By Major Thomas
The first of December of 1952 the engineering officer, (my boss) asked me if I wanted to take the rest of leave that I had coming. He said I would have to come back before Christmas though. I thought about that for some time, knowing full-well that it would be extremely difficult to return to the ship right before Christmas. I had a thirteen-day, leave so I purchased a round trip bus ticket and went home.
The time went very swiftly. It seemed like the days just flew by and before I knew it, it was time to return to San Diego. I can still remember that mournful day. I went through the same routine that I had to go through every time I was getting ready to go back to the ship. Dad was very quiet as we walked downstairs to leave. I got the sense that he had something to tell me, but he never did. As we drove to Cuba to meet the bus, everyone was very quiet and not much was said. As I think back now, everyone may have assumed that dad had “told me the secret” and they were thinking I was dealing with it.
While waiting at the station in the bitter cold, the sun starting to sink in the west. I got on the bus, and waved to them and watched them stand there waving to me until they faded away. All I could think about was how everyone was getting into the Christmas season, but I was leaving to go back to duty and then to Korea. It was a dreadful time and I really had a hard time getting through it.
After I left the Navy, I discovered that I was adopted. That was the secret that dad was about to tell me. I’m glad he waited.
Major Thomas, age 84, served three tours in the Korean War from 1952-1956 as an Engineman Second Class in the Navy. He was raised in Owensville, Missouri where he returned after his enlistment. He and Marge are retired and enjoy working with stained glass, antique tractors, puzzles, and writing his memoirs.