Baker, James

Letter
Date:
June 15, 1941
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
June 15, 1941

Dear Mom,

I am going to write you a short note before we go out on this scheme because I expect when I get back to be too busy. We are going out for a three day scheme and coming back on Monday night. I go on leave on Tuesday night up to Oxford - I guess where Jean Louis is working. He wrote me a very nice letter last week in which he stated that he hoped I would remember my promise and come up to see him. I am also going to go and see Mrs. Barnard's sister at Cheltenham. I have seven pounds so I should not be badly off for money even though I have to pay my own fares. They will not be very much I expect.

Mrs. Hart gave me my birthday present last night. It is a lovely writing case with pad and envelopes. It is of leather and has a zipper dividing it in half. When the zipper is open, the two halves lie flat like the leaves of a book. When it is fastened, it looks like a dispatch case. I am very pleased with it.

She also gave me a book of Mary Hoskins poetry and an illustrated copy of "The Battle of Britain" which I will send to you a little later on. She has taken me to the show about six times and was going to take me again next week but this scheme and my leave has knocked that on the head. I have tea with her and her husband about 3 times a week. He is a typical Englishman: slow and stolid, very patriotic and as hard to convince of something which does not agree with his accepted opinion as the proverbial stonewall. He and I have some great arguments which last sometimes into the wee hours. Their son has just gone away for a six weeks visit with one of his bosom pals up in Yorkshire and consequently they are feeling slightly lonely just now.

The other night I went over to Redhilll and spent a very enjoyable evening. Ken (that's the fellow who is stretcher-bearer with me out her at "A" Coy) and I went into a WVS canteen where we met three English RAF lads - very nice fellows they were too. We all had supper together and then we began to look around for something to do. We spotted an old fellow who was fiddling around on the piano. He was making the most atrocious noise - it couldn't be called music, and had been doing it for nearly three hours. We suddenly decided we didn't like him or the music so we called over a little red-headed kid who worked around the canteen to start up the phonograph. Of course we had to prime him with a couple of pennies. Now the phonograph was hooked up to a PA system and of course it played very loudly quite drowning the poor old fellow's effort. He got up stiffly and stalked indignantly out after favouring the five of us with the most ferocious scowl I have seen for a long time. I felt quite abashed for moment or two. Then we all five began to make eyes at a nice looking ATS. girl. We got talking to her and found out she was feeling very blue because she has only been married two weeks, had known her husband six hours and then he sailed away, destination unknown. So we decided to cheer her up; which we did admirably until she had to go home. So we began to look around for more fun and our roving eyes lighted on the prettiest waitress, so we decided to tease her. I forgot to mention that after the old man left in such a huff, this self-same little waitress came over and thanked us because they had been trying to think of a way to stop him for six weeks. So we began to order cups of coffee and having a great time ragging her when she brought them to us. We drank five cups apiece of most abominable coffee and had a great time. The waitress enjoyed it too and when we rose to go came running outside to tell us to be sure and come again - which we all promised most faithfully to do. Then we all went home. Ken and I went home together. We thumbed a ride in a Roll-Royce and to make a hilarious evening complete, who should the driver stop to pick up but the little old man who had been playing the piano. He took one look at us and then refused to get into the car. Ken and I simply roared with laughter and I quite think the driver thought we were mad. And now I have to go................cheerio!

Love to all,

Jim
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