Baker, James

Letter
Date:
May 20, 1942
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
May 20th, 1942

Dear Mom,

Your letter of April 5th came the day before yesterday but today is the first opportunity I have had of answering it. I was discharged from hospital yesterday and came down here to Whitney. I found the camp nearly deserted as the boys are away on some kind of scheme. I also found out that I may be able to get a weekend leave, from Friday to Monday, so I may be able to spend by birthday in town with the Beverlys or Mrs. Sayers. I got a card from Mrs. Sayers yesterday forbidding me ‘on pain of death' to spend a leave in London without seeing her, so I guess I will have plenty of visiting on my hands if I go up there, I have so many people I want to see and so little time to see them all in.

Oh! I must tell you a joke I played upon Mary last week. She came down to Taplow to see me one Sunday and during the day, she mentioned that she had been trying for weeks to get a dog but that her father wouldn't let her have one because they had no room in the flat etc., etc. Mary was quite upset about it because she wants a pet very badly. Well, when I got home to the ward again, one of the fellows offered to sell me two cast iron Scotties about eight inches high, one white and one black. I never saw such realistic statues of dogs in all my life and I fell in love with them right away and knew that Mary would like them too, so I bought them and painted them. I wrote to Mary and told her that I was sending her two dogs but I deliberately made my letter read as though they were alive. Mary must have sat down and written me right away because the next day I received a frantic note asking me "not to send them please!' I enjoyed it all hugely and
sent the dogs off yesterday. I am now waiting to see what Mary is going to say. I shall probably see her this week-end anyway.

Well the day after tomorrow is my 21st birthday. In the eyes of the world I shall be a man - although in my own eyes, I have been that for some time now. Somehow I don't feel any different than I did - say a year or two years ago. I still think the same things and write the same. No I don't either. I think I am thinking more seriously, too seriously probably for my own good. But I can't seem to help it: so I suppose I'll just have to go on running my head against brick walls.

Never you worry about me being taken in by nobility and phoney counts. I have met more members of England's so-called ‘noble-families' since I have been over here than I ever dreamt existed before and I have learned to place my own values upon their "noble-names". I have never yet found one who was truely noble - yes I have, one. That was Lord Boston whom I enjoyed talking to so much while I was up in Wales. But the rest are not worth tuppence. Lord Halifax was another whom I considered to be noble in all respects. But I can tell you this. Do you remember me telling you about Lancelot Spicer - Mary's cousin who had the valet? I have stayed with him several times while I was in London and I have found that he is truely noble in everything he does. He is genuine and he lives cleanly and decently and he thinks the same way. He and I are very good friends and since his son has gone Overseas, he has given me his room to stay in whenever I am in London. It is mine to do with as I like. It is a lovely room, such as I have always dreamed I would one day have so you can guess how much I appreciate his kindness in giving it to me. And Sanders - the valet, is more like a personal friend than a servant. I never can get used to this "master and man" attitude over here and whenever I see it, it almost makes me sick.

I can't remember the name of the man we dined with who was related to Sir Stafford Cripps, I'll have to remember to ask Mary when I see her next time. Funny how small the world is isn't it? Fancy: a relative of his living in White Rock. Almost as strange as the other day. I got talking to a man the other day while I was waiting for the bus and he says he was a brother to the ‘High Commissioner to Canada' and I had no reason in the world to disbelieve him. This war is certainly making England democratic. There are few trains now and you may be waiting in a queque for a bus just as you yourself have to do.

I do hope you have the holiday you are planning for I certainly think you deserve to get away together by yourselves. It is a long time since you were on a holiday alone, isn't it? Nearly 23 years. Take a week, take a month if you can afford it - but certainly take a holiday.

My arm is entirely better so you don't need to worry about that any more.

I have opened a Post Office Savings Account. I have nearly 15 pounds on hand at present but I expect that it will be about 10 pounds when I get straightened around. That is $44.70, not bad!

Well, I guess that is all for now. Aunt Minnie in Toronto sent me a huge parcel last week. No end of good things in it... enjoyed it very much...and have thanked her for it. Also Overseas Birthday Club.

Love to you all,

Jim



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