Baker, James

Letter
Date:
December 26, 1945
To:
Mom and Dad
From:
Jim
Dec. 26th, 1945

Dear Mom and Dad,

‘It's the day after Christmas and all through the camp, not a creature is stirring', but the moaning and groaning would make you think this was a hospital! We had a bang-on dinner yesterday and we really had tremendous fun serving it to the airmen! There were only 300-altogether left on the station - most of them had managed to get home, but those that were here, really stuffed themselves! We got just 50 lbs. short of a ‘ton of turkey', great fat, juicy birds they were too - to do us for Xmas and New Year's. As we don't expect more than 500 people at each sitting, that means nearly 2 lbs. per man, which is a lot of turkey! And when you add all the trimmings - including a quart of best ‘Demarori Rum' in the sauce (which I put in myself), it adds up to quite a good meal! The boys thought it was really great having the officers and NCO.'s serve them. It seems there was an old custom Overseas, that the first man served by an officer has the privilege of cutting off his tie. So yesterday, the CO. grabs a great plate of turkey and whips off to the end of the mess hall and sets it before a tiny red-haired fellow on the end table. And ‘quick as a wink' up jumped the little fellow, whipped out a pair of barber's shears and ‘Snich! Snich!' there was the CO. without a tie: just a knot around his neck. After that, there was a regular epidemic: everyone of us lost our ties! When we came to clean up afterwards, the mess hall looked more like a tailor shop than a mess hall!

After we had served the airmen, we had a final dinner in our mess, a very good one it was too, but there were only 20 officers there, so it wasn't very formal! We passed around the port though in the traditional manner. Then I went and opened my Xmas presents. The robe from you was lovely - just exactly what I had hoped for and it fits me perfectly. The gloves are also perfect fits, I needed them too. It's wonderful really, because when I was down in the States, I nearly bought gloves and a bathrobe but didn't, because something told me I was going to get some for Christmas! I got a lovely wallet from Edna Gorse - the girl I met at home last summer. She still writes to me and I am afraid she is getting rather serious which isn't good, because I don't think I could fall for her. She's nice enough, but she hasn't got what I want in a wife.

I met a very nice girl at the party we had last night in the officer's mess. She had everything I want in a wife, looks, personality, charm, poise, brains and a really beautiful figure. But I don't suppose I shall ever see her again so there is not much use in getting all het-up about it. That is one thing I hate about this life. You are continually meeting people you feel you would like to know better - but before you have a chance to do so, they move on or you move on or something comes between you. It's all so discouraging at times. I can see why there are so many short courtships in the Services. And I can certainly appreciate ‘love at first sight'. A man gets to a certain age and he begins to think about settling down and when the tension within him has mounted to a certain pitch, it takes a very little ‘spark' to set it off. Right now, I feel like a ‘powder keg': hope no one ‘lights a match'!

I haven't told you this before, but there is a chance I will be coming home ‘for good' sometime in January. They are discharging the boys now left, right and centre! They started it while I was on leave in New York. They are only picking certain people to go down to Halifax for interviews and of those they pick, quite a large percentage fail. So those who get there, are really ‘top-knotches, have a lot on the ball. I haven't heard anything at all about an interview for me and they are past the Navigators and down to the Wireless Operators now: so I guess I've had it. I'm expecting the ‘big chop' any day now. If I do get it, I suppose I'll start this refresher course so I can go to UBC. next year. I should like to stay in very much, but I guess they don't want me. I may be able to go to U. and join the University Air Squadron and get in that way...we'll see anyway. This course here is definitely ‘folding up', and we are not doing a thing but waiting for them to decide what to do with us.

In your last letter you said there were many things I had not confided in you. There aren't many things that you do not know about and those things I have not told you are dead and forgotten now, all except one. I had one or two love affairs in England of course, but no one was hurt by them and they are all over and done with now. However, I know you have often wanted to question me about Mary and I am sorry it is so, because I'm afraid I don't know any of the answers. I have loved Mary for a long time now - but seemingly, it is hopeless because I am only Mary's best friend. My hands have always been tied where she was concerned anyway, because I have nothing at all to offer her except myself. I haven't anything to offer any girl really, but Mary has so-much now that she could never make a ‘poor man's wife', which I will be for many years. Mrs.
Beverly and Mrs. Sayers know how I feel too, and the friendship and understanding was invaluable to me when I was over there because they kept me steady. I suppose I should have confided in you-two, but I needed personal help which you couldn't give because you were so far away. However, I suppose some day I will forget Mary, at least in part. Never wholly I fear because she always comes between me and any other girl I meet. I find myself comparing others with her and they come out very unfavorably I'm afraid, which doesn't help matters much. And when I do find a girl who reminds me of Mary - as this girl I met last night, the reason I like her is because she reminds me of Mary and not because she is herself. That isn't good for her or for me, is it? You see, Mary was such an exceptional girl in all respects, that she would be very difficult to live up-to and when you loved her as I did, any of her little faults were entirely lost. She did have faults I know, but I tend to forget them. So I find myself unable to talk or abide with many girls I meet and I lead a very ‘lucky-life' at present. I never go off the station because the girls seem such thin washed-out apparitions when the ‘ghost of a lovely, laughing Mary' stands beside them, I know I am foolish to eat my heart-out this way, but I can't help it.

Now I must close. I'm off to New York tomorrow for New Year's. Mac - my skipper, has been discharged and is at home now arranging a big party for me. He lives on Station Island, New York.

Love to all,

Jim

PS. I bought silk pyjamas in the States when I was there and also seven shirts! so I am well-fitted with clothes. Happy New Year's Everyone! I may see you soon. I nearly flew home for Xmas but I couldn't get back again. ..we had a plane going to Comox, BC.!

Original Scans