.
Soon "chow time" was the highlight of my day. I couldn't wait for class to break for lunch so I could get to the Chow Hall. No matter how crowded, or how far away he sat, we always made eye contact. It was like playing a game.
The Hall was divided into three sections; one for Officers, another for enlisted men, and a smaller area for women. No one overstepped these bounderies.
One evening my Bunkie, Rita, and I went to the "Intermission", a combination of coffee shop, pool hall, and juke box. We were only there a short time when suddenly he was standing at my table. "Hi Marine, Navy at your service", then reaching down, he took my hand and led me onto the dance floor.
The Jukebox played the melodies, Perry, Dean and Patti sang the tunes, and the Sailor and the Lady Marine danced the night away.
Now I had a name to go with the face. Dick Banberry from San Francisco. He, like myself, was here at the Naval Training Center receiving advanced training for special services. And now, as I think back on it, I do remember him mentioning a girl back home in Frisco.
Two weeks later I watched Dick win the Tennis Tournament, while I shouted "Go Navy Go" from the sidelines; and he, in turn, whistled the loudest and longest when I sashayed across the stage as a contestant for the annual Beauty Pageant...then consoled me when I lost to a Navy Wave.
We never used names. It was always "Hi Marine" or "Good night, Navy"; but the kisses were personalized.
We never spoke about when our tour of duty would be over here at the Naval Training Center; but now that I think about it - I should have sensed something was coming.
Yesterday was Sunday. Late in the afternoon Dick and I had walked over to the little Chapel on the base. It was open, but empty. We had gone in and knelt down together; silently, but each with our own separate thoughts and prayers.
Later we walked to the Intermission and spent the whole evening talking, listening to the jukebox and dancing. Then as we walked home, holding hands in the moonlight, we talked about our wonderful summer together.
Then when Dick called me by name for the Very First Time Ever as he held me and kissed me good night, I should have known...but it didn't sink in; I was clueless.
Call it young love, two lonely people, or just two ships passing in the night...but Irving Berlin says it best:
"My thoughts go back to a heavenly dance,
a moment of bliss we spent
as into the night we went
singing to our hearts' content.
"The night was splendid
and the melody seemed to say
'Summer will pass away
take your happiness while you may'.
"Then the moon descended
and I found with the break of dawn;
You and the song had gone
but The Melody Lingers on."
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