Who knows where these things start? This one could be just as applicable to an old Coast Guard Cutter……………
WARNING to the Family and Friends of a Returning Sailor:
You will soon have your loved one home again. He has been living in an extremely crude environment for quite some time and will require time to adjust to his former lifestyle.
The key to help him through this difficult is PATIENCE.
Remain calm if he mixes his mashes potatoes with his chocolate pudding, stirs his coffee with his finger, or eats as though someone was going to steal his food.
Bear with him if he walks out to the back patio and throws the trash over the railing into the backyard.
Do not be alarmed when he walks through a door and ducks his head and raises his feet, because it's not a neurotic condition. It's just the way he has been walking for the past 6 months.
Show no surprise if he accuses the grocer of being a thief, argues with the sales clerk about the price of each item, or tries to sell cigarettes to the newsboy on the sly.
Most important of all:
For the first 24 hours, keep him away from attractive young women. If he goes near them, he may become incoherent. Staring, drooling, and mumbling something about “round eyes!” After the initial shock wears off, he can be around them, but must be closely watched. His intentions will be extremely sincere and equally dishonorable.
His digestive tract will also require some adjustment.
For the first week, all vegetables must be boiled until they are colorless and falling apart (after they have been sitting out in the hot sun for at least a week prior to his getting home).
Eggs must be tinged with a shade of green and be runny, bacon nearly raw and all other meats must be extremely well done.
Have beef for the first five or six days, calling it roast beef the first night, braised beef the second, beef tips the third, beef stew the fourth, etc.
If milk is served, it should be at room temperature and slightly diluted with water.
If he prefers to eat his meals while sitting next to the trashcan, don't be concerned. He's grown so used to the smell that it may take a while for his normal tastes to return.
In the evenings either turn off all air-conditioning and blast the heater at full OR turn the A/C up full whilst providing your returnee a board too lay his head upon and a sheet of paper to keep him warm.
Let him sleep on the floor in the laundry room with the dirty clothes because he's so used to the smell.
For the first few nights, wake him every three or four hours. Tell him he's late for the night watch in the backyard. He'll understand because he's been doing something just as stupid for the past three and a half months.
Under no circumstances should he be allowed to get a complete night’s sleep during the critical adjustment time.
His daily routine may seem strange to you, especially when he wakes everyone up at six in the morning screaming, "Reville-Reville, all hands heave out and trice up!" Just smile and nod and make sure everyone is up and on the back porch at seven-thirty for muster, instruction and inspection.
Then, in the late afternoon, humor him when he walks around the house closing all the windows and doors and reports to you that yoke is set throughout the house.
After sundown, don't argue with him when he yells at you for opening up the window blinds while darken house is set.
His language may seem foreign and you may not understand all the terms he uses. It isn't necessary that you do. Just smile and be pleasant. Some of the terms you may hear are: Turn-to, Sweepers-sweepers, men working aloft, This is a drill, etc.
Do not be surprised when he answers the phone and instead of saying "Hello," he says, the room he's in, his rank and name. For example, “Living Room, (You Fill In The Blank) speaking, this is a non-secured line subject to monitoring, how may I help you Sir or Ma'am?”
NEVER make favorable references to the Navy leadership structure. To do so will almost always elicit an extremely loud and profane outburst, which may continue for hours.
The bathroom is quite possibly the most dangerous place in the house for your USS John C. Stennis returnee. Before he arrives, strip the bathroom of all accessories such as bathmats and any and all toiletry items. Crack the mirror and run water on the floor. Toilet paper is optional, but if it is furnished, it must be placed in a puddle on the floor. Turn off the hot water at the source for the first few days. Wait until he is in the shower, soaped up and then turn the water off altogether for about 15 minutes, immediately followed by 5-10 minutes of scolding hot steam/water.
All of these precautions are imperative, because
if he walks into a bathroom that is complete with the above-mentioned items, he
may shrink into a corner and curl up into a fetal position, wide-eyed and
shaking. If this happens, there are only two proven and accepted methods of
snapping him out of it; yell "Mail-Call or Liberty-Call." In either case,
stay clear of the doorway.
In closing, always remember that beneath that suntanned shell there beats a heart of gold, it being the only thing the Navy couldn't confiscate or reschedule at a later date. With kindness, patience and the occasional swift kick, your loved one will soon return to his former self.