Baker, James

Letter
Date:
April 1, 1942
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
April 1, 1942

Dear Mom,

Your two lovely long letters of Feb.15th and 23rd arrived together one day last week and I had just received two very old ones from you also so I decided to save these two until this week. I am glad I did for I am in hospital again! so I am afraid it will be some time before I get my mail just as it was last time. My arm broke open again while I was up on leave in N. Wales and I reported it at once to the MO. It took him a week to decide to send me in to the hospital and I came here late Mon. night Mar. 30th. Yesterday the doctor looked at it and today I have had an exploratory X-ray. They pumped the hole in my arm full of a radio active liquid which shows up very plainly in the photos. The idea is to find the extent of the sinuses, how deep they are and in which direction they extend. There is one that is at least 2 inches long and I expect they will open the whole thing up again. It seems so trivial and silly too because I am sure you would be shocked and surprised if you could see the tiny thing that has kept me in hospital all this time. It doesn't hurt very much at all and there is positively no limitation of movement in the arm. The only thing is that it drains constantly and is a potential source of further infection. It is a source of irritation to me too because as long as it is there my hands are tied and I cannot do the hundred and one things that I want to do. Also, it is a source of mental worry for I cannot help wondering why it won't heal up. The doctors are all very
reassuring but of course, they would be anyway. so I don't know what to think. It has me baffled. I think that the very inadequate diet which we have to live on has a lot to do with it. The diet is not inadequate from the sense of quantity but rather in quality. There is an insufficiency of fresh fruit and milk and sugar and an over-abundance of meat and starch. I know that I cannot possibly use up half the energy produced by the food I am forced to stuff my body with in order to get a feeling of satisfaction. That is one reason why I like to go on leave, for I always find that I eat less as there is a wider variety to choose from and the helpings are consequently much smaller. I don't know what they are going to do this time, but I quite expect another operation.

I am glad to get Stanley's address and will write to him soon. I still think he is a fool but of course, I won't tell him so. Instead I'll try to help him from my own experience gained the hard way during the past 2 1/2 years. It struck me as being extremely funny, supposing he should get promotion before I do. I only hope he makes a bigger success of it than I did for if I candidly review these past years I can see that I have been a failure; simply because my heart was not in the job for as you know, my first love was the Air Force and always has been. But we shall see what we shall see. I feel better now that I know that another member of the family is contributing to the support of the family. There is something else I want you to do. I have absorbed all you have said about using Stanley's $20.00 and saving mine and I do not think it quite makes sense. You see one of the reasons we signed that money to you was because we thought you would be able to save it for us and we could have something tangible to show for our sweat and hardship. Of course the other purpose was that it would be a relief upon the strained economic situation at home. So we don't mind if you use it all, at least I don't. I can't say how Stanley feels but if he is at all like I was, I think he will resent it a tiny bit at first just as I did. But I have found out since that there are many far more important things in life than money and security, and they are treasures of happiness and a sense of satisfaction that a good job is done well. I learned those things from trying to be unselfish and it was very hard at first: I can tell you. I had to fight with myself. I hope Stanley can learn those lessons too but I do not want you to take my incentive from me. So I want you to use $10.00 of his money and $10.00 of mine. Thus each of saves $10.00 and yet has an equal share in the economics.

Also I want you to cancel the order for the cigarette lighter. It was only a vain-glorious attempt upon my part to impress my friends and I can see how silly it was now. I think I'll wait till Stanley writes me so I'll be sure I have his correct address. I sent the address you gave me to Philip Cox who wrote me just recently. All seems well around there. Blake has also written me telling me about his new job and I must say I am glad for his sake. His tenacity and perseverance deserve credit and recognition and I am glad his talents have been discovered at last.

Mother you are a hopeless sensation-seeker aren't you? Why on earth should Mr. Hulton write an article in his magazine about me; a young Canadian whom he met quite by chance in a Club? I am not so remarkable and extraordinary a young man that a man of his position and importance should remark me especially. Quite likely if I had the audacity to speak to him again, he wouldn't even remember me. But perhaps the fault is mine, for I may have over-emphasized the meeting in my letter. I usually find upon reflection that I am prone to make that error.

Many thanks for the article about Ted Hockeridge. I wrote and told you how I had heard him the same day over the BBC. and how I wrote to Gerry Wilmot to get his address. I am enclosing Gerry's reply to me because it is an interesting souvenir. I am also enclosing some clippings which may be of interest to you! I am glad you got the typewriter. Your letters are much longer and more newsy now. Well I guess that's all.
Jim




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