Wednesday, November 3, 1954
Just read your letter & thought I’d better take some time off to answer it right away. First of all, poppa, don’t get shook. I’d like to play a little game with you called "Simple Mathematics for Fathers of Struggling Navcads." Now—we get $50 every 16 days—that figures out to be about $2.85 a day (and believe me, we earn every penny of it). Laundry averages about $1.25 per day (you’ve got to get everything washed after its first wearing—a clean outfit every day). That neatly cuts my daily wages down to $1.60 per day. Figure in other little items (.50 a day for personal stuff—shoe laces, food, etc.). Now we’re left with $1.19 per day clear. (AAAAAALMOST!) Then we throw out $10 for one picture, $7 for another, $4 for a band party, etc. See what I mean? Also, Christmas is coming up. Sure, I could have paid my own way home--& gotten you both a penny stick of bubble gum hand-wrapped in some old newspaper.
My "trip" to Pensacola (distance five miles) was fabulous, & I spent gobs of money on two shows and a room at the YMCA so that I could sleep Sunday morning (a shocking extravagance, I will admit).
And if you are under the fond illusion that I am going to spend the four day Thanksgiving holiday cooped up in this scenic spot, you can think again. It’s like you going down to work on a Sunday, just to sit by your machine & twiddle your thumbs.
In conclusion, I shall sum up my case thusly—I’m not saving money hand over fist because I haven’t got it to save; secondly, I feel that on those very rare moments when they let me out of the grist mill, I like to stretch my legs (just for a moment, though).
Now, about my "extra administrative time" fiasco—don’t worry, it happens to the best of NavCads. Most of my instructors have spent several of their happiest Pre-Flight days in extra-time classes. First, you go to the Academic director, who automatically gives you a week or two. Then, if you flunk again, you go before the Speedy Board, which can give you two weeks more; finally, you go before the Admiral who, if he wants, can keep you here till 1997, or till you pass.
The suitcase arrived—at least it’s in Pensacola. They can’t deliver it to the base (afraid of smuggled A-bombs & Russian spies, evidently). So I have to go down & pick it up. However, we’ll be working for the next three Saturdays to make up for Thanksgiving.
Sorry, mom, if I sounded "quite cynical"—but that’s just the way I am. By the way, be sure you keep track of all my letters—not just the sweetness-&-light parts.
Well, I think I’d better get over to supper & then to some more "extra instruction" (eight hours a day & two hours a night—fun?!?!?!).
Enough now—I’ll write more later. Also sorry if I sounded gruesome last time, but I still have a nasty habit of feeling things.