Wednesday, July 24, 2013

World War II Letters Home July 24, 1938-Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                              The De Havilland School
                                                                                                     Of Flying
                                                                                               Longfield House
                                                                                               Hatfield, Herts
                                                                                               July 24, 1938

Dear Folks:

I got you first letter yesterday;  I thought you were never going to write, but I was awfully glad to get some news.  I am glad to hear that the crops and garden look good.  I hope the price of wheat doesn't go too low.  We had a lot of drizzling rains here for the first few weeks but it has quit now, although it is generally foggy  or smoky in the mornings that we can't fly until about 11:00 o'clock.  the visibility is so poor that we can't make circuits and landings.  In the afternoon after it does clear up, it it does, it gets hot and bumpy.  I had a little adventure the other day; I was up for an hour soloing and got lost.  I didn't now where I was; I flew over a bunch of towns and didn't recognize any of them from the map so I had t make a forced landing outside a town as I couldn't find an aerodrome.  It was hot and bumpy just like riding a broncho as I was coming in to land alongside a wheat field, I hit an air pocket about 10 feet off the the ground and I side slipped right into the grain.  I held the tail down til it stopped; just as the plane was nearly stopped it swung around at right angles and went down on its nose.  I climbed out without a scratch and went about 3/4 of a mile to phone and told my instructor to come and get the plane.  They sent a truck out to get the plane as the the 2 wing tips were damaged and the prop.  cracked when the tail went up.  they hardly said boo about the plane, because the government has to pay the bill.

Lost of the boys get lost;  one day 4 of us had to land because we didn't know where we were.  After you find out where you are you just phone up your instructor and he comes and flies your plane home.  I have about 5 hours of solos now.  We have about 25 hours total of dual and 25 hours of solo when we leave this school.  That will be another 4 weeks.  So after you get this letter don't send my mail here - send it to "Canada House, London" and I'll have my mail forwarded from there.

Some time about the middle of December we get a fortnight's holidays.  Doug Morris (that's my pal - he's from Canada) and i are thinking of going to the Continent and looking around.  You can liver real cheap over there.  A meal cost you about .10 cents over in France.  but that is a little ways off yet so I don't know what we may do.

Last Sunday I went with one of the chaps here for a bicycle  ride  through the country around here.  This morning Doug and I borrowed a couple of bikes and rode about 40 miles through the country north of here.  It's nice riding around on the paved roads.  I'm going to take some pictures of the country around here so you will have an idea what it is like.

That is too bad about Mrs. Bagnall.  Where is Mr. Bagnall going to stay now?  I'll have to write him a few words.  Mr. Kaufman also passed away.  He's the man who ran the hotel there.  So Lena is really sick after all, and that is tough on Paul.  I'll try to drop him a line soon and send him a picture or 2.

I am gland Richard is getting along good at the garage.  What are those new tires like on the car?  I had completely forgotten about that bearing on the wheel.

My raincoat is just fine; it is just what I need.  In about a month and a half when we get our uniforms, we also get a great coat - it is a heavy overcoat. so I don't suppose I'll have to get another one.

Board is high all over here, and it isn't any to good.  they say it is better after we leave this place.  After our board is paid we get $7.50 a week; then at the end of the month we get about $30.00 in one sum.  When we leave here we get less pay, but our board is cheaper so we really get more money clear.

When I go into London I will have to go to the Canada House and find out where Doug Lindsay is. They have all that information there.

You must have misunderstood me about dressing up or dinner here - we don't wear our tux's until we get to Uxbridge.  We were them every evening there on dinner nights.  I'll be able to tell you more about all that after I get there.

Everyone wants a letter from me but they don't realize that if I wrote a letter every night, It would take me a month to send everyone a letter.  So they will be few.

Some day I'll draw a map of this place and tell you more about it.  Eggs are 40 cents a dozen here; they come from Denmark.  All the potatoes I have seen in the markets are little scabby things.

The De Havilland Sports Club have a dance here every 2 weeks on Saturday night and the following Sunday.  During the week the floor is covered with tarpaulin. We have been to several of the dances and are meeting more of the young folks. I don't know what else to write about so I'll close now.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Old Loon Lake School House, Loon Lake, Washington

The Loon Lake School House located in Loon Lake, Washington. My grandmother, Viola Dahl Smith taught school here in 1957

Old Loon Lake Schoolhouse

The schoolhouse was built in 1929 at a cost of $8,000. Originally, students attended this school through tenth grade. In later years, it housed only kindergarten through sixth grade. In 1992, students moved into the new elementary located behind this building. The school district sold the building to the Loon Lake Historical Society in 1993 with the stipulation that it be maintained as an historic site serving the Loon Lake community . It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Currently, the Loon Lake Loon Association operates a gift shop and the Loon Lake Historical Society has a mini museum and resource room in the former classrooms. The basement is used year roundas a community center.

