Feb 23rd. 1917.
R.R. No 2 Box 27
Dear Markle: -
I noticed your name among the wounded in the casualty list the other day and as I was curious to know whether you had an arm or a leg or your head blown off, I wrote to headquarters (e.g. Burnside) for information. Needless to say I was greatly relieved to find you had suffered from shell concussion only, and were back in the trenches.
Dorothy gave me, at my request, your address, so you see I am going to inflict a letter upon your unsuspecting self. I know that your only offence is that you were once a school mate of mine but that doesn't grant you immunity in this case.
Perhaps you know that we tried to see you at Camp Hughes last summer, but you successfully evaded all attempts. Once you were down town and the second time in quarantine (Was it measles or mumps, Markle?)
I see you are transferred from the 184th. I knew quite a few in it but none in the one you are in now. Three of our Second Class Normal boys, White, Reid, and Jarvis enlisted in the 184th. last winter.
How does trench life catch you? I guess you will have enough thrills and horrors to last a while, eh? I am sure you boys will have some great stories to tell when you get back.
I must tell you a little about “ego” that is me. I know you remember me as being pitifully shy, n'est-ce-pas? I suppose I am still, sometimes but I think school teaching has knocked a lot of the rough corners off. If it hadn't I wouldn't be writing to you now, would I?
I have a nice little school, eleven pupils, with the prospect of four more. I have one Grade IX. I have a dandy boarding place, two miles from the school. Of course that is quite a distance to drive myself when it 40 and 45 below, especially when there is a wind. I have only missed one day. Last Friday night we couldn't get home as a terrific blizzard was sweeping the prairie, so the six pupils and teacher went over to the house across the road and stayed till morning.
Of course this is a quiet district. You wouldn't blame an angel for playing cards or going to dances in Boyle. There is nothing else to do except snow shoe. Most of the people around have those and as I have a pair myself, we manage to see each other sometimes.
Will Hellis used to teach up in this country. I have passed his school several times but have never found any one who ever heard of him. He couldn't have made himself very notorious, could he? Poor Billy! He was in our class at Second Normal till family troubles caused him to drop out. Pretty little May Matheson used to teach in the next district to mine. No danger of people not hearing about May, though. I think she is out West now, but perhaps you know better than I.
Do you remember Fred Scott of Stoney Mt? I ran across him in my travels and he said he knew you. He apparently had no love for you - or me either as after the first week we couldn't agree at all, not even in our opinions of you.
I was sorry, though, to hear that he had given up his life last July, some where in France.
Do you ever think of the care free times in Sidney School? I guess L. E. G. impressed his lesson of patriotism upon the Sidney boys for they have certainly answered to the call, almost to a man. Sankey, Evan, John and Welly Gray, Tucker, and Sam McElrea are all doing their “bit”. Billy Turner was turned down on account of his age. Poor Gilbert Williams! I think he has fared the worst of any, as I dont fancy the lot of a prisoner of war can be very enviable.
We sent him a parcel and got a card from him on Christmas Day. I think it was our best Christmas present.
You remember Jean, dont you? The lassie with the merry eyes; the heroine of the song, “The Campbells are Coming”. She is teaching down South. I understand a gentleman of the district pays his attentions to her. Of course he has a car.
I understand I am to lose both my brother and sister. George is joining the benedicts and Eva is falling into that unhappy fate that awaits so many school teachers, namely a farmer's wife. Of course I am a confirmed old spinster, whether from choice or necessity I decline to say.
Say, this is a terribly long letter. I doubt if you have got this far. I will have to pay double postage, I fear. Dorothy says I may have to wait a while for an answer, but so long as it comes I dont mind.
I hope you will have the time and inclination to drop a few lines to
Your old school mate