Jan. 29th, 1943
Roper Road, White Rock
My Dear Jim,
I am very worried about you as we haven't had a line from you for a month and this is the first time that has happened since you joined up. We only hope it is because you simply have been so busy that you haven't had time to write even a line and not because something really serious is the matter, either in the line of your work or any thing else. Please write as often as you possibly can as we are so far away from each other and it takes so long for the letters to come and go that one imagines all sorts of things may be wrong. I write usually once a week to each of you boys while you are away and I wish you would all do the same in reply. If you haven't received any mail from me - it isn't because I haven't written, but that it must be held up somewhere.
We had a terrible cold spell here, the worst they have had in 40 years so everyone says. There was a regular epidemic of frozen pipes and plumbing. The temperature was below zero with an east wind. Cloverdale went down to 10 below one morning. White Rock had about three inches of snow but other places had from 16 to 18 inches and the wind piled it up in drifts six feet high! The Trans Canada train got stalled in a drift near Abbotsford and was there for over twelve hours before they could get it dug out. Seattle was all tied up; busses etc. and all war industries had to closed down practically all up and down the Pacific Coast. Your Dad was home most of last week on account of it. He is back again this week though. We only had our one water pipe to the kitchen frozen on only one morning and lucky for us, your Dad was home so soon got it thawed out, then he wrapped all the pipes in old sacks so we never had any more trouble: but some people are still without water on account of burst pipes! To make things worse, there is a fuel shortage all over this continent. We have been fortunate so far in being able to obtain supplies before we have been right out - but don't know whether we will be lucky this time or not, our sawdust is practically done and no further supplies in sight as yet.
The cold spell is seemingly over now for which we are all very thankful, and I think today will see the last of the snow disappear, it is thawing fast at present.
Had a letter from Stan. He has finished his course - which he passed, so now is an A1 Motor Mechanic. He is back at Shilo, Man. and they have had very cold weather down there also, and he said one day he froze himself in six different places. His ears, nose, chin. etc. He has also had a bad case of trench mouth so has been getting medical and dental treatment for it. He must have picked up a germ somewhere when he was at a lunch counter or some such place. He says they are going to put his teeth in shape with fillings - etc. as soon as he is OK. again. Has had to eat all his meals separate from the rest of the fellows he says - as if he were on exhibit or something, but that is so they can sterilize all his dishes and keep it from spreading.
Now Jim, please write and let us know how you are getting along. We are wondering if you have been in difficulties with your flying. Well if you are, please don't take it so to heart. Because if you can't excel in one thing, there is always somewhere you can fit into, each one of us has his place in the pattern of history if we can only find it. Some of us just keep house and cook three meals a day which certainly is most monotonous, but by so doing perhaps we make it possible for someone else to accomplish something more worth while, so don't feel downhearted if things are not going just as you hoped they would. We really are quite worried about you and as I said before, we are so far apart one's imagination sort of runs riot at times! However, I trust fully in my boys and I know that God will take care of you and things are sure to come out right in the end.
Next week the show "Mrs. Minniver" is coming to White Rock, so your Dad and I plan to go and see it as you recommended us to if it ever came to town. It has been a long time coming here. We haven't been to a picture show for several months as I would rather stay home than sit through something I am not interested in. I think the last I saw was "Charlie's Aunt" featuring Jack Benny and we simply rolled with laughter over it, ridiculously funny we thought and thoroughly enjoyed it!
I was quite sick for about 10 days with a terrible cold but am on the mend now, haven't been out except to ‘Bloom's' once in the last two weeks. Burt came home last weekend and he had a very heavy cold, certainly hope he didn't get his feet wet last week when it was so wet and sloppy underfoot, or it will be worse. He expects to come home again next weekend. He is still at Boeing and got another raise in pay. He is getting 55c an hour now and 8 1/2c cost of living bonus or 63 1/2 c an hour. Of course there are considerable deductions off this for income tax, etc. Anything over $600.00 a year for a single man is taxed, then there is Unemployment Insurance, etc. and other deductions. He is paying $35.00 a month for board and room, his laundry is extra, and as he had practically nothing in the way of clothes when he started, has had to buy a lot. Then his transportation amounts to quite a bit daily. When he has finished paying all his expenses, he has not got a great deal left to spend on amusements or to save. Things are considerably higher in cost than when you left.
When your Dad first started over at the airport they were working 10 hours a day, but when it began to be so dark in the mornings, they cut it down to an 8 hour day. Then too, they are only allowed to work so many hours a week: in this case - 40 hours, so that means he gets $40.00 a week when they put in full time. He too has to pay deductions for Workmen's Compensation Board (he gets his lunch over there, a good hot dinner for 45c daily) has transportation to pay, etc. But this along with the Pension makes our monthly income around $200.00, roughly speaking. I hardly think he will have to pay income tax, on account of Margaret being partially dependent on us and because grandpa is wholly dependent on us. So this should make our exemptions up to $2000.00 per annum and the Pension - no matter how much, is all exempt. So our exemptions including the Pension, amount to $2600.00 per annum, so I don't expect we will ever make that much money in a year, we are pretty sure of being exempt.
We had a long letter from Uncle Bert and Aunt Ethel in Brighton saying how much they had enjoyed having you visit with then and hoped you would come again. I haven't answered their letter yet, but must do so right away now: one of these days.
The work is supposed to be finished at the airport in March, but your Dad doesn't seem to think it will be. At first when he was putting in a 10 hour day, he used to come home simply exhausted, used to eat his supper and go right to bed but now, it is not so tiring on an 8 hour day but even so, some nights he is pretty tired. Then too, he hadn't worked for so many years before, he was lucky to be able to stand it. Also, he had three weeks of absence while on the war loan-drive and a full month when he broke his hand: so perhaps all these breaks made it easier for him to stand the steady drive.