prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

(Army 8) I become a Shellback.

On August 21, 1944, Attack Transport USS Sumter crossed the equator. All persons on board the ship who had never crossed the equator were ordered to appear before the Royal Staff of Neptunus Rex (Ruler of the Raging Main) and be initiated into the Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep. Once initiated you were declared to be a Shellback. Before you were a lowly Pollywog. Here is my card.


I am a Trusted Shellback! The card is 70 years old and I still have it. On the back it says Attested; Walter R. Kitson, Capt CE.  He was the Captain of my Company. The card blanks are all filled out. Latitude 00 00, Longitude Secret.

The initiation consisted of many challenges. Running through firehoses, paddle line, and crawling through a spanking line. One item involved crawling through garbage. But the biggest challenge was the kissing of the Royal Baby's Belly Button. The baby was played by a fat sailor. His belly button and most of his belly was coated with slimy repulsive things and maybe a little lipstick. The applicant for Shellbackhood would put his lips to the belly button for a short kiss. The baby would simultaneously throw up his belly, grab the kisser's head, and pull the head into the belly button and squish it around for a messy prolonged kiss. The Baby's assistants would also help shove the head into the belly button.

The Baby was so busy with officers and noncoms that I missed the kiss. My feelings were not hurt, one bit. I was glad.




The initiation was a time of silliness and fun. We watched with delight as our officers and noncoms were drastically humiliated. They got special treatment.

We were headed for combat. Some of those on the USS Sumter would be dead or wounded soon.



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