Baker, James

Letter
Date:
December 12, 1941
To:
Mom
From:
Jim

December 12, 1941

Dear Mom,

I am back off leave tonight - or rather last night, and today was the first day on parade again. It was very hard to settle down again after a 14 day holiday such as I had. I don't know how I am ever going to thank Mrs. Sayers for all her great kindness to me. She is always thinking of me, introducing me to new and interesting people, taking me to lunches and to the theatre or the ballet or just taking me home and making me feel that it was my home. That is something that I miss so much today for I had almost become a civilian again. And to add to all my other difficulties, my mind and morale are at a particularly low ebb. I am absolutely fed up with everything. I am longing to work at something, something in which I can use my mind for it has never been so clear and brilliant as it is now and there doesn't seem to be anything open for me. I wish I could find some way of talking to someone who could help me. But everyone is inaccessible it seems.

When I got back this morning there were 17 letters for me and four parcels. One was from the Daily Mirror telling me that they had received my article through their agents from the Toronto Star, so now I am wondering where they got it! Another was from the Winnipeg Free Press to tell me that they were mailing me every edition of their Saturday paper with the compliments of Polly Evans, the editor of the Page for Young Authors to which I am a regular contributor. There was one from you dated Oct. 27th which I am answering. There was a lovely one from Bessie Forster and two from Blake, the first for a long time.

Now as to what I should have for Christmas with the $10.00 that Aunt Minnie sent you... I really can't think of anything that I want very much right now for I bought myself a watch on this leave and a lovely pair of oxfords. The watch cost 75s and the shoes were 21s. They are both lovely and I am well-satisfied with them. I know what I would like you to do with it, but I don't suppose you'll agree with my suggestion. Use it to buy something for yourself that you really need. I think I am past the desire to transfer to the Imperial Forces and as I said before, I gave up considering it when I found out I couldn't send money home, I know you must be feeling pretty pinched right now. Please have no compunctions about using it and don't worry about paying me back. After all, it is only a little of what I owe you, so I am really paying a debt. But I do wish I could find a place where I could use my particular talents for I feel so wasted as I am. It makes me so dissatisfied. Mrs. Sayers asked me why I don't try to become an officer and I have been considering it for some time, but it is a long uphill fight - particularly in this outfit, and then there is always the money problem to be considered. It would not be so bad if we were in action but just now, an officer is expected to keep standards that are prohibitively high for anyone who has not a private income.

Well, I am afraid I didn't help you much with the selection of the Christmas gift but really - it is so hard, we can keep very little that we are not issued with...we have so little room that we can keep very little that is not ours. At least five times on this leave people have asked me what I want and I have not been able to tell them. There is one thing that I want very badly and that is a combination cigarette case and lighter ‘Ronson' preferably. You see, I have so many English friends who smoke and they find great difficulty in procurring cigarettes, that I have formed the habit of always carrying a package about with me so I can offer one if we go anywhere. I find that it helps a great deal when we are getting acquainted. But cigarette cartons are so bulky. So I have been looking around for a cigarette case and lighter. But they cost so much over here. If you sent me one, don't forget flints as they are rationed over here. I hope you haven't sent the present already because I am very late in answering this letter. It has taken such a time to reach me.

Did you hear my broadcast the other day? How did I sound? Did you get my telegram?

My arm is well now. The scar is very tender but healed perfectly. I am A-1 again. I never found out exactly what cause the accident. Well, I guess that is all for now.

Love as always,

Jim

PS.

I went shopping with Mary Beverly one day last week and I took particular note of all I saw. There is plenty of food in all the shops but you can't get it without ration cards and so much is allowed to each person. Nearly everything is rationed now and that which isn't, is saved by the grocer for registered customers. Turkey is 4s 7p a lb. ($1.15 a lb.). All toiletries are very scarce and very dear, all leather goods are very dear, and dresses and coats and shoes cannot be obtained without coupons. Each person is allowed only so many per year and when those are gone, he or she can get no more.






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