Baker, James

Letter
Date:
June 16, 1940
To:
Stan and Burt
From:
Jim
Somewhere in England
June 16th, 1940

Dear Stan and Burt,

Surprise, surprise, I have at last got around to writing you both a letter. It seems like rather a long time since I wrote you last but I suppose you have been following my wanderings by reading Mom's letters. I wish you both could see some of the wonderful things I have seen since I came across here. You Stanley would have loved to see St. Paul's Cathedral with its wonderful dome towering hundreds of feet into the air or Westminster Abbey wherein are buried all of England's greatest men. And Bert, I think you would have liked to have gone through the shoe factory I visited the other day. I saw shoes made right from the very beginning when they come into the factory as sheets of tanned leather and go out as shoes - boxed, polished and ready to go on the shelves of a store for a customer's feet.

It is wonderful to see all the different processes which the leather goes through before it becomes a shoe. For instance, did you know that the sole of your shoe is filled with a mixture of ground chalk and fish glue...and all through the different processes there is not one that is done by hand. Machines do it all and men just tend the machines.

Great machines that hammer nails fifty or a hundred at a time, other machines that sew through half an inch of rubber and leather using wire for thread, others that trim the leather to the proper size and shape, little knives that whirl around at the rate of three thousand revolutions per minute. The only work that is done by hand is the final polishing before packing. Six or seven women apply as many as ten coats of polish to each shoe and then put each pair in a box and pack them away. If ever you get the chance to come over here - jump to it, for you can learn more in a few weeks traveling as I have done than you can learn in years of study.

Suppose you want to know what I do all day. Well theoretically we get up at 6 AM, make up our bed, wash, shave and have breakfast, clean our rifle and polish our boots and see that everything is ready for parade by 8 AM. Actually we get up at 7.15 (maybe), shave the night before, skip breakfast (usually only bacon and beans anyway) and polish our boots and clean our rifles in time to get on parade by 8.10 or 8.15. Lately we haven't been doing a thing, just waiting around expecting at any moment to be told we are going to France. Of course this continual state of preparedness is beginning to get on our nerves. We are beginning to wonder whether we are going to get anywhere. Well I guess that is all

Write soon

Love,

Jim

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