Jack Bridges now and then. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Jack Bridges now and then. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Guest column: A letter from home

By Jack Bridges

My dad was born in 1897 in Ontario. Canada had a population of about three and a half million and Toronto about 50,000. The grand banks of Newfoundland were full of cod, but they are gone. The three eastern provinces were full of large trees but they are gone. Ontario did most of the manufacturing but China does it now. The prairies had a million Buffalo, but they are gone and B.C. had lots of salmon and large fir trees, but they are almost all gone and this has all happened in one generation.

My dad had a Grade 3 education and then left home at nine years to live with a harness maker and learn a trade. My dad got married in 1907 and I was born in 1923. In 1939 the war started and I tried to get into my hometown regiment [the Perth] but couldn’t pass the eye exam. However, I memorized the eye chart and joined the RCR regiment in 1941. I later went to chemical warfare in Ottawa but didn’t like it and ended up in the artillery.

The time came to leave for England. Should I tell Dad and let him worry? He was old. Should I see him again, or would I come back? I decided not to tell him and I ended up with the 4th Canadian armoured division. One day when we were in Holland I received a letter. I didn’t know who it was from but it turned out to be from my dad. I didn’t know he could write.

Dear Jack,

Why you no tell the dad you go way far from home if the dad nowd you go he like to have little talk to you bout girls, now Jack there good girls and bad ones and the bad ones can make you plenty sick so the mudder and I hopes you goes with good unes ETC.

At 22 years old in the middle of a war in Holland, my dad solved the mystery of the birds and the bees for me. I dried my eyes, picked up my bren gun and carried on a much wiser boy.

 

A photo of a photo of Jack Bridges from his time in the army. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

A photo of a photo of Jack Bridges from his time in the army. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Just Posted

This tractor was stolen from Providence Farm near Duncan between May 6 and 7, 2021. (Submitted)
Tractor stolen from Cowichan’s Providence Farm

John Deere X300 model was swiped between May 6 and 7

The organizers of the annual 39 days of July festival hope to return to live shows in Charles Hoey Park this year, like in this photo taken in 2019, but audiences at the show may be limited to 50 people due to health protocols. (File photo)
39 Days of July hoping for outdoor events in Duncan this summer

Annual music festival will run from June 25 to Aug. 2 this year

Cowichan Valley WildSafeBC coordinator Amanda Crowston teaches a Grade 5/6 class at Ecole Cobble Hill last fall. (Submitted)
The bears are back in town and so is WildSafeBC

The bears are back in town so keep an eye out, reminds… Continue reading

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Bus link between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley expected by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in Regional District of Nanaimo budget

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered on remote road near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

Vancouver court on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Defence lawyers call foul as Crown counsel granted access to COVID-19 vaccines

Defence attorneys are pushing the province to extend inoculation access to workers in courtrooms across B.C.

A Nanaimo RCMP officer is recovering after his patrol car was hit by another vehicle at an intersection on Monday, May 10. (Photo courtesy Julia Rose)
RCMP vehicle broad-sided in Nanaimo intersection crash

Police officer recovering at home following collision Monday

A partnership is looking to identify skeletal remains that were discovered by recreational divers in the Gorge Waterway this February. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Divers find partial human skull in Victoria’s Gorge Waterway

B.C. Coroner Service determines remains likely historical, not ancestral

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Indigenous leaders are calling for an investigation into the conduct of Mounties on Vancouver Island after two police shootings of members of a small First Nations community in three months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Indigenous leaders call for clarity, investigation into RCMP after B.C. shooting

The RCMP declined to comment on the requests by Indigenous leaders

Colleen Price, Vancouver Island University’s bachelor of science in nursing program chairperson, says she is impressed with how students have persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Next generation of B.C. nurses already showing resilience

University program head says learning had to be adjusted amidst pandemic

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old B.C. bike rider already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

Most Read