Baker, James

Letter
Date:
February 15, 1944
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
February 15th, 1944
Three Rivers, PQ.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I have not had my weekly bulletin from the minister so I have no idea how your enforced confinement is progressing...however, I can guess that you are felling pretty fed up by now and longing for the day when you can get out to work once more. How much longer does it last: should be only a month, shouldn't it?

Well, my Commando course is coming along first rate and really beginning to do me some good. I can now go over the obstacle course in ten minutes flat and can run for three miles without puffing. My uniform fits me once more too, although I will have to get a new one pretty soon: this one is beginning to look very shabby. My greatcoat too is on the exchange list.

There is really nothing much to talk about. We have had three lectures recently on the rehabilitation program as outlined by the Canadian government. As it stands now, our discharge payment will be a $65.00 clothing allowance, one month's pay and allowances and whatever assistance we can prove to the government we are qualified for. The farming program seems very good on the surface, but only applies to men who can prove they are practically-fitted for farming. The only two phases of the program that would apply to me are the University program and the technical-training program. If I get married before the war is over (as I probably shall if it lasts much longer), I don't see how I can go to college, for what would my wife be doing while I was spending those four years studying? I am not entirely sure that those four years wouldn't be a waste of time anyway, for this course I have just completed is in many ways equal to a University degree and I can see no practical application of it at all. So we will have to see about that later on. I wish there was someone here I could talk to and get some good advice. But there doesn't seem to be anyone. The technical program too is OK. only I know of no technical trade that I want to take up. All my tastes and inclinations are academic and always have been. But I can work with my hands as I have proved to my own satisfaction before today, so I have got that to fall back upon if nothing else turns up. But it is so hard to know exactly what to do when there are so many courses open to one. I often ask myself what I would have exactly if I did go through University and get a BA. or an MA.: but so what? What concrete thing would I have that I didn't have before which would be useful to me in shaping my life and those of my children? I know far more about living now than any University could teach me in 20 years. I would have a smattering of classical knowledge that is the most impractical thing I ever saw - except in those rare circles of exalted knowledge that I occasionally find amongst my friends and - even in my now imperfect state, I find that I can hold my own with most of them simply on the knowledge that I have picked up my Observation, reading and knocking about the world. So, unless I went through U. with a definite, specific profession as my aiming point, I wouldn't get very much from it. What to do? What to do?

I haven't heard from Stan and I wanted him to write to tell me what to do about claiming him. Evidently it will go through very quickly though, whether I claim him or not: so I won't worry about that any more. He can go along as he likes. Cheerio for now. Must go on parade.

Love to all,

Jim



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