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Letter, November 9, 1918

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

Nov. 9 - 1918

Dear Father & Mother -

Well daddy - how is the work coming by this time, are you still having the 12 hr. days. If so you are sure pulling down some pretty good wages. They tell us if we stay over here after the war and help rebuild the country we get $140.00 per month for 18 months - are paid the $40, with clothes and board just as soldiers and when the 18 months are up you get the $1800.00 - or the 100 per month is saved for you. Well it sounds well and I guess that would put me thru school nisely, would it not? But could I stay away from home that long, knowing all the time I could be there. I guess there are things that appeal to us more than money and a chance to come home with the boys when they come, I don't suppose I would sell for anything, for if I ever live thru this period of war, and have the chance to return, I will not hesitate at all in doing it. It has been a good many months since I've set foot inside of home. If things turn out nicely, tho, it may not be so awfully long until some of us are coming back at least. I guess our little rest out will soon be over. Will be seeing action long before you get this letter. We've had a few very quiet and restfull weeks. And certainly have appreciated them to the fullest. Dont know how long until we will have this opportunity again. We sure had a spell of it the last time. But even during our rest we have (the band) been pretty busy giving concerts & playing for church as last Sun- we played for three church services and 2 concerts in afternoon and a musical entertainment at nite. was quite busy all day, hauled from place to place in trucks.

Tomorrow we put on our one gold cheveron - six month service stripe it is. And its some service we've had during that 6 months. I hope never to see another such six months.

And as week by week pass, I keep feeling more confident all the time that we are not going to see another such time as we have just had.

The news is incouraging, I'll admit. It doesn't seem possible that it could last so awfully much longer, but you can never tell.

I've been transferred into the band as a corporal. you see a band corporal gets a couple dollars a month more pay, but I am going to ask to be reduced, for there are members of the band who have been with the organization since the beginning who are just 3rd class musicians and are a bloody sight better musicians than I am - so I dont think it right for me to hold a non com's job when there are more deserving ones than I who really should have it. and to, the fellows have a feeling as if I've stepped in and taken something that really belongs to them. I'll feel better among the boys if I do it and I know they will think a sight more of me. But my captain would not reduce me when he made the transfer, said he did not do business that way - but if I wanted to be reduced after I'd been in a while, he would consider that. For I made it plain to him how it was in my case.

And some people have an exagerated idea of a non com's job, and I've been one long enough now I am perfectly willing some one else have a shot at it for a while. You see I have found I don't care to be boss so bad as I at one time thot, and too, maybe we will get to be civilians again some time not too far distant.

Well for some time now I have not rec. a word from home. I have to wonder what has gone wrong with the mail service, evidently something is not right. I hope to get some word soon. I am sure you are still writing to me.

Heard from Bertha, she wrote me a nice long letter, telling me quite a bit of news. Also got a letter from Arthur. Well the boys have the pancakes all ready to eat now so I will have to close, for I cant miss them. We make good ones, for we have a good fire, a good griddle, a good batter & a good cook, and plenty of syrup. Its a pleasant way of spending an evening when you cant go to a show, or step out with young ladies. Will write again soon, With love to all - I am

Cpl. Paul B Hendrickson

Hdq. co. 129 Inf. A.E.F. Via N.Y.

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November 1918