Dear Triumvirates (2) – Flying Lesson Advice From Dad – Dec., 1940


And now, Ced, about your flying lessons. I suppose it is a prerogative of a father to give advice and help where he can. Here is the way I see it. In a way, I am glad you are having a hard time, because it has been my experience that the more difficult it is to acquire knowledge, the more thoroughly it is learned. “Easy come, easy go” is so true it has become an axiom. In my school days the subjects that were hardest were learned best. How seldom you find the brilliant pupil that was the star of the class amounting to a corresponding success later in life. I should think your situation would be comparable to someone learning to ride a bicycle. No one can tell you how to keep your balance. You just have to get it right by trying over and over again – – some more, some less. At first you are much discouraged and wonder if you will ever be able to “get” it.  You have one very important requisite for an aviator that is, to my mind, far more important than whether you learn quickly the knack of flying and that is the thing that made Lindbergh successful and the lack of which has probably been responsible for more failures than anything else, and that is thoroughness and the taking of pains to see that things are RIGHT. I am going to make a prediction, even though it is not considered generally a conservative thing to do, and that is, that no matter how slow you are in mastering flying technique, you will be all the better flyer on that very account, and if you continue on in that work, I would say you had what it takes to get to the top. So both your hope and faith are justified, or there are two of us way off our base.

Thanks for sending the Sears Roebuck list: it will help in future, but arrived too late to prevent me from ordering and aviator’s leather jacket for you. I don’t know whether the one you received is satisfactory or not, but the one I ordered from Sears was the one model that they announced as being obtainable with long sleeves. I ordered it sent to Seattle, so if you don’t like the color, size (I ordered it big so you could wear a heavy sweater under it) or style, you can send it back for exchange or credit as you choose. I did not know, of course, how you boys were fixed for bedclothes but I knew you had taken sheets and thought perhaps Dan anyway, would like a real 100% wool blanket for his bed. I ordered Brown as he seems to like this color and I am afraid he’s stuck with it in any case, as it would not be so easy to send it back to Bridgeport for Read’s to credit. I shall be interested, of course, to know if you both received the other things I sent, and do hope they will arrive before Tuesday.

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However, I won’t feel too bad if they don’t. I do not share the feeling some folks have that receiving a Christmas gift late is sort of an anti-climax. I think it’s fun. It is just like thinking you’ve spent all your money and putting your hand in your pocket and finding a five dollar bill you didn’t know you had. It adds a bit of zest to the day. You don’t have that letdown feeling of well that’s that – – that’s all there is and it’s all over. No, there is still that little germ of anticipation – – sort of an “All this, and heaven to” idea. So you may write it down as a fact that if the package you speak of sending possibly too late to arrive in time is late, it won’t make one of us, at least, feel a bit bad.

Just got a letter from Aunt Betty, Lad, telling me that she received a card from you. She expects to come up on the bus from New York Tuesday afternoon, but Elsie will not be up until Christmas morning.

About the only item of news that I can think of is the fact that Mr. Kurtz called me up on the phone the other evening and said, “I’m in trouble. We’ve been robbed. A little after noon Charlie took a five dollar bill out of the envelope we keep in the drawer in the post office. There was possibly $10 in cash there at that time and about $200 in checks. At 2:30 PM when we looked again the envelope and its contents were gone. The reason I am calling you was that one of the checks was yours drawn to the order of K. W. Laufer and given to us in payment of food. I’d like to have you call up the bank first thing in the morning and stop payment on this check” to which I of course consented. They notified Ray Beckwith and I know he was on the job, but to date nothing further has developed as far as I know.

I hear Johnny Christie has been sent to the Pacific coast to be assigned to one of Uncle Sam’s newest battleships. Mrs. Mantle has at last heard from Art, who said he had been at sea in the Pacific and did not have an opportunity to write sooner. Maybe. If that be true, I am glad none of you fellows joined the Navy.

Dave bought a Christmas tree yesterday from Herb’s store and is now busy trimming it. He and Dick went out yesterday afternoon and gathered some ground pine for decoration purposes so the old place you know so well is beginning to take on a festive appearance. Three principal attractions will be lacking this year however as they are decorating the landscape in Anchorage and Pariaguan. We will have them with us in spirit however, and if a little spirit perches on your shoulder on Christmas Day and whispers in your ear that your old Dad and others in Trumbull are thinking of you hard and are bubbling over with real strong good wishes for a Merry Christmas, you will know it is ……Mack.

And in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, every one”.



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