Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945

31 October 1941 to 6 November 1941

Friday, 31 October 1941. Halloween night and with money in our pockets many of the cadets went into town to celebrate but everywhere was crowded so our little group took a taxi to a roadhouse a few miles out. There we ate hamburgers and listened to the juke box which was a novelty to us.
Halloween is quite an event over here, especially for the children who dress up in fantastic costumes and call at houses for 'Halloween treats' - usually candy and fruit.

Sunday, 2 November 1941. A most enjoyable day spent as guests of Jack and Hazel Wolstenholme who invited us to lunch. This was a marvellous meal and in the afternoon Jimmy Forbes, Alec Flett and I were driven to the home of an old Scottish lady, Mrs Ford, who came to Canada in 1915 from Kilmarnock. She has retained her Scottish accent and was delighted to welcome three Scots from home; for tea there was a huge spread of home baking to which we managed to do justice but with difficulty after our large lunch.
The features of life here have already aroused my interest - at table the fork is used largely without the knife which is solely for cutting food. This habit I shall cultivate without difficulty but I shall never be able to dance American style or jitterbugging.

Wednesday, 5 November 1941. Written in the train having just passed Toronto and approaching the USA border.
We were told early on Monday that we were to leave Moncton the following day so we were anxious to say our farewells that evening. Everywhere we were given a hearty invitation to visit on our return to Moncton next Spring when we all hope to have our wings. Our Canadian money was changed into American dollars at the rate of $1.11 Canadian to $1.00 American and I entered the U.S.A. with 11 dollars but most of us are in similar straits.
Our train pulled out of Moncton at 7.30am Tuesday with 400 cadets on board for Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama. Our route was North through Quebec where we saw a vast expanse of timber country with occasional camps out in the wild; the grass which we saw seemed very parched and not until now in Ontario have we seen any greenery. After 12 hours travelling we saw the lights of Quebec city across the river but it was dark and wet so that soon we settled down for the night during which we passed Montreal. Then at 5.30am we were called for breakfast which was served on board while standing in Toronto station.

Thursday, 6 November 1941. The train sped along at a good rate through Ontario and we did one stretch of 130 miles in less than 2 hours. We reached Windsor soon after midday and the whole train was ferried across to Detroit where we changed trains and set foot on USA soil. Our new train was made up of Pennsylvania Railroad coaches running on the Wabash system to Fort Wayne, Indiana where we picked up two dining cars and a new engine. This took us to Cincinnati where we changed trains again into a Louisville-Nashville train which drove through the night in Kentucky and Tennesee across to Alabama this morning. The countryside has not been very exciting and indeed the whole trip has been disappointing from a scenic point of view.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

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