Friday, October 30, 2009

The Galveston Blizzard

Sandra's recent comments:

I am sad to hear that the mermaid is so far away from the warm waters of the Caribbean that she loves so much. Will she be gone long enogh to grow legs and get used to the cold? Is she planning to return home to her jewel of an island in the azure blue sea any time soon?

I have a hard time imagining this mermaid in winter clothing.

Yes, Sandra, when mermaids stray too long from the warm waters, they temporarily grow legs and blend in a tad better (though mermaids truly always remain eccentric, nonetheless).

And, No, Sandra, I don't think I will ever get used to the c-c-c-c-cold!

Years back, I finished up a crew stint on a cruise liner that home ported in Galvenston, Texas. Because of my position as Chief Purser, I was one of the last to disembark the bankrupt ship.

Incredibly, this blizzard blew into Galveston Texas the day I was to leave for the airport!

According to, from 1971-2000, a span of nearly 3 decades, the average temperature for December is a low of 51.8°F and a high of 64.3°F. So this blizzard was certainly unexpected and caught the island by surprise.

Before flying back to my own homeport of the Virgin Islands, I spent a lonely Christmas eve in a toasty hotel, sorting through my sea bag. When I was checking out, the next morning, the maid was astonished that I left more behind than I took with me. Part of the pile of abandoned belongings were assorted winter clothes, all cleaned, pressed, and neatly folded. We were the same size, and she must have asked me 3 times in a row if she could really have this bounty. As I headed down the carpeted hallway, she said something to tune of "I really do believe in Santa Claus now! I really do!"

One of the perks of being a senior officer on a ship, is that the stewards see to it that your clothes are always clean, pressed and impeccable, whether it's your uniform, street clothes or pajamas.

Which on a side note, I was slender then, and owned some sexy underwear *ahem* in the form of frilly thongs for *special* occasions. (And I'll leave THAT up to your own imagination!) I also had the typical tidy whities cotton undies for wearing under our dress white uniforms.

When I arrived to work on the ship, about 5 months before they were forced into bankruptcy, I merely tossed all my undies into a drawer haphazardly. (I know, none of you have EVER done that to your undies!)

My particular steward was extremely thorough, as I quickly found out. On my first day as I toured the ship and caught up on mountains of work in my then beleagured office, he apparently pressed and reorganized all my clothing.

That evening, I was so exhausted from my first day of work, that I peeled off my uniform and fell fast asleep. The next morning, I got up and opened up my drawers to lay out my undies before showering.

I must have turned five or six shades of beet red. All my underwear was perfectly ironed and professionally folded, carefully sorted, and neatly stacked with the exception of my frilly thongs. They were ironed into perfection and laid out in a drawer of their own, with the same care that Winton jewelers lays out a small selection of zillion dollar necklaces for Elizabeth Taylor to peruse.

My closet was transformed, all my clothes were steam ironed and hung carefully with exact precision.

*Note* I've now seriously digressed from the orignial story (funny how that happens!)

So on this Christmas day, I was leaving behind assorted clothing, perfectly pressed and professionally folded (my steward had insisted on packing up my clothes before he tearfully departed the ship). The loving care he had exerted upon my clothes during my brief stay, made them seemingly appear to all be new, which many of the winter clothes were less than 2 months old anyhow.

(And NO, I did NOT leave behind any underwears!)

The cruise line had their own driver for hauling crew around. He came to pick me up and incredibly there was a blizzard outside. I was dressed for the warm weather of the Virgin Islands and my teeth loudly chattered as he turned the heat up to full force.

When finally I could speak without my teeth noisily crackling from the cold, I announced out loud "I am NEVER working this far NORTH ever again!"

And, well Sandra, I've pretty much kept my word ever since!

YES, I will be returning to my jewel of an isle some time in the future.

I have a hard time imagining myself in winter clothing too, but where I am now, it is 40 F degrees in the morning and I've been forced into warmer clothing.

I'm on a budget and picky about clothes, so shopping for winter clothes has been time consuming. Yeah, a mermaid looks strange in winter clothes...

But hey, tomorrow is Halloween and I don't have to dress up at all. I just show up as a mermaid (with chattering teeth!)

1 comment:

  1. In my long stretches of time without work in the film industry in the past year, I have thought about working on a cruise ship as a purser. It would be a way for me to travel, have my lodgings taken care of for a while, and save some money. I just have no idea how to go about getting hired on... or even if they hire someone of my age. Chief Purser; that would be a good job I think.

    I wish I'd done it when I was in my 20's!

    I am glad to read that you will be returning to your island sometime in the future. I hope I can as well... I wish I could figure out a way to live there and make a living. Maybe if my screenwriting takes off.... I dream about it.

    Stay warm.



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