Vietnam Letters #36

Postmark 23rd March, 1970

James St
Berridale, 2628
Monday 23rd March

Dear Jock,

Thank you for your letter I received on Friday as it didn’t take so long in getting here. So glad that you are OK. We are all pretty OK here. I suppose you will be looking forward to your few days rest. Hope you enjoy it. It will be good to have a few showers and a swim I guess after the jungle life.

They seem to be very unsettled in “Cambodia”. I hope they don’t draw Australia in there. Have you seen anything of John G? I suppose he will soon be coming home on leave. I haven’t heard anything of them for a while at “Fairfield”. It is very like rain here to-day. I lit my copper but don’t know weather to wash or not yet. We have had a few thunder storms but father said it’s still dry at Statefield. All the old grass has dried off now. Yes it is getting quite cool mornings and evenings. We had a fire last night and this morning. The boys seem to be getting along OK. We took them to a Hat Parade for the Guides on Saturday and Bubbie got a prize. He was Jack and Jill with a small plastic bucket on his head and Sandra put some pictures on it for him. The other two were in it but they didn’t do any good. We took Veronica with us and she wore Richard’s hat because he wouldn’t and got a prize so they shared it and she was very thrilled his was an Easter Bunnie and Easter Eggs. It is hard to believe that Easter is so near and that it’s twleve months since we went over to “Melbourne”. Don’t suppose we will go anywhere this Easter.

The new Land Rover has arrived and is in business. They have gone to the river today. Was a terrific storm over there last Thursday while we were there and put the power off. Pat has finished the painting of the house so it should be alright for a while now. Bert took himself to Sydney or Newcastle for a few days last week. He came home this morning. Rang yesterday for someone to meet him this morning. So Sandy went while father went to look at some trap. He was sober for a change but perhaps the funds ran out and he had been sick but no wonder he was pretty stupid. When he left everything was in a terrible mess. I worked all day Friday cleaning up. He had Mick J. there the weekend before drinking all the time and before that a McGaffie chap like himself. So you can imagine what it was like and dogs all starving and after the sheep, anyway we got everything in order a bit, don’t know how loong it will last it would break your heart to see it all don’t think anyone has decided to buy yet. I suppose they are hoping to get it for a song. I must close now and get this posted.

Lots of love from us all and best wishes for Easter. Hope next one will be better and everyone will be home.

Love from Mother.

Postmark 24th March, 1970

Barry Jamieson
Mary St
Berridale, 2628
New South Wales

Dear Jock,

How are you going? I am well and hope you are the same. No, sorry to say, I am not a worker yet; I am still bludging away at school. No jobs were available before the end of holidays, so I went back to school. It gives me the shits but I think I can stick with it a while longer. It means a lot of hard work, but it makes me better off in the long run.

I had some fun in the holidays after you left. Up at Perisher in the week after you left I had a real wild old time. A couple of my friends were up there as labourers for the bricklayer. Phillip Rye still had the old car going so we thrashed her about a bit. We went down to the “Man” at night for a few beers and had some wild burns in the old car. Once we come back from Chalet Pass to Perisher in 7 minutes.

The next week I got the big “A” (arse). Apparently I was bludging too much, but as a good excuse to give me the bullet, they told my father everything that went on. Had a good cushy job for a while at the golf culb. They had a tractor which pulled a header along to cut the grass with. I had to drive alongside in the truck and catch the grass coming out of the chute on the header. Good money, $5 per day, $10 for the two days I did up there. Nearly tipped Ray Pendagast off the tractor too. I got the front mudguard caught on the rear tractor wheel and nearly tipped him over. Dad sold the truck later for 1, 000 bucks.

Sandy had a hard time getting rid of Mr. Cullen. His stay was a total of 7 or 8 weeks, about 4 after you left.

Got the shearing done; finished within the first 3 days of 1970. I was wool classer, skirter, sweeperupperer, fire fighter, presser, everything except shear and pick up and throw the fleeces on the table.

I don’t think I’ll take the army when I leave school, but I am considering the Air Force at the moment.

I suppose you must stink like a polecat without a wash for three weeks. Are you killing the little bastards? Sandra and the kids arrived back in Berridale last week.

I got a good pass in the exams, 3 Advanced Passes, which are the second highest. These was alright for me. It’s a pity I didn’t leave school, but I had only “advisory power” so to speak.

I suppose I had better be going now. Kill as many of the black bastards as you can if they try it on you and watch out for them; I hear they are sneaky little shits. Arrive home safe, whenever you are coming, and don’t get hurt.

Yours sincerely,

George.

P.S. You can tell the army to stick the free smokes, I won’t be joining them.

Postmark 25th March, 1970

James St
Berridale
NSW, 2628
(Tues) 24-3-70

My Dearest Jock,

I guess that you would probably be at the rest centre right now, but by the time you receive this you will be back in the jungle again. Please be very careful Darling and don’t take any foolish chances, as I couldn’t bear anything to happen to you, for I love you very, very much.

I think I will change my name to Dorothy Dix, as I received a real Dorothy Dix letter from Shirley to-day. The poor kid seems terribly mixed up and has asked my advice on what to do. She wrote 13 pages explaining about how she is mixed up with 2 boys and isn’t sure which one she really loves and they have both asked her to marry them. One boy is Ken whom she has been going with for 11 months and now Phillip who was her boyfriend in primary school, has come back to Dubbo, he and his family shifted away from Dubbo about five years ago and they have been writing to one and other ever since. And I really gather by her letter that she really does love Phillip but does not want to hurt Ken. She didn’t say that but I gathered that, by reading between the lines, as they say. So now I will have to think of what to tell her, I know what I want to say to her but I’m not sure how to put it into words. I think that she should tell both of them that she thinks that she is too young to get married yet, which will give her a little more time to really decide. One thing she wrote in her letter really pleased me and that was – (Mum is absolutely fantastic to me now, we might have a few blues now and then, but that is expected from any mother and daughter, but otherwise now I couldn’t wish for a better mother.) – I was and am very pleased about that. She also asked how you are and when you should be home.

I heard on the news the other night that John Gorton will be considering to withdraw some troops from Vietnam and if he does, it will mean that after the 6th Battalion come back in May, they won’t send any more over to replace them. I also received a letter from Mum and Dad to-day and they will be here for lunch on Friday (Good Friday) and then they’ll go out to Jeanette’s. They said to give you their love.

I also received an endowment cheque to-day which means that I will be able to pay the pathologist’s bill and get the $1.35 deduction, and will cost me $12.05 instead of $13.40. Another thing I received in to-day’s mail was the registration for the car which is $52.15 and which is due on April 2nd.

Well I must close for now my love, hoping this finds you well and full of love for me as I am for you,

Yours always,

Sandra.

xxxxxxxxxx.

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