Baker, James

Letter
Date:
September 15, 1943
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
Sept. 15th, 1943
Chatham, NB.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I haven't heard from you for a long time it seems, but then neither have I written, so I guess I can't expect to receive any mail. I suppose Mom is pretty busy looking after the office for Thrifts. It was this month they were going away wasn't it? Don't let it get you down, you're probably doing fine if you only knew it. I have had a letter from Mary dated August 27th, so everything is fine again. She has been on leave, down to Devon this time, where she was a farm girl for a week. She says she had a heavenly time harvesting. She really sounds as though she enjoyed it too. Life goes on just about the same for her, she never says very much about her work but reading between the lines, I got the impression that she is very very unhappy. I wish I could get to her and talk because I know I could help her just as I used to help before whenever she got like this. And she used to help me when I was pretty low. Now, neither of us can help. Damn! this training goes slow.

Well, I've had my first two Navigation flips, managed to get around both of them without getting lost and come back absolutely tired out. Honestly, it makes you feel like a rag that's been drawn through a knot hole! I just go limp and fall down on my bed and go to sleep. And that's only 3 hours! What must it be like for nine hours over Germany? I suppose one builds up a resistance to it after a while but right now, it is hell. Funny I never seem to notice it while I'm in the air. I'm so busy then that I haven't time for anything! I wish I had about four pairs of hands... I could use them all and still have work left over. I don‘t know how on earth a real Navigator works. I was sweating all over and was so busy, I didn't have time to wipe my face! That was the first trip as long as I live, it'll haunt me like a nightmare whenever I think of Navigation! Thank God I never got lost anyway. I only missed one position by about 8 miles, which is about 4 mins. flying time. Not too bad at all. Luckily, visibility was about 30 miles so I could see where I was and take the a/c in visually. But it's pretty hard doing it without a watch - in fact, it's impossible.... so please - if you can get my watch, do so. I was expecting it last week but it never came. And do you think you could look out for some 120 films and some Gillette Blue Blades? They are both unattainable down here. Thanks muchly!

Well how goes the battle Dad? I expect you are being kept quite busy lately. Have you done any fishing? The bass should be in now and the salmon just starting. Boy, I sure would like to go salmon fishing again...do you know I haven't been really fishing since August 1939? Over 4 years ago! Seems incredible trying to look back and recall those years that they should have gone so quickly. Honestly, do you think I have been gone 4 years? I can't believe it. I'm a man now supposedly - but somehow, I still feel that I am a boy and have you to fall back upon if anything goes wrong. I just can't seem to realize that I am on my own now, even though I have been doing it for so long. Somehow, I don't seem to have left home, but drawn closer to it. I suppose that that is the experience of most people when they are away for some time.

I was just thinking the other day, what a horrible drain this four year has been to the whole of civilization. It is just as though the whole world were marching up to the brink of a great abyss and deliberately throwing the best of everything they had over the edge. And they have been doing this for years. People are complaining about the scarcity of certain things, just as I did in the first of this letter about razor blades and film. What people seem to fail to realize is that those things are going to be scarce for a good long time to come. This past 25 years has been the most wasteful in the whole of history of mankind because it was spread over an entire nation from the highest to the lowest. At least in other civilizations, the waste was confined to a few at the top but not to the bottom - and only now is the world realizing how we deliberately throw away our best and richest stores. Only take a little thing like tin cans. How many millions of tin cans do you think have been thrown away in the past 25 years? How many tons of metal do you think they represent? Now the world is crying out for metal, we realize how much we have lost. I wonder if we will have a system of organized salvage after the war. Or will the pressing drive of manufacturers - in their search for more and more money, deliberately make us turn our eyes from the wastage and make us rise new things when we don't have to? Pressure salesmanship is going to be America's ruin and that is where slow, staid old England has it all over her. I wonder what started me off on that?

I had a letter from Blake today. Everything seems the same as usual. He is still working in the house, painting, building cupboards, furniture and generally improving. He just lives for that place, it's his reigning passion. By the way, you can prepare yourself for a surprise in that direction pretty soon. And don't go jumping to the wrong conclusions like I did, because it's not what you are thinking at all. I can't tell you what it is because I have been sworn to secrecy, but you will know as soon as it happens. Had a letter from Hilary Harte and she has been first turned down for the WRENS. and then accepted, so she is now in them. I can't imagine how she is getting on for she is certainly not the type for their kind of life. But maybe it will do her good. I hope so. Had a letter from Sadie too and she is in the WD.'s. So, all my girl friends are now in the services. Every one I know has joined up. I guess I'm just unlucky.

Well, there doesn't seem to be anymore. I get a weekend next week but I don't think I'll go anywhere. By the way, if I get 2 wks. embarquation leave, I think I'll fly home and save time that way. OK?

Love to all as always,

Jim



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