Return to previous page

Letter, October 31, 1918

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

Oct 31 - 1918

Dear father and mother,

I have rec the letter of Oct. 7. Just finished a letter to you not more than a very few days ago. Of course as Ive rec. the letter you sent me in Sept. about my birthday and have ans. and told about my natal day and what I did I will not remark more on the subject. Am all packed up to move and I have no idea if we will or not, but while waiting will start an answer to your last letter.

As I've mentioned before I have received I'm most sure all the letters you've sent me. I hate to think of the break that comes in between the one of the last of August and the following one in the middle of the next month. We were moving then continualy and were rushed to death, and coming from a northern sector down to a southern one was a big long move. went thru the battle field of our first big push, on the way down. followed the river Marne. have seen the Somme and the Meuse and many of the other ones that are read about quite a great deal. The place its self is nothing uncommon, just the history connected with the place that makes so famous. You've probly read of death valley, dead mans hill and mountfancon, have been there. Am not there now, cant tell where I am, but I guess you would know not much more if I could. Places I have been will be enough. I am "well and fit" as ever have been. my rehumatism has not bothered me here, have had a pretty bad cold I caught in the lines as it was very wet and bad. But am getting over it nicely. Never was sick, just felt a bit bad is all. Today is nice and warm, feel great, wish it would stay nice but it is getting much colder than a month or so ago. We played a concert and entertainment for a big ball game yesterday. We play for shows quite often.

Am glad to hear the Rife girls are studying as you say they are[.] you sure want to encourage them and make them feel the necessity of keeping right at work. Its the only way. Am surprised to hear of Ruby getting after it so much. I guess she too has grown completely out of my knowledge. The picture of you and Cecil is good of you both. Makes you feel at home to see those pictures, first one of Guy in uniform I've seen. Can hardly yet imagine him a soldier. You and daddy looks as if you were ready to go some place. Sure makes me wish to be home again. Maybe some sweet day, if I am real lucky, I can be home again. we will have hopes as long as we have life. You ought to get quite a few letters from me written in Oct. I think I've broken my record. I do hope you get them all, for I am confident now you look forward to letters with as much pleasure as I do. and if so, no kind of a treat appears so great. I always read yours last. Nothing on my mind but just let myself absorb everything. and take time to think about it all as I go along.

I wish I were where I could ask you to go to a show with me. But to hell with the shows if I were that close to you. a show is only for when you are bored and need some one to entertain you, and let us together I guess we would not be bored would we? If we should go, we could hardly wait until it would be over with so we could talk again. I dont believe I could criticize anything for some time. Everything would seem too good for anything of that kind.

Lander Walker and Anna Freeman I know, mostly by talk, hardly remember them, myself, at all. I was too young to figure much when we lived down there and some I've met so selcomd since that I only am acquainted thru home conversation.

So you hear glady's husband is a prisoner. Tough luck for him if he is, but as she says, while theres life theres hope. I understand tho lately they are a little better with prisoners, just the same I'm well contented on this side of the line for there's not one fifth the stuff falling from the skies on this side as they get from us over there.

I am surprised no liberty bond is sent to you - and the allotments will probly be a couple months or more late, the money order you should have before now and the insurance papers I had an idea would be sent to you and father, but some I guess are not.

And Bertha thinks I would have to stay a month with each to tell all my experiences. Yes a month and then some - But if I were to tell them all I am doubtful if they would believe me. I most know they would not. for some of it looks and sounds impossible. For instance a unit just over were in the lines a week and were relieved, and were telling what a terrible experience they had and how impossible it was to stay in longer. Well they laughed when I said we had been in forty three days and at the same place. Would not believe me at all, said it was impossible. I told them I did not give a damn how impossible it was, we had done it just the same and a look at any of our fellows would prove I was telling the truth. Over a month without a bath or change of clothes and sleeping anyplace always under fire. sure dont make a dude in a frock tailed coat out of you. Hardly look human. And I guess 22 years ago you could hardly see your baby in such a place, and I guess a month before it happened it looked or would have looked impossible to me as it were, but as we did not - could not see ahead, just went right along, doing your duty as best you could, enduring things you would call impossible to sit and think about, but when the time comes you do it as well as any thing else. And I believe I could eat one whole wild grape pie myself. I suppose I like them, for I know of no eatable I could not now eat and like if fixed anyway near as it should be fixed. So I guess you will not have to ask me for a long time if I like anything or not. Its all good.

Well mom I dont know if the 3 young ladies could get me away from you very easy or not. If the girl is born that could come between us, I sure have not met her and I know she does not live in France, for I'm coming home as fast as I can if ever I get a chance, you can bet on that. How soon I would leave home waits to be seen as now, no place seems quite so good as home and nothing else I can imagine could change my mind for a long time at least. As for taking my love from father & mother, well I would hardly think it could be done by any girl I've met.

I sure would love to be with you on some of your trips to Valentine's, that squirrel dinner appealed to me more than corn willie ever did. Would like to see and be with Guy as a soldier. Never seen a one of my brothers in uniform. I would like to hear his ideas and thots about some experiences I've had and know he has had like ones.

I am getting so I give up and let fate work her own way concerning me. I used to feel so dissapointed when I could not get all and just what I wanted. Well now I dont complain or worry or fret over a damn thing how ever important it may seem, patience you have to have quanties of, almost untold quantities. Sometimes you get orders from half a dozen all at once and have to use your own judgement what to do. again when you need some orders badly, then you get none. Well it's up to you again. If you so desired you could be gray headed. I havent any more gray hairs than I had at Logan. And maybe all things have worked together for the best for I am still alive and well, havent been punctured or any thing. My toe I mentioned in last letter is now about well, was not at all bad as I thot it had symptoms of being. We are now at Verdun, and I do hope Bertha gets to come up and stay with you as you hoped she would. Lee's and them are putting their machines to darn good use, getting to come home so often. I got madges letter in yours that time, but have Lee & Nell to write themselves. I expect tho by this time they have all written, I sure hope so. Well we have not moved. I've had the afternoon and am glad of it. We have a fire in our grate. I hate to leave here. Probly wont for some time. Well Im hoping the war dont last any longer than is nessessary, will be long enough at best. I dont get in the least bit home sick, never get the blues, just common ordinary living day by day, enjoying everything possible, and can police up as much stuff as anyone. as last nite we had pancakes in our grate. they were fine. did not cost anything. salvaged (stole) it all. close with lots of love for you all

Paul B. Hendrickson

Hdq. Co. 129 Inf. A.E.F. via N.Y.

Top of Page

October 1918