Topic: 6 May 1941: To Hazel from John Glen McCauley

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In which John writes Hazel about their siblings Quita and Rae, Unc's retirement, Muv's operation, his Katikati property and insurance, a fruit cake, Andy's involvement in his father's furniture business and the lack of news from friends Harold Morey, Trevor Bellringer and Westie.

C/o N.Z. House

415 The Strand

LONDON W.C.2.

6 May 1941

Dear Haze & Andy,

Thanks for your 2 letters Jan & March – arrived today. I’ll reply now but not post for some days as I’ve written Muv and Auntie and they may all link. Well, I was interested to hear of Quit – her boyfriend – the little devil – she says little of which I’m glad really.

It was news of Unc’s retirement too – it should enable him to care for his health in the winter now and apparently bowling gives him the ideal summer relaxation. Muv’s health is something I’ve worried about rather for sometime and it is satisfying to know that again she seems to be on the mend – I imagine the operation, while unpleasant of course, was not of a serious nature. I’ve passed the information on to her sister and hope for a reply concerning their own welfare before posting this so you can communicate to Muv – they’ve had it rather thick of late but of course they live well out.

I knew Gordon was keen on joining up but it's news that he should have to resign the Police – it seems odd. Thanks for news regarding Rig, Vera, Clarkie and Betty – I seldom hear anything otherwise. I thought Rae may have been on her way to Aussie by now – she should see she has a spot of cash behind her first though – it is essential – the more so being a girl – I’ll be pleased if Muv has been able to pay that little amount towards her for that reason – I know too that Rae isn’t worrying by any means – its just that I think she could probably make use of it now – furthermore I do like to square things up if I can.

That reminds me I’ve told Muv -  folk to get in touch with you on any matter concerning K.K. [Katikati] as it’s a bit worrying after so long and I guess I’ll need a place to discreetly crawl into when I return. Body sure is a blighter and I hope the whole thing is not worrying Muv too much. Your suggestion of help hadn’t been forgotten thanks, but I’ll be surprised if we need it.

By the way I always forget to inquire after my insurance – will you just check up sometime that it’s being attended to or in order – as many of these things just occur to me at odd intervals because after 3½ years so far from the pulse of everything one is apt to lose touch.

You talk of tools – what do you think of ours, 10/-, whew! So Andy has knocked the fuss and fume from you has he – well he’s sure done a job of work – I really didn’t think anyone would fire you completely, so good enough; it’ll make you enjoy life a lot more.

Would we like a fruit cake – sure we would Haze but the risk of its going down, I mean in the sea, is very great, although no greater than if it arrives. Should you decide let it be small so such a loss wouldn’t be great. One can neither buy cake nor the ingredients here.

Now your 2nd letter: You seem to have your share of holidays – no such thing here – everyone works all the time. Haze do I take it that Muv has received a long typed letter from me – your suggestion of the £20 rather indicates such – I sent 2 off at intervals to minimize chance of loss – I hope you got one as it had numerous instructions.

Time so quickly slips by. It certainly would be better if Rae were left alone other than for mere interested – she is the type who will listen to advice but never be influenced by it – a sympathetic listener well knowing she won’t act upon it – I don’t blame her – its a pity though that she often wastes time allowing others to try and guide her – she should go to Aussie if she can afford it in my opinion, but then of course I’m right now contradicting myself. The fact that she is a bad correspondent is, if anything a virtue.

No, I don’t agree with you on it's being natural for Quit to be just a little pleased about her looks – she did nothing to gain them – its a pity she should detract from more important things because she is conscious of her face – for her sake endeavour to make her see that way – she sure is a nice looking urchin though.

For your own thoughts don’t be so concerned about who or what you’re like – I refer to Auntie Evyleen’s talk to you – be like yourself – forget all this – mind you I’m not commenting on physical likeness – that again is just fortune or misfortune – I’m not saying you're not like anyone in particular, but, Haze, try to be less interested in it – you’ll have more time for other things OK?

Quit’s lack of experience in an office is a question I’m too far away to criticise other than say that to me its trivial – unless she’s going to follow a profession is a different matter – if not than the degree of difference is hardly noticeable except for a congenial point of view. She just wants to go on learning, endeavour to be proficient and not worry – things will right themselves for what she wants. I can quite imagine Unc being a little difficult to deal with though – it’s natural of course – like with most things and people, the less they understand it’s more difficult to reason with.

Well now for the big news and it is big – Andy is often in his father’s business – it clearly indicates the difference they have in mind about Quit’s lack of training experience and one which concerns a career. To me it is a Heluva good opportunity and I reckon Andy’ll make it. Its certainly a big step up from chemistry but the one deciding factor is this – did Andy take on chemistry because of a love of the subject and all it means or did he merely do it as something worthwhile which could be happy in and at the same time exploit financially – if the former, than he’s not going to like furniture – if the latter than he’s eventually going to find no great difference because the fundamental which concerns him is the commercial aspect that’s the same in any business. All I say is good luck to you both – it’s certainly a good chance and you appear to have landed with both feet hard on the ground. Mr Anderson is very good hearted indeed, because although it’s a natural interest to have a son, he had no need to be quite so big minded about it. I’ll look forward to seeing Andy stuck well into it by the time I hit N. Z. made anyway.

I’m sorry Andy’s eyes are as bad as the specialist says – that’s bad luck, but after all its not so important provided the health in general is ok, and that is so. I can well imagine you’ll be glad to be out of the bank again and at home – actually it’s impossible to do both.

Thanks for your life story as you call it – I’m always pleased to know what and how you’re all going. In return we have nothing to offer, except me of work, war, air raids and dullness in general – however we live in hopes of a return to what is usual, although no-one else would call it such normal life, within a couple of years.

I was surprised to learn Bill’s colour blindness. It's a thing which has never before made me realise one can apparently be colour blind and yet have excellent knowledge in colour matching in clothes – funny that. I’m still jogging along in the RAF rather expecting to go overseas anytime. I find this work not good for one’s health and would like a change, but I guess I’ll just have to do what I’m told and go where I’m sent.

There was the Lodge installation last Friday and I was supposed to go. It was the first time that the meeting has fallen on Anzac Day since its inauguration 10 years ago so I would very much like to have been there – up till the last minute I hoped to make it too.

The fella may add a few lines to this – she’s a better letter writer than I so I’ll take it down tomorrow as I go on 24 hours pass. I’ve never heard from Harold Morey or Trev Bellringer since they went – Lord knows what happened to Harold – I think he went into the RAMC. Westie too hasn’t written for months but I guess he hasn’t had time – he’ll have been in Abyssinia or Eritrea I think.

Well Haze and Andy I’ll finish now and get the fella to add a little – all the best to you both with love.

John [handwritten].

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6 May 1941: To Hazel from John Glen McCauley


Year:1941