Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship

I returned to the United States for reassignment in 1945. I went to Providence, R.I., to meet with recruits who had just completed boot camp. From there, me and the other recruits went on a shakedown cruise to test the performance of the ship down the Gulf Coast and stayed for a few nights in Galveston, Texas.

"We were sitting there in the Galvez Hotel coffee shop when Johnnie Beis nudged me and said, 'Look, Atch!,"' he said. "And there were two beautiful women coming down the stairway."

I immediately hit it off with one of the women, her name was Loreta (Rita) Sheppard. Loreta had never seen the ocean and was on vacation with a friend. She was from Kansas City, Kansas in Wyandotte County. We spent the day together and agreed that I would continue writing her while I was at sea. About a year passed before I saw Loreta again.

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