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Letter, October 18, 1918

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

Oct 18 1918

Dear father & mother -

Well here I am writing again. but as I have a chance I'm going to do it, for some time I may not have such a good opportunity.

Well mother I sent you a slip for a Xmas box, so I guess by that you see I am not expecting to be home by Xmas. I sure have no idea if there ever will be such a pleasure in store for me, but am sincerely hoping so. Notice the new paper I have to write on. just got an issue today and am trying it out. Our boys are having a hard time just now. I have an idea you are receiving news about them from time to time. Some of the news you may hear, probly will not be the best, but as yet I am all right. have been in the lines over [words blacked out here, perhaps by censor. appears to be "( ) days"] and still at it. We're made of iron I guess. Bad part is not being able to keep clean. If you should get Aurora news paper or one from any of the northern large cities you will receive more news of our outfit than I could ever write you. You nearly always hear news in those papers of some of our movements, where we have been or what we happen to be doing.

If Miles and Olan dont soon write to me I guess I am going to have to write to them first. I believe tho I will hear soon from some of my near relatives, if you get a letter I sent, which was written before we went over the top. Well mom, do you think I will have much of a chance to go to school when I get back? I am going to save all the franc I can over here with the hope of it going as far as possible in getting me thru a certain degree of school work. That is the reason I wanted to know if my allotment, the money order, and my Liberty Bond have been rec. Keep me posted on these things as fast as they come thru, for I'd like to know if I am going to have anything when I get home. I see the need of more education. And its going to be nessessary I feel sure. I will need a more broad line of school work than I can ever be able to take up at nite school and entirely home study. So I want you to tell me honestly if you believe such a thing will be possible. I am not figuring on coming home and getting myself married so fast, as I hear so many express them selves. There's too much I wish to do, to think of tying myself down to that, right off the bat. Cecil tells me she is taking a business course or was thinking of it. sure hope she succeeds with it. Encourage her with it, for there is no reason for her not making good at it. Well some time I may be home and we can talk about these things, but until then, drop me a line on what you think about it. I suppose Olan & Miles are going to High school. If they dont graduate from high school they will be sorry of it with out a doubt. Its not the best thing to make school too easy for a person for the easier it is the less you appreciate it, but when you see the necessity of it once, you are willing to go to no end of trouble to get the education you want. I may be loosing good years of study over here, but I guess the lessons I'm learning here will ammount to a few years of school with out any doubt. I'm satisfied, - have to be. This is not the most enjoyable school - this war - but its one where you are not liable to forget very soon some of the things you suffer so much in learning. Its nice this war has some good features. yea gods its got plenty of bad ones. Some of my close friends have been unlucky. they will never leave this country. good kids they were too. Sure makes you feel bad some times, but you give it not much thot as you have plenty other things as a rule to occupy your mind. you wonder if the one in the air is going over your head as the one before it did or if it is falling short and trying to find you. It gives you a funny feeling sometimes or makes you feel a bit queer I guess expresses it some better: when you get caught, they drop on any side of you. they dont seem to care where. the mournful wail of the fragments after their insides have burst out and send them flying all over. and you can't tell for the life of you if this nasty one is going to visit you or go on over. You seem to feel a draugh up your spinal column in the well know term of a cold chill. A fellow may sound foolish talking about when he get home, yet its a bloody sight better subject than any I now know; it appeals to me mighty strong; I know, you need not fear for me - for I feel pretty safe in my present position, of course I dont know how long I will be located "thusly" but hope for the best, you see we gave a band concert this afternoon. would surprise you where it was done, was not far from verdun.

Well I am beginning to like the maps shown on the newspaper front pages. the front line dont stay long enough on the same place to become acquainted with it, and if you dont get the paper up to date you are behind times & you discover the front line has left your knowlege.

Well I will close and write again as soon as I find the time, hoping to get a letter from you in the meantime. With lots of love for you all I am you son

Paul B Hendrickson

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

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October 1918