Alliford Bay, B.C.
Dear Mom and Dad --
Just received your letter mailed on the 20th. How long did my first letter take to get to you? What do you think of it? I thought it was pretty good for my first letter in years. You write that it must be a grand life we are living. Well, it is as far as health goes but a lot of us would like to see a real city. A lot of them say they will run and stroke the first street car they see when they do get back. I don't think Jim would like it here because he is used to tearing around so large a place as London. You say Jim considers this posting a bad break for me, but it is considered the best station on the West Coast.
I don't know if I told you or not, but I received a letter from Jim when I received your first letters. I have also received a card since. In his letter he says he received a letter from Aunt Reta on Oct. 14th that was posted Oct. 5th. That's fast mail, isn't it?
Jim sympathizes with me, being away up here, but I like it. There is a fellow in the same office as Jim who was stationed up here before he went overseas. He claimed that all he did was exist from leave to the next. I don't think he could have been very active. Jim told me to assign some pay home before the crap games get it, but there isn't much of that here. He writes that he is starting 9 days leave which he intended to spend in Scotland but due to a cold, he is going to Penzance on a travel warrant and from there to Lands End. He mentions trying to get down to Tunis. I am not just sure where that is. He wonders what you think of having a son on either side of the globe. His post-card is a picture of a very nice place, a coast town, photographed from a hill. On it is the name Downlong, Newlyn, but he writes that he is at Penzance and Torquay. He says it is very warm there, even the ocean was warm enough to swim in but rough. About the only time we get into the water is when we are wading crew, in rubber suits, or if we fall in. The other night, five boys on night shift were in a motor-boat going to work on an aircraft moored in the bay, and a gust of wind whipped the boat around, depositing the boys in the briny.
So Dad thought we took a risk in Prince Rupert. I suppose we did, but had he been there he would have done the same, I bet, rather than acquire a charge against a clean record to start a new station with. I laughed when I read that you thought it was an imposition to put us in the kitchen. Mom, nothing is an imposition in the R.C.A.F.. One is supposed to consider it an honour to even be in this branch and do willingly any job assigned to you. (That's how the N.C.O.'s tell it.) Only the other day a few of us dug a ditch an shoveled gravel to level up a mud-hole behind #2 hangar. Being used to shovel, it didn't bother me, but some complained of blisters and sore backs the next day. Every time, I get out my writing kit, I get out the pictures of the cottage that I have with me and remember what good times we used to have there.
I am glad to hear that your bowling is improving. It is really a fine recreation. We have 2 alleys here but they are not yet completed.
Dad must look swell in his new outfit. How about a picture?
Surprised to hear there is snow there. Snow is hard to think about, it being so nice here most of the time. We have rain and sunshine on and off just about every day. Today was one of the better days, sun all day.
There are papers coming to the "Y", and to the library from all over the world almost. We get the Polish Review, New York papers, London papers, and papers from various places on this coast.
The "boxes" sound good. By all means, get Aunt Reta a gift from Jim & myself, just as we used to do.
It will be nice to get those pictures you took. The one you sent of Jim was swell. He is looking well. Never before have I wanted anything so much as I want a camera now, but unfortunately they are not allowed on the station. There are innumerable opportunities for wonderful snaps of the dogs and the doe rubbing noses, of sunrises, of sunsets, of the aircraft, of the mountains, snow-capped, and the forest. Also I should like to photograph the coast at low & at high tide. At high tide the dock is only 2 or 3 feet above the water and at low tide it stands 25 feet above the water. Most of the dock is in sections and floats up and down with the tide.
Too bad about that deposit box key. I don't think I ever saw it.
I wonder why Lillian & Margaret want to know about the Indian girls. Anyway, I was referring to them. They have lots of money, wear very fine clothes, and some of the men have late model cars which are shipped from Vancouver. Some of them have been known to make as much as $8,000.00 in one week from fishing. At Skidegate Mission, they have very nice homes. In the hostess club they have for dances, there are very few white girls.
I'm glad to hear that Jim has seen Jack in England.
It is queer having a rifle and all the equipment of a soldier, being an airman. I am an average marksman. You say I was scared when I fell in the water, well, I was in so fast and scrambled up the dock so fast that I did not have time to be scared. I have been soaked once since that time. I was detailed to the wading crew the other day so I went and put on a rubber suit. These suits allow us to walk into the water with the wheels we attach to the hull of the flying boats in order to bring them up into the hangars. It takes three men to attach one wheel and we have to go in right up to our necks. Only our face sticks out of our wader suits. Well, I don't know how I did it, but something must have caught my leg and caused a leak in my suit so by the time the aircraft was ready to haul out, I had a little water in my pockets, so I had to go and change my clothes.
I think I shall get cleaned up now and go over to Queen Charlotte City tonight. The "Puffin" is bringing people to a show here, and so will make another trip and I can come back then. The chap in then next bunk works nights and he wants me to get a money order for him, and I want to get some raisins. I may stop in at the dance for a while, but they start pretty late and I don't want to miss the boat back. By the way, I found out that by going over there the night before my day off, I can get on a boat the following day that will take me out the channel to one of the logging camps. That way I could have 2 nights and a day away from the station which would be quite a change.
I just thought of something. Have you got my watch yet. When you send it, I wonder if Dad could get a 4" Crescent wrench, and send it too. It is a very handy thing to have for small work. I was issued with a tool kit, but there were a few deficiencies and they don't seem very concerned about it in stores. I have to go, so long for now