Thanks too much for the parcel you and Millie sent. I received it in fine shape and it was all there. And thanks also for the red hot letter (air) of Jan. 25, 1944. I must now be considered told off proper for not writing to you but, gosh, I'm not Beverly Baxter. What I put into mom's letter goes for the whole family. My flying day starts at 6:00 a.m. and doesn't finish until dawn. I often carry letters around with me for hours, unopened, until I can find the opportunity to sit down, relax, and concentrate on the contents. I've been "grounded" for two days to get a bit of rest and this gave me the opportunity to answer a couple of dozen letters that have accumulated.
A sandstorm is blowing across the 'drome' at present and it's worse than a London fog. But this doesn't stop the natives from working. I can see a group of native women leveling off the sports grounds. They're pushing and shoveling the sand around with their bare hands and placing any stones that they find into a steel bowl. When the bowl is filled they put atop their heads and dump it at the edge of the field. Being a windy day the women are wearing a huge shawl as big as bed sheets. One corner is tied to the head, the other is tied to the left ankle and another to the right wrist. When the wind catches the shawl it fills out like a sail on a windjammer. The shawls are bright colors, red, violet, green, yellow, and have wide vari-colored borders. They never wear footwear. Most of them have silver footwear on their ankles. They sink their money into jewellery and carry it around with them in this way. They all wear some sort of gold brooch, jewelled, through their nostrils.
Their husbands are probably working on the runways, pushing the sand around there. When the husband works, the wife and kids work also. Even in the coal pits. They'll never have it any other way. There's a slight ridge about a mile from here. From the top of this ridge you can see every morning the camel caravans loaded to the gills leaving for the desert villages and every night you can see them coming in. They're not the same camel caravans because it takes them weeks to cross the desert.
I've flown across it hundreds of times but I'd hate to have to walk across it. It's the dreariest place in the whole world and also the most dangerous. Bandit tribes are forever pillaging and killing. What they need here is an Indian N.W. Mounted Police force with tanks.
I'm off the lunch now. Good luck Bill, on the plumbing trade. You should do well this winter. Love to Patty and Marie.
Your loving Frere,
P.S. You may send another parcel if you care to…toodloo.
25th. May, 1945.