Sumo and I had flexible hours when working together. I didn’t mind doing a split shift while Reb was gone; either way, we would both be putting in a few extra hours each day. My morning was free after breakfast, and I started making a built-in framework for my new mattress. It was completed by noon . . . a real bunk which was slightly lower than the cot (about 15 inches off the cement deck) and wider. The mattress was more comfortable, and my wool blanket served as a bottom sheet. The lighter poncho liner was used as a bedspread.
I continued the night baker duties although in an abbreviated way. The sweet dough needed time to rise, and I would try to sleep during this period. The next step was to “punch” and knead the dough, before giving it more time to rest.
Both Sumo and I were concerned about Reb. He would be in flight by now, headed to Australia. The “Dear John” letter * had shaken us all, and we worried he might have difficulties adjusting. Sergeant Leggins had gone on R&R to Sydney in July, and he had a great time in the night clubs. This was not Reb’s style though, and we hoped things would work out for him.
My version of Reb’s “Big Foot” pastry was amateurish-looking so I crafted Bear Claws instead. I enjoyed working alone at night, and the fragrance of the yeast mixed with cinnamon filled my head with memories of Steward School in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I really hated that place, but it was far better duty than South Vietnam.
* See previous blog, “DeeDee Writes Dear John” July 25, 1968