Letter, October 23, 1918
[Letter on color stationery
of the American Y.M.C.A.]
Oct 23 18
Dear father and mother -
Having rec. your letter of Sept 11, 17, I will answer now or
at least start to. Im afraid some of my mail is not getting over
to you - and I know Cecil is not rec. all I've sent her. Well from
the news you are sure getting now, I suppose you are much
concerned but if you hear nothing, in a way you are lucky; I guess
I can feel lucky also very thankfull too, that I am among the
living, but as yet I am just as alive as ever I have been. And if
Ive lived thru the last month or so, I guess you may feel rested
now for I am not in it at present, getting some rest after the
streneous weeks of hard work in this front. As we've been at it
for quite a long time, I can truthfully say we need some rest. But
I hate awfully much to hear of your worring. I know its usless to
tell you not to, and I will watch myself to let no large gap come
in between letters again. We were up on the front, where you ask
about, concerning the Y.M.C.A. paper. They were sure a loyal bunch
of soldiers, treated us like brothers and are the nearest like
Americans of any men I've seen over here out side of our own
bunch. When they moved us down from there I could find no time to
write for quite a while as being in the sigs then, we had our
hardest work to do. But now being in the band I believe I will
have a better opportunity for writing. I imagine how you feel, I
know its not pleasant knowing your kid is on the line and receive
no word from him, and as you also know some extremely hard
fighting has been going on down here, you have had a perfectly
good reason for worring. I will not ask you to quit, but write
more and try to prove to you there's no use in it. I think we are
due for quite a little rest now, probly be moved back quite a
ways. hope so at least, for we've been on the lines since last of
june. quite a bit dont you think? but not all on one sector.
I hope daddy has had the good luck to get the raise you
mentioned, sure makes it nice for him these trying times. Buy
liberty bonds as much as you like for that is all I've seen any
benefit of over here. All these other things they keep wanting
help on I've never seen one yet, I guess back of the lines the
boys see them, but as I've never been back to any extent I know
nothing of them myself.
You are not selfish for wanting to see me get your own
knitting, but I have all I can make use of. cant carry any more.
yea gods, when a man has to carry every thing he has, he dont want
a bunch of sox, scarfs, wristlets, helmets, sweaters & numerous
other articles, quite as useless as some of them are. I will be
taken care of and no mother need worry about her son over here.
Ah, the "fair maiden" business makes me laugh, am also rec.
letters from Quincy and Alvin, Tex, that sure would make you laugh
- one says she considers herself engaged to me and the other one
wants to know if it will do her any good to continue loving me. if
I will ever return it, now what kind of an answer do you suppose I
Takes more courage to face that bombardment than any the huns
have ever thrown over at me. As a matter of fact I feel reasonably
safe over here across the water from it, and am not letting it
worry me as I will have plenty of time to decide when I return
home which I hope to do, and soon. I may be one of the lucky ones
- and while there life there hope.
The boys are a mighty good humored set considering. Find
enjoyment where you would think it impossible; laugh even when a
shell explods right by them, and after a hasty search they find
they are all left yet, happy just to be alive. rather a grim kind
of enjoyment, yet we are never so happy, as when we have a close
call and still able to move.
The battery you mentioned, I saw and had a long talk with
them all. They have had some wonderful experiences and lucky
escapes. and such a few casualties, considering.
I can hardly imagine the extent to which the men are being
called, sure are cleaning them all out, and you sure are going to
have more sons & son's by law in it unless they are exempted,
which I believe some will be, as we have to have producers or we
cant fight over here - and some will have to be left.
Yes your troubls do seem to be coming thick and fast. I
hardly know how you can be helped much, unless you just forget a
few of them if possible. but that dont keep new ones from coming
up does it?
One of the things you want to forget is one you mentioned in
letter of Sept 17, the imagining of where I might be and some of
the horrible things I may be enduring. You would be greatly
surprised to know how comfortable I am sometimes when I know you
cant help but be worring over my situation. so you can see by that
how useless it is; for you cant feel concerned at the time it is
probly nessessary. so you feel that way all the time. a man can
endure most anything with out a whimper when others around are
doing the same thing. and when I say I haven't even a cold after
these streneous weeks, you can easily see I have not gone or have
been forced to go beyond my endurance. of course you get hungry &
tired as the very devil but you get over that easy enough.
Have been hearing quite a bit of the big fair. We've been
having a lively time over here too, so you haven't any thing on us
even with a big fair. I've seen more dead horses than you've seen
live ones. And air intertainment is quite the natural course of
the day - damn interesting stuff some of it is.
Just rec. your letter of the 24th of Sept. So glad you put in
Berthas letter, for I have been wondering so much about her since
getting your other letters.
And so glad to hear about Guy getting to come home, he sure
is lucky. I would hardly know how to act if I should get to come
home. I know he must be one happy boy - and he has a just cause to
be happy for he has been in the army enough by now to know
something of what a soldier thinks of home - "the nearest heaven
one can get on earth." thats what we think over here.
So Olan is getting too large for my clothes, I don't doubt it
at all, for he sure looked to have a good start the evening I came
thru Danville on my way over here. I doubt now if I could get in
those wool pants myself. But dont let any of my stuff get away for
I may get to use some of my things yet. Have I still a civilian
suit of clothes at home?
So Olan is still going with June, well I'm glad to hear it. I
imagine her to be a mighty nice kid. Is miles going with the young
skirts yet? or thinking much about them? They have me about scared
out, I used to feel they slighted me, and I still think they did.
have a possible chance now of getting even.
Well it wont be long now until we will be wearing our service
strip of the six months duration, the gold V shaped cheveron. will
be doing so before you get this letter.
Yes mother it did sound funny to have you mention going to a
party. Cecil must be getting to be quite a lady by now. I hope she
keeps up with her studies.
The pictures sure do me a world of good, am getting so many
now, many an hour I've spent looking at them.
Will have to close now for we are busy and much on the go.
very hard to find time to write at such times.
I wont get to write to Cecil this time. She gives me quite a
bit of interesting new of the young folks in our neighborhood. I
have no idea where I will be when I get to write to you again.
will send you a "whiz bang" every now and then. they will let you
know if I am alive or not, and that will help some.
Ive rec. pay over here and sent some home; do as you said you
would. let me know as soon as government sends it to you or it
comes thru in money order. I have receipt of the money order. will
close with lots of love for father & mother & the other kids if
they will write -
Hdq. co. 129 Inf. A.E.F. via N.Y.