The LoonLake School District was established in 1889. The brick schoolhouse you see before you was the third building used by students in the district. It was constructed in 1929 at a cost of $8,000. In the early days, two classrooms were on the upper floor and the lower floor was used for a lunchroom and multi-purpose area. Through the years, many community dances were held in the basement until it was needed for additional classrooms and walls were installed. When student enrollment continued to increase, the district added two portable units behind the brick building. One of these has since been removed. In 1992, the students moved to their new school, which can be seen behind the Old Schoolhouse. The Old Schoolhouse was purchased by the Loon Lake Historical Society and volunteers spent many hours restoring the building to its original condition. It is again used by the community  for a variety of activities.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

World War II Letters Home July 17, 1938-Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                                  The De Havilland School
                                                                                                          of Flying
                                                                                                  Longfield House
                                                                                                  Hatfield, Herts
                                                                                                  July 17, 1938

Dear Folks,

Well, another week has gone by and it is Sunday again.  I don't really know what to write about, I've wandered around and told you about a little of everything already.

I went for a bicycle ride with one of the boys this morning; we went about 12 miles, just took our time.  Of course all the side roads and paths are paved here so it isn't hard to pedal here.  We went through a lot of pretty lanes with big trees or hedges along the sides.   There are motorcycle and bicycle clubs here;  we saw quite a few groups going along the roads.  People over here ride bicycles for enjoyment, old and young alike.  It looks funny to see an old lady riding along on a bicycle.

I have 10 hours, 10 minutes dual flying time and 20 minutes solo now. I'll get some more solo tomorrow.  The De Havilland Factory here is building 5 big Albatross Commercial planes.  They have one nearly completed.  they were test-flying it last week.  They are nearly the biggest land planes in the world.  The wing span is 114 feet, length 108 feet. They carry 22 passengers, and I don't know how much freight. I am going to take some pictures of it as soon as it is completed.

The De Havilland Co. had a sports day yesterday for all it's employees.  There are 2,000 men working in the factory alone, I don't know how many there are in the offices and school.  In the evening we had a dance in the Sports Club.  It is a great big floor.  There were probably 500 or 600 people there and it wasn't crowded.  They dance a lot of fancy steps and different dances over the here, 99% of the girls are from homely to fair.  I haven't seen any of these English  beauties yet.

I went into St. Albans yesterday (that is about 5 miles from here) to try on my dinner suit or tux, and it fits me just fine.  I'll probably get it next Saturday.  Did I tell you how cheap clothes are here? My suite only costs 3/17/6, that's about $19.40.  You couldn't get it in Canada for less than $50.00.  Of course I have to get my stiff fronts, etc. yet but that doesn't come to much.

If you waited to write me to until you got a letter from here I suppose I won't get any word from you until the end of the week. You could have at least sent me a letter every day for the last 2 weeks.  I am getting anxious to know what you are doing. I am the only one who hasn't got a letter from home yet.  That's why I don't know what to write about.  It is nearly supper time again, so I'll close.

                                                                                                Love to all,


Sunday, July 14, 2013

World War II Letters home July 14, 1938-Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                                       The De Havilland School
                                                                                                              of Flying
                                                                                                         Longfield House
                                                                                                         Hatfield, Herts
                                                                                                          July 14, 1938

Dear Folks:

I am still waiting to hear from some of you but probably I am just a little impatient. I don't know how long a letter this will be, but I had to write today because I have something to tell you.

I feel quite elated because I took my solo test today with the chief flying instructor and got along fine, so after 2 circuits and landings he hopped out and said "Now you can take off, make a circuit and land".  I didn't expect to do my solo today so I was  quite unprepared but taxied down to the end of the field and made a beautiful take-off and away I went all alone. I sure felt great and I wasn't a bit nervous. I made my circuit and luckily when I came in to land the field was clear, there are generally about a dozen of them landing at once, any how I made a fairly good landing, and then I taxied up to the hangars. After I shut off the engine I began to realize that I had actually gone solo.  Boy, did I feel good. My instructor came out then and told me I did well, and in spite of all his reservedness he sure looked pleased. I was just up for 5 minutes, that is all anyone does on their first solo.

From now on I'll get a few minutes dual every day and then solo flights. I had about 9 hours dual instruction when I took my solo today. I am sure glad that I made a good job of it and didn't get in for a lot of more dual before I could go solo again. It's a grand and glorious feeling after you have your first solo flight.

It is had to write you much news every time I write, because things are quite the same here every day. If I don't hear from you by this coming Monday, I think I'll just send you a cablegram, and collect, so you better get busy and do a lot of writing.

I'll try to write you another letter on Sunday as I have a lot of studying to do tonight.

I hope everything is going fine, and you are all well.