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Letter, November 24, 1918

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

Nov 24 - 1918

My dear father -

As they tell me this is fathers day - I sure am going to make use of it as such. I hope the time is not far when I can talk to you instead of just write a few lines, but must wait patiently, its hard for us to wait now it is all over, but cleaning up and coming across the pond. We are busy getting our equipment into shape for big inspections again. I suppose from now on there will be inspections a plenty.

Weather is getting pretty cold now. Roads are frozen up most all the time and the nites are moon light and snappy. These olds woods are still now. They make you think of the hills and ravines down at Valentines only more of them and mostly larger.

I have been hearing much of the Sp. Influ. over there. Have you and mother been coming thru alright so far - I have often wondered; and hoped for the best, for when a man goes thru this war as I have and has the unexpected pleasure of being alive & well at the finish it would be an awfully hard thing to bear to have some kind of an epidemic to take off some of your relatives back home that have been so safe from these projectiles of all sizes & descriptions and gas of every known kind that could be handled in a shell or other wise, of a destructive nature. A person over here thinks nothing of the risks he runs - that is a part of what is expected, but when folks at home are taken sick or anything happens it seems so much worse.

We can only hope it will come out alright and may be before too long I can have the almost undreamed of privilege of being a presented member of the family again. It wont be the same boy of a couple years ago, couldent possibly be after this last six months, but even at that I hope it will not be too much for the worse. But one thing I do want is for you & mother to look up my stuff and have it ready for me when I do get there. I don't mean army clothes either, but whatever civilian clothes you may have left hanging around. Do my old heart good to see myself in a suit of civies again. I can't imagine how they feel but I suppose I can get used to them soon.

Our division has done some remarkable work here in the lines and I guess have been praised by French, English & Australian men of rank. They have done what seemed most the impossible and have been on undoubtedly on of the hardest fronts for they have had to give blood to gain every foot of ground. I am proud to say I am in this 33rd div and they are all Ill. boys. you never hear much said in papers of us in fact I've never seen them mentioned - while all the draft div. & camps get all the credit. But - I've also seen them - could name a few - work, and I still say I am proud to be one in our div.

I know we have never received any credit for anything but have our consulation of having done a mans job and did it as it should be done, which is saying no little bit.

Well daddy it is not so often I write to you, personally, but it is not like as if you never heard from me only when I did write directly to you, but as this is to be the big fathers day, I can't come up missing on my letter to father -

Haven't rec. any letter since Oct. 25. Hope to get one soon. Write when you can - your loving son.

Paul B Hendrickson

Hdq. Co. 129 Inf. A.E.F.

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November 1918