Dec. 29, 1941
Dear Uncle Johnny,
Thanks so much for the generous contribution to “charity.” Pay days are very far apart these days. Thanks too for the touching remarks. I must admit what I’m doing appeals to me more than perhaps any other form of service and seems as worthwhile as any.
On the never-to-be-forgotten Sunday I was enjoying my last days leave just after finishing my first twelve hours of soloing and just before heading south. Now, in spite of the war, we are not flying here at Atlanta, but rather going to ground school from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., studying such things as navigation, radio code, physics, naval science, drill and aerodynamics. At Jacksonville we shall have both ground school and flying and, I hope, more exercise. News about squash and handball courts and the like there has been circulating, but here opportunities for exercise are pathetic. I’ve never done less in the last fifteen years than since I’ve joined the Navy, but fortunately I’m like Pa rather than you in tending to put on weight when not exercising much. Cold days, and they can be plenty cold here, plus the dark evenings don’t help, but should improve as time passes. What a far cry too this is from making a Christmas bird census the first year I’ve missed in six or seven, yet on the day after Christmas three of us climbed Stone Mt., a couple of hundred feet lower than good old Watatic and extraordinarily like it in shape, and saw both juncos and song sparrows, which I usually get in Groton at this time, but also bluebirds, turkey buzzards and two new birds for me, brown-headed nuthatches and a singing Carolina wren. With the help of my new books on Florida bird life and as the season advances, birding should get very interesting at Jacksonville, where we’ll all be for several months. I’ll bet old Katahdin’s cold now. That last crack at her was one of the big “events” of the year.