May 27th, 1943

May 27th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad,

Just a few lines to let you know I am okay and getting along swell except a bit lonesome, I’ve forgot what everybody looks like but it won’t be long now. Two days ago I found out that I won’t be home until my furlough is due. I met a fellow who lives a couple doors from Ted and he was all through and getting ready to go home this Sat. then they told him that he had to wait until his furlough comes up. I feel sorry for him because he was all ready to go home.

We just now got back from a two day scheme. I can’t tell you what we did but I had fun. If it was like that all the time I wouldn’t mind being away. I don’t know if I will be able to mail this letter tonight because I’m broke and have to bum a couple of stamps. I was expecting some money from home because you said you would send me five dollars every other week but it didn’t come.

How is Pork, Ray, and Sweetipie? Does she still go to school regularly? I don’t know how to spell that word, but I guess it will do. Tell her I’ll be home for her birthday even if I have to give the C.O. a million dollars to get leave. How did Ray’s leg turn out, I hope it’s okay by now.

Marg hasn’t sent me a picture yet, she better hurry up or I’ll get mad…no, I don’t think I could ever get mad at her again.

How is the big sister getting along anyways, still working hard? Tell her I said thanks for all the letters and parcels she sent me. Tell her to tell Jean H. I was asking about her and hope she’s still being true to me. How is Ted getting along? Is he still around or has he left, he hasn’t wrote to me yet.

Well, I can’t think of anything else to say expect write soon or sooner.

Lots of love to the best mother in the world.
The East End Kid
Gord.

May 15th, 1943

May 15th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Well here goes again. Remember I said I would write every day, well I’m going to keep that promise until my stamps run out. Well, here is another week-end and I didn’t get a pass this week so I’m going to catch up on my washing, and how I hate washing. I’ll bet I can do anything a girl can do now, and I’m glad  I wasn’t a girl, I feel sorry for them, I  didn’t think it was so  hard.

I wrote to Mill this afternoon, I hope she will answer because I like lots of mail, that’s about all  I care for, I don’t mind being away as long as yous all write.

I feel pretty good today so I think I will go up to the wet canteen tonight and have a few bottles of that stuff they call beer, is  it ever awful but you got to do something to pass the time away.

If you and Marg answer all my letters, I should get a letter every day. Well, how is Daddy getting along? Tell him to keep those shells rolling in and it won’t be long till it’s all over. If everybody worked as hard as he did, the war would have been over long ago.

I guess  I’ve gained about 10lbs since I came here. I guess I’ll be seeing Ted pretty soon, some fun we can have when we get together. I can hardly wait, he hasn’t wrote yet, he better hurry up or I won’t  speak to him when he does come. Right now I guess he’s at home having a good time, lucky guy. Tell him to spend most of his time at home because when he comes here he will wished he had, because I wish I had.

Well I can’t think of anything else to say except write soon or sooner.

Lots of love to the best mother in the world.
The east end kid
Gord

May 14th, 1943

May 14th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad,

Just a few lines to let you know I am still alive and kicking and feel in the best of spirits. Maybe it was because yesterday was payday. Well how is everybody at home, fine I hope. How did Ray’s leg turn out, write and let me know.

Right now I am doing nothing so I thought I would drop you a line. I got a letter from Hilda H. today and was I surprised. I wrote to her but I didn’t think she would answer, but she did. I get lots of mail, from you, daddy, Bin, Marg, Edie, Hilda, not bad, eh? I guess you don’t  remember Hilda but I do. She is a very nice girl. I seen her that last leave I had at home. Very, very nice girl. But don’t tell Marg though. That last letter I wrote to Daddy in your letter, tell him it’s not so hard to get a strip either, all you have to do is work a little harder and that’s what  I’m doing. I’ll get ones if I have to die trying, but I won’t give up and if I do  I’ll apply for a course at Long Brach and I got a good chance for it.

I hope you don’t mind the writing because my boy friend is sitting on my bed shining his boots. I  hope you don’t forget the little favour I asked you about  those pictures. Tell Bin there is one record I want to have when I get home and that is Please Think of Me Dear. She will know what it is.

Is it alright if I bring my boy friend home with me when I come? Gosh, here is another weekend, is the time ever flying. I’ll be home before you can count to ten.

Well that’s  all for to-day but if my stamps last I’ll write every night, they may not be very long letters, but I’ll write.

Lots of love to the best mother in the world.
The East End Kid
Gord.

Shannan’s Note – I have no idea what Gord means when  he mentions getting “a strip” in this letter and the last… Google is failing me, so please comment if you’ve any idea… The way he phrases it above makes me think it might be some sort of commendation, but I’m not sure.

