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Letter, October 14, 1918

[Letter on plain stationery, color stationery of the American Y.M.C.A. and plain paper.]

Oct. 14, 1918 -

Dear father and Mother -

Well I have some news. today I rec. the letters from you of - Aug 13, 23, 28 and Sept. 4. also the letter from Della with the pictures. all of them. Ah maybe you think I wasn't tickled. you see on account of other activities my mail was rather neglected. so here I gets 14 letters - all in one bunch. one from Telma to. sure was surprised to hear from her and just as tickled as I was surprised. I wrote a line to Guy as I got his address from the letter enclosed. And Madges letter too, I read with very much interest. All together, I feel 100% to the good this evening, and to know the folks back home realy do think of you occasionally. Im sorry I havent time to write to miles and Olan for I'd love to hear from those lads. A big letter telling me all about themselves and their desires & expectations. Just as if they were going to tell me all about it if I were with them. They sure have no idea how it would be appreciated. I believe I get all the mail sent to me, even if it is long in coming. I think it all finally gets here. Am wondering how Bertha is now? It takes so long for word to get here, sure was so glad to know she was getting along fine when last you wrote. and if she can only come up and be with you, Jove that would be fine, wouldent it? And if I could only be there too, Ah - be a little better wouldent it? Well you can't wish for me more than I wish for you. But I cant complain, for I'm still alive which is more than many I know can say now. Jove I was glad to get the pictures from Della. Tell her I thank her from the top of my head - on up - And it was such a nice letter she wrote too. You folks over there think I'm darn particular what I read and how much. Jove if you knew how scarce reading matter is sometimes you'd write twice as much. But I cant wish for more today tho. And mom, the knitted stuff, don't worry, for I have quite a bit, all I can possibly carry. and if we need more there will be arrangements made so I can get what is nessessary. So dont think any more of the matter. keep there what I sent home. you can maybe use a little this winter around home some. Ah - you hope I dont get any pets, I hoped so myself at one time. before I was over here very many days. now I hope I can keep them cleared out enough so I can sleep at nites, some at least. Jove they chase up and down my seams and elsewhere. they sure have a grand & glorious time. I dont know if it be games they play or merely natural action of the brutes but what ever it is, it gets annoying as hell some times and you have to be damn tired if you can sleep with them running loose on you. I boiled my shirt & underclothes yesterday, sure fixed a bunch of them, but I slept last nite.

Mom a little incident happened while you were down there the first time that interested me much, your meeting Mary Headly. I've often wondered about her; what she was doing, if she was married or not, but supposed she had so completely forgotten me she would have to stop and think if some one ask her if she knew me.

The last time I met her, was years ago it seems and she was going to Merom College and quite popular and as I didnt ammount to much she didnt notice me a great deal, which is only natural. I am sure I would enjoy a talk with her, for school days sake if nothing more. And Thelma, she surely has changed then, I guess I wont know my relatives at all when I get back. they will all be grown out of my knowlege. they will all be young folks & me an old man comparatively speaking. Maybe I'm changing as much as they, but can it be for the better over here in the land of murder, as Ive seen it and am seeing it? I hardly think it would be at all possible. Things happen that will live with me thru the rest of my life. I cant describe them as I havent words, and if I did tell some of the things, would anyone believe me? No they would not. They couldn't, for seeing is believing, and if you don't see it and experience it your self, you would always doubt its being true. whereas if you do live thru it, you only can know how impossible it is to protray in words what your eyes see and your nerves feel. Well I did not have to get all my hair cut off, just did it is all. quite all out again it is. cooties dont bother there much so I guess I wont have it done any more. yes I rec. the receipt from our lodge. It came thru all OK. Bro. Claggets certainly are having a hard time.

It sure is too bad. And as you say with 4 children too. But Ive seen much worse over here. you dont know what a grand country you are living in. No idea. Nothing like it in the rest of the world. It may be noted over here for some things and some have the impression the states is a bunch of rubes. but since they are meeting so much of the American manhood over here I think their minds will and have already changed, even to fritz.

