Dec. 28, 1941
Dear Skipper, Gamidy and Aunt Posy,
The Gardiner package was nothing less than a delight. All, from the stirring and appropriate verses to the melt-in-your-mouth brownies, has been much appreciated by a sailor so far from home. His Christmas was much improved by the mail, but nice people inviting him to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner made things doubly pleasant. Exploring Atlanta for shopping places, movies, restaurants and the like amused us for the two and one half days we did get off. An expedition to the top of Stone Mountain brought more variety to the leave and some interesting natural history notes loblolly pines, brown-headed nuthatches, a Carolina wren and a faint view of the Great Smokies. This view included a great deal of the surrounding country, which is practically all red soil covered with poor farms, short-leaf pens and various oaks, as I probably mentioned in my last letter. We could also see planes, service ships, landing at the base nearly ten miles away with my binoculars.
The Sunny South, incidentally, has not been too unpleasant, but here at about 1000 feet above sea level winters can be cold. A foot snowfall isn’t unknown, and only this morning the temperature felt as if it might have been below 20°F. In about two weeks we shall probably be moving further south and to sea level at Jacksonville, practically on the coast. Here it doubtless will be warmer, as J.C.R. found not so long ago. There is our advanced training base, where we concentrate on flying, eventually to specialize in one of several branches such as aircraft carrier based fighter, scout bombers or torpedo bombers, or large patrol flying boats, battleship or cruiser catapult planes, etc., etc. It’s all rather exciting and exceedingly interesting, but now probably no more dangerous than many form of services. Of course some of us will fall along the wayside, as they do at college, but one has hopes!
Love to All,