Navy School of Music
Little Creek, Norfolk, Virginia was my address for the next six
months as I trained and practiced to be a Naval Musician (MU). Actually
it was a U.S. Naval Amphibious Base with U.S. Navy SEALS in training
all over the place which made if far more interesting.
Believe me the
school was work. My dear trumpet teacher from when I was in high
school, Joseph Valenti, didn't tell me what I was in for. I only
wish now I had worked on his lesson assignments better. This was
string bass player, and I arrived in the late July of 1967 to join
the most incredible group of young musicians we could ever have
imagined being in one place. We just got in from Washington, D.C.
where we were hosted (picture top right) by Paul's relatives while
we took the maditory tours of our great captital.
on the above left and right and again to the left putting up a bag
I've had since 5th grade at Francis W. Parker School. I still have
it. I use it for my computer tool kit. Nothing goes to waste!
. To the right
is fellow student Ron Swetnam. We are working at the west end of
the base as mess cooks while waiting for billets to open up for
(left) has to have one of the most stable personalities I've ever
met. While he had to learn electric bass guitar at the school and
his fingers were not only numb from practice but they'd be bleeding
he never uttered a harsh word. A dear and amazing fellow.
On the other
hand, Ron Swetnam (right), AKA "Gabby"....well you know.
He was always had something to say and was "entertaining."
were the norm. We were using this new Polaroid camera I bought at
the base PX that gave little pictures. Not bad for cheap instant
shots! All the pictures were sent home with writing all around them
like the picture at right with good natured Paul. I made sure friends
In the photo
at the left you can see one of the pennants I picked up at Virginia
beach. I must have a hundred pennants from all over the world in
my collection here at home.
Our locker was
our home. I still have trouble convincing people that everything
I had was in that locker; uniforms, shaving gear, 'transister' radio,
shoes and underwear. No "i-Pod", no CD player and certainly
no notebook computer. This is 1967. What ARE those things anyway????
(right) was trying to hitch a ride even though he was already "home"
at the barracks. Sometimes we just didn't know what to do.
The photo at
the lower left gives you an idea of what an exciting place mess
cooking was. All the other cooks lived there as well. I prayed every
night thanking my good blessings that I was going into the School
of Music.....soon, I hope. Paul and I were there for two very nervous
I managed to
get into trouble while there. I was interested in the mass production
pies made there. So I made several hundred apple pies one day to
the dismay of the Chief. I wasn't even a seaman let alone a cook.
The unfortunate 3rd class, whom I convinced to let me do the dead,
got into some real hot water. The pies came out great, by the way.
You'd be interested
to know that the coffee pot was so big that two cooks would hold
me upside-down INSIDE as I swabbed it out with baking soda and water!
I also learned a novel way of opening up sixty bags of potato chips
in five minutes.