Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Very Long Sailing Trip, and a Book, LONG WERE THE NIGHTS, by Hugh B. Cave

The Cruise of the Jolly Tar

Last year, when my great, great, uncle Hugh Robinson died, my mother came into my hotel room, (the funeral was in Virginia, where he lived) and gave me this Navigation Chart.  She said I should get it framed and give it to my son, Sam, who is also attending the Naval Academy.  So I took it to the framers and picked out a grey mat and then had them put a silver frame around it and at Christmas, I gave the chart to Sam. 

This chart shows the trip of Jolly Tar, a sailboat that both Frank and Hugh Robinson took along with Bill Small, who was the navigator, and Dave Seaman, who was the Captain.  These men were all attending the United States Naval Academy and must have gotten permission to take this long cruise, which lasted six days.  You can see that they saw whales along the way, because there is a drawing of a whale on the chart.  They left out of the Chesapeake Bay and made their way up the coast. 

You can also see that they must have encountered weather along the way because of the way they tacked this way and that way. 


One more thing, I have just finished reading LONG WERE THE NIGHTS, by Hugh B. Cave, which is the story of the Saga of the PT Squadron “X” in the Solomon Islands during World War II.  My great, great, uncle Hugh Robinson was awarded the Silver Star his actions against an enemy of the United States.  This is third highest military award given to any person serving in the capacity of the Armed Forces.  Hugh Robinson lived to be 97 years old.  He was well loved by the men he led.  At his funeral, the entire chapel was filled, and then some people even waited in the hallway. 
Hugh M. Robinson, who was awarded the Silver Star
I can't imagine what I would have done in this position!

In the paragraph I highlighted, from LONG WERE THE NIGHTS, it reads: “Robbie, (who was Hugh Robinson), our squadron commander, wet his lips and said we would do our best.  The rest of us wondered just how good our best would be, against that kind of opposition.  Because - good God - the whole Jap navy was on the way and we were just three little torpedo boats!”

The men ended up defeating the Japanese Navy.  They fought until the very end and sank most of their ships. 

While I understand how difficult this must have been, I don’t think I could have been there.  I would have been too scared!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Naval Aviator Number 6463

The Oath of office, signed by Frank Mason Robinson, at age 17 years and 11 months.
A check written from Hugh to his older brother, Frank.  

I am working on a new Historical Fiction novel with a working title of NAVAL AVIATOR NUMBER 6463, which was Frank Mason Robinson's number when he became a pilot for the United States Navy.  

Once you have completed the research on your subject, the historical fiction novel is actually easier to write. 

Eleanor Robinson, talking with Hugh.  Frank is on the right.

Hugh, Marie (my grandmother's sister) Eleanor, and Frank Robinson.

This novel is about my grandfather, Frank Mason Robinson, who died when he was twenty-seven years old.  He was involved in a mid-air collision on March 17, 1941.  The accident was not his fault.  He flew a TBD Devastator plane off the USS Yorktown, which was an aircraft carrier, and the accident occurred because of the fault of another pilot.  I have read the Navy report of the accident several times, and I understand now how devastating this must have been for my grandmother.  She lost her husband and he never met his only child, my mother, Ann Marion Robinson. 

My cousin, Hugo Robinson, has sent me several scrapbooks, numerous files, and oral reports, (from the ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION, number 1368, interview with Hugh M. Robinson, on February 21, 1997.) who was Frank’s younger brother. 

I have secured the records from all of their boarding schools, with the exception of the Lycee Janson de Sailly, which is in Paris.  David D’ Onofrio sent the records from the United States Naval Academy and Tyler Larkin sent me the records from the Severn School in Maryland.  Both of these schools are boarding schools.  The Lycee is also a boarding school. 

But the greatest gift was when my mother told me she had Frank’s journals from when he was a child.  My younger sister, Sarah, had them placed on a digital file and sent them to me.  I loaded these onto my computer and I have read through them three times, trying to get a feel for how he was as a young boy. 
Eleanor and Frank Robinson.

I cannot imagine what her life was like when she learned her husband had been killed in that airplane crash.  She had to raise my mother by herself.  And while she did move in with Frank’s mother, Marion Robinson, she was still a single mother.  
The letter from the Department of the Navy, informing Eleanor her husband had died.  

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Love Paris.

Placing the lock on the bridge.


On the second day we were in Paris, we took the boys to see the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris. course, it was still raining, but when we got there, I noticed that the bridge behind the Cathedrale had those love locks to it. 

I had not brought a lock, but I noticed that across the street, there was a store that sold them.  So I walked in and purchased one for ten Euros.  I asked her if she had a Sharpie I could borrow, and she did. 

Look how many locks are on the bridge!  Years and years worth!

Cathedrale de Notre Dame in the background.

I carefully wrote my initials and then Brian’s initials on the lock and I added a heart.  Then we placed the lock on the bridge together and after making sure it was affixed, I threw the key in the Seine River. watched it fall the bottom and then stepped back and I thought of all the years we have been married (twenty-six years) and I do feel as thought we have been very lucky together.  I can’t imagine not being married to Brian.  We have raised two boys who are both off to college, and now, I have this new book to write, another historical fiction book that I am still researching, but I am at about page thirty.  I keep editing it each day, but I think it’s going well so far.

I think, sometimes, certain things are meant to be.