I think that when Gord mentions “Please Think of Me Dear” he means Each Night at Nine,  written by Floyd Tillman, and performed below by Willie Nelson – it’s the only song I could find with that line/title that lines up…  It’s pretty beautiful, but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Willie Nelson. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyVKplHp-VM

A thousand miles dear, a thousand more
Across the water, across the shore
I’ll say a prayer, dear for yours and mine
Please think of me, dear each night at nine

I hold your picture close to my heart
It takes your place, dear while we’re apart
Helps remind me that you’re still mine
To feel your nearness night at nine

The bugle’s playing out go the lights
Even it’s lonely, these army nights
Go tell kids I’m doing fine
Give them my love, dear each night at nine

A thousand miles dear
I’ll say a prayer dear for yours and mine
Please think of me dear each night at nine

May 7th, 1943

May 7th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Just a few lines to let yous know I am fine and feeling right in the pink. I got two letters from you, one with five bucks that was real nice, one from Bin and one from Edie. I’ve been waiting for that letter ever since I joined up way the first of January.

Yes I got the $1.00 + stamps you sent a while ago. They came in rea handy. I am having lots of fun here, it’s getting better every day and the time is going real fast. I’ll be home a lot sooner than I thought I would for fourteen days. I can hardly believe it, some fun I’m going to have. I met another fellow here from Toronto, he lives just at Broadview and Dundas, another real swell fellow, lots of fun.

Ted hasn’t wrote yet but I’ll give him one more week. If you send me his address, I’ll write to him. He ought to be coming here pretty soon, so I guess I’ll see him soon. It will be just like being at home to meet up with him. We should have lots of fun, him and my boy friends because they have lots of beer here.

I’m going downtown to see what I can get you for Mother’s Day. It may be a couple of days late, but better late than never, so be looking for something about Monday or Tuesday.

Don’t tell Marg  I got a  letter from Edie, and will you do me a favour and get a camera and get Marg’s picture taken? Three or four  of them because I haven’t  got any, I’ve asked Marg so many times that I ran out of breath so please do me that little favour. Get Sweetipie’s and Ray’s and send them too, I got pictures of everybody else. Right now there’s a [word unknown] going nuts here, he’s going on  furlough to-morrow. Maybe I’ll beat him up and take it off him. No, I don’t think I will because mine is coming in a better month.

Well, I think I’ll break off and press my uniform. I’ll be back in a minute. I got to be ready to go out on my weekend to-morrow. We’re going to sleep at the YMCA and are going to have fun. Well, I just got through with my uniform. Pretty good too, even if I do say so myself.

I don’t see Demps very often now. Did I tell you we were separated again? He’s in a different btry. than I am. We only work like a half a day to-morrow, gosh the weeks are just rolling by. I am just lying in my bed writing everything that comes to mind just so I can write a nice long letter. Tell Mill I’ll write a letter to her on Sunday night.

Well I can’t think of anything else to say except please write soon.

To the best mother in the world a son could have.
The East End Kid
Gord

May 2nd, 1943

May 2nd, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Well I just got three letters yesterday, the first for a long time, I don’t know what’s wrong with the mail because I’ve wrote five letters. I was wondering why yous did not write.

On Saturday my boy friend and I went down to look for Earl and after two hours we found him. He didn’t even know my name, but he was awful glad to see me. He invited me and my boy friend to supper next Sunday. He has a very nice wife, nice looking too, but the sailors have all the luck. He was in a nice little house with hardwood floors, nice, place. He has been away for so long he doesn’t know anybody’s name. He didn’t even know Ted was overseas.

Tell Ray I hope he soon gets home. He has been away longer than I have and I’d like to get home but if I get lots of mail I don’t mind so much.

You can send me as much as you can spare out of the cheque, but if you need it keep it.

I broke my watch about a week ago, I can’t  tell you how, so I’ll send it home to get fixed because I took it in down here and they said it would take six weeks and I haven’t got that long. I’ll  be home before that I hope, hope, hope.

What’s wrong with Marg, has she found someone new? I haven’t got a letter for over a week and I just sent her two.

I couldn’t go downtown to send you an Easter Telegram but Mother’s Day is the 14th of May.

Tell Daddy I like it here, but I miss yous all. I guess when I get back to Toronto I’ll get lost so yous will have to meet me at the station or I’ll never get home.

I wrote to Edie when I first come here, but she hasn’t answered so tell Pork to phone her up and ask why she has not wrote, he’ll like that RA 5925.

