Thursday, January 7, 2010

Immigrant Daughter #13

I ended the last post with having to wait until child #3 was born before I could travel to GUAM. It was 8 months until a billet opened up allowing me to travel there with three kids. Travel expenses were our responsibility to San Francisco, California where the Navy housed all the dependents. There was a minimal charge for the housing while we waited to board the transport ship.

My sister E traveled with me to help with the children while flying across country from east coast to the west coast. I welcomed the company and help. The airlines were pleasant to the little travelers and to us. They each received wings and lots of attention from the flight crew.

We had two days to wait before we could board the ship, so my sister arranged for us to tour the city by bus and by cab. San Francisco is a beautiful city and the weather was wonderful. The two days passed quickly and we had to be at the dock by 9:00 a.m. We said our tearful goodbye to my sister and she was not allowed to go on board to help me get settled.

The next few pictures are from a historical document they gave us for a keepsake of the trip. The military had many service men available to help families with their children, luggage, and to find their cabin. I had three children so I did get a cabin with no other family. They housed the ones traveling with no children in a cabin with others traveling alone.  We were on a deck with no port holes so I am sure we were many decks down close to the water line.

I met a family that had six kids that sort of blended with my family because they were older and loved kids that were younger to boss around. My kids just enjoyed being with other kids. All the families kept their cabin doors opened so we could overflow into the passageways, to play games or cards or just talk until lights out. It took fourteen days to travel to Guam stopping, but not being able to get off, at Hawaii and then to Guam.  This map is from the back of the booklet showing our trip across the pacific.

By the time we arrived we were thankful to sent our feet on the ground. It took a lot less time to get off than it did to get on board the ship.

I had never traveled out of N.J. except to go the Pennsylvania and I must tell you I had never seen any place like this with coconut palms everywhere that were tall and beautiful.

The weather was a warm balmy climate all the time giving us an opportunity to go swimming any time day or night. Many times we take food and eat on the beach. The water was blue and the sandy beach white. On day one of the service men machetied his way two feet in the jungle and found a Japanese tank that was left. That was scary.

We spent one Christmas there and I must say that was enough. The Christmas trees that were hauled in for the military were so dead the brown pine needles fell off and only stripped branches remained to decorate and as bad as they looked we bought one and decorated it with lots of tinsel. We lived in a very large Quonset hut that had screens for windows.

There was only Gods’ air condition. It would rain at a moments notice and just as quick the sun would come out dry the clothes on the line you happen to be hanging up.

The island had the biggest roaches I ever saw and they told me they are water roaches and not to leave wet dirty dishes around. When I saw my first water roach I knew I would not like it there.

The Greek custom was to attend church on Christmas Eve at 11:00. p.m. for caroling and communion  then come home and open gifts and eat sandwiches, cookies with coffee or wine. The Chapel accommodated all religions and they had a service for the catholic faith that we attended on Christmas Eve because it was much like the prostent religion we were use to.  It was a custom that C and I carried on with our children. We called dad that night and it was the next day there.

Fresh fruit and vegetables were few and had to be shipped in. When it did there was a long line at the commissary just to buy rotten “fresh” food. I must tell you here that I was very thankful being an American and knowing this was just a temporary situation in our lives and to make the best of it with Gods’ help this too shall pass.

I got to see the control tower where C. worked but was not allowed to go up or inside because it was wooden tower with a ladder on the outside that went straight up. Before any of the men went up they would call to let them know so no one would be coming down at the same time.

One day C. called and said that an opening came up in California and he still was senior to any of those in the tower and was given the opportunity to fill the billet if he wanted. He said he would talk to his wife first and let them know.  When he told me about the opening and asked me if I wanted to leave Guam thinking I didn’t, I yelled YES. As beautiful as Guam was and the climate ideal I couldn’t wait to get back to the states just for the availability of fresh food. As you can tell food is important to my comfort.

We were able to travel back to the states together and it was wonderful. The day before we were to board the ship our second number had an infection and they gave her a shot of penicillin and it made her joints swell. She had to be carried on board and to meals. I was very thankful C was traveling with us because I know I couldn’t have handled it alone.  Here we are on the ship.

Our car was shipped on the ship with us so we were able travel by car from San Francisco to El Centro that is at the border of Mexico and the United States. That area of California is called the Imperial Valley, because it produces fruit and vegetables second to none. I thought I was in 7th heaven after being in Guam. 

I will tell you much more about our 5 year stay there, until next time, I am Immigrant Daughter.


  1. I have had to catch up with your stories and I love them all. It reminds me of some of the novels I have read. You need to write a book. Blessings to you and family

  2. Hello Immigrant daughter, those roaches were a bit scarey hey? I don't think I would have liked them either.I notice the lady who left a comment before me also thinks you should be writing a book....a bit of gentle nagging perhaps....maybe just have a little think about it hey? Waiting for the next part of your journey. Kind regards, Anita.

  3. Our precious son-in-law is from Guam, and most of his family lives here in the U.S. They love Guam, but want to live here....of course I am grateful for this because he is the best son-in-law we could ever have hoped for and he and our daughter have given us 4 beautiful and smart grand-children. ( I know, ALL grandparents say that!) Your stories of your past are so interesting to me, thank-you.