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April 18, 1945!

Dear Folks,

This would have been written sooner if an unexpected hop hadn’t come up the day before the last mail went out and left too little time in the evening for a tired soul to assemble any worthwhile words before the collecting hour. Mail comes in the same time it goes out, incidentally, and in answer to your questions, here’s how your recent letters have been coming. On the 9TH came Pa’s letters postmarked March 12TH and 19TH. Two days later (unusually short interval between mail calls) came Ma’s no. 26 and no 27, postmarked the 16TH and 20TH. Pa’s of the 26TH and April 2 (Great Neck) got here on the 17TH, and later the same day came Ma’s no. 28 of the 26TH.—so the average from Groton seems to be a little over three weeks. Before leaving the subject of things arriving I’d better not again forget to thank you, Pa, for the razor strop, which actually got here some time ago and was very well received. It probably wouldn’t be worth it to send anything more out here after you get this unless it’s something important coming first class, it takes so long otherwise, and we aren’t to be out here indefinitely. I’m not making any predictions yet, mind you.

So Henry seems to be getting close to shoving off. I certainly hope he doesn’t get Iwo, but he’ll be lucky if he gets anything really decent. Even so I rather envy his being land based on what very likely will be foreign soil, really foreign I mean and not such as I’ve seen, half so. If he makes the best thing of it, it should be a much finer experience, even if this may not be saying much, than anything he has experienced so far in the Army.

What with your reading all those books on carriers, seeing “Fighting Lady” and talking with people like Archie you really must indeed have a pretty accurate picture of what we’re doing out here. Yes, it must have been great to see Archie again. It’s funny how I’ve run into him accidentally while in the Navy. Wish he were aboard here now.

Uncle Bob must have been quite a man even if it’s hard to imagine what a person was like long before one knew him. Actually I saw Uncle Bob very very few times at all, even the last time having been some time ago.

That’s great that both of you were able to get to Great Neck, though I can only assume that Ma got there and to Washington as well. Jack must have got a big thrill out of N.Y., La Guardia, etc. It looks as if I’ll have to really look around for somewhere to stay if I go there for a few days during my leave (rather want to visit the Natural History Museum again, etc., myself). Wouldn’t it be swell if H. & E. really did get Bermuda? As a big “U.S.” base now they’ll probably find it less quiet than before. Too bad the Atlantic doesn’t have more such atolls, or whatever. There are so many in the Pacific.

Out here we have had our ups and downs in the way of excitement lately, but there’s nothing special to report. The whole air group was given a surprise birthday party by the ship’s company the other night, the commissioning having taken place just a year ago—before most of us even got to Alameda, They gave us ice cream and cake, both delicious. As a matter of factual interest we get ice cream quite often. It is apparently made from powdered milk, but really is surprisingly good. Oh, and there was a band too, Pa, twenty piece, and it played nice (non swing) music. Most of its members are unfortunately in the swing band, which of course by stupid, popular demand plays much more often.

A local feature I forgot to mention before is the exercise room, frequented by many of us on easy days for the use of punching bags, rowing machines, pull weights, etc. I have even done a little sparing (boxing) with one of the boys, but I mean a little.

A very dull chore all officers have to do every few days is to censor mail, from six to ten letters being left at every place in the wardroom at the beginning of the evening meal whenever enough outgoing sailor mail has piled up to make it desirable. It’s an education, but a rather painful one. I have yet to read a really interesting letter. Some are amusing, but more often than not because they’re so nearly illiterate, Many of course are driveling with love, but the majority are just straight dull. Guess I’m a snob!

I’m sending via free mail a mimeographed news letter, drawn up by some of the aircrewmen to send to their various folks and friends, there being plenty of copies and some details I haven’t mentioned not realizing that they were censorable. Hops checked I went on.

Now reading “Vanity Fair” (“Ivanhoe” was fine, just occasionally tedious), which is enjoyable if rather less so than either “Pride and Prejudice” or “Tom Jones.”

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