Feb. 23, 1942
Many happy returns of the day, Pa! I wish I could have sent you Dumbo. Hes magnificent. For a change I didnt go out to the beach for the week-end. After seeing Dumbo, I went to the cadet dance in the stations auditorium. It was tremendous and quite a brawl. One of the boys had a date with a girl from Atlanta, whom I had met there, but who was substituting for another girl who walked out on him at the last minute, going with someone else. Naturally he got sore and, since there was free liquor, well lubricated. He had asked me to wolf so he could dance with his first choice, which ended with my taking the former over and his being left in the lurch when he got nowhere rapidly with the latter! It was pleasant enough, only the girl had recently had a cold and got tired, and the checkroom was so small that it took a full hour of standing in line to get her wrap. I think I would have enjoyed myself motre if I had got mildly plastered myself!
On Sunday I slept til 1300 and loafed the rest of the time spending a few minutes sitting on the bank of a nearby creek and watching through my indispensable binoculars four Wilson snipe probing the mud for food with their long bills, not many yards upstream. The other day I had an equally pleasant view of a gray fox, whose lazy facial expression indicated that he didnt know if it really was anything that made him stop and look around, though we were a scant thirty feet apart. When I unfroze to lift my glasses, he thought he might as well get going, but he didnt hurry. Evidently I was safely out of wind. Such little adventures make one for the time being completely oblivious to the almost constant roar of planes overhead.
Well, now two of the four solid weeks of ground school are over. We continue with engines, studying their actual operation, old models mounted on heavily braced stands being used, the instrument panel being for the sake of wind protection and sound protection in a very small shack, about four by five, immediately in back of the roaring (and backfiring) motor. Nne weeks of navigation have just begun, so far just an hour a day, and we have two hours of aerology for two weeks. The rest of the time is spent in radio and signal classes. Learning to send code I find amusing, but not easy in the most correct, relaxed manner.
Yes, its a nice life here and will, with flying, be even more interesting and much more exciting. Even flying, however, we shall get very tired of at times. Its quite a nervous strain, especially with instructors shouting at you, and of course its still dangerous even when japs [sic] arent shooting at you. Actually its surprising there arent more accidents with so many planes with green pilots at the controls in the air at one time.
There are by the way a lot of swell fellows here. The average is really very high. Perhaps half got all the way through college, but those several years out probably bring up the average age to more than 23. I am not the oldest in my class now, but after all it is now well over 100 (recently a group given a chance to through exams was promoted from the class below, whereas none of us were given the chance, an innovation). There are quite a few Harvard men, Porcellian to Kennedy (one each, neither of whom I know to speak to, from ’38). The first man to graduate from here was a Harvard man, whom I met once, two classes below me and varsity cox. Hes now an instructor here, and theres another I know better, Howie Turner, who just got his wings. There are three on the same floor in this building who include one whom I knew before, one whose brother I knew and a third that just looked familiar when I first saw himand all recently from deb party stag lines. J. Pyne, Groton 37? is here, so Bunko says, but I havent seen him. There are just too many guys here. Otherwise I might introduce myself to my old classmates, whom I know by sight, but who wouldnt know me from Adamso I think Ill turn to Pride and Prejudice, which Im rereading.
Love to all,