May 23rd, 1943

May 23rd, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Well I got your box and letter today and it was real nice. I’ve never seen so much fruit since I worked at D.B. and they sent the fruit to Daddy. Well I got three letters and your box so it will take me all afternoon to answer them. If you send another box I’d like a mixture. I haven’t tasted a good chocolate bar since I left. But when you get this letter and then get a box ready and send it, I’ll be getting ready to come home I hope.

I’m glad Ray’s leg is getting along. Tell him and Pork they have swell sweat shirts with our crest on them and when pay day comes I’ll get them. I’ll send my watch too so when you get it open it carefully.

Ever since I come here I’ve been trying to get on the ball team and I finally made it and we won the first game I played. We go out for a workout this afternoon and play again on Monday. Its lots of fun. I’ve even taken up boxing, it’s pretty rough but I like it.

Well I have to go and play baseball, workout but I’ll be back. Well here I am, boy am I hot but it was lots of fun. I wear my shorts and puttees quite a bit now and I’m getting a real nice tan. What’s it like in Toronto?

Have you forgot that favour I asked you a while ago, remember the pictures? Tell Sweetipie to get ready for that piggyback because it won’t be long now till I will be getting off the train at good old Union. I can hardly wait, I am going to have fun. When I get home I will be a real soldier, not like Eddy or Kirk because you have to have your advance before you can call yourself a soldier. You have to have your Mars badge, that’s the arrow on your arm and as soon as I am through here I get mine.

Just think, in about 22 more days I’ll be ready to get on the train headed for Toronto. Well I can’t think of anything else to say except I hope you write soon.

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

[Shannan note – Puttees are a strip of cloth wound to cover the lower half of the leg. The internet tells me they were worm much more in WWI than WWII, but it’s possible that there was some carryover in Gord’s years.

From my research, a Mars Badge (see below) is a badge sewn to arm of the uniform of overseas servicemen]

mars_badge_khaki

Sources:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puttee, http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=90046.0, 

May 19th, 1943

May 19th, 1943

Dear Mom  + Dad

Just a few lines to let you know I got you letter. I got lots to tell you so I’ll start now. On Monday our whole Bty. went to a funeral. Two fellows in our Bty. drowned so they held a funeral for them before they went home to their parents. It was a real nice funeral. I marched in it for about a quarter of a mile.  They had a big band, and seven rifles. When they took them out of the army trucks, they fired three volleys, 21 shots over their caskets. They had all soldiers lined up on each side of the road at attention while we marched past.

The next day we went out on a route march and had to cook our own dinner. We were supposed to be gone just for the morning but the truck was late bringing out our dinner, so we started to dig in the sand for clams and got a lot of them. Then he formed us up in five to a group and we had to build our own fire and boil our own clams. Well when they were done I ate three and that was enough so I went and laid down on the sand and went to sleep. You should see my sunburn, is it ever sore.  Well about 2:30 the truck came with our eats, raw steak, potatoes, and onions. Well I cooked mine, at least I think I did. It tasted alright then I went back to sleep. We got back to camp at five to five, just in time for supper but I was so tired I didn’t go, but it sure was fun. I’d like to do it every day.

You can tell Marg all this if you want because I ain’t going to write to her till she answers my 4letters I wrote over the weekend.

Now comes the best news, like H—. One of the fellows in our hut got Scarlet fever today and we’re CB right in our hut, can’t go to the canteen and we even have to eat at different hours. Last night I bought a ticket to go and get my picture taken like the one you got in the frame, the big one. I was going to send it to Marg, but now I can’t go for ten days then after that I only got 18 more days to go before I’m through.

Tell Sweetipie I dream of her every night. Does she still play hooky from school? Tell her I won’t give her that piggy back if she does and it won’t be very long now (I hope). Tell Ray I’m glad he got his cast off and to take care of himself. I bet he would like to see this place. The only thing is it’s too darn far from home, good old Toronto.

I’m pretty proud of my moustache.  I’m going to grow one all the time. It’s real good when you go on a route march when you get hot and sweating all you have to do is put your tongue on it and there’s some water on it from washing in the morning.

I’ll bet Marg looks swell in her new suit. I wish she would send me a picture. I’ve forgotten what she looks like.

