I thought of something tonight. Do you remember how we used to go ton the boat with Mum and Dad? It had been ages since it crossed my mind, until tonight when I found myself telling Charlie about it. I'm sorry he wasn't old enough to have all that fun with us, playing pirates and hunting for crabs -- and getting lost! One of the few times I'd ever seen Mum get really mad. When you come back we should all go together again, or have a real holiday and go up to visit with Mum's people. I haven't heard from any of them lately, though they never really paid us much attention after Mum died. Isn't that funny? I used to be so close with Margaret and Jenny. I guess they've got their own troubles like the rest of us.
I might as well get to the bad news right off. Charlie went up to the old house on Windsor Street today. I don't know if it was the first time. Probably just the first time he got caught. He says he went up because of Mum, but I think it was because of Dad. I think things are fuzzy in his head. You know what I mean. When you get older, you don't remember things they way they really were. I'm worried about what would happen if he tries to talk to Dad, and I'm worried he'll give in and call that Murphy woman Mum. There's not much I could do to stop him is there? Maybe if you have a chance you can write him, but I don't know what you could say.
I know I say it every time, but you'd be so surprised by how much older he looks. Most of the baby fat is gone and the freckles are going too. I've got to stop myself from going out there and looking at him while he sleeps. I just can't get over it.
Everyone seems to be coming home but you. Ralphie Wentzell is back. So is Roger Kelley (not his brothers) and Freddy MacInnes. Freddy lost his leg and his mother and father don't know what to do with themselves other than drink and cry. You'll be home soon in the same condition we sent you away with. No more joking about getting something shot off.
Robbie Monroe is home, too. I don't think he's all right. I didn't know him before, but he doesn't seem anything like the brat everyone says he was. A little grumpy. I made the mistake in talking to him and he snapped at me. I shouldn't have. I won't make the mistake again.
Charlie is going to inhale the drapes one of these nights. He's as bad as you are! When you're back, we'll have to find a place so everyone has their own room. You'll have a pension so that will be good.
I wish I could sleep like you two do. I'm up half the night. It used to be not being able to sleep, but now I can't stay asleep. I shouldn't tell you this, knowing where you're probably sleeping.
I didn't forget about what you asked in your last letter about going to the prairies. It's awfully nice of your friend's mother to offer, but I'm going to stay here. It's hard enough keeping Charlie in school without having him getting it into his head to quit and go work on a ranch or a farm. He's so lazy at times, he'd never last a week and instead of going back to school he'll end up lying about his age to enlist. I don't think I could stand having both of you gone, even if Charlie has become a pain in my rear end. We'll be fine. Stop worrying about us when we're safe here back home, even if everyone is worried about German spies and zeppelins and U-boats in the harbour.
I'll write you again next week. I wish there was something I could send you, but you won't tell me what you want or need. Charlie says hello, and he will write next time.
I really miss you.
P.S. Does tea in bags taste different than regular tea?
YOU ARE READING
Shadows May FallHistorical Fiction
Winter, 1917. Dorothy never really thought that war would take her older brother, but like so many others before him, Ian enlisted and departed Canada in khaki, leaving Dorothy to care for the youngest Gaston, Charlie. The return of her employer's s...