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Letter, November 11, 1918

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

"Band looks nobby with th[ ] little gold service stripes on their left sleeve. But these six months have been a bastard and I guess we deserve all we can get."

Nov. 11, 1918

Dear Father and Mother

This is a big day here. every one is celebrating. We played quite a while, and some of our boys grabbed a couple frenchmen and began dancing. Have been having a big time most all day. The bells in the big church started ringing a noon and it is now late and they are still ringing. I went up twice and helped pull the ropes. The bells are of three sizes and of course three tones, chimes you see, they are from four to five feet across at the bottom, not small ones at all. While I was up in the belfry I saw the big clock, its a large piece of machinery, that looks like anything but a clock with the exception of the pendlem swinging below. We also had a good bath this afternoon, that is generally a thing of note, for so much of the time you cant get a very good one.

There is an organization of southern boys here, and last Sunday we played church for them as our boys are up in the lines just now. And then this afternoon we played for them when the good news reached us and they sure think our band is all right. Cheer you every piece of music you play and when you give them a southern melody, they go wild over it. They always have a good word for us. They appreciate our work as much if not more than our own reg. does.

It seems ages now since hearing from you. Something has gone sadly wrong with our mail service all at once, I know that our last mail in, was sent up to the lines and will probly be some time before it gets back here where we are. We are not back so far but yet we are not in the scrap.

Jove, the papers look good now. have been tracing the front line on my little map, from time to time and, believe me they havent far to go any more until we will have them on their own country, which will hurt them more than anything else. We are still in the same little home and with the same big tall french clock as I mentioned once before. We have no fire tonite as it is not cold enough, and it hasen't rained now for a few days which is quite strange, when it get pretty cool it rains and warms up. quite different from the way it used to do and I guess it does yet at home, rains and turns cold.

When we came over the people over here, soldiers and all, would laugh when we said the war would be over by Christmas, they would say two years or more at the very least, australians and english were not careing much, that it was lost and all the good we would do would be just to prolong it a year or two and then loose for good. Well when we got into the swing things changed and did so touit de suite. Bulaaria quit Sept 30, Turkey Oct 31 and Austria Nov 4. Now Germany herself from reports we get. Well that is a better record than I ever expected when I arrived over here myself. The idea of being all over by Xmas did look rather far fetched to most all of us. but that was the slogan and if it is not going to be a fact its going to come awfully close to being. Some of the soldiers took heart when we began coming over in such large numbers, but there was a decided change in their feelings when they seen us take hold and adapt ourselves to the work in such a whole sould way, and all the average American has to do is look the situation over and he almost knows what is up to him to do. a few instructions and he is ready, quite different from most of the countries over here. But with all this they could not see how much could be done yet this year. well as a matter of fact one hell of a lot has happened since July 4 and she has been going full steam ahead every since it started toward germany and I guess those pig headed lying bastards are beginning to see the americans don't have to have 10 years training before they can learn how to fight just as bloody well as they, and because Russia turned a republic and they were her down fall is no sign the American republic is made of anything anyways near like the uneducated class of Russia and are the fools to believe their lies.

Germanys fall is hard for her to bear for she is sensative and feels it more than you might think. Will be glad to see home some time and have a good long talk. your loving son.

Paul B. Hendrickson

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

"love to all"

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November 1918