Where is all the letters and parcels Bin and you were going to send? Bin said she was going to write every night. Tell her if she don’t write, I’ll come home and giver her H—. Tell Bill he was lucky he didn’t get in the Artillery. It’s no good for me, it’s too much brain work.

How did you like that poem I sent yous about Halifax, pretty good un?Too bad Jose went back to Lindsay but write and do tell her to be there when I come home.

Well can’t think of anything else to say expect write soon or sooner.

Lots of love to the best mother in the world
The East End Kid
Gord
xxxxx
xxxxx

[Shannan’s Note – Glad to hear Gord in better spirits than the last letter! I’m not entirely sure what RA 5925 means, or how it fits into that sentance… Google searches have come back with nothing, but I’ll keep digging around in the paperwork, perhaps there’s something in the bits and pieces. I’m also not sure who Earl is. The way Gord speaks of him sure makes him sound like family, but I haven’t seen the name in any of the work I have been doing. Ted is my grandfather, and Gord’s letter suggests that Earl and Ted knew one another, so perhaps  a relation there? Another mystery for the stack, I suppose.. ]

April 24th, 1943

April 24th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Just a few lines in answer to your letter that I just received and was I glad. I was broke and that $1.50 came in real handy. I got a letter from you, Bin, and Marg and was I glad. If yous ever have any extra money or stamps, please send them as I sure could use either one.

How did Ray’s cast turn out? Fine I hope. Is he home yet?

Tell Sweetipie to be at the Union station on July the 2nd and I’ll give her a piggy back all the way home.

Don’t worry about me as I’m having lots of fun and getting along well. Tell Ted to write and give me his address as I’d like to write to him.

You say Bessie say Halifax is a lovely place, well I’ll tell you everything there is.

Halifax

Somewhere near Halifax
Wilderness brush and sand
Where breeze and poison may be sought
Are found on water and land

You can’t go to the movies
The town is far away
You start to drill at daybreak
And drill to close of day

God could have worked another day
And spent it here quite well
I guess he felt a place like this
To show us part of Hell

The sand here is ten feet deep
The sun is scorching hot
The call it the eastern passage
The place the lord forgot

—-

I got your cigs to-day and was I ever glad, I sure did need them. The address on this letter is my new address, so don’t forget to write it instead of the other one or I won’t get any mail at all.

If you or Dad or Bin have any spare cigs, stamps, or money please send them I sure can use them. This is Saturday afternoon, our day off. Right now I am just lying in bed writing this letter, I guess I’ll write till I run out of stamps and that won’t be very long as I only got two stamps left.

:.

Hello Bin,

Well how is the big sister and all the rest? Where is all those cigs and parcels you  were supposed to send me – still waiting. Tell Jean Howie I was asking about her and all the rest. The carb you sent me won’t do any good because we’re all C.B. for 21 days because of Scarlet Fever, 6 guys have gone out of the hut with it.

Well that’s it for to-day.

Lots of love to
Mom xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Dad xxxxxxxx
You xxxxxxx
Marg xxxxxxxxxxx

[Shannan’s Note – Some Googling suggests that Gord’s Halifax poem is in fact an original. As mentioned earlier, Gord’s views during this time were all his own, so please don’t take offense if there are any local Halifax folks reading…]

March 22nd, 1943

March 22nd, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Just a few lines to let yous know that I don’t feel too bad. I went to the M.O. this morning and he gave me nine pills to take all at once so I took them and I’ve been running to the toilet all day, but it’s not too bad. I got excused duty, all I’ve been doing is sleeping all day and is it nice, I have to go back at 7 o’clock to-night, I hope he don’t give me any more pills.

I’ll be home about 8 o’clock on Fri night, maybe early, I don’t know for sure so tell Bin to buy a couple of films so we can take pictures.

It’s a real summer day here to-day, sun shining. We’ll soon be able to wear our short pants that will be lots of fun

Well I can’t think of anything else to say except write soon.

Your son,
Major.

P.S. If I don’t soon get promoted to a General I’ll quit.

:.

Well, here is another day. I didn’t have any stamps yesterday so I borrowed two today so I’ll send it now. If you have any stamps and change send it please. I feel lots better to-day

General.

P.S.
I got my promotion.

Amy and Edward

[Shannan’s note – The picture above is of Gord’s parents, Amy and Edward (nicknamed Bucka), year unknown. Amy was born in 1902 in Peterborough and was the oldest of 5 kids. Edward was born in 1897 in Tweed and was the oldest boy in a family of 7 kids. He and Amy married in 1921 in Peterborough. Edward was a Chauffeur at the time, and they went on to have 5 children. Edward passed away in 1955 and Amy lived, beloved by her family, for another 20 years.]