February 2nd, 2011:

THE SHORES OF TRIPOLI RECEDE INTO MEMORY

United States Navy Ship General Maurice Rose

My family had lived in Tripoli since the fall of 1955; it was getting time for a change, a constant if one’s family is connected to the US Army.

In the spring of 1958 my father received orders once again. It was time to leave our foreign home and return to the U.S. My mother, sister Joan Tupper and I were getting the special treat of a military-style Mediterranean Cruise on the Rose, a US Navy ship, for our journey home. Since Dad didn’t enjoy sea travel, he would take my young brother, Darby, and visit his parents in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. The whole family would rendezvous in New York City in about three weeks.

My father was ordered to the Pentagon in Northern Virginia, where he would be a part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I was looking forward to catching up on what I had missed of the rock and roll revolution – heralded by hearing “Yakety-Yak” on a radio as our ship neared New York harbor in July.

The furniture was packed up, which was almost useless as it turned out: it sat in packing crates on a wharf in Tripoli for almost six months before being shipped.

The day of our departure my mother and I made a last minute trip to the old city for souvenirs and presents to take to relatives. The afternoon we boarded the ship (Thursday, June 19, 1958), many of my friends, both American and foreign, came to the dock to see me off.

I was only fifteen, and although I was very sentimental about leaving lovely Tripoli and all the exciting times I’d had, I was looking forward to a long cruise without my strict father. My loving mother was more lenient and sociable. There would be lots of teenagers aboard, and I would enjoy the prospect of briefly exploring Greece, Turkey, Italy and Gibraltar. Best of all were the exciting thoughts of becoming an American teenager in the good old U.S.A. once again.

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Although this post marks a sort of ending to my Tripoli adventures, I will continue to share as other memories pop up. And I will rerun some of the earlier Tripoli posts and photos. I will also post stories on the Mediterranean Cruise–I kept postcards and other memorabilia and put together a scrapbook of my adventure when I got back to the States. It’s amazing how much my old photo albums and scrapbooks held together all these years. I even saved an old sock from a “Sock Hop” at the Teenage Club!

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