Jan 4th, 1944
Here I am at last, the reason that I waited so long is because I was busy with my final exams here. Which I might say I passed with a mark around 75 as near as I can find out.
Now I want to thank every one at home for your presents. They arrived a couple of days before I left for Aunt Lida's and were in good shape. The next thing that you will want to know is how I made out at Aunt Lida's.
To start with this time I did not have any walking to other than to catch the bus. Just before I caught the bus I mailed the pictures that were the morning of the 23rd. I had not been able to get them until the night of the 22nd. Then I had to take them back to camp and pack them. The reason that I doubled up on them was because I was not able to get hold of any more packing.
The bus left Kingston at 10:30 AM and arrived at Watertown [NY] at 2 PM. So after a short walk I finally arrived at about 2:30 which was not so bad.
Aunt Lida was sure glad to see me again and did her best to make me feel at home. Just the same I would rather have been arriving home (who know I might be able to make it. One of these days), but even at that I was lucky to have some place to go. There were several in camp that I know of that stuck around camp for the holiday.
The afternoon of the 24th I went shopping with Roger for some things that Aunt Lida wanted.
After supper I went and got Uncle John's car that he had left at the service station to have the oil changed. When I got back we all went up to Leorah's for a while, we stayed until about 9:30 when we went home as Roger had to go to bed. We did not go to mid-night mass but went the next morning at 10. The house is only about four houses from the church.
The afternoon of Christmas day Aunt Lida and I caught the bus for Messina to go and see the bunch there.
We arrived about 9 that night. The two of us nearly started a riot when we walked in (we had not let then know we were coming). To make a long story short everyone near had a fit when Aunt Lida told them who I was. Everyone was trying to talk at once I think the loudest was Uncle Fred. It was some time before everything was brought back to order.
Then Aunt Mary started to get us something to eat. We sat around the table until about 10:30 when Freda and Bobe took charge and rushed me out the door and over to Mary & Harry's. When we arrived there we had to wait while Harry got ready to go (I still didn't know where we were going) he was ready about 11:15 so we started and ended up at a dance about 11:30. As you know my dancing is not so good but I got around OK until 2 when the dance closed.
Then we headed back to Uncle Fred's for some thing to eat arriving about 2:30. Well we raided the ice box and eat just about everything in sight that went on until 4:15 when Mary & Harry went home and we went to bed. The next morning we were up at 10, had breakfast and went to 11 o'clock mass.
After mass Freda & Bobe and their two children went to Bobe's home for dinner, that left me with the "Loneys".
Morgan was not able to get home for Christmas. He is in [the] Navy, has been for over a year and is doing fine.
We had dinner about 1 and caught the 3 o'clock train back to Watertown.
Now I think that I should bawl Dad out for not letting me know more about the relations down this way.
The thing is that I could have gone to visit them but I didn't know where they were.
When I was in Hamilton I could have gone to see Freda and Bobe as they were in Buffalo until the middle of Sept. For that matter I could have gone to see Uncle Fred in Messina easier than Aunt Lida.
Dad, you should write a little more often or maybe they should.
Well I had a grand time and hope that I can get back again but I don't think that I will be able to as I will be leaving here this week or the first of next week.
You asked if I had a key to the shed, I have some place but I don't seem to be able to find it. I may have lost it.
The scarf you mentioned would not be of much use as I have the issue one that I have not worn as yet.
This New Year's eve for me was very uneventful as I went to a show in camp and went to bed about 10:30.
The day was also uneventful the only thing that happened was we had a turkey dinner. That was one meal where we were well fed in fact we had more than could eat. To give you an idea what we had I am sending along the menu that they had on the table.
I am all finished here now and we are doing fatigues now just to keep us of mischief until we leave. Yesterday they tried to get me to shovel coal but I was too lazy so I told the sergeant that my arm would not take the work and he believed me much to my surprise. Today they caught up with me and had me scrubbing floors all day.
Your letter with the money order arrived safely many thanks.
A letter from you arrived yesterday and one from dad today.
One of you asked in one of your letters what C.O.C.T.C. stood for, it is Canadian Ordinance Corp Training Camp.
As far as I know I will be back in Halifax within the next week or two. I know that I am going back there from here, we were told the other day.
The first thing that I am going to do when I get there is try to get my furlough. This time I hope that I get it so I may be home by the end of the month.
The weather here lately has not been bad at all in fact it is almost good. The lowest the thermometer has been for nearly a week is around 10 above, usually around 20-30 above. At Christmas it was quite warm in fact so warm that we had rain on the 27th. If was 25 below the morning I left for Aunt Lida's and got warmer every day until the 27. On the 28th it froze again and has stayed that way ever since.
They turned the lights out before I finished last night.
Today they have got me working in the kitchen but I am setting the tables not washing the dishes.
There is no work as yet as to when we move. The catch is that we have to wait for a movement order from Halifax as soon as that come in we will be on our way.
It is too bad that Les & I are going to miss one another, it would be swell if we could get together for a while.
From your letters I take it that everyone at home had a good Christmas & New Years. Sure hope that I am home next year because I sure missed everyone this year.
Now before I forget I must thank Audrey for her letter and present and also say that I will try to get around to write her.
I almost forgot to say that the letter reached me in Watertown and was very welcome, thanks everyone.
Gram sent me a pair of socks and "B" sent a pair of mitts or was it the other way around, I don't remember. It doesn't matter anyway they are both handy. The mitts were put to use as soon as I got them.
Well Mom I am going to bring this book to a close as I think that I covered just about everything.
Give my love to all, I am still hoping to get home after I get back to Halifax.
PS Shirl's letter also arrived safely will see what I can do about writing her.