September 17, 1940
I received both your letters the other day, Mother’s being mailed August 20. I am very glad you learned the full extent of my damages from Auntie May, as I was afraid you might have heard some of the wild rumors that were floating around the camp. According to some of these, I was as good as dead and little hope was held for my recovery, so you can see how these rumors are. Well, so much for me and so to more important topics.
I was very glad to hear of the kids’ good exam results and it just goes to show that all the family brains aren’t in England. I want you to congratulate them individually and collectively for me and tell them to keep up the good work. Since writing last, I have had my seven days leave which I spent with friends. I didn’t visit the Aunts this time, as I knew Auntie May was crowded and I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the precious time with a bunch of fuzzy old ladies, who buzz around you and make you feel like a very small boy.
I had a lovely time with no air raids the whole time, which is very unusual these days. I came back through London but saw little of the material damage, as I was too busy getting back to camp before my pass expired. We moved out of the woods into billets last Monday and we are now quite comfortable. I think the move was very timely as the weather has been simply foul ever since. Now that I am settled again, I will be able to catch up on my correspondence which soon gets behind.
Thanks for the enclosed heads of wheat, it brought back memories of the farm rather forcefully. I am glad you aren’t dependent on the farm for your living as times must be pretty lean. That five bushels of grain scheme will certainly work a hardship on the farmers and I fail to see how they will be able to make ends meet. I received the first batch of snaps you sent (those of Lorna, Audrey, and the ‘Brown Bear’s’ den). I shared them with Liulf as Dad suggested but haven’t heard from him since. Please compliment Dad on the fine job he did on the summer house, or were you the foreman on the job?
Your hollyhocks must be lovely as I have seen some fine specimens over here. When you and Dad retire, you should try sunny Devon, as I think it has all the requirements of an old couple desiring peace and quiet. You could have your flowers and fruit trees and Dad could amuse himself swapping yarns with the natives or sipping cider. The weather is the finest in England and the people are simply friendly, home-loving folks for the most part. I think I would make a good real-estate salesman, don’t you?
Well, I hope Alan can get the crop in without too much trouble, and I think he will. I should like to give some of these wage racketeers a large piece of my mind or perhaps the toe of a boot would have a more reaching effect. As I told you before, I am back driving the Major, which, while very nice, doesn’t offer the slightest chance for advancement, which isn’t quite to my liking. In regards to the cigs you have sent, I think I can only say one parcel went completely astray, but in the future, I will do as you suggest and send the enclosed postcard as a receipt.
I just received a letter from Reg McCarthy tonight and learned of the disastrous hail storm. I hope the damage wasn’t too great, as I think that would be the crowning calamity, what with low prices and all. I also learned that Norman got in as instructor which is quite a joke, as when he was Lieutenant in the Cadets, he didn’t know the routine drill. Poor old Reg seemed very despondent because he couldn’t get in and it makes me sorry for him, as I knew just how he must have felt.
The weather has been lousy, as I said earlier in my letter, and now it has set in for another rainy night. By the way, I have a clipping taken from the Bulletin concerning your poem and must say I am proud to be related, although I am at present only a distant relative. Well, here I am at the end of the sixth page and as the supper gong has sounded, must close now, hoping to hear from all of you soon.