An Alaskan Love Life

By Bernard Lehrer



In which our hero continues his WWII adventures...................

Before leaving Ketchikan I did manage to beat the odds with two of the local ladies. (I was devilishly handsome.) But don't send the kids out of the room;  it was "Casey At The Bat" again and I went for two curve balls.

It was like this:  They had Saturday night dances at the Coast Guard Base. But that morning I was feeling out of sorts. I guess I really enjoyed the chipped beef on toast we got almost daily. Anyway, I decided to take a laxative so I would feel fit for the dancing.  I managed to get acquainted with a cute little blonde and the evening was enjoyable. I asked if I could walk her home. She agreed but warned me it was a long walk. That should have deterred me but I was a brave Coastguardsman valiantly protecting my new lady friend.

Ketchikan sits at the base of some mountains. It turns out that this gal was a trapper's daughter and lived at the top of one of them. The uphill climb did wonders for my system, including setting the laxative in motion . As I said "good night" I felt what was the first of many stomach cramps during my trip down the mountain. I could have relieved myself but "city boys" don't know how to handle that in the woods. I passed an Indian village on the way but thought better of it as I looked in at one of the identical  huts and their stoic looking occupants. A violent cramp sent me to the back yard of one of the huts looking for an outhouse. No such luck and I frantically undid my sailor buttons in desperation.  At that moment, pants around my knees, a huge dog charged at me!  I don't remember moving so fast before or after that experience. I finally made it to the base of the hill where there was a power station with a real bathroom.

The other encounter was at a church square dance. Where else to meet honest, patriotic ladies?  Again I made fast friends with a gal and, happily, she lived right in town. Her apartment was small and she kept it too warm. I asked if could I remove my jumper and she consented. She asked what was that on my gold chain around my neck and replied that was a symbol of my faith, a star of David. Now I`m not a practicing Jew but some well-meaning relative sent that to me for some additional protection by the Gods.

The gal's face froze in horror. She had never seen a real Jew in person no less having one sitting on the couch next to her!!

I was unceremoniously asked to leave.

Construction Detachment #365 was now assembled with all personnel, construction material, building tools and supplies and for me and a small crew, tons of radio equipment to install. The vessel of choice was a buoy tender. Now reunited with my plumber friend Jim, we sailed into Sitka harbor on a Sunday morning. A Russian style church was sounding its chimes. It was a picture perfect day.

Jim said we should pay a visit to the town prostitutes at their residence and that they would welcome the relief of social visit. How he knew that and where to go I will never know. A very courteous, lovely black maid answered the door and invited us in. She served us coffee and toast and said the ladies would join us shortly. There were two, "Boots" a shapely blonde who we later learned had been married to a physician in Seattle and couldn't handle the boredom of that life and "Big Vie" a 350 pound gal with a great sense of humor who was favored by many of the trappers who needed warming up after coming in from the snow.

Jim was expert at keeping the ladies giggling while all I could do was devour Boots with my stare. She finally said, "Looks like Sonny (me) could use a matinee the way he's looking at me."  I flushed and politely declined as if I had been caught in the cookie jar. They invited us to visit them "on the job" that evening and we departed.  

A large group from the ship came to see them that night. It was like a theater with a stage and seats set up for the prospective patrons. There were four small locked rooms on the platform. Big Vie sat on the stage with her chair reversed entertaining the mob. Boots would run back and forth with her next sailor in tow to one of the empty rooms. In a few minutes she was out of the room with money in her hand which she would lock in one of the rooms reserved for that purpose. She wore a thin, lacy night gown which she conveniently let fly open as she moved about on stage.

A sort of moving advertisement. 

Next:  St. Paul Island and NEVER VOLUNTEER. But that's another story. 


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