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Letter, July 4, 1918

[Letter on color stationery of the American Y.M.C.A.

July 4 - 1918

Dear Mother & Father -

This is about as different a 4th of July as I've ever spent. Altho many things are different and as much different as the 4th is. I am in as good health as could be expected, really I feel about as fit as I ever did in my life and think I could do just about 3 times as much real labor in a given time as I could have done when I left home over a year ago. This work over here makes you hard - physically and in temperment too. You could not wish me in a better line of work than I am in - the farther I go the more convinced I am that it is the best line in infantry. And with that - the signal branch has the most responsibility of any - for as our instructors told us in our course of training - what can an army do with out communication - and that is just what our branch is - the source of communication. One of our instructors has been here over 3 years now. Thats rather a long time for one man to live over here in active service - but it is encouraging to know - he and many others have served that long and are in the same work as our platoon. Makes you feel, if he and others are doing it you have at least a chance of living that long.

I have been wondering if you have rec. any of my letters. I rec. a week or so ago your letters of May 30 and June 3. They came together - before that I rec 2 or 3 letters. Well I dont know just how long it is going to take us to teach the Jerries their lesson - as you know a german is thick headed and it may take longer than some of us may expect. I have not heard from Aunt Laura's - so I dont know where Hoyt is. But of course he was in Camp Travis. So Lucile C. is graduating this year. Is she a pretty nice looking girl now? By jove Cecil has made the bigest change for so short a time I ever saw take place in a girl. I'm so glad she writes to me - for she tells me quite a bit of the ones around there that I know and you dont know so well or at all, and seldom, if ever mention anything about. Tell her I sure do remember Rose Levin - she ask me about in her last letter. If I remember right I took Rose to a party one night before I started going with Maude. She seemed to be a very nice girl.

How are the King boys - Having a big time are they? They sure ought to be and I'd like to see them now. Mother you just ought to see some of the places I've slept in the last few weeks. You would never believe it if some one would tell you - seeing is believing. And yet I have no pets on me. I did my family washing today. as I had the chance to get soap & water so I got busy. I havent much to wash as a man that has to carry all his clothing - bedding - tent and eats - well he is not going to have any more of each than he absolutely has to have.

I got a letter from Ruth yesterday - She told me all about themselves. I guess she does not know I am over here - write and give her my address. I cant write to more than a very few. I wont be able to write to Ray Cunningham - altho I was glad to hear of him & Lee Smith & Russell C. And mother dont hesitate to write all you want to for you wont tire the cesnsors as they dont look at mail coming to us. It is not at all nessessary that they should. For you could hardly tell me anything that Jerry does not know about - that is anything that would do him the least bit of good. So that way they never waste the time on mail coming to us. Dont send me anything but letters as nothing else will get here. And tell Ruth when you write to her not to send me the box of candy as I will never get it if she does.

Well mother I am very glad I did not get married before coming over here. With my insurance for you and daddy I have nothing at all to worry me. I sure am glad to hear you and daddy are feeling as well as can be expected - age considered. We covered over 30 miles in two days marching with full packs (of about 85 lbs) with a very little to eat the full length of time - and the evening of the seconday when we pulled in I sure felt older than daddy ever did I believe. Could hardly move for a few hours.

This is July 5 - I wish I could tell you about the Ill. boys yesterday - I know it would be very interesting for you to know. The boys mentioned are part of our division. Ive been in a few avaition fields - have never been up yet. Well mom - everybody that may ask about me - tell them that I am all K.O. and would like to see them, for I don't know anyone in the states I would not like to see. So it's save to tell them that.

I do hope guy gets into avaition repair work - for that is good work - only danger is Jerry bombing you. and that is so seldom that it is hardly worthy of note. I will close. hoping you get some of my letters at least and are in best of health both of you. Your loving son

Paul Hendrickson, Hdq co, 129 Inf. via New York A.E.F.

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July 1918