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Date: February 2nd 1945

FEBRUARY 2, 1945

Dear Bernice:

Long time no write, but things have been happening to me and mine since Xmas. 'Don't stay where I live now, I move.' At Xmas, we were in a dither whether we were to move the next day or so, or what. That quieted down with us still sitting around until the bomb dropped. All were to go out on detached service until such time as we set up again. So we scattered many ways, to many hospitals. Quite a long way via truck from where I was to where I am now. Now isn't that sensible talk! I really think our crowd here fared better as to location than any of the others, although we were the last to leave. Am farther front than I ever had been before. Have only visited the city twice. It's a quaint old city full of cathedrals and art galleries. Remember you once said you hoped I'd get to this certain city? Had a letter from June yesterday telling me the different things she got for Xmas, and from whom. She said she had a silk handkerchief from the girl she taught with last summer. The girl's name will give you exactly where I am doing business.

We visited one famous cathedral, famous for its Gothic architecture. It's really beautiful outside, but as plain as a prison inside. Just opposite to most others over here. Next week, on my all day off, I want to take a Red Cross tour of the city and visit the Art Gallery. The stores have some quite nice things, but of course outrageous in price, and must be prewar stuff. I bought a pin for myself. Visited Pisa in my wanderings around Italy. Saw the Leaning Tower, and have been walking lopsided ever since. It's cold as Greenland here-wear my snuggies and shirt when I venture out.

I can't remember if I have written you since Xmas or not. Had a fairly busy Xmas week despite the fact we had so few patients to do for. Quite a bit of decorating. One of our nurses was married Xmas morning, and we had the reception in the Officers' Club in the afternoon. We saved our candy rations and odds and ends, and took to a couple of orphanages. Xmas Eve we had transportation to St. Peter's in Rome to hear the Pope celebrate Midnight Mass. Quite a sight, and a real thrill to Catholics. Every nation and creed in the world, I'm sure, was represented there. Thousands and thousands. How I hate crowds-thought I'd suffocate. Stood without being able to move one way or another from ten p.m. until 1:30 a.m. After all that I sure hope his blessing-the blessing of the 'Holy Father'-reached little fat me.

New Year's Day about six of us took advantage of an invitation to Open House at a Canadian hospital. We had the time of our lives, and I know the patients enjoyed it. Gave them something to write home about. The officer who took two of us around called in each ward, 'Anyone here from Novie?' Up went a hand here, and a hand there, and I went and talked to them. They said I should have had Canada on my sleeve. Met one boy from Springhill-he knew Aunt Clara and Uncle John, but not your pa. His name was Tattrie, but not as he knew any kin of Noble's. Another said he was from Truro. Asked him his name, and he happened to be the same one I met on the street in Rome, remember my telling you? His name was Lakeworthy. He had just come down from the Front that day. Several were from down the valley. One from Barrington and knew the Nickersons at Woods Harbour. We had quite a time for ourselves. They were quite busy, and I saw very few of the nurses. The hospital itself was a Western Canada unit-Winnipeg. One officer, however, was from St. John's.

Had many packages at Xmas, and am still writing thank-you letters. Have one yet to write to Aunt Doad. She sent me a box of ANC stationery. Your godmother sent me stationery too-'pleasant tasting'. A few days ago I had a fruitcake and candy bars from her. She had written she had sent it. Do you suppose it's [?]? She is a queer one. Aberdeen sent a package. Everything was lovely, but the relish was the 'best yet'. You asked about the beads: yes, they are real coral. I remember we used to get some like them in 5&10, but they were not real. Also, about the bond receipts. Yes, I take a bond out automatically every month, and I made you co-owner, not beneficiary. The bonds are left in the Treasury for safekeeping, and the receipts sent to me. So far I have received all but those two. Sometimes they are long in coming, so I thought they were too. I know it says the receipt must be submitted before the bond can be withdrawn, but if they are, my records here and serial number would be OK. However someone back there made the mistake in sending them to you, but you hang on to them for me and let me know if you receive any more so I will know where they are. I have so much junk and affairs scattered around, I'll never know where to pick them up.

I am glad you get up to see Aunt Clara occasionally. June wrote quite a letter. She said you were expecting to go again. Told me about Joe Atkinson, etc. I do hope Stewart's knee is better. That is what is called 'housemaid's knee'.

Have not heard from Win or Helen for ages, but a package came from Boston from Winifred. She wrote Stearns to send it.

All eyes are on the Russians. So much depends on them as to our setting up again. They are giving some rotation and some thirty day leave. I haven't been asked yet, and can't make up my mind if they should as to what to say. I never did want either one, but now conditions being what they are, I don't know. I don't want rotation, anyway, as that means you go home for thirty days and are then reassigned to another unit. Neither do I want to take an extra trip on the water. Then I would feel badly if I refused both, and was sent right off to the Pacific without going home. It's a problem, and yet maybe I won't be asked anyway.

Now I just got to wind this up and get going. Am working on the psychiatric ward of all places, something new for me. June said Eva was at the Royal Vic-that is where Helen's niece is. Roberta Brown. I wish she would look her up.

All for now.

Love to all, Frank