An Asian invasion of a largely deserted New York City was imminent. I was slowly and haphazardly preparing things for packing and transportation. Several small boxes and cases holding keepsakes or writing or maybe money were opened before a larger box that I intended to put into my car trunk.

Seemed to be in the first floor apartment/flat being shared with other Air Force enlisted men. Joe went uptown to be with his girl friend. Bill who was tall and looked somewhat like Stevens was either bullying or teasing me. In a hurry I called him on it but wanted to remain friends. Germans in civilian clothes were arriving as intermediaries at ports and airports to take our surrender. I went out to see them and followed a contingent of nurses and medical techs hoping they wouldn't get to our quarters before we could pack and leave. I turned at 79th St. which was pretty far uptown.

Further uptown someone was taking shots at Joe now called ‘Crazy Joe;’ his face had past signs of acne. He had no girl friend. There was a quarter-mile of bad road {mainly lumpy pavement} between his no man's land and the rest of the city. Over a bridge he hit a flood of deep water but decided to ride the waves, treading water toward the city south of Harlem. Meanwhile I was recounting to newbies that waiting to be taken prisoner by the the Vietnamese, even though this was a peaceful surrender, was the worst experience of my time in the military. Two large contingents of Americans returned. The women were carrying something, the men a metal cage festooned with tomatoes. A young woman or girl was struggling with one end of the tomato cage so I took it from her. I was disappointed when the women went one way and we, the men, went another, to retake the city. Moving ahead of most of the men -- about 40 of them I advised the NCO in charge: I told him to hold up the troop and go into one basement apartment to see for himself the death and destruction and also to retrieve a relatively new shirt for one of the men who wore an old shirt. The door was wooden with glass windows obscured by a shade. The shirt retrieved was blue brushed cotton; a boat neck polo shirt...