USS GENERAL W.A. MANN AP-112,sailing from Yokosuka to San Francisco, a photo by roberthuffstutter on Flickr.
SAYONARA, A TIME THAT I CANNOT FORGET...
It was a cloudy morning on the day in December of 1963 when I said goodbye and boarded this huge transport, USS GENERAL MANN, for the journey home. It was a day I will not forget.
The vessel arrived in San Francisco ten days later on my 22nd birthday. As all of us might have a tendency to do, this is one of the time frames I use when remembering certain seasons of my lifetime.
Perhaps there are those who do not store memories in compartments and open them by simply recalling the month and year we might want to remember either for a few moments or for hours of entertainment and reflection.
I did not go straight to the train station or airport, I flagged a cab and found a cheap hotel downtown and spent the next three days unwinding with Canadian Club. When I became bored with my own company, I found nearby bars to frequent. Conversation was cheap and entertaining. It was then that I began writing my poetry again, in spiral notebooks and on bar napkins.
Sure, it was good to be back in the USA, but the emotion of returning did not compare with the emotions I experienced from leaving Japan.
Leaving a joyful lifestyle where there was love and a lifestyle I enjoyed to return to a land of strangers where the lifestyle was indifferent to my values created an immediate state of despondency, one that has remained, more or less, throughout the ages.
Time is of no consequence; time does not heal sorrows. When one day is gone, it is gone in an instant and does not matter if it has been gone for only 24 hours or decades; it is no respecter of persons and their emotions. Time is not a sentimental element; time has no energy or mercy--it is immune to the suffering of one individual or generations.
Time and emotions are as distant from the other as is life from death.
The above is from a passage in a novel I am writing, AN AMERICAN WANDERING.
By Robert L. Huffstutter
I did not take the photo of the USS GENERAL MANN. Photo and information available on Wikipedia.