The Love Boat

By Bernard Lehrer


Continuing with my WWII adventures in the Coast Guard ...................

About a dozen Coasties were billeted on a private cruise ship from Seattle to Ketchikan. We occupied the forecastle on the ship. To our delight we learned there were some two dozen Army Officer's wives aboard on their way to Anchorage to reunite with their husbands. Of course it would be overly optimistic to even fantasize a romantic encounter with any of these ladies but their presence certainly added more interest to the trip than staring out the port holes at the lovely scenery  along the inland waterway. 

In the large ship's lounge there was a piano tucked away in the corner or the luxurious room. My mother and father met on the stage and with my sister being a professional singer, I took to the piano and singing early in my life. 

It became part of the routine after lunch to meet around the piano and  have community singing to my piano accompaniment.  

Every time the ship was exposed to the open  sea in the spaces between the offshore islands, it rolled just enough for the revelers to retreat to their cabins or anywhere else that was horizontal.  

On one such occasion one of the wives remained alone with me and commented, "It must be nice to be so popular."  

My pointed reply was, "Yes, but look what happens after the music stops.".  

To which she countered, "what's the matter sailor, are you lonesome?  I`ll be your friend, but only YOUR FRIEND if you like."  

I reluctantly agreed and we took a stroll on deck feeling fairly secure that there would be little traffic to see us because of the movement of the ship.  

My arm felt on fire as she hugged it against her curvaceous body. She suddenly looked up at me and with no coaxing said, "I`m starting to weaken." 

We vainly thought of a private place. Unfortunately she shared her stateroom with three other Army wives and I was in the forecastle.  A little smooching and caressing in a hatchway was all we could manage but that was enough to make this 20 year old's mind go nuts with anticipation.

That evening, after dinner, the group gathered around the piano as usual. Again the ship started rolling and everyone scattered except for myself and my new found friend. 

She suggested we walk on the deck again which was by this time totally darkened because of the wartime blackout enforcement. I will leave it to the reader to guess what happened next. Suffice it to say the sea spray hit our exposed bodies as the water hit the side of the ship. Kind of bazaar when I look back on it through the mists of time.

The lady very openly exhibited her attachment toward me in the days that followed. One of her roommates approached me and reminded me that her conduct might be reported to her husband and asked me to suggest some restraint on her part.  

"I don't care" was her abrupt reply.  

I don't remember my thoughts on the matter.

The final touch was when we got to Ketchikan, she insisted on helping me ashore with my gear. Ah, where did that magic charm of yore go?  

Next "Getting another stripe the easy way."   But that`s another story. 

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