9. Boot Leave
The Navy paid for the airplane ride to San Diego but the trip home on boot leave had to be paid out of my own shallow pocket, so it was by Greyhound rather than an airline. Upon graduation from recruit training I advanced from Seaman Recruit (pay grade E-1) to Seaman Apprentice (E-2) with a pay raise from $78 a month to $85. That bus trip home was a kind of “coming out” for those of us just emerging from the cocoon of boyhood into manhood. Walking into the house in dress uniform that first time was a memorable experience, as was visiting my high school to “strut my stuff” in uniform.