Baker, James

Letter
Date:
January 23, 1943
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Jan. 23rd, 1943

Dear Mom,

I received 3 parcels and four letters from you. I have 2 letters from you too, so I must answer then before I am flooded out.
Well, I am back here in this midland black-hole city again and as usual, it is raining. I have been here 48 hrs. and it has rained for 49 of them! I got soaked through this morning and have just hung my clothes up to dry. I am billeted out again - very nice lady this time, much nicer than before. She is a Mrs. Burgess about 60, white haired with a daughter 23. Her husband works on the railway and Gladys is in a factory. Mrs. Burgess is very good to me, treated me like her long lost son right from the first. I have a lovely room and the complete run of the house. Already I am in the good graces of Pete who is the pet bujareegar. He speaks about 20 words and flirts atrociously. I have to laugh the way he sits on my shoulder and whispers in my ear "Kiss Peter! Kiss Peter! Give me my breakfast mother! Good morning - What are you doing-doing-doing!" all in one breath, without any pause at all.
I came back from leave the day before yesterday and very glad I was to get back too, because it was the worst leave I ever spent. Everything seemed to go wrong right from the very first... I just couldn't enjoy myself. Mary didn't get up to London at all so I didn't see her as I had been hoping. On the very last day when we were expecting to meet, her CO. confined her to camp because some of the gals had a dirty room. That is what they do that I so heartily disagree with! They punish everyone for the fault of a few. They did that time and again while I was at Hereford and made me so wild that I nearly lost my temper. But I find it does not pay to lose your temper. They always hold the whip over your head and I have found that they are not adverse about cracking it.
While I was in London, I went down to the Maple Leaf Club to see Faith and Jane because I do not expect I will see them again: and while I was there I ran into Eric Allen who was in my class at SHS. He hasn't changed very much except that he is much fatter in the face than he was. He is now an AG. on ‘Stirlings' and has been on quite a few ops. including the ones to Turin and Genoa. I had a grand chat with him and collected a lot of "gem" on different things. I wish I was with him. He was telling me about some of the other boys. He is the first one of all the boys I know whom I have met over here. According to him - Arym Vidal is in the drink, but I am sure you would have mentioned that in your letters if it had been true. Ted Hockridge is making quite a name for himself over here. He got married just last month to a WREN. which is a lady member of the Navy. I expect you will know all about that from the ‘Surrey Leader' though. According to all reports she is very beautiful, very charming. My gosh, these English lassies sure are making good pickings out of all us poor Canadians. I wonder what will happen to them all after the war... I read in the paper just last night where there are over 3000 Canadian wives in Brighton and Eastbourne alone. That's where I would be now if I hadn't transferred, not that I would have minded very much because I probably would have found Aunt Ethel much sooner than I did.

The Surrey Leader is coming quite regularly now. Thank Burt for me will you? I wrote once and thanked him, but he may not have got it. I got a letter from Jessie Young today too, mailed on November 26th. Everything is fine with her. She was complaining that you had not written for a long time though.
Your two letters are dated Dec.17th and Jan. 4th so there must be several missing in between. My gosh, we seem to have an awful lot of money flying around now don't we? I am glad though, because I am just beginning to realize what you have had to put up with for so many years. But at last we are getting sufficient so that we can all get straightened around again, get ourselves clear of the mud and a bit put by.
I saw Mrs. Sayers while I was on leave. She had been sick with flu but got better before I left. John - her husband, was also home and he saw me for the first time in blue. Well, there doesn't seem to be much more I can say for now.
Love to all,

JIM



Original Scans