Final Goodbyes

 

 

Sid Toone, Radar Mechanic HMS EastwayA few days later I thought I would revisit the Levines at New Rochelle, maybe for the last time very sadly, because our stay in the USA would come to an end soon.  So I caught a train from Grand Central Station, and they were very pleased to see me again and they phoned their friends and we had a great party in the evening.  They also wanted me to stay the night, but I explained that I had to get back.  One had to be very careful even with friends, no one knew where I had come from, and least of all a ship tied up in New York.  It was a bit tricky leaving in the early hours; they generously prepaid the taxi into Grand Central Station, which I had said was my departure point.

 

Sid Toone, Radar Mechanic HMS Eastway

 

Leaving the cab outside this fine station, I was about to hail another cab to take me to the harbour, when I was approached by a very smartly dressed young lady.  But I thought it's 2am, and let me get to my bunk for some sleep on the ship after a grand night out.  But she asked me to help her, and I couldn't refuse a lady in distress even at this time of night.  She explained that she had just come away from a party and wanted to phone the host and tell about something she had left at his house, but couldn't understand his English accent and would I phone him.  Before I realised it we were in the luxurious foyer of the station, like a top class hotel with waiters in white jackets in a marvellous restaurant, shades of New Street Birmingham!  There were several phones and in no time I was talking to her friend.  This done, I asked her if she would like a drink with me, and we sat at the bar and enjoyed a glass or two.  Then she excused herself (I thought she was a very nice smart young lady) to visit the 'Ladies room'.  Whilst she was away, our waiter in the white coat came over to me and whispered, "Buddy, I should dump her, you are the third sailor she has been drinking with in here tonight".  That was enough for me, I didn't need to be told twice what I was letting myself in for!  When she returned I said we will go down to your platform (track, they call it in America) and see about your train to Rochester where she said she lived.  I was surprised when she agreed, and we went down to track number 9 and sat down on a seat and chatted for a short time, then I excused myself to go the 'Gents' but without further ado I walked out of Grand Central Station, and got a cab back to the ship.  As far as I know, to conclude this episode, she is still there waiting for me to come back!! 50 years is a very long time though.

 

Chippie, Frank, Ted and I saw as much of New York as we could before our money ran out.  Our Navy was the most poorly paid of all the Allies, and the Jerries and Japs I expect.  During this time HMS Eastway filled up with American sailors, and GI's to take passage with us to England for the massing of troops and ships for invading France.

 

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