Thursday, November 29, 2007

Insightful Notes from Lynn Drees

Dear Friend, Survivor John Hood - As many of you know, John passed away Friday, November 23, 2007 - I wrote the following to his sister, Carol, via email: "If ya'll reminisce, please tell (or have your sister, Alberta, tell) the hair dryer story. One year John forgot to get reservations for the reunion; he arrived @ the hotel; it was full, but they had some small apartments next door - and offered John an apartment. Well, on Sunday, as everyone was leaving, John came up to me - and said - 'Wonderful wk-end, but I have one complaint.' Shocked, I said, 'yes, John, what was wrong?' He said 'the hair dryer in my room did not work!' - and, knowing his hair status, we both started laughing. That became a joke each year - with me, always asking John if the hair dryer in his room was working this year! I loved him!!!! Thanks for sharing him w/ us, Next Generationers"

Carol responded with "Lin, Oh, we do know that story, John told us about that, and he always laughed."

John will be missed as are all our loved USS HOUSTON men who are now standing watch at Sunda Strait. We also miss the men who cannot now attend the reunions - and remember, fondly, when they were able to attend.

BUGLER - With Internet, Val receives many questions - one recently related to the ship's bugler - I asked David Flynn what he remembered. Here is what he said: "The ship's bugler was Joseph G. Alleva. He was killed on a Japanese prison ship 24 June 1944 in the South China Sea. Aboard ship (the Houston) he'd occasionally hit a wrong note, blowing taps, etc. When criticized, he'd say, 'for 32 bucks a month you don't get Benny Goodman.' Prior to entering the Navy, he worked in a bank as a sort of doorman, director, etc. He and Gene Crispi were great friends and would argue at length. .....'and that's all I have to say about that'....."

I remember Jim Ballew, Navy, telling me that he and my cousin, James Raydell Wilson, Marine, aboard the HOUSTON, would spend some of their POW time arguing, just to pass the time of day. Once, he said that the argument led to fighting - he said, "here we were 2 'skinny' POWs, trying to fight!" Sadly my cousin passed away as a POW before I was born - but with reminiscing with Jim, I came to know some about my cousin.

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