We continue our series of letters which the celebrated Alex Decoteau wrote to his sister after enlisting with the Canadian Army. This third letter was written in the summer of 1917, roughly nine months after the last one. By this time Alex was in France with the 49th Battalion.
July 2nd, 1917
My Dear Sister,
Just a few hundred lines to acknowledge your letter of 30th May, which I received a few days ago. I have been putting off my writing until a favorable opportunity presented itself, but I’m afraid I won’t have much leisure for some time to come.
I am quite well at present and hope to be for some time to come. This is a good healthy life, and all the boys are in the pink of condition. We have been getting just enough work to keep us in condition, plenty to eat and lots of sleep.
I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve had so much illness at home, Sis. I sincerely hope that the children are all well now. You certainly do seem to be unfortunate, in having the youngsters take sick one after another like that. I wish I had left a “sister” with you to help you look after the little ones.
You silly girl! to worry about Benny. He’ll never be taken from you. Not for this war anyhow. The whole show will be over before he’s of age, and then, I don’t think we’ll ever see another war after this one. I’m afraid that you’ve borrowed mothers habit of worrying. Cheer up girlie, we’ll all come through some how. Don’t cross your bridges before you come to them.
I’m sorry to hear of Gladys being forced out of work. I wish I could be of some assistance to her, but you know, I get barely enough to keep me in tobacco now. It’s the likes of “him” that conscription should apply to.
Jessie’s letter hasn’t reached me yet. It may have got lost. I think some of mine must have got lost too, because I’ve written more than one letter. I know that Julia hasn’t received some of mine yet. Goodness knows what happens to them because they are returned to the writer when he won’t pass them.
I’m glad to hear that mother is still well. I hope she isn’t worrying herself to death over her useless boy. I haven’t heard from her. If you see Grannie tell her that I saw her two grandsons, Jack and Gordon, Helen’s brothers. We are in the same unit. Gordon hasn’t been extra well. Of course you needn’t tell her that. The old lady can’t stand any extra worries you know. Jack seemed bright and cheery. Kindest regards to Grannie and Helen.
Remember me to Helena, Gladys and Effie. Tell them I’m writing them at next opportunity.
Oh! About that couch that George Moore wants, you may sell it to him at whatever price you think fit, and keep the money for yourself.
I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make any arrangements about my money before I left for England. So you’ll have to see to it yourself if “my number is called”. I have a little over $100.00 to my credit now.
Well sis. I shall have to close now and go to work. It may be some time before you hear from me again so don’t worry over my silence.
Many thanks for the snapshots. With love to the children. Kind regards to Dave. Hope he’s doing well. For yourself kindest wishes and love.
Your affectionate brother,
Stay tuned for Alex’s final correspondence to his sister, in September of 1917.