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Letter, January 11, 1918

Camp Logan Houston Tex. %Hq co. 129 Inf.

Jan 11 - 1918 -

My dear Cecil

Well I rec. your letter and pictures yesterday and just to show you how much I appreciate them all - am going to write you first even if I have 6 letters that came before yours that must be answered soon. Both pictures surprised me for I am not going to flatter, but you certainly have made a wonderfull improvement since I've seen you. But I do like the one of just the head best, your mother may like the other one best, but I can't say I do. I am glad I got the other one tho as it shows all of you and I don't believe either you are nearly so fleshy as when I saw you last. It makes you look much better I think. But you dont look sick in the bust picture at all.

Well just to show you how much time I have to write - I started letter yesterday and before I got this line thru I have had to leave it.

I never seen any thing like it before. And seems it keeps getting harder all the time for us. We drill most all day with a few hours off for our schools and have to study at night to keep up with our school work.

Today is Sat. and we have had our inspection. Instead of having gun inspection on Sun. morning. I guess we will have it this afternoon. You can hardly find time to do anything for our selves and as for going into Houston of an evening - I haven't done that for over a month. I go thru Houston on Sun. afternoon on my way to Alvin to see Uncle, Aunt & cousins. I get to go there most every Sun. afternoon. Train leaves Houston about 1 o'clock and gets to Alvin a little after 2. And I come back about 9 in evening. gives me a very good after noon and evening with them.

Well Cecil - I can't say I do know when I will leave Houston. I may leave for France awfully soon - yet if I stay with the orginazation I am now in - I expect never to see France.

If there is a chance to get out of the 33 Division, I sure am going to do it. At present I will be very lucky if I get to go. Am really not counting much on it. If I stay here I think I will be reduced to private and placed into another Dept. It would be the Inteligence Dept. It is deciphering codes - secret service work. Map drawing and rec. messages and learning French at present. It would be a promotion to me even tho I were reduced in rank to get it. There are some very smart men in the dept. but my map work and being a good telegraph operator I guess is the cause of the change - altho at present I am not real sure what will be done.

I know there is no chance for advancement here and in that dept. one was sent to officers training camp and I suppose if I could hit the ball hard enough I could get promoted at some time in the future, no one knows tho how far in the future tho.

I have my big map almost complete. It covers over 12 square miles - shows all the roads - fences - bridges, streams, main buildings all of camp Logan - West end of Houston, all the railroads that come out this way and shows where the telegraph, telephone and high power cable lines run, street car line, and which is woods and which is farm lands.

It is this piece of work that will cause my down fall, if it does come.

Well I've been told snow has never been seen here for 23 years now but yesterday morning the ground was covered with snow and it is still about the same way. The sun shines bright, but has no warmth. The air has an awfully sting to it. so noticable because a day or so ago we drilled in shirt sleeves & summer underwear. It has been pretty near zero - the last two days. I got a pair of sheepskin pr of shoes with the wool on inside - I slept in them last night and my feet kept just as warm and nice.

They were one of my Xmas presents from Quincy. I got two red cross packages - 1 knit sweater & pr of socks. a couple boxes of candy, stationary, handkerchiefs, 1 big towel and 3 wash clothes and numerous other little articles that came in red cross packages.

Well are you not glad you are not working at a place like Proutys? I think you are at one of the nicest places of business in Danville.

I am glad to hear that Carl W. is doing so well there. And about Esther Berry, some people don't like her - but I think Esther is a pretty good kid and she always treated me fine. But I thot she was married. Just lately. She sure was a jolly girl when I was with that bunch one spring. Her sister was living then.

How does George & Orphie seem to be getting along together.

I rec. letter from mother and I guess she is not feeling at all well from what she said and I don't imagine she is feeling the last bit better than she tells me.

Well we have been thru gas instructions and if you are interested in it ask mother to see the letter I described it in. I am sending one little picture, not very good, but will send more later. I sure am willing to trade pictures with you any time you want to do it. We are now going to stand gun inspection. Please write again when you can and I will answer as soon as possible if here -

I am as ever yours -

Paul B.

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January 1918