The Hole in The Wall
By Garland Davis
It was a place of beginnings and endings, a place of firsts and lasts, a place of meeting and separation, a place of hopes and disappointments.
The Hole in The Wall was on the corner of Magsaysay and Gordon, the first place to get a cold one to begin liberty. It was also the place where a sick, hungover son of a bitch could gag down a couple of cold ones to help him make it through the day until liberty call when he would do it all again. It was the place where many memorable liberties began and the place where they ended. It was also the place where myriad seventeen to twenty-year-old kids had their first quasi-legal beer. I don’t know the drinking age there, but then, no one was checking ID’s. I guess Pesos sufficed to identify those old enough to drink.
It was a place where steadies waited for their sailor to come across the bridge. She waited to make sure some other girl didn’t catch his attention and steal him away. With more than fifteen thousand licensed hostesses in Olongapo, the competition for a sailor’s attention was fierce. Many girls breathed a sigh of relief when he appeared coming across the bridge because it meant that she, her mother, and sister would eat tomorrow.
It was a place where that same girl would say goodbye with crocodile tears the morning her sailor’s ship was leaving. There was the tingle in her stomach and the anticipation of the search for the next one. She could buy that pretty blouse with the fistful of Pesos he gave her right before he kissed her goodbye.
It was a place of disappointment for sailors and girls alike when the one they were waiting for didn’t come.
It was a place where the participants brought the young, or mostly old, women they had spent the night with and had chosen to enter in an “Ugly Contest.”
It was also the place where many sailors had their last San Miguel in the PI and said farewell to their last Olongapo girlfriend before leaving for discharge or retirement.
I know, I was one of those…