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Date: March 12th 1944

MARCH 12, 1944

Dear Bernice:

Sunday afternoon and a beautiful day. I had the morning off along with Caroline, so remained in my bed until 9:00 although I was awake much earlier. Rosie got up at six, so that wakened me, and I'm afraid I didn't get much sleep after that. Had breakfast in the room, and a good one it was. My little hot plate sure serves well. Made a pot of coffee; had toast, an egg which was given me and just laid yesterday, an orange, and half of a raised doughnut. The different things came from different sources. The oranges brought home from yesterday's breakfast, the eggs from a nurse who brought a half dozen in from the country last night. The doughnut from a lunch they had at a dance somewhere last night, which Caroline attended. A lot of manoeuvering to do it all on the hot plate, but it was done. After that we went to church. A large crowd there. An unusual number of officer patients. From there to dinner; then on duty. I forgot my pen, and this thing I found in the desk along with this slippery paper. I'm making quite a mess of this letter.

I am working (and so far not very strenuously) in the chief nurse's office now. Have been since I came off nights. I have reason to believe permanently, but there again I'm not so sure. This trip it's Day Supervisor. I can't see why I was picked, as I haven't any executive ability (and one sure needs it in this job-paper war galore) or tact. I asked no questions why, and was told not why. The other supervisors are captains (2) and one 1st lieutenant. Our principal chief nurse is major. I take a good deal of kidding from my friends, and no doubt a great amount of criticism behind my back from others. As Eva said, my supervisors in training are people to be dreaded. 'This is the Army, Mr. Jones.'

It's lovely out today. You never saw such beautiful blue skies as we have here. At night the moon is so bright, and seems so near, I feel I can reach in back of it and draw it down. Shines right in my face. This is supposed to be the rainy season. For some reason or other slipped up this year. Everyone is fearful for next summer's water supply and electricity. Those two all depend on the rainy season in winter.

We all had considerable mail yesterday. I had a V-mail from Gladys, and a package I had asked Scott to send me. A pair of shoes and some film. The shoes seem a bit narrow but perhaps it's because I've been wearing these big wide army issue for so long. She is so good about sending anything I request. You asked me about sending something. I'm sure you could send it from Canada. In the States, they must show at the post office the request from me, and the parcel must not be more than five pounds, and small and compact. So if you feel you would like to you can try, i.e. the 'lopster' at Xmas tasted mighty good and the 'lasses kisses, also canned beans (ammunition-like). You did a swell job at Xmas.

Just now realized while I am writing this, you are no doubt visiting in Montreal. So nice you have Alfretta for company. I wrote Aunt Clara a long letter after I received yours about your trip to the mines. I feel very badly about Aunt Clara. I hated anyway to see her getting old. She has always been such a useful person and always around, always someone to lean on. 'So are we all, all honorable men,' getting old. I take it you didn't see your father or stepmother.

Had a very nice outing last Friday. Had all day off. Eight of us could go on this plane trip at a time. Three times a week it ran. Never had been in a plane before. Only fifty-eight miles, and I had been to the main town several times before. It was the plane trip of 35 minutes which intrigued me. It was arranged for us by a British air force group (South African). They made that trip at the end of a long trip every day, so saw no reason why they couldn't take us along. They were charming men, just as comfortable as old shoes, and entertained us royally all day. They don't speak so 'Cockney' as the men from England, and so more easy to understand. The airport is about six miles from town, so they took us in town and back by truck. They really were glad to have us. Left here at 9:20 a.m. and returned at 5:20 p.m. As soon as we landed they took us to their quarters (or I should say recreation room), and as they said 'squeezed' tea from the kitchen. They took us to the Medina 'Arabtown' and other places of interest. Back we went to the airport for lunch, and then to town again in the afternoon. Had supper when we got back here. They were perfect gentlemen. At the same airport were RAF boys too. Several came in town in the truck with us. One had spent some time in Moncton. The day was too short, and I wondered before we left how we would put in the time! I enjoyed the ride very much, but would just as soon know the wheels were running on terra firma. The plane was a cargo ship. The view is something I'll never forget. The ocean at times, and green fields below, and seeing how different the city is laid out than I thought, is something I'll never forget. I'm sure the rows in the gardens and the trees were planted by a surveyor. They were in perfect line and formation. I kept thinking as I looked at certain objects what easy targets they were from the air, for bombers. As I said before, it all ended too soon, both for us and those who didn't get going. While we were away, some Army official called the hospital and said we did not have the right permission to fly, and cancelled all further trips. He said the penalty was court-martial and a five hundred dollar fine. Just as well we were not questioned. We have so little recreation that it was quite an event. Our chief nurse felt badly about it. 'This is the Army, Mr. Jones,' again.

Had a V-mail from Gladys yesterday, and a birthday card from Helen. No news can I give you.

Will be glad to hear all about your trip and Eva.

Love to all, Frank