(1939-09-20) Letters - September
Details for Letters - September
Summary: Gavin and Katie correspond to keep in touch as his time away from service gets harder to find.
Date: Mid to Late September 1939
Location: Her home, his barracks

To My Sweetest Friend Katie,

I am a bit nervous as I write this in all honesty, I've not exactly been wholly apt at written correspondence so I hope that you will forgive any brevity. I write this in my bunk, Hutcherson's foot is hanging down and swinging like a pendulum that I can keep time to. I've been reading Agatha Christie's Appointment with Death. The Boys think it's a bad thing to read, but I'm enjoying the book quite a lot. They have been pestering me about this girl I'm writing to. I've made it clear that I'm not lucky enough to call you my girl, but so very lucky to call you a good friend. They would still like to see a picture of you. They don't believe that you're the same Land Girl at Green Park. Bunch of idiots, my band of brothers. Speaking of brothers I hope Jack is well. Give him my best. To your mother and father as well. I close my eyes and inhale and I can almost replace the scent of Hutcherson's foot fungus with newspaper saturated in oil and batter. I hope things with Antsy Pants … I kid… I hope things with Xander are going well. He's lucky in so many ways it's hard to not be a bit jealous. Our Leaves have grown a bit further between but I hope that we can see each other when the next one comes up. I will let you know when something is in the works. Maybe we all can go for that drive to the cliffs or maybe a visit to Limehouse for some crispy nazi duck again. Everything else I could talk about, I'm not supposed to talk about. So I suppose we'll end things here.

I look forward to your letter,

My darling Gavin,

(show that to your band of brothers!)

I was going to enclose a scented sash for you to hang from Hutcherson's foot, but I wasn't positive what might improve or, better yet, overpower such a thing. Do tell me if you have any suggestions, and I shall do my best in the next letter. Is the book very good? Perhaps I should read some Agatha Christie. Xander is very keen on reading, but I never seem to have enough time to do so for pleasure. I've enclosed a photograph and Mum said I could send along to you. We spent a Sunday at the seaside, early in the summer, and Da had just gotten his new camera. They're a touch blurry, I think this was one of the better ones. (Katie and Jack by a lump of sand with aspirations to be a castle one day. Katie is mostly hidden by the sand, but her bare shoulder and the strap of her bathing suit can be seen, along with her brightly smiling face.) I will try and get you a better picture, but this should do for now. Everyone in the family sends their best back to you, and we pray for your safety every night.

Things are good with Xander. He comes by when he can, and he's finally met Mum and Da properly. Da isn't overly keen on him, but he's not told Xander to leave and never come back, so that's promising.

We're very happy that it's quiet in the city, and everybody is hopeful that this means the expected trouble won't happen after all. Da does rooftop watch twice a week, and Jack usually goes to sit with him. With rationing started, things have picked up again at the chippy. And it does people good to get out into the world and not sit at home worrying about everything. Whenever I start to worry I just remember that we have brave men like you looking after us, and things don't feel so frightening. Mum would like to send along a pudding next time I write. Would that be allowed? She doesn't want to get you into any sort of trouble. Please write as soon as you're able.

Your dear friend,

(When the next letter comes it's got the picture she sent is in the envelope wrapped in a piece of paper itself with a note.)

Give a guy a heart attack! Had to play keep away with the guys over it. Let Xander have this one. I'll wait for the one with you and your mum. Two pretty ladies for the price of one!

Dear Troublemaker,

You make me wish I was a less honorable guy. I wish I was able to keep that picture, but I can only imagine what Antsy Pants would feel if he found out I was looking up at his girl in a bathing suit at night. You really are going to start making me jealous if you keep proving what a catch I missed.

I've got some Agatha Christie books. They just weigh down my trunk and shelves here at the barracks. I would happily bring them to you when next I can. I would like them to go to someone interested in reading them. Not them getting packed away into some locker if we should ship out. With Rationing going on I bet the shop is getting lots of business. The Lord above knows that I would kill a hundred Nazis to get to you and that shop right now. Our meals are mush and some processed meat in a can from America. I'd rather be eating Haggis!

