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WWII naval officer?


From: jtt (jttnewguy@hotmail.com)
Story type: Past Life Experience
Location: virginia, USA
Source: Form Submission
Date submitted: Wed Nov 21 21:38:54 2007

As a young boy, I had an odd habit. I would draw life-size pictures of complicated radar screens, dials, gauges, buttons, levers and switches onto pieces of cardboard, and then sit in a small, dark space (usually in the closet or under a desk) and spend hours on end staring at the dials, manipulating the "switches" and fantasizing that I was somehow involved in chasing and fighting some kind of an enemy. I can't recall any specific enemy or specific type of fighting, just the vague feeling that I was wedged into some kind of very dark and cramped space with other people and that we were on a tense, dangerous combat mission of some sort.

Once, my parents bought me a board game in which the player pretended to be the captain of a navy ship chasing enemy ships or submarines. The game had a small AAA battery-powered console attached to a cheap plastic plotting board. The console would generate a random number representing the "range" to the enemy displayed with primitive red LED display lights (like those old first-generation calculator displays back in the 1970s), and you would plot the position of the enemy ship on the board using crayons and a ruler and a tiny plastic compass. I don't remember the name of this game, but it was pretty popular in the 1970s (I recall seeing TV commercials for it, maybe another reader can recall the name).

Anyway, the game quickly became the only toy I played with. I became obsessed with it. Every day after school I would draw up some dials and gauges and switches on a piece of cardboard, scotch tape it to the game's plotting board, and sit in the closet, for hours on end, hunting enemy ships.

The funny thing is, I would ONLY play it while sitting in the closet with the lights covered up so that I could just barely see the board well enough to play. I would never play the game in bright daylight or out in the middle of a room; it never felt right that way. It had to be in the closet, the darker and more cramped the better, much to the consternation of my parents who never understood what I was doing sitting in a dark and crowded closet by myself.

I eventually grew out of this phase and moved on with my life. Many years later when I was in my 20's, I visited San Francisco and took a tour of the USS Pampanito, a genuine WWII submarine that is now used as a floating museum.

The minute I stepped into the control room of the sub (the room just under the conning tower where the captain, navigator, helmsman, and sonarmen worked together), I suddenly felt a sense which was sort of like deja vu, only much more powerful. Everything seemed so familiar and comfortable -- a cramped, dark, barely lit room full of dials, guages, switches and levers, just like the ones I had drawn on cardboard as a kid. There was even a plotting board in the middle where the crew would track enemy ship positions. It was as if I'd literally set foot into my childhood fantasies.

Even though I'd never set foot on a submarine before, it felt so comfortable and familiar that if someone had switched off all of the lights right then, I swear that I would have known how to find my way around the inside of the sub without much effort. I just felt as if I KNEW in my mind how the sub was laid out and where everything was. In my mind, I could even see where all of the crew members would sit or stand during patrols, and feel their tension as they tracked an enemy ship and moved into position to fire torpedos.

I've never had a feeling like that before or since. It makes me wonder if I served as a navigator or sonarman on a submarine during WWII. Editor's note: JTT found out the name of the game a few weeks after his story was posted.

The game was called "Code Name: Sector", by Parker Brothers. Here is a link to a description of the game: www.darwinsgamecloset.com/codenamesector1977.html