Gosh my arm is getting tired from writing. My boy friend’s girlfriend just wrote to him to-day and said she was sorry for what she did and wants to know if he will forgive her. She wrote a line to me to, I’m doing pretty good.

Well this is the longest letter I’ve wrote yet. I can’t think of anything else except write soon or sooner.

To the best mother in the world,
The East End Kid
Gord

May, 11th 1943

May, 11th 1943

Dear Mom + Dad,

This is the second air mail letter I’ve got from you, I don’t know what is wrong with the mail because I write every other night to you Marg + Edie. I’m sorry about Mothers Day, I’ll tell you what happened my boyfriend and I put our money together to telegraph you and his mother some flowers. We had $12 when we got downtown we couldn’t find the $10 and were left with only $2 boy were we mad, so we went and called for this guy we knew, and he went and got 4 girls that he knew and we went for a ride in his car. I had a nice time but these girls could sing and that got us lonesome, don’t tell Marg. If you have very many stamps you can send me some that’s about the only thing that I never have. I haven’t sent the watch yet because I have nothing to put it in but I’ll find something and send it so it will be fixed for when I get home.

Tell Sweetipie not to forget to be at the station that day I said I’d be home and I’ll carry her all the way home Marg too (like H- – -). I have forgotten what Toronto looks like, I’ll bet it is  nice there now. Demps came over at dinner time and asked me to go up to the post office with him so I went up and he got a nice big parcel so I help him eat it.  I hope Ray’s leg turns out alright let me know how it turns out and don’t forget that favour I asked you to do, those pictures. You should see my moustache I  have to clip it with the scissors now I think it looks alright, but Marg won’t like it  but I’ll keep it till I come home and I bet yous won’t know me when I get home. I’ll get off the train and walk right past yous and speak and you won’t know it’s me. I have been away over a month now, the longest I’ve ever been away. I would like to buy an engagement ring, what do you think, I hope you don’t mind.

Well that’s all I can think of for now.
Lots of love to the best mother in the world.
Gord.

———

Hello Dad,

Well, I don’t know about coming home with a strip because they are the hardest things to get, at least I think so. Well, I hope you get better pretty soon because I know how you like being home sick. Boy are my legs ever sore. I don’t know what’s wrong so I go to the MD and he says all I need it a bit of exercise, but we take P.T. every day.

I can’t talk about anything down here but they sure do make an awful lot of noise. The guy we got   down here that has the same job you had at Petawa sure has it easy, how do you get such a soft job?

Write again,
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…]

January 5th 1943

Necessary Disclaimer:

I have edited the letters for some spelling and grammar (only when it’s really necessary, extreme run on sentences, paragraph splits, etc.). Although last names have been withheld for privacy reasons, I have not imposed any edits on the content of the letters. Please remember that these letters were written in a very different time and place, and as such, some content and language may be offensive to some. To stay true to the history of the project, I have chosen to leave these instances intact, but I feel that it is important that I say that the views expressed in Gord’s letters are his, and do not reflect my personal opinion. 

Lastly, all written and photographic content of this blog belongs solely to me, its author, and may not be reproduced without my permission.

Questions? Please reach out to lettersfromtheoakwoodkid@gmail.com

-Shannan

:.

January 5th 1943 – Halifax N.S.

Dear Mom + Dad,

Well Mom, I got two letters here from you so I guess I better answer them before you come down and see what the hold-up is.

Yes we sure had a swell Xmas and I still don’t believe it. I’m glad to hear Sweetipie got lots. I don’t know what to buy for anyone. What should I get for Marg, has she mentioned anything she would like?

I hope Waugh comes down to see you all. He sure is a swell fellow one of the best. I will be glad when he gets back because it is awful lonely her all knew fellows. Do you remember Pat, the guy I used to bring down, well he was home on furlough and it was due on the 23rd so he stayed home for Xmas and was a.w.o.l. and he got 28 days detention.

I got Sweetipie’s picture alright and it was nice.

Tell the girls Waugh is pretty bashful so tell Bin to watch her swing shift and tell Marg to watch period.

I can’t think of much more to say for now so let me know what Marg would like.

Lots of Love
Gord
xxxxxxx
xxxxxxx

January 5th 1943