They live too much in the past over here absolutely too much, so how can they go forward with the strides of the American nations when they do that. Jove, I'd fight to the last drop of my blood for my country, for its well worth fighting for. Well mom you did quite the proper thing to let Cecil have my camera, for I'm sure she will use it and that is just what I want done with it. And I know she will be very careful with it, more so than I would ever ask any one to be. So I am very glad you did it. and never send me any more stamped envelopes unless you want me just to see what they look like, for it costs us nothing to send mail back. Once in a while we cant get envelopes, and can use any kind, but no charge whatever.

So glad you wrote about Rodericks, for I often wonder about people out there, and it seems to acquaint me with what is realy doing over there, so far, and yet so close and real in my mind. Always in my mind you are. Every item was absorbed with interest. Every thing interests me. Over there as well as over here. In your letter of Aug 28 you wrote about roads between Paris and Union. Well the mention of paris made me think what a different paris you were in to the one I was in recently. About the picture of the boat, I bout a post card size picture of the boat the covington and the fellow was to mail it to you on the return trip, and I know it made it back for it came across again but never got back that time. Well I am quite as alive on rec. that letter of the 28 as I was when I wrote the one you had reference to. Just pure luck tho, that I am at this time. I have been lucky up until this minute and the future I will just have to chance as I've heretofore done. Well Im no more in the signals, so you need not worry as I imagine you have on hearing report mentioned in letter of Sept. 4. Don't worry about your kid, for he is well able to fly for his wings are quite strong. even if he is the baby, and if I cant take care of myself, it will be an act no one will be able to help. and it will be all over for me and you'll find it out soon enough. But dont worry for it cant do the least bit of good and you will suffer more than me if you do. If you dont hear from me when you should, you see some times opperations keep you on the move so much you cant write, as it did when we came to this sector. Havent been here so long but yea, gods, its been a bastard. Was too bad about the fellow at Robinson, the funeral and all, but I've seen his kind get it more than once over here. and no burial like that either. You speak of stunts, I've seen real stunts pulled over here, your life the stake, and some I never thot could be done. yet they do it. I saw some good work done over there too. Some of the things over here would simply make the hair on your head raise to see it. I don't know if we can tell if we are in the fighting line or not, but its such a darned little bit I havent been there, I could much easier tell of the things and times I havent been there. That why I'm lucky to be writing now. Gee your garden sure must have been good this summer. how are the trees coming along. Had I better top them out again next spring? You mentioned Paralee going to be married soon. What the 'ell, don't he have to fight or is he just going to marry quick so he will have a wife when he gets back? What I've learned about men? Well when put to the acid test of damn heavy shell fire and bombing, you see, some are not the brave heroes they like for people to think they are. they talk a different strain altogether; just a little more human nature you pick up as you go along is all. And its also teaching me I'm made of as good stuff as other people and I have much greater confidence in myself than I had before I got out among soldiers of today. You learn many a good lesson, one - depend on no one but your self. If you cant do that, you havent long to live, (you maybe havent any way), but the odds are on your side if you do - and many many other things just as important. Well mom keep writing to your loving baby boy and he will do the same - with love to all.

Paul Hendrickson

Hdq. Co. 129 Inf. A.E.F. via New York.

[small slip enclosed:]

You may paste this slip on a box the specified size and send me a Xmas present if you want to. I would not let it be too expensive, for I may not rec. it. Toilet art, such as colgate shaving sticks and things of that nature make the most usefull articles that I can't buy. But of course you do as you see fit and a few genuine American pencils.


Have you rec. my Liberty bond. I have not - be sure and let me know.


have you any papers of the war risk insurance showing I have taken it out (Be sure & answer)

did you rec. the money order I sent home - also answer. My bond was paid for in July so it ought to be sent home I should think. If you know a way to find out about it please do so.

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October 1918