September 1st, 1943

September 1st, 1943

Dear Mom & Dad,

Well I guess it’s time to write again. I’ve only had two letters since I got back but it’s my fault because I didn’t write sooner. Well only 11more days to go and will I be glad. Do we ever work, we are learning more in 3 weeks then I did in two months. I hope we get something out of it, we can’t be doing all this training just to be plain Gnrs.

Well how is everybody getting along? I guess they will all be going back to school by now. Are they ever lucky. This is a swell life as long as you keep moving, but once you stop…?

Well, Demps is gone. I met a fellow today that was with him and he said he was gone. I wished I was with him but I will be seeing him in January I hope. Waugh and I says that if they don’t send us we will just swim across. Waugh cut his finger yesterday really bad too, nearly cut it off. All they did was put a bandage on it and sent him back to work, that’s how important this course is.

How is Mill, June, and Teddie getting along? Do they still like in Toronto? I hope you have more than that ½ a pint in the ice box the next time I come home.

How is Marg, is she still working as hard as she never did? I’ll be glad to see her again, we will all have to get together again.

Don’t forget to send me Ted’s address and tell Bin to send him mine, and tell her to tell him I am near Franklin Park, he will know where that is, everybody knows where that is.
Well, I can’t think of anything else for now.

Will write soon, answer soon.
The East End Kid
Gord

[Shannan Note: some really exciting things over the last couple of weeks… the blog finally made its way to Gord’s kids! I knew they were out there, but some old attempts at contact went unanswered. I’ve always had a little bit of concern that when they eventually made their way to the blog, or I made contact, they wouldn’t be keen on the project. Thankfully my fears were just that, fears. The family is happy, engaged, and wanting to help fill in any blanks they can, and I’ve connected with family I didn’t even know I had! It’s given me that little push i needed to get through the craziness of late and refocus on the letters and my genealogy work… I’m getting some really incredible personal and family stories about Gord that are really helping to round out who he was, and it’s become quite clear that this young soldier we’ve started to get to know, asking often after his little sisters and longing for home, grew into a kind and wonderful man, and I feel even more privileged than ever to be able to help tell a little bit of his story.]

July 12th, 1943

July 12th, 1943

Dear  Mom + Dad,

Well Mom I just got two letters today from you and Dad and I got the one marked special and was I glad. That three bucks came in handy because I was broke and I didn’t have a cig to my name. The one fellow I was chumming around with got a carton of American cigs and do you think he would give you one, well I’m through with him now I got the money and he is broke so just wait until her asks me for something.

Well I’m still on draft and when I leave and get to my new camp I think I will get my furlough right away. I don’t mind waiting now because if I had of went home with Demps I would have had to come back the other day and I would have felt pretty bad.

I remember Art, the one you mentioned in your letter. I seen him quite a bit over at A (23), the reason he got his furlough is because he is going away, and Demps is too.

I’d like to be going with Bruce and Chuckie, I bet they will have a swell time. I hope Pork likes it where he is. I’ll write to him tonight. He should be down here, there is lots of water and it is easier swimming in salt water than fresh water.

I would like to have been at Davies when he met the gang, I sure would like to see them all again. Tell Miss Davies I was asking about her and tell her I’ll see them all pretty soon (I hope).

I haven’t got those snaps yet that you sent to the old address, I don’t know what is wrong with the mail. Sometimes I get them in two days and then sometimes a week. Are very many of them censored, if so is anything ever crossed out?

By the look of Marg’s picture (the one that Bin sent) I think she is a real swell looking girl and she looks as if she has changed too and I’m glad all of yous changed your mind about her. Remember when I first started going with her, yous didn’t think very much of her??

That three dollars came in real handy, so if you send me the odd dollar will be alright. I don’t expect to be home for at least a month so my next cheque will be the one to bring me home. Everybody should be home by then, it will be better anyway because everybody is away at camp now.

Will you do me a favour and buy Sweetipie a present for her birthday because I can’t see anything down here, except when I get home I’ll bring a few souvenirs with me. I’ll be ready waiting for that supper when I get home, and if you can get a brick of ice cream put  that on the menu too.

Well, I guess I’ll start to answer  the other letter now. I’m glad to hear Bob is okay. I hope to see him about January then I will try to take Daddy’s place. I’d like to see Big Ted again too. If I ever do well we will have fun just like the old days. And when I come home, I won’t forget the telegram because I want everybody there and we will have a time. We will walk all the way home just so I can have my feet on Ontario soil.

If you do happen to send me anything, would you send me a package of Craven A cigs? Mrs Davies sells them. I haven’t smoked one since I left Toronto.

Well that’s all for tonight, I will write again soon.
Lots of love to the best mother in the world.

PS: Tell Bin to hurry up and answer my letters.

for Sweetipie

June 13th, 1943

June 13th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad. ,

Well Mom I have been moved from Elkins Barracks. I’ve been here two days and it seems alright. I’m still with my boy friends, I guess we will always be together. I haven’t wrote sooner because I was broke and I still am but I’ll try to bum a  couple of stamps. I thought I was going to be with Ted for a while but it only lasted a week but I’ll be able to see him every other week I guess.

I don’t think I’ll be getting my furlough in July because I am only attached to this place and you have to wait until you’re posted and it takes a long time before you’re posted so I guess I will be home in August if I can hold out that long.

I got a reboard the other day and I went down to B2. Those pictures I sent to Marg, while I borrowed a guy’s dress uniform. I’ll send some in my summer dress uniform short pants. I’m not going to write to Marg until she sends me a picture, so tell her she better hurry up if she wants some mail.

By the time you get this letter, Demps should be home. Lucky guy. I wish I was 19 so I could go to. I’m going to try awful hard to get home on Sweetipie’s birthday but I suppose they will keep me here until about August, well they had better not.

Well I can’t think of anything else until I get a letter.
Lots of love to the best mom in the world.
Gord.

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