Dec. 6, 1942
All the news from home has been most welcome. That about the launching of the Julia Ward Howe was particularly interesting, though there seems to have been a great stink about the inefficiency of the South Portland yards.
Never heard the term Fleet Air Arm applied to that part of our navy to which it might very appropriately be applied. + + + As for the pitch pine, I doubt if there ever was much in the Sandwich-Tamworth country, but dont forget there is a lot arond Conway and considerable along the road to Chocorua that misses Tamworth.
Ma, you seem to have seen quite a bit of my dear cousins, Oliver and Chan, but that should be for their improvementsomething theres still plenty of room for, no doubt. As a matter of fact Oliver is going to be all right, isnt he? I must see if Jan can be reached in these parts if he is here still. If Susie inquires, tell her I hope to be able to get in touch with her son, but that it might well prove nearly impossible. So Nance has been broadcasting as well! The closest I ever came to it was talking (making announcements) ovcer the loud speaker at Jax when on watch, for which I got a compliment or two. And she may be heading for Des Moines tomorrow.
Toulon I remember pretty wellhideous beggars, fezzed carpet sellers, small boats moored by the diry waterfront and others plying back and forth between the shore and the gray warships (some lighter gray with very young-looking midshipment in charge of their boats), sailors with red topnots, our descent into the submarine, Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant (good string beans), etc., etc.
The Cocoanut Grove affair was shocking, wasnt it? but I couldnt find any familiar looking names on the grim casualty listshappily.
Our program down here has turned into a rather informal one to say the least. The fact is the authorities can hardly be bothered with us, so we have to look out for ourselves. So far weve flown solos entirely, first in OS2Us, then SNJs, then SBCs, and now BTs (tomorrow I hope), all following lectures and familiarizations with the cockpits. Taking up an entirely new type of plane all by oneself does seem strange, but is fun and makes one feel somewhat accomplished. The first landing is what worries one most, but, by following instructions on instrument panel and applying what skill one has, one can hardly go wrong.
First day off came yesterday. The previous evening Bob Stix and I drove to Ft. Lauderdale, spending the night there and then going on to Boca Raton the next day, spending most of it on the beach there (kind lady let us use her inn as headquarters). The water is the clearest Ive seen, fresh or salt, since Tahoe and the beach has pretty shells on it. In the evening cousins of Bobs invited us over to the Boca Raton Club ($10,000.00 initiation fee, $5,000.00 dues a year, room $100.00 a day upso they say) now taken over by the army, in which one [of] the cousins, a Harvard man (Weissman, 29) is a doctor.
Life then is rather pleasant these days, but its not too satisfactory, not having too definite a schedule even if its rather a relief in some ways.
Ive run into a very pleasant Princeton grad (Carle Tobey, 40), who likes to play squash, likes Beethoven, which is fine because one doesnt run into such people very often.
I never did say much about enjoying my leave, but of course I didfully as much as expected if not more soand seems to me quite a bit was accomplished.
Love to All
P.S. Squash racquet in press. Send balls if at all feasable.