Baker, James

Letter
Date:
April 17, 1942
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
April 17, 1942

Dear Mom,

I have been expecting a letter from you all week but nothing has arrived as yet so I guess I had better write to you without waiting for it. The mail has been held up lately and none of the boys have been getting very much.

Nothing very exciting has been happening over here lately. My arm is fine now, coming along every day and I don't think it will be very long until I can go out into the world again. The weather over here has been magnificent this last two or three days and I have been doing a lot of walking in the grounds. I have been out once too. Mrs. Sayers wrote to a friend of hers down here who came over to see me and took me out to her home for the afternoon. Her name is Mrs. Robertson and she is an American from New Haven Conn. She married an Englishman - a Major in the Intelligence Service. And just to show you how the average Service mind works; he has been for years a vine-owner in Italy - exporter of wines etc. and is an excellent Italian linguist used to living in hot climates. So when war was declared, he volunteered his service and especially asked that his two abilities be taken into account for he wanted to serve in a hot climate. So the service - with commendable foresight and thoughtfulness, sent him 1000 miles in the wrong direction and he's now serving on one of the most Northern of the Orkney Islands! Such is the thinking power of the Brasshats' brains!

But Mrs. Roberson is an extremely nice woman and she has a very nice home, so I had a very restful afternoon. She is going to take me out next week too. She was sorry that she couldn't take me out in her car, but the petrol situation - I am very glad to say, is now very acute and it is nearly impossible to get petrol for civilian use except for absolute necessities and that is as it should be. It should have been 2 years ago. The new Budget which has just been introduced is going to hit the country pretty hard, I mean for those that smoke and drink a lot. It doesn't worry me at all, except maybe the increase in the price of cinema seats.

I got a letter from Mary this morning and she has had to register from which I gather she is nineteen. I had an idea, but I didn't know. I would like to know what preference she expressed but I suppose it was for the WAAF. I had an idea she was in a reserved occupation and I am almost certain she could get off if she wanted to, but I don't think she wants to. I am rather glad of that too because I think that this is not time to shirk a duty and England certainly needs every pair of hands she's got and a few more besides. This is giving the women of the world a chance to prove that they are equal to men, a chance to prove their new-found independence and I can truthfully say that the women over here have proven that, to my satisfaction at least. You know I have always contended that in the world of the future, women will take their rightful place in the governments and in the Civil Services and in every phase of public life. It seems to me ridiculous - when viewed from a completely detached plane as I try to do, that women should occupy a place subservient to men because fundamentally, women are more important in the scheme of things than men are and so why - if the world is a woman's birthright as I think it is, is it ruled by males? I know that these are pretty advanced views and probably I should be called a mad-visionary if I dared to preach them and a traitor to my sex; but nevertheless, they are the conclusions I have drawn myself from the chaos of the world in which we live. Women are definitely the leaders of the world of the future and in that world; English women will take a more prominent part than their cousins in America, even though the latter have a tremendous head start. It will be a mere instinct of self-preservation in England because today there are six women to every man and after this war is over, who can tell what the ratio will be? Then - for those women to whom marriage and children are barred, will instinctively turn to something else and that is business or politics. It is either that or we will see a reversion to polygamy again, and that last statement isn't as crazy as it sounds. A nation cannot long continue with a lopsided population like England now has and not feel the effects of all the pent-up energies and desires of those 5 out of 6 women who have no man of their own. I cannot see men doing as they did in China - killing the girl babies and allowing only the boys to grow and therefore, we must have a change somewhere, somehow. It is coming, has been coming ever since women began to canvass for more freedom and now that they have that freedom, they are beginning to see how they can use it. But I don't think I need to worry unduly about that. I and my children will continue to live in a male world and we shall both see at least 2 more wars as a memorial to man's stupidity. Well Mom, I guess that's all, there isn't anymore. Write soon

Love to all,

Jim


BRASS'ATS

Didya ever watch a brass'at
inspectin' all his troops,
Lookin' at yer chin-straps
an your shinin' boots?

Examinin' your rifles,
(no crow's nest in the bore)
No rust upon the back sight
no dust upon the fore.

Seein' web is fittin' proper
no slack belts an' such,
Doesn't matter if its comfor'ble
you don't matter much.

As long as all is spic an' span
(all that meets his eye)
The brass'at doesn't give a damn
if you live or die.

Then they take yuh out on "schemes"
senseless us'ally
They say to train the officers
but I know better-----See!

They march yuh eighteen miles by day
and continya half the night,
Yuh sleeps a hundred miles from home
and rise at dawn to fight.

To grapple with imagined foes
(of course there's hundreds slain)
And when at last the battle's won,
back home yuh march again.

I don't know who makes brass'ats,
or who controls the reins,
But this at least is plain to me,
they're not picked for their BRAINS!

(I am enclosing a letter from Jenny Morris)

Good Friday, 1942

Jim My Dear -

Thank you so much for your good letter. It was grand to hear from you, I should have replied before, but I have been so busy!! You see, I have no house help and boys have all their time is a full time job and I've had 6, 8 or 10 here all the time for the last few weeks - until today, no yesterday. Today I only had one and that just for a wee while, a lost laddie who is now over here as an officer. He was over today as one of his laddies had bad motor accident yesterday and is in hospital here, so I'll be going to see him in a few days.

Where were you on March 17th! I met so many boys that day - maybe you... but I've not managed to recollect all the names (will do in time). I don't understand the other side of The Legionnaires letter. ‘Luforon' - yes, but Tommy Rankins and Fred Parney - no: that's the first I've heard of their plan. But just you wait until I get them to talk to. Fred Parney is on this side as far as I know, for that matter. Come when you can. Write when you will. One boy who knows White Rock has been here for the last fortnight and wants to come for Monday as it is his 21st birthday.

My love to you,

Jenny






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