Baker, James

Letter
Date:
May 26, 1942
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
May 26th, 1942

Dearest Mom,

I have put "dearest Mom" at the top rather as though I had several Moms and you were the dearest of them all and really, I am beginning to think myself in that position.....what with Mrs. Sayers and Mrs. Beverly being so nice to me all the time I am beginning to think I have a very lucky birthday. They both sent me lovely birthday presents and cards. Mary sent a lovely book about London which I will send home as I want to keep it. It is very valuable to me as you can imagine. Nearly everyone seems to have remembered my birthday - all my many English friends, Aunt Minnie, "Aunt" Bessie Forster, my numerous penpals and even Nellie Stamper and Anne Slessor. Anne has now quit working in the Nurse's Home and told me in her latest letter she was just ‘hanging around home in Transcona'. Nellie has just joined the CWAC - whatever that is, and her letter today is written from a place near Montreal, Quebec. I expect she will be over here soon. Gladys Hoye also wrote today and she is still in Edmonton working as a secretary. By the way, Anne was going to get married and then at the last moment changed her mind as the boy - a Sgt. gunner in the Air Force, is coming Overseas. I don't blame her in fact, I applaud her action because it took quite a lot of courage I should imagine. I know from experience that it is very easy to take the easy road out, although not as easy as it looks.

I am so glad you are having so much more time to yourselves and can go over to Victoria or into Vancouver occasionally. It is good for you for when you stay at home all the time, your mind tends to narrow and become concentrated on your immediate surroundings and that is not good at all. That is one reason why I have blessed the fact that we have been moved around so much over here: even though it has proved very inconvenient at times. But I realize that it has helped very much to break the monotony and keep us from getting bored. Boredom is the greatest morale lowerer there is and more fellows have become medically unfit through boredom than any other cause since we came over. It is categorized as "Mental Depression" but its roots are in Boredom and Homesickness. Thank God my ability to attract and win the affection and friendship of nice people has prevented me from that at least.

I have been down here a week now, doing just straight duty for a change. We have PT. at 6.15 AM. again (which is very strenuous), breakfast at 7.15, parade at 7.30. Today we went to the ranges to fire 2 in. mortars then route-marched back. Of course it rained (it always rains when we go to the ranges) and as we did not have raincapes, we got soaking wet. My pants are still a little wet but I can't change them as my others are wet from yesterday.

So Stanley is in Winnipeg is he? I am sorry to hear you say that he is so prolific with his money but I know how it is. I have to fight very hard to prevent myself from spending all my money at once. It takes a lot of will-power, not as much now as it used to but still quite a lot.

Last Sunday I went to see some relations of Lance Spicer's who live near here. I have seen them before and they are lovely people, they have thrown their home open to me and I am welcome to go anytime I like. Jean - the daughter, aged 19, goes to join the Women's Auxiliary Air Force on June 5th. She is a lovely girl and also extremely intelligent. She is going to be a meteorologist. We had a lovely dinner, just like you used to serve, a scrumptious tea and a wonderful supper. If Goebbels could have seen us, I am sure he would have torn his hair out by the roots for Lord Haw Haw still tries to persuade us that we are starving. Mr. and Mrs. Wood (that is these people's name) are a lovely couple, very gay and happy. We all went for a long walk in the afternoon and had a merry time, even though it rained like a cloud-burst!

I am expecting a weekend leave this week so I can go up to London to see my friends and thank them for their kind remembrances. By the way, have you received my letter about the marriage present for Sheila? I hope so. I expect they will take quite a time to arrive.

My arm is quite better now: a lovely scar. It was my right arm by the way. Bert Hart has gone home as an instructor as you say and I gave him a message for you. I expect you have it by now.

I have not been able to go ahead with my transfer to the RCAF as all our officers are away just now but as soon as they get back, I am going right ahead with it. There seems to have been a slight hitch in the proceedings just recently due to a change of command at HG. or something but the RCAF. is still accepting transfers so I have very little fear that I will be turned down: at least not mentally or physically anyway.

I am glad to hear that Burt is making good use of his voice and I sincerely hope he will be able to do more with it than I have done with mine. Mine is very deep and full now but I have no opportunity to practise. I wish I could for I am sure I could do something with it. Well Mom, I guess that is all the news for now. Keep writing often

Love as ever,

Jim

PS.
One of my correspondents sent me the enclosed cartoon which seems very appropriate as I have been in the hospital so often. Maybe this was the reason (?)



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