Monday, June 26, 2006

Friday, October 29, 1954

Dear Folks

Well, here it is Friday night again; the “Bloody Ninth” is over, and I am to be listed as one of those missing in action. I was last seen going down on the slanting decks of the U.S.S. Navigation.

As a result, I went today before the Academic Director, along with about ten other members of my class. I was granted one week of extra instruction, at the end of which I shall take another test and, if I pass it, be placed in the ranks of Class 34. Extra instruction means, in this case, eight hours a day of navigation for five days, to be given in the Black Hole of Pensacola—a windowless, airless room in Building 633 for village idiots like myself.

I really don’t mind going back except for the fact that I’ll feel bad about leaving good old 33 Dog. That and the week farther away my wings will be placed. I won’t be moving from Batt II until late next week, at any rate.

I’m quite proud of myself as far as P.T. goes, though. This morning I swam one mile, which is no mean accomplishment, I can assure you.

Tomorrow I have a 24 hour pass, which will be spent in Pensacola. If I can afford it, I’ll get a room in town tomorrow night & sleep all day Sunday. Also tomorrow I’ve got to check on my plane reservation & see about that other picture.

Speaking of pictures—I’m glad you liked the one I already sent. You said last night that you thought I’d changed—I have.

Actually, my life—the old one—ended abruptly the morning I stood on the porch & said goodbye. I don’t even surprise myself anymore—I have, for instance, grown accustomed to picking wee beasties out of my food & continue eating—with much less gusto, I’ll admit, but the mere fact that I do it would have revolted the old me no end. However, when I come home, don’t attempt to flavor my food with such delicacies. I rather miss the old me—the new one is too blasé (spelling?)—I’m no longer quite the wide-eyed little boy I used to be; it has its advantages and disadvantages, I suppose, just as everything else.

I have come to the conclusion that whatever life is—it’s real; & this is quite disillusioning to an old romanticist like myself. When you learn that your fairy castles are made of cold stone & that the roof leaks & the fairy princess has a lousy temper & the prince charming is allergic to horses, things just lose some of their sparkle.

The reason for this lengthy & perhaps confusing dissertation can be traced to a trait of mine (& I consider it a good one) to be able to be put into a mood by music—I used to do it at school all the time—if I wanted a studying mood, I’d play one kind of music; if I wanted to be silly or happy, I’d play another. Well, the guy across the hall has a phonograph & has been playing Ravel’s “Bolero” (another record I want) & other, more reflective music.

Besides, I like to ramble on every now & then, just for kicks. Trouble is, the only one who understands me is me. Oh, well….

Got back another (the other) roll of film—it turned out even better than I’d expected. There are only three or four spots ruined by the sun, & the others are excellent, if I must say so myself. You should see me when I take pictures—I’ll wander around something for five minutes sometimes before I take a picture of it, looking for what I think is the best angle. Still think I should have been a photographer. The shot of the sign “vehicles prohibited…” was a little off. That sign is right in back of where I live, & it shows the “grinder.” It was taken Saturday afternoon, & you can see the poor souls who got demerits marching them off. The building at the very far end of the grinder is Indoctrination. Unfortunately, the camera acts as a sort of telescope-in-reverse, & things I take fairly close up look far away. The shot of the waterfront & the “Fish at your own risk” sign is supposed to show a passing schooner, but it looks small on the film. Sure, I have no doubts that they would send the film home if I asked them, but I want to see it, too, & I don’t want to wait till Xmas .

Well, I’d better sign off now. By the way I didn’t get a letter today!

Till next time, I am

As Always


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