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Date: October 7th 1942


My Dear Little Sister

They tell me (no, this isn’t Claire Wallace – by the way, who put that dizzy dame on a national network – a helluva trick if you ask me – oh, you didn’t?), anyhoo they tell me you’re having a birthday – what one, of course I don’t know and I’m old enough to know better than to ask – but I guess you’re cooking along toward the interesting thirties, ‘cause I’m getting to be quite grown-up myself, you know.

You aren’t getting any uglier, to judge from the pictures Mom has sent – there’s one here with a pair of somebody’s brats that makes you look like a visiting movie star – it’s nice to see that you’re taking time out now from changing diapers to comb your hair and put in your teeth – you look quite chic, m’dear.  Seriously, I’m happy to you all looking so well and comfortable and I do like the way you do your hair – you don’t have to worry about birthdays for a long time, by the look of things.

I must be Frank – (ha, ha) – and admit that I didn’t remember your birthday all by myself – Mother reminded me, though I do remember these things, usually on the evening of the date they are due, as I did with Claire’s anniversary, wow! did I hear about that!  However, I understand it’s an old male custom, so why feel bad about it – funny thing, women never like to be reminded about time-markers like birthdays, yet give a guy the dickens if he forgets – what a way to function!  I figure on being quite an expert on feminine psychology when I finish a course I’m taking.  It started about 6 years ago and has about fifty more to run.

Well, anyway I did get around to writing to my distinguished – looking sister in time, and that’s the main thing, because I would have been really sorry to have missed it – because you’re not such a bad egg for a big sister, even if you did always come home drunk and wake me up and bring all sorts of your queer ducks around to clutter up the parlour (do you know I never got a quarter outa one of them?) and make me eat with a knife and fork instead of my much more expert fingers, even on week-days.  Your rigid training has certainly done me up fine – you should see me when I trot a filly out to the Bessborough supper dances – I sit there with all that silver on the table and go home with my pockets empty (and I ain’t kidding!).  So to a pretty good guy I want to say Happy Birthday and lots of ‘em – and may you always look as nice as you do now – and I promise to try and write again before Christmas, so I won’t say Merry Christmas too in this letter.

By the sound of things, from the letters I read and write, the Finn family is suffering from homesickness – I know I am, and nothing will please me more than to get back with all the folks in any old place, so long as it’s home.  A home is a priceless possession, but I never realized how much it meant to me until I had to leave it and do without it, and I guess I’ll go back to it when this is all over with a better idea of what it means and a resolve to help to make it the kind of place a home should be.  It must be tough on Mother to have her family bust up, and at her age it’s not easy to go to work and hustle about trying to fill up time and not miss the people you love too much.  She must miss Dad terribly – those two were as happy as any people under the sun.  But she is sure a sport – real old British – that’s our Mom.  But it’ll happen – one day, when the Finns will all gather ‘round the table again for a turkey dinner, and I’ll be seeing you.

And how are all the Cornwall Hindsons?  Particularly the loves of my life and the prides o’ me heart?  I see you have Beth in pigtails, she does look cute, and that Bob is the handsomest guy I’ve ever seen.  He will be the Alan Ladd of his day – I can see him pushing the dames around already.  It would appear that the kids have had a birthday – I’m sorry I missed that too – I haven’t much notion of when they are – but you can tell ‘em I’ll make it up to them at Christmastime.

You certainly have a lovely home - it is a perfect spot for one, and Cornwall is not exactly an ugly spot, is it?  If I remember correctly, that’s the place that has such a large girl-boy ratio because of Cortauld’s Mills, isn’t it?  Gordy should have a good time – say, can you tell me when the “Kenneth” now?  Has he been offered a title or something?

I like the white boards on the house, and that stone chimney, and especially that orchard sounds swell – I’ll bet our two jitterbugs get a kick out of that.  They are lucky they don’t have to live in Saskatchewan – there isn’t an apple in the joint, I’ll bet.  The weather is pretty mild right now – lovely in fact, but any day now it’ll get nasty – we’ve already had our first big snowfall – and the nights out here are always chilly, even in summer – you know, just like the Sahara.  However, things could be worse and it isn’t Alaska.  A guy can go to a show, and few of us imbibe in a bit of bowling and beer once in a couple of weeks, so life remains bearable.  I’m passing a lot of time in building a radio – with Kenneth Gordon acting as my Eastern Purchasing Agent – the stuff is unobtainable here.  It should be a dilly when it’s finished – if it works.

Time to turn in, sis, and to say solong till the next time, but I’ll say “Many Happy Returns” and “Good Luck” before I close, and a special “Hello” to Beth and Bob.

Lots of love to everybody,
yer brudder Eric

Original Scans

Original Scans