Thursday, June 22, 2006

October 2, 1954

Dear Folks

This letter was begun on Thursday, & much of the "news" in it will probably be long-past history by the time it is completed. I just went down (this is four hours later) & signed another demerit slip & noticed my handwriting was shaky. That’s what P.T. & military drill will do for you.

People have a habit of looking forward to their tomorrows with mixed & varying emotions. My particular tomorrow is viewed with a vague dread & a too-conspicuous nothingness. The reason is fairly obvious—at least to me. All week in P.T. we have been having boxing. As you probably know by this time, I have a natural, deep-seated aversion to anything that might cause the slightest physical discomfort (which includes most sports—a trait for which dad has never completely forgiven me—and especially fighting). I suppose it all goes back to my broken leg & appendicitis bouts & my various trips to the hospital; from which I’ve developed an intense desire to keep from being hurt. Well, anyhow, tomorrow we’ve got to box competitively, & I’m not wild about the idea.

Now don’t get me wrong—I’m not discouraged or anything like that—& I’ll box (one does a lot of things in the service that wouldn’t be dreamed of in civilian life), but I won’t like it.

However, tomorrows have a habit of becoming today with exacting regularity; my "tomorrow" has come & is now almost gone. I had my boxing class, & I didn’t like it, but I did it. Happily, I did not come out the bloody & battered mess I had envisioned myself—many of my classmates weren’t as lucky. We marched to P.T. with twenty-eight men, & returned with twenty-three.

You know (if you will permit me to get philosophical for a moment) I have always been irritated by the relativity of time. Take this letter, for an example; 36 hours have passed since I started it—yet to you reading it, only five (or less) minutes have gone by. Between two paragraphs are twenty-four hours of worry, & yet they are only two seconds apart on paper. Oh, well.

Monday is moving day for the battalion—I’ve told you before that everyone has been placing odds on whether a hurricane (or any strong wind) would take it down before a fire did. It is one of those cases where you hurry up & repair one wing while the rest of the building sags in the middle, & then repair the middle while both wings sag. Finally, I guess they got tired of stumbling over cadets all the time, & so they’re going to move us down the street two blocks (away from everything) while they patch up this place. Then we’ll move back.

Do you realize that next week is the 8th week in this hellhole? Pre-flight is already half over (thank God)! Just been thinking, though—we’ll start flying just about in the middle of winter—& it gets mighty cold way up there.

Enclosed is a picture of the Monterey & a little bit of the dock portion of the base. In the background is a little destroyer escort. The helicopters were fluttering over our heads during Friday’s parade & everyone in the parade was far more interested in watching them than in standing at parade-rest.

As far as getting any news down here is concerned, I hadn’t even known there was a flood in British Honduras; &, should the South secede tomorrow, the only knowledge I would have of it would be on hearing the guns of Fort Barrancas opening fire on the U.S. fleet.

Well, I think I’d better close now & do some studying. If you would arrange it, mom, I’d like to get the Rockford paper down here—I think they might have special rates for servicemen.

Till later, I am

As Always,


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