Baker, James

Letter
Date:
October 8, 1941
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Oct. 8th. 1941

Dear Mom,

I haven't written for over a week so I think I had better write one now, even though I don't feel very much like doing so. I am still in hospital with no prospects of getting discharged yet for at least another fortnight...the wound is still open and discharging abundantly. But the soreness has just about disappeared from the bone. The soreness is all on the surface now. I haven't seen the doctor for 3 days. But how disgusted I am getting with it all!!

I have had several letters lately...one of them from an English girl that I never heard of before. She is a friend of Mrs. Sayers who had the misfortune to catch chicken pox and as she had to be isolated for 3 weeks, she was very lonely. So Mrs. Sayers gave her my address and we have exchanged several letters. I want to meet her now as she sounds extremely interesting.

I have also been going out quite a lot lately with my two friends I told you about in my last letter. We have gone out to the pictures, once on the river and today Joy (that's the daughter's name) and I are going bicycle riding. She is taking me to some haunted house or other. I don't care where we go as long as I get out of here and forget for a while that I am in hospital: although it is pretty hard whenever we catch a glimpse of the atrocious uniform they make us wear. Do you remember the uniforms from the last war Dad? Red, white and blue: bright blue - brighter than robin's egg blue... and a tiny red square tie. Oh - it's horrible!

The leaves are beginning to turn yellow and red now and the woods are donning their winter dress. Do you remember when I was in here last year? That was in October too wasn't it? Then I described how the leaves had turned and were beginning to fall. The mist still comes up from the river every morning and evening...but it always clears up in the afternoon and is bright and golden with sunshine. Yesterday was a perfectly heavenly day and Joy and I sat on the river bank all afternoon and talked or just sat there - too lazy to move: content to sit and dream. It was a perfect day for dreaming, so warm and yet not sultry as the sun was masked by the lovely blue autumn haze: you could look at it without hurting your eyes.

I got rather a bad shock the other day. I think I told you in my last letter about seeing Gene Ostrom in here and how he had got married and what a lot I thought of his wife. Well, two weeks ago Gene was discharged from hospital after an operation on his nose. His nose was still pretty sore but he begged and begged until they let him go. Well the other day his wife came over to see me and she was nearly frantic with grief and worry. It seems Gene had come home three days before and had seemed rather strange. At last he yielded to his wife's pleadings and told her what he was worrying about. He said that he had been discharged from the hospital Category D, that he was being sent home and that he couldn't take her with him. And then he told her to go out and buy him a suit of civilian clothes and draw some money from the bank. Well she did that, spent all her next year's clothing coupons, drew out 5 pounds from their account. He then took off his uniform, put on the civvies and left, telling her he was going to Scotland to look for work and that he would send her a telegram as soon as he got work. And she hasn't heard a word since. She came over to see me because I was his best friend and knew him before she did.

And I found out that everything he had told her was lies and nearly all the stories he had been telling me about the grand times he had been having in London and the people he had met, were lies too. She was frantic and became hysterical. I don't know whether you have ever seen a hysterical women or not but I can tell you it is an awful sight. I had to slap her face pretty sharply to bring her out of it. But I couldn't help her at all for I know nothing at all of Gene's private life. The only thing I can think is that he was drunk (which she swears he wasn't) or he had suddenly gone crazy. For he was discharged from here as A1. Why did he tell her he was D? And why did he tell her he couldn't take her to Canada when all soldiers can take their wives if they want to? And why the suit of civilian clothes? He's not a deserter. I don't know I'm sure. It is all beyond me.

Well I guess that is all for now. Write again soon............

Yours ever,

Jim



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