U.S. Submarine S-4


Dec. 16th, 1927

I heard word that father sent for me.  He was boarding his ship and was headed to the depths below.  It’s lonely when he isn’t around.  Mother seems to pace and pace without covering much ground.  I want to join him, but he speaks to me as if I am too much of a youth to understand.  A boy breaking fifteen should be considered a man.  I would never break a promise to him, though.

I find such joy in his line of work.  I know I will do what he does when he allows it.  Submarines are the future of war machines.  The way you can just plunge into the water and attack the enemy unknowingly.  My dad is a true pioneer.  I got to step into it last year with my mom.  It was hard to walk up to the pier.  It was even harder getting into the thing with such a small opening at the top.  I can still remember the large writing on the side, S-4, deemed the sharpest one of its kind.  My dad will be proud when I learn to drive one of those around.

I just wish he’d relocated us with him.  He is all the way up near Massachusetts, while we sit and wait in Virginia.  I want to be like him so badly. He gets to do what he loves every single day.  I just get to hear mother sob and belly-ache all the time.  I guess having a man like my dad and missing him so bad leaves her all shook up.

Just imagine how it would be floating in the middle of the ocean and sitting on top of that machine.  I bet my dad does that everyday when he gets the chance.  Imagine being underwater with the fish and the whales.  I’ve never even seen a whale!  Just the whale and the submarine, neck and neck, trying to see who can hold their breath the longest.  I bet my dad would win.

Sometimes, I like to draw the ship underwater.  I draw the fish, whales, and my dad in the window of the ship.  I always draw myself in one of the windows doing all the work he does.  He smiles at me, and I smile to him.  We see who can hold their breath the longest, we beat the whales, but we tie.  I send him those pictures to pin up inside the submarine.  I wonder if he ever puts them up?

My dad, his ship, I don’t think there is anything stronger.  A man made of metal. A ship made of metal.

Dec. 17th, 1927

I drew a picture today.

I was diving into the water to save him. He didn’t hold his breath. I won, but I never wanted to win. I wanted to tie.  I drew the whales coming together to lift the ship, but they were too weak.  I wanted to save him.  Mommy told me you went under. They said it was an accident.  I still think you are holding your breath down there, beating the whales and fish.  I hope you hold your breath until you come up.  I hope you see all the pictures I drew up in the ship.  I know you can make it because you are made of stronger metal than that tin box you sat in.  I don’t want to be the man of the house.  I need you, dad.


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