We were able to choose our mode of transport, and my parents selected a sea voyage from Oakland to Pearl Harbor, via Navy transport. There was just enough time to take a brief vacation before departing. We drove north on Highway 99. En route the first night, we listened to the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston boxing match on the radio. At all other times, the radio was buzzing with songs from the Beatles; I Want to Hold Your Hand, Yeah Yeah Yeah.
Like everyone else, we were coming out of the shock of President Kennedy's assassination the previous November, and the loss of submarine USS Thresher a few weeks before that.
We started our trip to Hawaii with a visit to my Aunt Eunice and Uncle Johnny and cousins Debbie, John, and Roy, in Placerville. They took us to visit the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park, in nearby Coloma. This journal entry opens with pictures taken at the park.
Leaving Placerville, we drove to Oakland and visited my maternal grandfather and step-grandmother. After a brief stay, we reported to the Oakland Army Depot. Soon, we boarded the USS Breckinridge, a US Navy transport built in 1945.
The voyage began with views of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and the San Francisco Embarcadero and city skyline. We sailed down to San Diego, and spent a layover day in that city. We visited the San Diego Zoo.
We continued on to Pearl Harbor, spending five days at sea. The island of Oahu was shrouded in clouds when we arrived at Pearl Harbor.
This was a marvelous adventure, that I will always remember. The Breckinridge was not a luxurious vessel, but it was extremely clean and well maintained, and the food was good. Several of us encountered sea sickness on the trip, but it was still a blast.
Our journal entry ends with scenes from our hotel near the beach in Waikiki. We boys played and grew accustomed to our new island home, which would be our residence for the next five and a half years. Mom and Dad had a growing sense of our place in world events, including the significance of a previously little-known country called Vietnam.
Please contact me if you have any questions or comments. Note also that some photos have water spots in the center image, caused by extreme humidity in the marine environment.
About USS Breckinridge
Frank R. Farmer