United States Coast Guard Cutter Halfmoon (W325) was permanently berthed in the huge Coast Guard facility on Staten Island. The sprawling base is located directly adjacent the New York City Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
Three hundred, eleven feet in length, USCGC Halfmoon had a complement of 137 enlisted men and officers. ________________________________________________
Staten Island, New York
USCGC W325 Halfmoon
Befriending Yeoman Mate Second Class Donald Wilson, whom he jokingly—in parody of the comic strip Don Winslow of the Navy—called “Don Wilson of the Coast Guard,” Mitchell had been given permission in his spare time to use the ship’s office to practice typing.
He’d attempted to “strike” for yeoman, but CGC Halfmoon had a yeoman striker. Mitchell sent for the correspondence course anyway, but…
Throughout his life, as with most things that required deep, continued concentration, Mitchell found that when he tried his hardest to concentrate, quite often his mind would become as a slab of concrete that nothing penetrated. Thus, using Warrant Officer Floyd Richard Ewing as his excuse, Mitchell eventually dropped the yeoman course.
The reason, or his rationalization for still being a Seaman First Class after a bit more than three years in the Coast Guard was, at least in his mind, Warrant Officer Floyd Richard Ewing.
During boot camp, while attempting to overcome loneliness and his love of Susan, he had decided to really try to make the best of it: to learn a trade; to learn a way to make a living after discharge; to really try to enjoy, as best he possibly could, life in the United States Coast Guard, but…
All esprit de corps and ambition vanished with Warrant Officer Floyd Richard Ewing, because…
It wasn’t that Ewing was bigoted. No! He just hated “niggers,” “gooks,” “kikes,” “dagos,” “spicks,” “homos,” “pretty boys,” “civilians,” “politicians,” and “Philadelphia lawyers.”
At U.S.C.G. Rockaway Lifeboat Station, Mitchell Lipensky’s first duty station, Warrant Officer Floyd Richard Ewing was as God, and as Mitchell Lipensky fell into two of Warrant Officer Floyd Richard Ewing’s hated categories—kike and pretty boy—Ewing made life a living hell for him. After more than a year at Rockaway—which, to those who knew no better, was considered possibly to be the best duty in the New York City area—Mitchell Lipensky requested and received a transfer to sea duty—which, to those who knew no better, was considered possibly to be the worst duty in any area—but to Mitchell Lipensky, after serving under Warrant Officer Floyd Richard Ewing, life aboard the Halfmoon was like heaven!
June 21, 1956: p.m.
Exhausted after this long day, wanting to be alone with her thoughts, for the first time ever, Marsha was glad Mitchell had duty and she would be alone…
Spitting foam into the sink, rinsing her mouth with a palm full of water, wiping her hands and face, standing back, looking at her reflection in the mirror…
Yes, she did look the same as she’d looked yesterday and the day before yesterday…
But yet she knew something was different! Oh, there wasn’t a hint, or even the hint of a hint, but, be it wishful thinking, she was sure she’d actually felt the force of Mitchell’s ejaculation last night, and Marsha knew! After last night, she knew!
Unhooking her brassiere and stepping out of her panties, she carried them to the clothes hamper in the closet.
Passing the large mirror atop the dresser, stopping, Marsha stood looking at her nude body from the front, then, turning to the side, looked at herself in profile. Turning full forward again, lifting her breasts from beneath, Wonder what they’ll look like when they begin to grow? I’ll enjoy that: being big busted… or bigger busted. Mitchie sure will. Bringing her hands tightly down the sides of her body, pushing her fists into her straight waist, making sharp indentations and, as she had almost every day since she was mature enough to realize, thought, If only I had hips! Smiling, thinking, Now it doesn’t matter! Further wondering how she might look later, in a few weeks, in a few months. Turning sideways, pushing her stomach outward from inside, Marsha caused only the slightest protrusion.
Certainly not in Mitchell’s, but in Marsha’s hypercritical eyes she had small, sagging breasts and her buttocks were nothing more that a double sided bulge on her backside. Her hard stomach was deeply concave with an “outie” navel that she thought of as “ugly as hell,” but that her husband always told her was “cute as a button”… Whatever “cute as a button” meant.
Always regular with her period except, of all times, when they’d just been married, the second time, the in the eyes of God time. Looking at a calendar, There’s 31 days this month. My period should begin, calculating, about the twenty eighth. Further thinking, If I’m not bleeding by the fourth of July, she decided, I’ll tell Mitchell he’s going to be a daddy. But, Where’s the money going to come from if I am pregnant and they want me to quit working after I start to show? Coming up with the only plausible answer, Mother!
Attempting to make up for the years of her daughter’s childhood, Rhea had been as attentive to Marsha as possible since the wedding—via “long distance,” of course.
I think she’ll do it, Marsha thought. After all, keeping my mouth shut all those years has got to be good for something! And to her way of thinking, in a very small way it was, because…
Besides the large, plush wedding that Rhea had all but insisted on planning, the two and a half carat, pear shaped diamond engagement ring Marsha wore most certainly did not come from Mitchell’s saving account, because he didn’t have a savings account, and even if he had, a Two and a half carat diamond? Also, Rhea paid for a one carat diamond ring that Marsha had given Mitchell as an engagement present. To say nothing of the $5,160 they had received as wedding gifts that Rhea was holding for safe keeping and which was earmarked as a down payment on a house when Mitchell was discharged and he and Marsha returned to Chicago. Minus, of course, the $1,000 they’d taken to cover expenses when they left for New York.
Moving from the mirror, turning the television on—planning on eating the corned beef sandwich, which she’d bought “to go” at the kosher style delicatessen across the street from the Bensonhurst subway station, in bed while watching television—taking the cushions from the sofa, thinking of the newly found relationship between herself and her mother. Yeah, she thought sadly, guess keeping my mouth shut all those years has been good for something after all. And…
As Marsha had every day since she was old enough to realize, she wondered why, among her many friends and acquaintances, why, so far as she knew, was she the only person whose mother was a… whore.
Retrospective: Chicago, Illinois; Rhea, 1933
Producing a show of lacelike patterns on the walls and ceiling, the soft breeze fluttered the gossamer curtains inward, steeping the room with the sensual kiss and soul touching scent of spring.
Savouring the breeze, the odour and warmth of the curtain filtered, early May sun, lying languorously on the sofa, stretching, Rhea brought the cigarette to her mouth, drew… exhaled, and watched through half closed eyes as the spiral of rising smoke mixed with floating, light accentuated motes of dust.
Overtaken by a sense of sheer comfort, dropping her right hand to the floor, resting it on the rim of a heavy glass ashtray, for the first time in fourteen months, since the birth of Roger, Rhea Goldman felt totally and completely at ease.
The fingertips of her left hand idly stroking the hollow of her throat, taking another drag, she watched the upwardly dissipating smoke a moment or two longer. Putting the cigarette onto the lip of the ashtray, opening her chest to the light and air, Rhea unbuttoned the top three buttons of her housedress…