Snippets – Nearly Home

July 4, 1955

Dear Dad & Russ,

Well folks, all being well, I’ll be home NEXT MONTH!!! I suppose this thought has occurred to you too, but I just thought I’d put it down on paper ’cause it sure does look good, doesn’t it? Yes, here we are in July already and, according to my contract, this is a twelve-month posting. And July is the 11th month. And then – just NEXT MONTH!!

You know, when I think back on these past 11 months I just can’t for the life of me figure out where the time has gone. I suppose the fact that everything is so new and exciting and busy has made the time fly quickly, but even so, it just seems like last week I boarded the “Empress of Tokyo” bound for unknown adventures. A lot of water has certainly gone under that proverbial bridge since then!

Some of the Commission gang on the terrace, including the new steno and Errol Wyse (redhead in the loud shirt)

Some of the Commission gang on the terrace, including the new steno and Errol Wyse (redhead in the loud shirt)

Did I ever tell you about the letter I got from Cecile Fyen, our first steno, who is now with our Embassy in Paris? Cecile wanted me to try to get to Paris on July 14 to drive to Holland, Belgium, etc., with her and a gang from the Embassy!! Sure sounded good, but, of course, I had to say no. Sooo, just yesterday I got a letter from Cecile stating that if I can possibly arrange to come home near the end of September via France, I am included in a guest list at the home of the parents of a friend of hers. Follow me? The really “nice” thing about all this is that her friend’s parents have a chateau or something in “Nice” on the Cote d’Azur in southern France – French Riviera you know! Too bad both these invitations are either too early or too late, eh? Oh well, Cecile says that even if I can’t make either one of these dates, to come along to Paris anyways and she will have all sorts of sightseeing trips lined up for me. I shall probably spend four or five days in Paris, en route to Montreal. Paris, however, will be my only stop-over, you can rest assured!

Last week was pretty uneventful for a change. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, a whole bunch of us fellows were decorating City Hall for our Canada Day reception on Friday, July 1. We had a whale of a lot of fun, but unfortunately I took slightly ill on Thursday night and missed the big show itself! Now don’t get excited! When I said slightly ill that’s just what I mean. It was nothing but a little fever caused by a bug or something. It was all over on Saturday but the doctor suggested I just stay in bed till today, which I did. My appetite didn’t suffer at all, I’m glad to say – I ate like a horse!! The point is, however, I’m all better now and just rarin’ to get these next few weeks tucked away under my belt and be on my way back to Ottawa!

I’m glad you got a kick out of my Hong Kong effort. Of course, when I get home, I can elaborate a lot more about my trip to Hong Kong. It’s so darn tricky trying to express yourself on a piece of paper!

I still haven’t heard any definite date from Ottawa yet, but I’ve got my suitcases all dusted out and ready to roll at a moment’s notice. Not much longer now, I’m sure.

What David sent home with Sgt. Plourde
Check the declared purchase prices! (Click on the image for a larger view)

July 11, 1955

Well, folks, this won’t be a very long letter as I want to send it airmail.

For a long time now, I’ve been looking forward to the day when I can sit down at my typewriter and type the following four words: I AM COMING HOME.

And today is that day.

Yes, I’m coming home after nearly 11 months in Indochina. Now, I don’t know for sure, but this may all be “old news” to you two if External Affairs has already phoned you or something. However, old news or new news, it’s GOOD news!

In last week’s letter to you I mentioned my wee fever episode that took place on Canada Day weekend. The doctor didn’t tell me anything at the time, but, evidently, while examining me and my fever he discovered that I was just generally exhausted and in a wee bit of a run-down condition. Now, for goodness sake, please don’t go jumping to any wild conclusions. I am not in the least way sick at all, please believe me. I’m just plain and simply “run-down” and in need of a few weeks’ rest – IN CANADA.

[What David’s “little fever” turned out to be was dengue fever. A relatively mild case to be sure, but it precluded him from ever being a blood donor and reoccurred for a day or so every few years.]

The Indian Medical Officer has recommended my early repatriation to Canada and General Snow, who is Acting Commissioner, has informed Ottawa of this fact. So now it’s just a matter of waiting until Ottawa wires their “O.K.” and I’m on my merry way home! General opinion has it that I shouldn’t be in Indochina for more than two or three more weeks more at the most.

You know, all this has happened so suddenly that I can just hardly realize it. I really can’t. By this time next month, all being well, I should be sitting right in the living room of #6-574 Kirkwood Avenue, half a world away from me at the moment. I don’t think I shall realize that I’m actually coming home until I’m soaring across the Atlantic or maybe not even until I land in Ottawa! It just seems so fantastic that 11 months have slipped by already! Oh well, it’s been a fabulous 11 months and an experience I shall never, never forget – or regret – as long as I live.

Well, I shall close this letter and get it on its hasty little way to Ottawa via airmail.

Lots and lots of love – and please don’t be worrying about me,

Dave

Our Mister Nixon in a cyclo-pousse

Our Mister Nixon in a cyclo-pousse

Some of the gang in downtown Phnom Penh
Some of the gang in downtown Phnom Penh

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