Baker, James

Letter
Date:
January 9, 1940
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Somewhere in England
Jan. 9th, 1940

Dear Mom:

Received your nice long letter this morning. It is dated Dec. 17th so you see I haven't been receiving my mail at all regularly so I hope you will excuse the delay. By this time you should have received several letters which I wrote on the train between Winnipeg and Halifax. Yes I received the parcel all right. If you could get the socks finished please send them as I need them very much. Don't worry about the money at all. Just use as much of it as you want. I can trust you to take care of it. If you see anything that you need, don't hesitate to buy it. I give you permission to use as much of it as you want. Just mention once in awhile how much I have in the bank so I'll know how much I have go to fall back on. I have been told that the best way to take care of this money is to open a joint account with you - preferably in the Bank of England. Then if I need money in cases of emergency I can write out a cheque and you can do the same. Otherwise if I got you to enter it in my name you couldn't draw on it unless I gave you a cheque. You can do this if you want to.

About Mr. Hosler. He is here in the same barracks with me. I have seen him and enjoyed a good chat with him. He is a corporal in the Sea-Forths. It was funny how I met him. The Princess Pats formed a "Guard of Honour" to welcome the Sea-Forths into barracks as we got here one day ahead of them. I was standing there - not expecting to see anyone I knew, when by walked Mr. Hosler. I cried "Hello" and you should have seen his face. Surprise? I never saw anything like it. I also met two other boys from White Rock whom I know so it seems like "Old Home Week" here now.

The PPCLI recreation rooms are two buildings down on the left hand side of Main St. from the corner where Portage and Main meet. That sounds sort of complicated but its the best I can describe it to you. Uncle Clarence has my civvies. He promised to send them home for me. You've probably got them by now. I hope so.

That's awful news about that Hudson Bay man. I knew him quite well. Have they discovered the murderer yet? Why was he killed?

Please send me a copy of all my poems. Send them to this address in England. I want them here with me. I have written five more poems since we left Canada; copies of which I am mailing to you. Please enter them in my book. Also criticize them...tell me what you think of them. Personally, I think they are among the best I've done. You can also send some to Blake if you will. He was very interested in my poetry and certainly wanted to read them. Please expect a parcel of photographs too. I'm going to write on the back of them when each was taken. Printing is very dear over here. 3/6 for 32 prints. That is 84 cents for 32 prints. The snaps are very clear considering that most of them were taken during the storm that I told you about.

Now about Sadie and I. Before I left Winnipeg we had a heart to heart talk one night. We both discovered that we loved one another. We decided not to settle anything definitely until I get back and she has made me very happy by promising to wait for me until I do come back. Please understand that we are not engaged. I have not asked her father or mother's consent yet because we decided that we were both too young. I have not given her a ring or anything like that. The only thing that is definite is that I love her and she loves me and she has promised to wait for me. Remember that you promised to wait for Dad when he went away last time and you couldn't have been more than fifteen. She is eighteen now and so am I. Of course I won't think of marriage until I am in a position to support her. I know only too well the struggle against poverty that you and Dad had and how it has cast a shadow of unhappiness over your whole life and I don't want her to go through the same mental strain. My only wish is that I can come home to her and you in the same physical condition as I went away. I have something definite to work and fight for now and I think that I owe it to her and to myself and to you to keep myself clean. It is a hard fight especially when I see all the other boys yielding to the temptations that beset us but I am winning my fight. I am helped immensely by all your wise words and also by the faith that she has in me and the knowledge that she and you are pulling for me all the time. Please reserve you judgment of her until you see her. That is all I ask of you; a fair chance for her. She must be pretty good you know for I think you will give me credit for having a little sense. She is the first girl that has ever affected me in this way and I have been in constant contact with some very nice girls for four years at High School. She is so different from the other girls I have ever known. I don't know how to say it but her manner reminds me very much of you and if she is one quarter as good a wife to me as you have been to Dad, I rest content.

I hope you will not be angry with me. I tried my best to fight against it but it just couldn't be done. I still don't think it is fair to speak to a girl just before going overseas but I couldn't help it. Of course her family, Em and Blake know about us. We couldn't very well hide it from them. I think Blade must have known from the first day I met her. I know I walked home in a dream. I still can't remember going home. Blake says he talked to me all the way but I don't remember a thing about it.

So please reserve your judgment of her until you meet her. That is all I ask of you.

Love as always:

Jim
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