Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Worst Possible...

When we moved into our house here in Meridian, it was almost out "in the country"; probably half of the section we're in was still cornfield, including a 20 acre plot about 100 yards away. In the two years since then, however, the farmers have all sold out to the developers, and everything's being replaced by new houses -- except the 20 acre plot, which is turning into a strip mall. At first, we were hoping for useful stores -- video rental, good restaurant, etc. Unfortunately, the first store that's going up is an auto parts shop; sure, it's useful, but only on rare occasions.
Since we're resigned to not having lots of good stores going there, SubBasket and I have been entertaining ourselves by trying to come up with a list of the worst possible establishments to open up, in terms of lowering our property value. So far we've come up with ideas like "tattoo parlor", "biker bar", and "dirty book store".
This got me thinking back to an old game we used to play on the boat: come up with the worst possible Familygram. For those young pups who don't remember what it was like before shipboard E-mail, "Familygrams" were the way submarine Sailors used to get news about what was going on at home. As I remember it, when the boat left on deployment, each Sailor's significant other got six forms; she could put up to 40 words on each, and bring them down to the Squadron office, where they'd be put on the broadcast.
I can't remember exactly what we came up with for the most bad news you could fit into 40 words, but I know it involved the car crashing into the house and burning both to the ground, kids all sick/arrested/prostituting themselves, and wife running off with some shipyard worker. Does anyone else remember coming up with something especially horrifying?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a made up one, or even the specifics, but when I was the staff radioman at squadron, I typed many of the family grams for the boats on deployment. There were certainly some that had to be routed through the chaplain to be dealt with in other ways. (That's why you didn't see many reall ones with bad news.) Anyway, I got one to type that was written in a particular purple ink; no big deal. Later that day, I opened another one written in that same color ink to another sailor on the same boat. Me and another guy in the office did some quick Squadron CSI work. We could see that the scotch tape holding one closed had a uniquely shaped tear at the end that matched the next piece of tape used to close the next fam-gram. They were definitely from the same girl, and she was seemingly married to one sailor while dating another.


9/26/2006 7:46 AM

Blogger SonarMan said...

The worst family grams you could get were none. I saw more guys come unglued from no grams than from bad grams, which were few and far between. The old adage of no news was good news never applies here.

Well, I don't have a story of a bad one, but my mother tells the story of sending one to my dad (my step-father), who was a NAV ET on the USS PATRICK HENRY during the 60's. This was back in the day when you could only send 10 words, so you had to make'em count. She and I lived in a huge old Victorian mansion converted to apartments in Norwich. Being old, it of course had mice. At night, you could hear the mice scurrying about doing mice things. So, she wrote him a family gram, "MICE IN WALL WEAR COMBAT BOOTS."

This message drove him crazy for the rest of the patrol, because he thought it was some type of code. It was messages like these that lead to more stringent screening of grams. Thanks, Mom.

9/26/2006 8:12 AM

Anonymous ShowerTech said...

As I recall it was not a shipyard worker that your wife was messing around with it was a Marine.(the only way that you knew about it was your shoes where shined under the bed and the holes in your yard from the tents.)
Great Blog

9/26/2006 8:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RM1/SS's story reminded me of a similar situation on my boat (before family grams). We had a sonarman (won't use his name) who often wore the stencilled (different last name) workshirts of his girlfriend's SSN husband.

This out-of-uniform arrangement obviously appeared to overstep navy regs, but no one from the COB to his Div officer on up said anything.

On one deployment as we passed Block Island headed out, the husband's boat passed us close aboard headed in to NLON.

This sonarman never qualified on our boat and was transferred to a SOSUS station on the west coast when we got back.

9/26/2006 12:15 PM

Blogger loddfafnir said...

On my first northern run I gave my folks the three 'grams I was allotted. They misunderstood and thought they were only to be used in case of emergency, so I went through that deployment with nary a word underway.

9/26/2006 5:54 PM


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