I am sorry this letter is so late in coming. I thought a lot about what you said. I thought long and hard about it, and decided my attitude wasn't helping my situation at all. Even if you're not here, you are helping me, believe me, and I will never be able to thank you enough. I tried talking to one of the upperclassmen, I told him that if I just had more time I could do well. He said that I had just as much time as everyone else. As I was walking one of my many tours, I realized I would have to make time for the most important things. For once, walking tours went by quickly as I added up how much time I spent on each particular task. I realized the most time I spent was getting ready for inspection and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if it could be just ready all the time?” Then it hit me, I went to the post exchange and used a whole month’s pay buying new uniforms. I then spent the rest of the weekend preparing for inspection. I tore apart both lockers and scrubbed them down, then I prepared my new uniforms and organized my area so it was picture perfect. I haven’t worn those uniforms since I put them in my locker. I put my uniforms I use on a daily basis above the ceiling tiles. Some of the other guys have been doing the same thing. That alone has saved me about eight hours a week!
I also thought about what I said about not knowing how to do better and I realized that I didn’t know how to do better, but other cadets did, so I went and asked our top cadet for help in mathematics. He didn’t seem much interested in helping anyone…until I told him I would make his locker permanently inspection ready if he did. He came around. For two hours each night we study together. He really is a great guy. Do you remember David Evans? He could always crack a joke. Never took anything seriously but could ace every class without so much as cracking a book? This cadet reminds me of him so much!
To tell you the truth, it all kind of snowballed from there. I had another cadet tell me he needed help in morse code and offered to make my bed in the morning if I helped him. I never could get those hospital corners right. My idea of being permanently inspection ready has really caught on and now I have a tutor for each of my subjects in exchange for that service. My overall average went from 70% to 85% and I want to do better.
Believe me, I know about soldiers being married for money. Unfortunately a couple of the guys in my squadron are going through it. We've all tried to tell them but they're in love, or at least they think they are. It won't happen to me though, I spend every minute of my time studying (I guess that makes you the only girl in my life! HA!). Thank you again for reminding me that is why I am here. I figure if I practice and study and try harder I will have a better chance of making it. It amazes me how some of the guys complain they have no money - not to judge but it is mostly the guys who go out catterwallling on pass - to me it's about impossible. The Army gives us food, a place to sleep, clothes, everything we could possibly need from razor blades to pants AND we get - and you're the only one I'll say this to, and only because I am so proud - fifty dollars! Fifty dollars a month! Free and clear! I have been putting most of it into war bonds - don't tell the Army, but I really don't know what else to do with it! We even get to go to free movies on the base, and not even old silent movies either, but the same ones you would see in town. I was two lessons ahead for the week in my studies so a couple of the guys 'dragged' me to see the movie Casablanca. Have you seen it? It has Humphrey Bogart in it and I know how you feel about him!
I am glad Bitsy had a good time at her end of the year dance but it is good it isn't her main focus. At that age she needs to be thinking about picnics and catching fireflies by Spring Lake. Maybe I just don't like the idea of her being so close to being ready to date. I've always been real protective of both you and Bitsy. I remember the day she was born, you came and got me and took me to the hospital to see her. Your mama even let me hold her. It wasn't that long ago, but it seems like a lifetime ago, when we still had our innocence. Speaking of dating, I hate that Ralph keeps harassing you, I wish I could be there to do something about it. Perhaps one day he and I will have a talk.
I am glad you are going to the willow tree. Don't feel like you have to wait for me, it makes me happy knowing you are there. In fact, last night I had another dream about it. We were playing Nights of Arabia just as the sun was setting, it was mild and balmy, you could hear the locusts in the distance. You put your hand on mine and said, "Mama's calling me to supper." I woke up feeling almost giddy. It wasn't as good as seeing you in person, but it was close enough.
I must get to studying, but write again soon - and skip some stones at Spring Lake for me.
P.S. I have enclosed a picture of me in my aviation cadet uniform, hope you like it.