Baker, James

Letter
Date:
November 11, 1941
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Nov. 11, 1941

Dear Mom,

It's Armistice Day today. Remembrance Day, a day in which we - the people of the world remember those glorious dead who fell ‘in the war to end all wars'. Makes a pretty ironical statement now in the light of our modern interpretation of "Peace on earth, goodwill toward men"... I think that it could be dispensed with now, don't you? The two minutes silence seems to me to be more of an insult than a tribute. I can tell you I have been thinking some pretty bitter thoughts today. But what is the use of thinking, it is action we need now! We have to put ourselves behind and remember our duty to the nation. Duty!

I have been very busy lately. I sent your Xmas present off last week and since have been working on the presents of the rest of the family. I have finished Burt's and Stan's, started today on the other two for Dad and Grandpa. I should have them finished by the end of the week and will send them off too. I hope they arrive OK., for though they are nothing stupendous, they have taken me a long time to make and I have put a lot of hard work in on them. I have been able to think of nothing suitable for Margaret, so am leaving that up to you. I also sent off your Xmas card last week. I hope you like it. It contains so many precious memories for me and I hope you will keep it, it will remind me in years to come of all the pleasure I have had this summer for - in spite of the pain and inconvenience of my arm, this has been a wonderful experience for me. There is so much that I have accomplished and there is so much that I have enjoyed in the company of my friends, especially Joy. I think I have told you about her before.

My arm is getting better very rapidly now. The slashes are filling in and they are clean as a whistle... are itchy too, you always said that was a good sign. I am having wet dressings on it every four hours now. How different this new doctors treats me from the other one I had. This one takes a personal interest in each patient, looks at you every day and changes the dressings himself. It is only through gross negligence on the other doctor's part that those sinuses even developed at all and after they had developed, he wouldn't believe when I told him about them. I told him every day for six weeks but he only said I was imagining things. Yet as soon as I told this Doctor, he got out a probe and he found them.

I got a parcel from WA. today. I guess it must be my Xmas parcel. Seems rather early but I guess they were taking no chances. I will have to write them a letter of thanks, also Mrs. Thompson who made the socks. She is the wife of the barber - isn't she? I can't remember her very plainly.

I am immensely proud too that the ‘Toronto Star' should print my letter. I wonder where they got it...I hope you kept a copy of it: I never do. I have a notion that all these things I am writing just now are going to very valuable to me some day. A very definite book is gradually taking form in my mind and these letters together with my diary are going to be of immense help to me. Even now my diary is an immense help and comfort to me. I was reading it over the other day and was so surprised to find out how interesting it was. You know sometimes I surprise myself but more often, I frighten myself.

Well by the time you are reading this letter, I fully expect you will be in the middle of your Christmas preparations. I can just see the puddings and the cake...I can almost smell the mincemeat tarts baking. I think these are the times I miss you all the most, at Christmas and New Years. I have been away from home for three Christmases now. Doesn't seem that long to look back upon it! It has been a definite step forward in my life though. I have probably advanced more in personality, ideas, ideals and actual accomplishments during these two - three years than at any similar period in my life. It has been wonderful fun and in spite of the hardships and heartaches, I would not have missed it for anything. There are so many marks of maturity about me now. I wonder if you will recognise the boy who left home in the man who comes back. Do you know what I want for a Xmas present from my family? A portrait picture of all of you, something small enough to carry around with me but clear. I want that more than anything else.

Well, I guess that is all for now. I am sorry to hear about the rheumatism. Hope it is better by now. Yes, I received you parcel OK. Thanks very much. I never did find out what actually hit me but I think it must have been a car. That was a very disastrous afternoon for me: or maybe it was a ‘blessing in disguise'. I don't know.

Merry Christmas everyone and the Happiest of Happy New Years to you all!

Love to all,

Jim



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