May 10, 1941,
Saw Ernie off on the train and felt lonesome. Came home and started cleaning my drawers. Jake sent me another letter and some pictures. He looks so thin and his hair is clipped short. Edmund, Johnny Lech, and Eddie came up early and left soon. J.L. came back about 8 and we had such a good time talking. We bowled in the falls and had some ice cream. Got to bed at nearly one.
This is a sweet passage but all I could think of while reading the end is how much I’d like this whole Covid thing to be over so I could go out bowling. If I wanted to.
May 7, 1941,
You certainly write a swell letter. Thanks. I got it today and I’m telling you it was just like getting off a desert onto an oasis. Yours was the first letter I received and one came from “Chet” so he has second honors (if any are due.) Believe it or not I got a little dizzy when I was reading your letter I was so glad.
I’m returning all the pictures you sent except 2 and want to thank you for remembering to get them. Also, I am enclosing a few pictures that I took down here. Do you agree with me that I look like a convict? The two fellows whose pictures I am enclosing bunk right next to me. Both are swell fellows. This Sunday if we have time we expect to take some pictures of the planes we fly and of ourselves in our regular uniforms. O, yes I finally went up in a plane. For the last two days we’ve been on the ground on account of poor visibility. But Monday I was up for 33 minutes. It was great. When we got up to 2,000 feet the instructor let me take over. It almost flies itself. In fact you put your hands over your head and let all other controls go and the plane will continue level flight. The toughest part of flying is the landing, take off, and getting to where you want to go without getting lost. After we were in the air for a few minutes the instructor asked me through his speaking tube where the airport was (he warned me before we took off to keep my eye on it). Although we were no more than a few miles away from it, I couldn’t tell him. He asked me four more times and I was able to point out the airport twice. Everything here is very clean and new. What do you think of the administration building. Isn’t it neat.
I’ll try and draw a diagram of the place: Not much of a drawing but you can get the general idea.
During inspection 4 fellows were laughing at attention. While we were at attention the upperclassmen came up to us and make faces to make me laugh and it’s pretty hard to keep from laughing. They made the 4 boys walk around the barracks one behind the other. The first fellow had to say “I’m a gross, gross dodo ‘cause I can’t stop laughing.” the second fellow said “ditto.” The third fellow said “also.” The fourth fellow said “me too” in a low voice and it sure was funny. We all had to work very hard to keep from laughing. We also had an air raid. One of the upper classmen said “Air raid” and we all had to dive under our bunks. This is the way they test our floor to see if it is clean. If anyone comes up with some dust they get a “gig” and you know what that means.
All in all it’s a great life but I miss the thought of the quiet, orderly life I used to lead. I used to get up at 8:30 and now I get up at 5:20. I used to read at my meals and be perfectly relaxed. Now I eat at attention with one hand only and use only 4 inches of the chair. At night I used to go see Emily. Now I go to see a locker and a bunk and make certain they are clean as a whistle. Quite a contrast or what?
I was going to ask you to send a small picture of yourself as I have no room for your big picture which is all by itself with a pile of excess clothes up in the attic. But the picture I took of you next to the army truck will do for now. It’s “purdy” no kidding.
Our captain came around and told us to write home so I’ll have to sign off as I don’t have too much time and he is going to collect the letters himself to see that everybody follow directions. Don’t be bashful about writing. Tell me anything and everything. Your last letter was swell. I wish I could do as well. Well I wont make a date as usual but I’ll be seeing you in the next letter.
X Jake X
P.S. I almost forgot, show the pictures to Nellie and my mother. And yes, Benny, too.