Baker, James

Letter
Date:
November 13, 1941
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
November 13th, 1941

Dear Mom,

It has come as a great shock to me to hear that Stan has got a job. Somehow I can't seem to realize that he has grown up sufficiently to hold a job! I still see him as the little immature boy he was when I left home. He will have it all over me when I get back home again for as you know, I have never worked in my life! Frankly, the more I think about it the more frightened I become and therefore I don't think of it any more often than I have to, I wonder how he is getting on...has he written to you or anything? What a silly question to ask! By the time you read this it will be Christmas and of course, he will have written by that time. But I can't get over it. Stanley working all by himself in Vancouver! Well Mom, I guess your fledglings are beginning to leave the nest and fly away...this is the second that has left home. Although somehow I don't feel as though I had left home at all in fact, I feel that I have drawn closer to it during these two years than I ever did before. I appreciate it more. But I often wonder what I am going to do when I come home again for it won't be the same as it was before: will it? Gone will be that careless, unthinking life we used to live. I'll have to begin thinking and planning for myself. I wonder what I'll do...I wonder what Stanley did on his first day...I wonder how he felt. Gosh! there's thousands of questions I want to ask but they're milling through my head so fast that I can't pin them down!

I'm very sorry to here that you lost the $10.00, I know now what a blow that would be to you. And I cannot help but admire the philisophical attitude you take towards it. How many people would have hoped that it would be of more use to the person who found it than it was to you? As I said before in one of my letters, I am just beginning to realize what a wonderful woman my mother is... it is not that I love you any less - in fact, I think that my love is more genuine now than it was before. Before it was more awe and respect. I regarded you as the terrible awe-inspiring ‘Fount of Wisdom'. All your other qualities were hidden by the all-consuming fact that you were my mother. But now I seem to have discovered you as a woman with other qualities besides maternal ones. I know I'm making a mess of my explanation but the feelings are all mixed up inside and just won't come out straight!

And I'm glad you disregarded the conventions and had your dance after the harvest supper, even though it did shake up the ‘old fogies'. That is how my people are different. They're young, not in years, but in that indefinable spirit that is call ‘Youth'. That is what it is about Mrs. Sayers that I like too. She's young in spirit, in ideas and ideals. She plans her life to fit in with young people, and so do you. I never realized that before. It's funny how a thing will ‘stick out like a sore thumb' and you look right at it and never see it until - accidentally, you stumble across it: as I just did. I never realized it before. How young you two are! My father and mother!

Mother, I wonder if you realize just how great is the work you and Dad are doing in fostering this spirit of youth in your community... by providing entertainment. clean, free fun for young people. Oh - if you were only a little more worldly you would see so much that you are blind to now! But then you would be changed. But I have seen the terrible things that an unlicensed social life can do to young men. Everyday you come in contact with it here in the Army. Drinking, swearing, selfishness, greed, licentiousness, everything that so disgusts me can be traced to boredom and lack of something to do while they were young. They got their initial freedom: and ran away with it. The change from strict supervision to absolute freedom was too quick and they couldn't assimilate it. Consequently, their bad habits have become so engrained into them that they have become part of their nature. That is why I say that the work that you are doing is so praiseworthy. Oh - if only these ‘old fogies' would wake up and realize that we young people are not asking the impossible when we ask for freedom. All we want is the "green light" and we can provide for ourselves. Fundamentally, we are decent if only they would let us be. But all this talk of conventions only makes us contrary and obstinate.

I am going to enclose a clipping from ‘Life' which I want you to show to as many ‘old fogeys' as you can find. It contains about the best indictment against ‘curtailment' I have ever seen. And to think that it was written by a little person - not yet ten. It's simply wonderful! I tingled to the very tips of my toes with enjoyment when I read it.

The news that Desmond Simmons had got married floors me! I have been away from the regiment for so long that I have lost all touch with it. But the last I ever heard of him he was going with a girl at Guildford. Somehow I can't imagine Des. married to a widow with two children. It must have been the woman he was billeted with in Godstone. Gosh! all my friends are getting married. Every letter! someone I know has gone and done it...makes me feel lonely...

I knew you would worry about me when I told you my arm was bad...I told you not to, but you do anyway: I keep telling you that I'm alright, but I guess you don't believe me. I had two letters from you in the past two days so that is a bit better than it was. I told you in my last letter that I had received the WA. parcel. Can't understand why it arrived before your letter though. Usually parcels are two weeks behind mail.

So glad you received Mrs. Sayer's parcel of papers. She told me that when she was sending them to you, she is terribly busy now and has little time for writing at all. All she sends me is a postcard at odd moments. Jean Louis (the son) sent me the ‘Life' out of which I cut the enclosed clipping. I told you that he was a supervisor in an aircraft factory. He's terribly busy too: when he's not working at the plant, he's an ARP. warden and a Home Guard guarding the aerodormes where he works. I don't know how he ever sleeps. But everyone who is any kind of a man is like that now. It's a treat for a man to join the Army and get a little relaxation! So do write Mrs. Sayers a long letter, I am sure she will appreciate it. It is my greatest wish that you two should become friends for you have so much in common. I wish you could meet her.

I am sorry to hear of Grandpa's rheumatism. But I suppose that he will have to expect things like that as he grows older. Gosh, I feel so helpless way over here: 5000 miles away. All I can say is "I'm sorry" and know as I write that you won't feel my sympathy for at least a month.

Did I tell you I nearly voted in the Provincial Elections but then forgot all about them so missed my chance: felt so foolish! Well, I guess that's all. My arm feels fine now. Looks fine too so I guess I should be out before Christmas. I am just about ready to send the rest of my Christmas parcels home too.

Well Merry Xmas everyone

Love to all,

Jim



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