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Sept. 11, 1942

Dear Folks,

Yes, that was a right smart idea of Nance’s, wasn’t it? Though you sounded a little far away, I could hear everything, and though very little was actually said, even for three minutes, that wasn’t what counted, was it?

It’s nice to hear about the success of the vegetable garden. I’m amazed at the variety of crops. How about the pine rows? Badly weeviled again, I supppose, but perhaps considerable growth on some of the trees? How fortunate that the weevil seldom kills, but how unfortunate that many weeviled trees remain deformed for life.

Life goes on here about the same. There’s another hot spell in progress with the temperature reaching 90°F or nearly so daily, which has discouraged visits to town, the only one this week having been last night to a fairly good movie, which I shouldn’t have bothered with except that a friend wanted company, and he’s a nice fellow.

The training program is not too rigorous and actually enjoyable though the continued half day of ground training is dull and amounts to not too much as yet. My rear seat gunner-radioman likes to fly and has proved a mild success. His official rank is Aviation Machinist Mate Second Class, though he’s a good bit older than I am. On most of our flights we go out in four planes plus a chase pilot in another. We have been lucky and not missed more than a flight or two because of bad weather, though one navigation hop I’ll have to repeat because I came out too far off. It’s not easy to determine the wind correctly if it’s light and then figure in a course relative to an imaginary ship and then to another that was in such and such a position at such and such a time and is one’s changed destination sent by radio or otherwise (sealed envelope or blinker or hand signals from chase simulating radio, reception of which is sometimes poor). Then too one has to fly the plane without wavering too much from compass course (figured to allow for deviation because of engine, etc., variation from true north and finally difference between true heading and course because of wind!). For the time being we are through navigation and gunnery (just finished to-day) and have instrument flying and bombing before the final four to five hour hop involving everything.

Beginning next week we are not supposed to have liberty except on week-ends, and, though there is little reason for this, there are lots of letters to write and some nice books I’ve lined up to read. Just finished “Cross Creek,” the first in some time and though not swiftly moving like a novel, very entertaining. If she were a better ornithologist, Marjorie Rawlings would really be an all-around gal!

Last Sunday was the best bird trip in some time. Four of us for 75¢ each each way arranged for a taxi to take us from Atlantic Beach to Mayport and to pick us up three and a half hours later. We passed marsh, mud flats, creeks, beaches and the river in the meantime and saw rails, plovers, sandpipers, yellow-legs, stilts, egrets, herons, terns, gulls, hawks, eagles, etc. As usual I’ve made no plans for the coming week-end, and as far as “dates” are concerned seemed to have become a stick-in-the-mud. Heat and no car just sap one’s ambitions in that direction.



P.S. Any extra brownies? And, Pa, look in Goodspeeds’ sometime and see if they have “A Florida Sketch Book”—nature book by Bradford Torrey. Don’t bother with telescope stand.

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