Letter, November 20, 1918
[Letter on plain stationery. Received December 20, 1918.]
Nov. 20 - 1918.
My dear Cecil-
Just got the letter of Oct 22 and will write you a few lines
if not more. Am always so glad to hear from you. I have not heard
from Carl at all. Suppose he forgot to write after all.
So you have your electric lights in now. I can remember back
far enough to know how convenient they are. I know you appreciate
them to their fullest. I would now if only I had a chance to. I
use a little gasoline lamp, burns like a torch has a rope like
wick, small and very easy to carry. Our dugout has a nice stove
and beds for four of us. a small place but enough room and is very
dry. We found a whole case of cannon powder - comes in sticks that
look like speriment gum - can hardly see any difference in shape,
size and color. Fine to start fires with, keep putting on a couple
at a time and soon you have a find hot fire. Will start any kind
of wood to burning.
Have to be carefull tho and not get on too much at once, for
she sure burns quick.
It has been freezing here lately. These old woods seem
lonesome and cold at nite. And so awfully quiet. Not a sound and
the cold still moon peeking over some high ridge. Some rough
country between verdun and metz and we have been in here some time
now. Have no idea what will be done now with us or where we will
be sent. At present we are doing nothing but drill and the band
rehearse. We rehearse twice a day. Am getting pretty well on to
the run of things now and certainly enjoy those rehearsals to
their fullest. Can't get too much of it. I sure feel lucky to be
in the band now that war seems to be over and if I was in some
other outfit I would be drilling and be pretty much a waste of
time, as all the real things are of the past.
But in the band I am getting a bit of training that I will
benifit myself by and have been wanting for some time. It did not
bear much on my mind tho before the war, for little did I expect
to be so alive and healthy at the end of the fray. And as it now
looks as if some time we will be home ward bound I am anxious to
learn all I can.
For I remember quite a few very enjoyable evenings we've
spent together on our music and I am hoping for more to come soon.
I suppose I will be more or less a bother to you if you want to
study much tho. For you sure can't study with me around.
I certainly am so sorry to hear of so many cases of the Sp.
Flu. Jove every one seems to be taking their turn at it. Is there
no chance for a let up some time soon? It will throw you out of
lots of good s[c]hool but you keep practicing all the time don't
you? That should not hurt your individual practice.
You sure had some time at your friends house that Sun.
evening. Boys are funny fellows - are they not? They are so hard
to see things. Don't seem to know. Have to be told every thing -
have no initiative. They are not all alike tho, thank God. But it
is a generally excepted thing that a boy is a stupid sort of an
Have a hunch I will be more than stupid when I get back, will
be really ignorant of so many things, but I'm telling you, in
trenches, dugouts and froggie billets is no place to learn little
items of etiquette and there are a great many things I am going to
have to stop doing and a great many things I will have to start.
For instance, my general use of the english language is simply
Was just noticing lately how I have been using it. Not only
myself but all of us. I will remind you a great deal of a ruffian
when you see me. But I guess I can learn to be a civilian again
easier than I learned to be a soldier. Maybe before long I will
have the long looked for opportunity to try.
Our division has recieved quite a few medals now. We have
been awfull hard hit and have done some of the hardest kind of
Quite a number yet in hospitals but there are a lot that
never got that far. We have seen some of the hardest knocks since
being in the service and our work the least appreciated of any.
Have kept us so quiet, any ammount of times I've seen items in
papers of divisions that at the time were operating with us or by
us and never do near the work and stand the roughing as we did,
but you never see 33rd div. mentioned.
Old Ill. has done and said lots for her drafted boys & camps,
but the old prarie div. I never see mentioned. We are not
grieving, only its noticible, we have done our part and a bloody
sight more than many a one.
We are highly spoken of by british and Austratian as well as
French - even if our own state doesn't say a whole lot. It's
enough to know you - as a whole, could do what was done by us. And
the way those boys worked. They deserve much.
I now have the chance to get all the Y.M.C.A. paper I need,
am using yours tho for I like it better. I dont believe it will be
so hard now to keep paper on hands.
Will close for this time. keek writing as long as I am over
here for no telling how long now we will still have to stay. Time
sure goes slow. nothing exciting.
So write often as you can and is convenient.
Paul B Hendrickson
Hdg. Co. 129 Inf. A.E.F.