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Excerpts from "Woody, Cisco and Me:
Seamen Three in the Merchant Marine"

Jim Longhi

From Page 117

Jim has to prepare to sail again, and Woody and Cisco want to ship out with their buddy.

My month-long leave was over in a flash. Although Gabrielle and I had been married for three weeks, it felt like three days, and I couldn't bear to part from her. The pain of my leaving her was made worse by my guilt. Shouldn't we have postponed our marriage until the end of the war? What if I were killed or came home a cripple? And to make matters sadder, Christmas was approaching. My leave would be over on December 2. I had only a few days left.

I also felt guilty because Cisco and Woody, too, would miss Christmas at home. Since they were exempt from service, they could've shipped out after Christmas, but they insisted on coming with me. I tried to talk them out of it. I even talked with Marjorie and Bina.

"It's no use, Jim. That's the way Woody is," Marjorie said as she dressed little Cathy Stackabones. "Even though he doesn't have to go, he wants to fight this war according to the rules. And furthermore, he's grown very fond of you. Don't worry about Christmas. Miss Stackabones and I are going to be okay." Beautiful, wise Marjorie, holding Miss Stackabones on her bony dancer's hip, smiled up at me with her crinkly eyes. "Don't worry."

Bina said more or less the same thing about Cisco, although she put it a little differently. "That blind son of a bitch is going to get himself killed one of these days, just like his brother." The tears in her blue eyes accentuated her blonde beauty. "He's a nut about this war, God bless him, and even though the holidays are coming, he insists on shipping out with his two buddies. So do me a favor will you? Find a way to stretch your leave, like break a leg or something!"

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