Jan. 20, 1942
Another week and more goes by, and somehow I get many more letters than I write, which indeed puts me on the spot if I intend to answer them all, which I do. All this extra time just vanishes, but its the fault of afternoon naps, walks, tennis, driving range golf, bowling for ten cents a string, free evening movies and such, all to be replaced by much more studying next week.
My uniform came just in time for me to go ashore at Secure on Saturday, with Field. Until the shops closed we shopped for various things, he for paints (water colors), which he has already used with much success no photography here, but painting OK. So far the only place to go in Jacksonville is the cocktail bar of the Roosevelt hotel, where we headed after that. Phil had to return early for Sunday stand-by, so another fellow and I went to H.M.Pulham, Esq., preferring not to stay and pick up dates. A pleasant show Pulham but our hero sure missed the boat not marrying Hedy Lamarr.
In a way it was strange to be wearing a uniform, but one would almost have felt conspicuous without it. The town is just full of uniforms, and though cadet uniforms are perhaps as common as any, there are a great many navy and army enlisted men as well as officers.
Saturday night another fellow and I returned to the base to save dough and then with two others drove out to the beach, about twenty miles, and thence down to St. Augustine and Marineland. What a beach! It is uninterrupted for miles except for occasional inlets. Theres an interesting old seventeenth century fort at St. Augustine, that our uniforms got us in to free. On the dirty beach of shells were two snowy egrets, not in their full breeding plumes yet, and on a sandbar were various gulls, terns, black skimmers and a brown pelican, that took off and flew very near us. Further along were many more birds including an American egret and more gulls, terns, skimmers, plovers, and sandpipers. Florida (crestless) jays were common along the road. At Marineland is a wonderful aquarium, which has porpoises, sharks, giant rays, tremendous turtles and lots of strange fish. We got into that half price.
So many letters have been piling up that I have got behind in answering particular questions, but here goes for an attempt at a clean-up.
My Bean raincoat might just as well stay put. Thanks for the wrist watch. What exactly was needed in the way of repairs, and what was the bill?
Skippers Setting of the Stage is well put all right and might almost have been written by Churchill.
About those Squantum photographs, Ill try to remember to do something about them and should eventually succeed.
Dont bother to send feeble mail. That is right.
I may get around to looking up people like the Adamses and Motts, but its a little difficult when one is dependent on others for transportation, and unless there is the likelihood of meeting attractive young ladies, there is little use trying to persuade others to go along too. A car is a very fine thing to have down here and can be used on the base after hours for most anything. Weekends without one would probably not be worthwhile, but fortunately there are several friends provided with such. There is, for example, a golf club at Ponte Vedra, in which membership is only $15.00 a season, there being no other charges for golf. The seven day week does apply to flying, but not to ground school so we should be getting off for week-ends for a while yet, and there are rumors of the seven day flying week being too tough to continue indefinitely.
I am an Aviation Cadet, not an Air Cadet, but for addresses just Cadet is best. U.S. Naval Air Station is correct.
At Atlanta I never was anything in the way of a leader. The one picked for our group of thirty-plus men was the first man alphabetically, who happened to be one from Squantum who had never had a responsible position like it and was the quiet type. Things are different here. The ninety-nine or so that came from Atlanta form a separate class, which for marching and drill is a company of four platoons. I am in temporary command of the fourth platoon.
There is a possibility still, unless it is just a rumor, that we may move elsewhere, Pensacola or Corpus Christi, eventually, but the whole course should be over six or seven months from now. No acceleration in the program is apparent as yet. Further training of officers is still done, Eventually that is all that will take place here.