Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dumbarton October 1945: Post-War Penpals, pt 4

Sketch of ThistleThis is a transcript of a letter sent to my aunt from Dumbarton, Scotland on October 11, 1945. The original letter is in my possession. In the interest of security, should the author be living, this transcript may have certain details omitted. If you were the author or were involved in pen friends from this area please comment or email.

[street omitted]

Dear Bobbie,

I was glad to receive your letter about half an hour ago. I have sent two letters to you, one which contained snapshots of Dumbarton, I wonder if you received it. I sent also some newspapers wrapped round some white heather, and I hope you received them. If you did not receive any of these could you please write and tell me.

I am glad to hear that your football team won. Our football team (No1, I mean, for there are three teams) added two more shields and one silver cup to their collection of prizes. They now have eight shields and three cups.

You said you take Algebra, I wonder if you could prove this identity:- 2 [square] + 2 [triangle] + 8 L + 2 [dot] + 2 C + 2 I = 1 sniff. I will send the proof over in my next letter if you do not manage it. Hugh [name omitted] and I were at the Rialto on Saturday night when we saw Joan Leslie in "Hollywood Canteen". We thought it was a splendid film. We are going to-night to see "Don Chicago" in the "Picture House." Dumbarton has four cinemas:- The Picture House - The Rialto - The Regal and the La Scala. The first is the classiest place of the mob. We go to the Baths on a Thursday evening and swim about like a fish.

The strikes in your country must be a very formidable obstacle for the government to overcome. There are a few strikes over here but, thank heaven not on a large scale. Strikes are all right in modification(sic), but once they assume the proportions of those in your country, they pulverize the constitution. Over here the Trade Union officials draw up an Agenda and get in touch with the local M.P. who promptly gets it before Commons. I suppose they do something of the same manner in your country but it does not always meet with success. Oh and by the by could you please tell me what S.W.A.S.K. means. I am afraid that one is a little out of my vocabulary, I know:- France, Italy, Holland, S.W.A.L.K. - S.W.A.K., S.W.A.H. and A.V.O. but I am sorry to say, not that one. Our time was put back one hour on Sunday morning bringing us back to G.M.T.. Just now it gets dark at 1800 hrs. Our school unlike yours (I think) starts at 09:10 A.M. finishes at 12:15 for dinner and resumes again at 13:25 hrs. to finish for the day at 16:20. This may be the cause of the fact that Scotland has the highest standard of education in the world, bar none! We get stacks of homework to do and sometimes we are in all night doing it. Saturday night is the only night on which we do not do any home work. We paint the town red with blue paint. We used to go in the car but since it has got dark very quickly this year we leave that to a Sunday afternoon. Basketball or net-ball is another great sport in our school. We have a crack team in which Hugh [name omitted] and I play. We have not been beaten once and we have played boys and girls. We usually score about 30 goals with the other team about 15. There is not carrying whatsoever and as soon as the ball is caught it is thrown. I do most of the scoring being on the left wing but Hugh keeps me well supplied with passes. We have got to the stage where no one will accept the challenges we send out. And I forgot to mention that in the letter with the snapshot was a photo of my self. I hope you received it for I have not got another one. Well I'll be signing off now so Cheery biscuit and I hope to hear from you soon.

I remain

P.S. Please send a photo as soon as possible. G
[tiny hand-sketched thistle flower]
P.P.S. Please tell [undecipherable] to write soon.

G.M.T. - Greenwich Meridian Time
Football - Soccer
Many of the initials can be Googled; there are too many to interpret them all here.

Links to sites with more information about items mentioned in the letter:

Hollywood Canteen (IMDb - He probably meant Joan Crawford who is in the movie, instead of Joan Leslie who is not.)
The Scottish Parliament (official government website)
Don Chicago (IMDb)
Labor strikes of 1945 (McNair Paper Number 50 [A. Gropman, author])

Link to posts in the series:

Personal History: Post-War Penpals, pt1
Dumbarton July 1945: Post-War Penpals, pt 2
Bradford Sept. 1945: Post-War Penpals, pt3
Dumbarton Nov 1945: Post-Was Penpals, pt 5
Bradford Dec 1945: Post-War Penpals, pt 6


Scribbit said...

Love the letters by installment. Great idea for posts!

Daisy said...

Fascinating! My husband has been researching his family tree and has found photos of his ancestors. he's loving the process as much as the results.