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Date: January 3rd 1944

JANUARY 3, 1944

Dear Bernice:

Yes, here I am on night duty again. Have been on six nights now. I could be a lot worse off. Am sitting here now in the office with a fire in the fireplace. It's such a small grate, and the wood so small, the fire doesn't last long. Kind of takes the chill off for a few minutes, anyway. It's quite cool tonight-the moon so bright, and so many stars. Have been running hither and yon tonight as we got a train load of patients. One little fellow was so cute, showing me some snaps he had. One was his prize, as it was of a German prisoner he captured himself. Told me how he did it.

Well, Xmas is over for another year. Xmas Eve we sung carols throughout the wards and detachment area. Had Open House at the officers' recreation rooms, and midnight services. They took newsreels of the services, so if you should happen to see on the screen, 'Xmas Services in North Africa', look for me near the right hand side, second row. Can't help but miss me, ha! Xmas morning I had off along with the other two roommates. So we opened our presents. Rosie only had one left to open. I had ten. Just as well I opened yours before, as I enjoyed it more, and had more time to ponder over it. We had a small cedar tree in our room. Made some decorations out of colored paper, and put absorbent cotton on for snow. Looked real nice. Had red paper candles in green paper cups pasted in the windows, and absorbent cotton on the ledges for snow. After we opened the packages, we went to church; from there to dinner and on duty. The wards were nicely decorated too, and each one had a tree. The patients did most of it and got quite a thrill. Each ward vied with the other. The Red Cross furnished the colored paper, etc. They also gave each patient a box of candy, and a little present to open. The mess hall had a nice big tree also, and decorations. The tables looked lovely with white tablecloths (new sheets), wooden candlesticks in the center with three red candles in, and holly. The dinner was very good. I am saving the menu. Of course it didn't have that little flavor of home-me, I missed the summer savory. Of course they had their eggnog in the afternoon, and we had a paper bag supper. 'Spam' sandwich and an orange and apple. Never ever do we oversea-ers want to see or hear of spam again! Some other things I might mention too: canned peaches, or cut-up fruit (canned). New Year's Day we had turkey again, without frills. I didn't get up, being on night duty. Got up in the afternoon and went for a walk. It was a beautiful day. Had quite a number of Xmas cards. Got three today. Mostly all the packages had about the same thing-toilet articles, and soap, and Kleenex. All very useful. Dudge's Mary sent me a nice slip and soap and powder ('Friendship Garden'). Gladys had four pairs of stockings (which I needed badly), a few walnuts, soap, two cans of peanuts, a bag of Fanny Farmer's suckers, and other candy. Before I forget: We had your fruitcake on New Year's mit a bit of wine, and it sure was delicious. It was so moist and nice. Thought you weren't going to make any. Mrs. Nodwell sent me a box, too. She had a pair of stockings, Fanny Farmer chocolates, soap, and a slab of fruitcake. Her cake was nothing like yours. It just had raisins. Beatrice Lockhart sent me a small bought fruitcake. It is not good at all. Sampled it, but still have most of it. Helen sent a calendar. Win had a box of toilet things and Kleenex sent from Boston. Clarkie: two pair white stockings. Clint's wife: three lovely handkerchiefs. Scott: a box containing mostly toilet articles and a slip. Didn't get a pair of pants and I need some. Mrs. Stephenson: some handkerchiefs, a jar of her marmalade, and toilet things. Her box was open, and I'm sure things lost out as I can't see why not-it was all untied and one end open. Aberdeen Alumni (never had one when I was a gal in training): a big cake of nice soap, a face towel, and a box of starch. Wonder where they got my address? Must have been from Lou. You gave it to her, didn't you? Any other boxes were about the same. Yours was the nicest of the lot.

Received your letter on Xmas Day, which was very nice. Had one from Win and Helen yesterday. The bugs are eating them alive. A terrible thing about Sidney [?], wasn't it. So much more tragic than if he had been killed in combat. No, I can't see how [?] will stand up to that either, but as you say she might just be stubborn enough. I must write her. Who told you Papa needed an operation, and what is it for-prostate? Aunt Clara told me too she had heard he put the two Janes out. Nothing we can do about any of it, so I just let it roll off my back like water off a duck.

You never told me if Stewart shot anything when he went hunting those days. I'll bet he got some gum anyway. Or marked some trees.

It's time now (to tie your father's can up). Make morning rounds and write up my report. So will say adieu for this time.

Love to all, Frank