Baker, James

Letter
Date:
March 8, 1944
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
March 8, 1944
Lachine, PQ.

Dearest Mom and Dad,

Your letter of March 1st arrived today and I was very glad to hear all the local gossip. You know you are developing into a regular dispenser without realizing it. I love to read them to see what all the local scandal is! In spite of the fact that I have been away five years, I feel that I know about as much about people in my town today as they do about themselves. So keep up the good work Mom, it helps my morale!

Nothing much has been happening around here lately. We are having a VD. control week in Montreal. This station has the worst incidence of VD. amongst service personnel of any station in Canada and they blame it entirely upon the close proximity to Montreal with all its women and amusements. I have only been downtown twice since I came here so I can't say what it's all about. We had a 96 hour pass this weekend which I spent very quietly in Montreal. Sadie stopped off for a couple of days on her way home to Winnipeg on leave and we had a very good time together. I have met three or four nice families here in the city through friends of hers down at Moncton. Last week I was assigned to the very pleasant duty of acting as escort to the very beautiful Red Cross collectors in the city. They go to all the night clubs, restaurants, bars, salons, bowling alleys, anywhere that people congregate. It is very interesting and the girls we meet are very nice. I wouldn't mind being assigned to duty like that all the time... but it was only for one night unfortunately.

There is quite a lot of recreation and entertainment on the station here and there is a wonderful library that is my constant joy. It contains nearly all the latest books including the great crop of war stories, journals and diaries that have suddenly appeared in the States. I have just finished Richard MacMillan's "Mediterranean Assignment" which is the newspaper coverage of the war in the Mediterranean up to the capture of the Africa Corp. in Tunisia and Tregaskis, "Guadacanal Diary" the story of the marine's capture of Guadacanal. I am now engaged on "South from Corregiador", the story of the fall of that tiny garrison and how some people managed to escape from it. They are all very interesting and thrilling stories and I have picked up many points from them. I find that I have not been careful enough about dates, facts and figures and have not taken the trouble to correlate my incidents and stories so that they can be readily understood and fitted into the whole plot. Of course, they were never intended from the beginning as a book: they more or less grew up by accident as it were. But I have the hunch that the material for a first class book is there if only I could find time to work upon it. But I probably never shall now until I come back again.

No, I am afraid there is no opportunity for me to come home before I go over again. I should like very much to go home once more but I want to be able to spend at least a week there. This flying ‘36 hour visit' is not for me. And as for you coming down to Toronto: I don't know - I'm sure, whether it would be worth it or not. For one thing, it seems such a terrific lot of money to spend just to see one of your brood for a few hours: for that is about all I would be able to spend with you. I realize though, that it would be a much needed holiday and a rest for you, so I can't think what to say. The one great snag is that we never know from one day's end to the next where we are going to be shipped out of here. We are on ‘tender hooks' the whole time and are nearly afraid to send out our laundry for fear we should not be here when it came back. So 10 chances to 1 if you started down here, I wouldn't be here when you arrived.

Yes, I still pay my $ 3.00 a month on my Life Insurance and I am very glad I did that when I did. I have never missed the money and I will have about five years paid by the time the war is over. As for my assigning any more money home, I haven't yet made up my mind. I may wait till I get Overseas to do so because right now, I am finding it pretty hard to scrape along on my pay. I don't know why: but everything seems so much more expensive lately. Of course, I have been doing a lot of traveling and living in hotels lately and that is expensive! But the fact remains, I never seem to have any money any more. Right now, I am $20.00 in debt for my last weekend. And I don't drink or smoke! What's gone wrong with my economy lately, I don't know. Some fellows seem able to save money, but I can't seem to.

Well Dad, how's the fishing? I wish I could go fishing again. It seems years since I did any. That Sunday I had while I was at Chatham was the most enjoyable experience I have had for quite awhile! I am very sorry to hear about Joan Simmonds. She was such a lovely girl too. Can't they possibly do anything for her? I wish I knew her better. I would write her a letter. I think I will anyway. I must make a note of that and think what I am going to say. Well Mother, I guess there is not much else I can say just now.

Love to all as always,

Jim



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