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June 19, 1942

Dear Folks,

Life is relatively straightforward these days, and there really isn’t much new to report so I’ll concentrate first on answering your letter.

The term “aviator” is seldom used around here, but unfortunately the term “avviator” is—a very unattractive, unromantic version of the former.

Sounds like Radcliffe might be a good step for Oy—less chance to follow up any Bohemian tendencies. I must write to her—just a nice friendly cousinly letter out of the blue so to speak. I might almost get an answer, though it seems that no longer getting letters from girl friends doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would!

That news about Nance’s outfit sounds a little discouraging, but perhaps by now she has found out that after all she was one of the chosen few. If not, well perhaps the camouflage business would be a better bet anyway—more up her ally [sic] in the long run, more fun and better experience but then I don’t know anything about it. Every time her thesis is mentioned I blush. If I knew how to typewrite, two bits mine would be finished by now if not months ago, but I peck away at it occasionally.

About one or preferably both of you coming down here, I repeat, it would be fine. It isn’t as if I got homesick, which I don’t seem to ever have to worry about, perhaps because of having so many interests, but it would indeed be very nice. Unfortunately the ideal time is past. I will soon be in my final squadron and will have less free time than any time since ground school, and the weather is getting hotter and hotter. There is an objection in a way to your coming down for my “graduation.” There is no ceremony, and perhaps that’s just as well, but one never knows until the last minute whether one will be commissioned because of always having to wait for one’s “Orders.” The weather, for instance, might hold up one’s last hop and throw everything else off schedule, but admittedly it shouldn’t make more than several days difference. Obviously it would be nicest if you could both come. There would be the whole station to see, and though this wouldn’t take long, it would be interesting. I’d like to take each of you up in an OS or something, but that will have to wait for a while. Then there would be the beach to visit, at least on my day off (one every eight days or so). Well, oh by the way, before I forget it, Liberty every night no longer exists, but on the other hand special liberty can be obtained. And another thing, cars for hire aren’t very expensive I understand, and, without either of the parties having one, things would be dull if not awkward, though there is a perfectly good bus service to and from the town. Yes, the gas and tire situation is sort of a mess, but it doesn’t affect me much thank God. Orange Park by the way is far nearer than Jacksonville—south two or three miles and perhaps a good place to stay. I don’t know just where Orange Lake is, but Cross Creek[1] sounds very interesting. I’ll try to get hold of a copy, though I don’t know as I shall agree with its author about perfect summers. Maybe this is one of the unbearable ones. The humidity is terrific the temperature now more and more often over 90 during the day and still in the high seventies in the early morning.

Now that I might be said to have warmed to my subject there are a few things of possible interest to tell about. I mentioned the loss of nightly liberty, which is unfortunate only that one can’t go out when one might occasionally want to for just an evening. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings are, however, still free as well as all of Sunday exclusive of the time one flies. Days off are the real thing—from when one is through for the day the previous day to late taps on one’s day off. Just recently I have been appointed a cadet officer (note change of address)—just a platoon commander, whose job proves little, but there is a useful privilege of being allowed to stay off until midnight instead of 11:00 P.M. on liberty evenings.

I finished up with links early in the week, but because of another wretched cold haven’t flown since Tuesday. For once I think I had a fever too—weak feeling about knees, headache, etc., though the doctor was apparently too busy to take my temperature. I’m ready to start radio beam flying tomorrow having supposedly learned how to control a plane without looking out (eyes glued on turn and bank indicator, airspeed, climb indicator, etc.), but it will not be quite the same as in the trainers. I should be in Squadron 14 in not much over a week at the most, and though the training there is said to be excellent, there are very long hours—more flying daily, frequent night flying, radio code again, gunnery practice, etc., etc.

I almost forgot to mention my last (also my first) day off. I went out with Sam Reed (A.V.S. friend of many friends—A.D. man) to the Innlet, but only was able to get a cot in with him and Charlie B_, another A.D. man. Also more or less in the party was Dave Gardner, another A.D. man, but this time in my class and a pleasant Fletcher Brown of the Brown Paper Co. clan. Joe Kennedy, another classmate, whom I finally met, turned up with another ensign from Banana River, and we all went over to the Inn for the weekly dance—very pleasant if a little unreal in a way. Mostly sun (a little too much on shoulders, now peeling) the next day. A very pleasant “double date” with Bob Marshall and two charming southern girls Sunday night. Mine could waltz too!

Love to all,


1. Cross Creek was a novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, published in 1942.

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