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Letter, October 4, 1918

[Letter on color stationery of the Y.M.C.A., Union Franco-Américaine.]

Oct 4th - 1918

Dear father & mother -

A few days ago I sent you a letter containing a money order. watch for it. I don't know if it is any good way sending money back or not. I have rec. no mail from you in the last week. I guess it is because of the great rush of more important matter than mail and more or less confusion for business is rushing just now for us. has been for a week or more. Well mom, if you love your boy over here as much as I think you do - the very fact that this evening I am well and able to write you ought to make you feel more than down right happy. I feel pretty blooming lucky just now to be alive. But its not over yet so there is still a chance I wont be so well off as I am now. Was sent to school some two hundred miles south of paris. was taken from our front lines and sent back. certainly was a beautiful trip. I saw so many large french cities. Was a very educational trip for me. Where the school was being conducted was a beautiful little city of a few thousands. met some charming young ladies there. And as I spent seven days there I was quite able to get acquainted. And then on my way back I spent two days in paris. There I sent you a letter. I started up in the trenches. I sure hope you rec. the letter all OK. I certainly enjoyed my stay in Paris. Jove I only wish I could go there again. I saw most of the real interesting places from the outside but never got to go in as my time was so limited. one of the beauties of the city in the uniformity of the buildings. no matter how large they are they are all of practicaly the same height; an a sure enough piece of art in them selves. The large building just cover more ground is all. Well I was gone fourteen days in all and when I returned it was just in time for the start. Yea Gods, what a start it was too. Never will I in this life or the one to come forget it. Rats in the fields on the other side could not live thru it, much less men. Their best had all they could do to bring us up to a halt and that was for a very short time. well things are wide awake yet, and while we are still going, I dont know how much longer we are going to keep it up. Well about my hair, it is long again. mustache is quite long now. I can curl it out at the ends now. Blooming hair tho seems to be thicker than ever now. just as dark as ever too. Had to laugh at Lenas remark. She sure has a good imagination. I know from what Aunt Laura said, that Claude was a mason and a very interested one. I sure will be glad when I can get where I can study it more than I have been able to up until now. In one of the southern cities I was interested to note the work of the lodge there. I meet bros. every where, and believe me they make you feel a brother too. some times in places where you are hard up against it, and every body is too busy to notice you, you all at once meet one who is willing to help you and give you the nessessary information, and why - he is a bro to you in the greatest sense of the word. Ive been thankfull more than once and have been helped by bros. a few times when I needed it bad. And believe me I am glad of every oppertunity to return favors for others just as needy as I was at times I was helped. Our band master is a brother a great number of the band also. one of them took the degrees with me in camp. Well mother I wish you would write a letter like you said you felt like you could in your Aug 7 letter. I dont care if it is important news or not, just so you write. It sure seems a long, long time between your letters. Yes mother I am glad I rec. the training I did in camp for my constitution is getting a drain now I don't believe it could have stood up under, had I not rec. the training of the past months.

Well before long I will be playing again a Holton trumpet like my own. Sure seems good to be back at it again. I sure was glad for the opportunity to get to band work again. I never loved music so much in my life as over here - a persons nature sure craves anything of a home like atmosphere, and having a higher nature than the blood and murder I've witnessed in the past few days. Well do you ever hear any more from Pearl? I think she will forget me soon for I guess she doesn't hear any too much from me. Wrote to Aunt yesterday. Not a great deal of time tho we get for writing. Saw all the home town boys that left there a year ago this July. quite a few came and looked me up when they found they were near me. Was certainly glad to see them. They have been in this country a year now. They left home four months after I did and have been over here eight months more than I. I saw some from the lodge too. a couple of the boys lived out in our part of town, one on May the other on Martin street. I was with those in the band tho more than the others. for days now there has been a continual pounding of the big guns.

Sherman had an idea of what he was talking about when he said war was hell. It is worse than that sometimes. got to read a todays paper this afternoon. droped in hundreds by the sky boys for us. also cigarettes. Sure is nice. Have had some exciting experiences lately. expect more. Would like to know how the states feel about the work her boys are doing now. She has good cause to be proud of them, for they sure enough are not mincing at matters over here. And Ill bet there is not a braver lot of men over here than the yanks. Im proud to be one of them. They can easily be shown up on drill & parade in the armies of some the countries over here, but for initiative and men doing a he mans job I guess you want to go easy with them and not try, too damn low down tricks on them, for you'll sure have to pay more than its worth. I've been surprised in the way they go at them. dont hesitate for their own barrage sometimes. When they get there, they stay. Well will write more soon if I have time. I have a birthday soon you remember? with love to all, your son

Paul B Hendrickson

Hdq. Co. 129 Inf. AEF via N.Y.

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October 1918