After the fiasco of the flooded engine room, the Howard was ordered back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. On the way back ,someone observed the truck light was out. Now the truck light is the light on the tallest mast of the ship. Being the newest member of the crew I was ordered to climb the mast, about 50 ft.) on that rolling ,pitching, boat. I have a deadly fear of heights, I get a nose bleed if I climb three rungs of a ladder. I refused and I was put on report. Nothing was done about it and no one climbed the mast until we got to Pearl and the yard crew fixed it.
When we arrived in Pearl Harbor the engine room was pumped out and the yard crew set about putting in the generator and pumps that were needed. The Captain also thought the Howard needed a sprucing up. Scraping and painting were ordered This job fell to the deck crew, we referred to them as deck apes.
I had just come off my watch, 8-12 AM and thought I would get some sun. There was a frenzy of signal lights from the Admirals hill that overlooked the naval base. The captain yelled at the Chief Bosun, who ran over to the port side , and yelled at a seaman to get his ass on board as he was painting the Howard in nothing but women's bloomers, hardly regulation.
After repairs we left for San Diego. After arriving at San Diego all of my mail caught up to me. My sister wrote a letter a week and there was a stack of them. I put them in the order of which they were written. The last letter said my brother-in-law was stationed in an airfield outside San Diego.
I got permission from the OD to go to the harbor master who would have a list of all the naval bases and airfields. As luck would have it the garbage scow pulled alongside and I jumped on board. The harbor master had the number of the airfield and let me use his phone.
Now here comes the weird part. I called the airfield and asked for Petty Officer f/c Jackob Goldblum, the voice answered , this is Jacob Goldblum, who is this? What are the chances of this happening?
I spent a weekend at his base. Food, food, food I never saw food like they had. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Fresh milk, real butter, fresh eggs, three kinds of meat at every meal, fresh pies. When I went though their chow lines they took bets I couldn't finish all that food. Some of the sailors asked if I was in the same navy. Others asked if we were losing the war.
A DE has very limited space for food, I went back to my ship ten pounds heavier.