M  e  m  o  r  y      L  a  n  e      F  e  b  r  u  a  r  y      2  0  2  0

I was on a flight from New York to Portland , Oregon in December of 1964. I was seated in a middle seat on the flight when a woman sat down next to me in the aisle seat. I was in uniform and she said “How do you like the navy”? I told her I loved it so much that I re-enlisted and I was heading to Portland to pick up a ship, the USS Liberty. I asked why she was heading to Portland . She said, I’m an opera singer and I’m going to perform tomorrow night with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. I said “Wow”.

To make a long story short, she had performed at the Met for years, was retired and would travel anywhere to perform. Her name was Rise Stevens. That was the most interesting five hours of my life, up to that time. Another interesting time happened in 1965 when the U.S.S. Liberty steamed up the Congo River to the port of Banana . That’s another story that up can read about by going to my website buffalobobcasale.com and stroll down to Drama on the Congo.We talked all the way to Oregon and boy was she interesting. Actually she did most of the talking.

Back then, my billet was as a cryptanalyst and we were sworn to secrecy. I had just finished Processing & Reporting School in Pensacola and was headed to my first tour as an analyst. I couldn’t tell her that my first tour of duty after graduating from “A” school in 1962 was copying Russian subs while stationed in Bremerhaven , Germany . I left Bremerhaven and went to Cyprus and copied Iraq , Iran , Syria and Jordan . Israel was our ally and we did not copy them. Good friends they were on 8 June 1967 when they attacked the Liberty .

I read later on that Rise died in 2013 at the age of 99. When I met her in 1964, she was close to 50. Funny that later on, after I was out of the navy in 1970 and driving a truck in New York city that I would meet many celebrities because we were delivering carpet and tile on Park Avenue. A most interesting person I met was Polly Bergen. We took the service elevator up to her floor and rang the bell and she opened the door. I recognized the face but couldn’t put a name to it. I looked at the delivery ticket and it said Polly Bergen; Dah!!! I remember meeting Vivian Vance (Ethyl Mertz) when I was delivering an area rug to a doctor in an upscale town in Westchester County . Her married name was different from her stage name. She had an interesting career and spent a lot of time with Lucille Ball (I Love Lucy). Some very interesting times delivering carpet. Had a face to face meeting with Ace Frehley from Kiss when we delivered carpet to his home in Connecticut . We delivered carpeting to Bert Parks after he had been fired from the Miss America pageant.