Baker, James

Letter
Date:
February 21, 1943
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
Feb. 21st, 1943

Dear Mom,

I wrote you an Airgraph last Tuesday, but I guess I had better write a regular letter now that I have more time. It is Sunday afternoon and I do not have to go out till nearly 4 o'clock, it is now only 2.
Last Tuesday I had four days leave and as I told you, I went down to Bath to see Mary. She was away in London when I arrived but got back about 3 hrs. later. It was her day off, only I didn't know it. The hotel in the village that I had stayed in the time I was down before was full up but I managed to get another room in the only other hotel in the place. It wasn't as nice as the ‘Methuren Arms' but it was still very nice. I had bacon and eggs twice for breakfast so you can see, I was well looked after. It only cost me 17s for the two days, but I had lunch and dinner at the Methuren. Thursday I saw Mary at noon and her Flt. Sgt. was very good to her, she gave her the whole afternoon off. It was a heavenly day too, one of those golden sunshiny days that the West country is so noted for. We went for a lovely long bike ride to a neighbouring village called Langhman where we saw some beautiful examples of the old Elizabethan plastered houses with diamond shaped leaded windows about 2 ins. square. It was such a glorious day that I felt like Persius must have done the first time he made his winged horse. Then about 4 we went into Bath and to the show. We saw "The War Comes to Mrs. Hadly". I don't think either of us liked it very much because we have both lived in a country where such things or thoughts have not been the fashion for over two years - and we have nearly forgotten that such things did exist even over here, only 2 short years ago. When we came out of the pictures we were greeted by a heavenly sight....Bath had dressed herself in regal splendor ‘just for us' it seemed. The moon was shining and bathing everything in a wonderful silvery radiance, half-cloaking, half-revealing the town. It was just like walking thru fairyland, there was such an air of mystery and enchantment about everything, one half the street in blackest shadow, the other half in brilliant light! We walked for miles over the city and hardly dared speak for fear we should break the enchantment. Even the ruins seemed softened and didn't hurt one's eyes to look upon. We came home about 10 PM. intending to go for a long walk by moonlight when we got back to the village, but we got talking to an old man who was in charge of the YMCA., about religion and its application to living. And before we realized it, it was midnight. So I took Mary home and went back to the hotel. But it was one of the loveliest days I had had for a long time and was a fitting ending to our time together; I do not expect I will see Mary again for some time. The next day coming back on the train I had to stop at Derby for nearly an hour so I called up Mr. Bemrose and we had a long chat on the phone. Everything is fine with them; they are both working very hard and hardly have any time together. The scheme with the American Outpost seems to be progressing favourably. We talked quite a lot about the Beveridge Plan also and we both found that we were nearly in agreement regarding it. I personally don't know whether to like it or not. In some ways it seems to me so much like Aberhart's Social Credit and I greatly fear it is going to suffer the same fate. At the same time, I am wondering if the unemployment benefit scheme is after all a good idea. Security is all very well but after all, it is the lack of security which has spurred men to greater efforts and this led to progress and advancement. These latter two great assets are slowly dying in this country and I am nearly certain that Social Security would sound the death knoll of both of them. Of course you may argue that Social Security is in itself an Advancement but after all, is it? Isn't it just utilizing to a fuller extent something that is already there? The revised Health Programme to be sure is something that should have been brought in much sooner but otherwise, there is nothing very new about it. All the things have been in existence for years. This report just collects them all together and lumps them under a head called the "Ministry of Social Security". But I certainly am in agreement with the purpose of the plan which seems to be to equalize the income of everyone nearer a common level by raising that of the lowest wage owner and lowering that of the higher. The maternity benefit too is a long step forward. I am bringing a report home with me so you can study it if you want to.

Last night I had a long talk with some Air Training Corps. officers and they gave me many insights into the life of the industrial workers of the Midlands. Boys leave school at 14 because his earning power is needed in the home. This ATC. tries (or rather will try after the war) to compensate him for his lack of schooling by giving him supplementary education. Right now of course, they are busy training them for their entry in the Air Crews of the Air Force.

Speaking of heroes who give so much for England, I am enclosing a clipping showing how England has treated one of her heroes of this war. It makes one think sometimes doesn't it? Mrs. Sayers sent it to me with some very pungent remarks.

I have just had a long letter from Ruth Cotter - a girl I have been corresponding with for over 2 yrs. She has just met Stanly at Camp Shilo and evidently likes him very much? Guess that's all the news for now.
Love to all,
Jim

PS
Am enclosing a letter from Phil Cox in separate letter. It's very good. No, I'll bring it home with me instead.



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