Letter, July 12, 1918
[Letter on color stationery
of the American Y.M.C.A.
July 12 1918
My dear Mother & father
Well, just one year ago today I came home on a 3 day leave,
which happens to be the last Ive been home. Altho I passed thru
Danville and was in sight of home, yet it has been a year now
since I was really & truly at home. And that year has been such a
long one that army life seems the real, and home either a
wonderful dream or something that has been, I hardly know which. I
am sure I would enjoy home life again - even tho I am quite used
to army life in France. It sure is no joke, being a soldier over
here. A fellow gets tried in more ways than one. But I am very,
very thankful I am in the kind of infantry work I have been
studying so long in Camp. And believe me there is a world of it we
know nothing about yet. so you can imagine how busy we are trying
to get next to all the real methods used is so short a time. And
we are doing remarkably well - considering. We are sure put up
against many difficulties - as regards us personaly. At times we
have to eat most anything and sleep most any way. And again we are
quartered in fairly good places and our mess comes better. So it
is a mixing of the good and the bad that keeps us employed; first
in one way then in another.
The last few days has been very rainy making our work rather
We are real sporty soldiers at times - wear wrap leggings -
and I have a very good moustache now and have carved me a
beautiful cane - small stick and the handle is a curved one but of
a knarled piece of wood and sure is pretty. I polished it with
bacon grease and a brick bat. well you may laugh but it is as fine
a piece of work as you will see in a show window.
I haven't moved from where I was when I wrote the last letter
of July 4 - about the longest I've been in one place here in the
last month or more.
Well some think we will be home by Xmas. I wish I could fool
myself into believing that too. For it sure would be nice to spend
Xmas at home. But as I said in my other letter, I am afraid the
Jerries are too thick headed to learn their lesson by that time.
Strange as it may seem - I have not been out with any of the
young ladies of France yet. But the Fact is - I cant see the good
time with a woman I cant make understand anything I say to her.
I got a letter from Pearl Smith today. she says her Bro Sid
that I met in Alvin is now over here. I sure hope I get to see
him. But not much chance.
Jove but I will be glad when I rec the first letter of yours
- stating that you have rec. at least one of my letters. It puts
you rather in the dark just writing and wondering if you will ever
rec. it. makes me think of a little girl writing to Santa Clause.
The letter is real enough - but you are very much in doubt if it
will ever get there. How are all the Friends at class. Was glad to
hear of Sr Lopp & Mary. How are Sr Roughton & Mr. & Mrs Fulton. I
sure would like to see Sr. Fulton again.
Pearl said that Aunt Laura was some what worried about not
hearing from me. I expect Pearl thinks by this time Ive gone back
on her, for my first letter to her was returned to me and I dont
know how long it will be before she hears from me.
I dont know but that some of our mail has gone down on some
of the return boats. I sure was sorry to learn the Big old Boat
that brought us across just went to the bottom.
Have you seen Maude lately. I dont know what you people think
of the letters I write back - but I have a hunch some of them
sound rather queer. Well I have been over here some time and yet
have no money. When we do get paid I ought to have some to send
home for I have 25 francs lent out and a couple months pay more
than due now. I paid 40 cents for a pair of shoe strings. Are you
& father getting along comfortable yet? I wonder how high prices
on things are becoming over there. I dont need money here as eats
are all we need and you cant buy that for there is none to sell -
so I therefore dont need money. Well tell all that ask that I am
fit as can be - let my bros. & srs. know how I am for I write to
you about all I can write so there is no use repeating it to them
and paper is hard to get and just so many envelopes issued. Well -
wishing I was where I was a year ago today. I will close - with
all my love for pop & mom - I am as ever the baby of the Family -
Cpl. Paul B Hendrickson