On my recent trip to Texas, I was able to spend a few days with my Uncle David. This picture shows us in the late 1940’s; I would guess 1948 or 1949, as I look about 3 or 4 years old and he is 10 years older than me. My brother was born in 1947 and my sister was born in 1948, and I was “farmed out” to my grandmother Jessie to help my mother cope.
We, meaning David, Jessie and I, made a cross country trip to San Francisco to meet up with my grandfather, Ben, who had been in Japan during the reconstruction period and was going to be stationed there again and was going to take David and Jessie with him when he returned. I do not remember this trip but I have been told I would be in the back seat and one time I leaned over the front and threw up over everyone.
My father’s ship, the USS Chipola was also docked in San Francisco. I think this must have been when we began living in Long Beach, CA. There is a story I have heard all my life about my uncle and my Dad and David retold it to me again during my visit. My father was going to take David to see the ship. Jessie and Ben gave my father a suit wrapped in a package. So David and my father set out with package in hand. My father was not sure exactly where the shipped was docked. So they stopped in a few bars to see if he could find any of his shipmates. Then they went into a “honky-tonk” , where David said his eyes got real big, as he had never seen strippers before. (The part of the story was never told while my mother was alive.) Anyway they eventually found someone who was able to direct them to the ship, but they had lost the suit along the way. It was about 4 AM and my uncle and father were piped aboard and they immediately went to sleep. When they woke up the ship was out to sea. They were a little concerned but found out that the ship was repositioning itself and breathed a sigh of relief. An anecdote to the story is the suit was found on a trolley and was tracked back to my grandparents by the dry cleaning ticket. Throughout the years they have both sworn that this is a true story. So I have always wondered what has been left out or what part of the story they have embellished on.
The sad part of the story is that my grandfather, David Bennett Sain II died in San Francisco on April 7, 1949, of a heart attack. He was only 54 years old. I have a fleeting remembrance of him. I remember visiting the seals in the San Francisco area with him. From what I have been told he was a great guy and really enjoyed life and was sorely missed. I also remember that things changed. I went back to living with my parents and siblings. My mother must have been mourning as she was close to her father and my uncle David went off to military boarding school and I only saw him occasionally through the years.
Enough for today, mk