It's time for a new Thursday feature - Traveling & Trinkets, a look back on Vic's travels and the gems (or not) that he brought home. I'm going to start with his first deployment (1995-1996) and work my way to the present. Most of the items featured are just as the title says, trinkets, although there are a few other things that I found that warrant sharing. Enjoy!
Vic's first ever port visit on a deployment was to Palma de Mallorca in the Mediterranean. Palma de Mallorca is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situated on the south coast of of the island of Majorca on the Bay of Palma (thank you, Wikipedia). I can't find a souvenir from Palma de Mallorca so I have a feeling it was a mug. More on mugs in later installments of this series. The next stop was Portsmouth, England. Why the ship traveled through the Straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean and then zipped out again and up the coast to England, I have no idea, but that's what they did.
Mum and Dad were living in England at this time, in the northwest city of Manchester. They lived in what is called sheltered housing, which is Brit-speak for a retirement community where the residents live independently but have an onsite manager (called the warden, how funny is that?) who is available in case of an emergency. Each apartment has a speaker system and each morning Mum and Dad were greeted with the warden's voice saying "Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. H, how are we today?" to which they no doubt replied "We're fine, thank you very much". If the warden didn't get a reply, she'd be whizzing up the stairs to see why they hadn't replied. Made my sister and I very happy to know that there was someone looking out for Mum and Dad. Anyway, back to Portsmouth. The sheltered housing company has properties all over the UK and residents could make a reservation to stay in the guest room at an alternate location if they were traveling. Knowing that Vic's ship was due into Portsmouth (pre-9/11, everyone knew the ship's schedule), they motored down to Portsmouth and were waiting at the pier. It was Vic's first time to meet Mum; he had already met Dad in Saipan shortly after we got married. Mum and Dad whisked Vic off on the train to London and gave him the royal sightseeing tour. They had a great time together.
I don't have any trinkets from this trip, they were probably too busy sightseeing to do any shopping but I do have this other great souvenir. Vic bought a postcard and they all wrote a little message (makes me very emotional to see Mum and Dad's handwriting and Mum began every piece of correspondence to me and later to us with "Hello darling" and "Hello darlings"). The neatest part of the postcard is the little note in the bottom right-hand corner.
If you can't quite make it out, it reads:
Hi, I've just found this p/card at Victoria Station. I hope you are well too. Say hello to Florida from me. Jenny UK Resident
Somehow the card dropped out of the postbox or the postman dropped it when he was taking out the post. Either way, Jenny found it, scribbled a little note and put it, securely, back into the postbox. Wasn't that lovely? It's one of those souvenirs that are just extra special.
You'll notice I've blocked out our last name for privacy reasons - I don't care about the address, we haven't lived there for almost twenty years. Also, English is Vic's second language and twenty years ago, his grammar wasn't what it is today so forgive any little goofs.