Hutcherson has stopped danging his foot down. Mostly because I've taken to writing inappropriate things on the bottom of his foot and then stabbing him with the nib of my pen. So if this letter in the ink has a peculiar smell, I apologize and will buy myself a new pen and reserve this one for Hutch. For the pudding, have it sent to Major Simon Moore. He's the acquisitions officer and a friend, he's the owner of the car we enjoyed around London the last time we met. If say a bottle of bourbon comes along with it for him, the pudding will most certainly make it our way. Thank her for me for the thoughtfulness.

Again my best to the Hind Family,
~ Gavin

Dear Gavin,

I'll have you know that picture was Mum approved! But Da likes that you were so honorable to send it back. He promised to take a proper picture this week and have the pictures made at the chemist. I should have a nice shot of Mum and me to send you next time. I will give the picture to XANDER though, it's thoughtful of you to suggest.

I will hold your books for safe keeping until the war is over, surely it won't be long. They will be safe and sound and we'll be able to discuss them at great length over fish and chips in the park.

A lovely woman came into the chippy the other day, said her name was Sydney Cole and she's a singer. She's in an opera right now, and I might get to hear her sing at a club where she performs. But you should keep an eye out, maybe she'll be playing some of the shows for the men in uniform. I've not heard her sing so I can't recommend that, but she was a very nice woman. She seemed a bit upset about Jack's hearing, but said she makes her living with music so I can't blame her for that.

We also had a pilot from Biggin Hill in this week, and he and I were talking about Jack as well. He said that maybe drums or even a piano, if our Jack had his hand on them, he'd be able to feel the vibrations of the music. He, the pilot, said he plays piano and might come down to the secondary school with us sometime, as they have a piano.

Your tip about your Major Moore has been duly noted, and I will do everything I can to insure that the package from Mum gets through to you. I will also add a note thanking him for the use of his automobile, and perhaps that will help as well.

All here send their best and you're in my thoughts often. Stay safe.

Until next time,

Sweet Little Katie,

I could really use a bender right now, of course one that lands me in Hind's care at the Chippy. Word about heavy losses are starting to get back to us here and it makes me feel like a race horse in the starting gate. I've never felt so conflicted. The war's not reached us in London, yet. I know when it does I'll be needed here. Knowing I'll be defending you, your family, my Mum, when the time comes is the only thing that keeps me from going mad. If as you pray (and I do too of course) happens and the War doesn't come here, what good have I done? I patrol empty blacked out streets. I sit here in my bunk and read and write you and Mum letters. I want to do something though, I want to help my friends and brothers that might not have died if I was at their shoulder.

I'm sorry Katie, just feeling a bit grim right now and I can't express these things to Mum or my mates. So I hope you do not mind that I share them with you. I've let Major Moore know that my little library should be shipped to you if anything should happen.

I've not heard of Sydney Cole. Maybe we can dredge me up a girl and the four of us could go to this night club and cut a rug. That would go a lot easier on the petrol for the car. The bar fight the Major and I got into only gives favors for so long, especially now with Petrol on ration.

The thing about music and Jack makes sense. He should come along with too, maybe find a girl for him too. What a wild pack we will be.

Miss your face.

When the return letter comes it's part of a package, originally addressed to Major Simon Moore. Hopefully everything gets to Gavin, except for the bottle of bourbon she managed to get her father buy and a short note that went with it, thanking the Major for use of his auto. There's also a rather large apple crumble, a whole pan that hopefully will share out to Gavin's brothers in arms. Also enclosed is a new picture, of Katie and her mother, smiling their familiar wide smiles at the camera.

Dearest Soldier Boy,

You sound so much like Xander. What you are doing is very important. Everything done toward the war effort is. There are no little jobs right now. I wish I could look into your eyes and say that, so you would know how very much I believe it. And don't ever be sorry. You can talk to me about anything in the world.

I think it would be great fun to all go out together. My friend Prudence is currently between blokes, maybe you and she would hit it off? I can introduce you sometime, she's a very nice girl.

I don't have anything else interesting that's happened, which I suppose is a good thing. No news is good news, aye? I'll close here for now, but remind you that you're thought of often. Be safe, and don't miss my face any more.

Missing your face too,


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