Letter, December 29, 1918
[Letter on plain stationery. Received January 27, 1919.]
Dec. 29- 1918-
My deal Cecil- I have your letter of Nov 28. And as we are
not real busy just now, will spend a while with you as nearly as
possible. I am going to use one of your statements in regards to
myself. If I were not so busy I'd be lonesome. I can say that this
Sunday Morning alright. I have to be busy doing something, Most
always we are playing for some inspection or parade or Guard Mount
or concert or retreat, dance - most anything. Our band played for
Xmas dinner. We go to Diekirch once a week to div. Hdq. and play
concert there. Have we plenty to do? We don't work hard, but it's
cold out now days and all our playing is outside.
Snow on the ground. Had a white Xmas here. Tonite our
orchestra plays for a picture show here in our room. You see we
are in a large Auditorium, big stage and all that. Fine place. And
a 3 min walk down town where you can have a real good time.
I and Elmer Taylor - a Watseka lawyer are together most all
the time. We take a walk down town, but some pie or cakes, go to a
cafe, order coffee and spend an hour talking by our selves. He is
a wonderfull help to me in more ways than one. Am sorry he does
not live in Danville where I could be close to him after we get
home. For I will miss him more than any fellow I ever met.
Well I wish I could have eaten Thanksgiving dinner with you.
for ours was a farce. But Xmas dinner was a swell affair. And with
the Xmas box coming just the day before - Jove it seemed like I
was having a regular Xmas after all.
I rec. Xmas card from Rose while on our long hike.
So you think five pictures of one girl are enough. Well a few
more from you wont make me at all mad. And I do hope you will send
more along if you get them. I wish I had some of myself if you
could get any enjoyment from them, for I have an idea I do look
different than any you may have. But maybe not so awfully much.
Lord knows I am dark enough. Brown as a Malay.
Yes - you are right, boys & girls have lots of trouble over
nothing, and it seems rather foolish when you think of it, but
there are so many foolish things done that most any of them are
excusable. They always have been this way and I suppose will
continue so. I don't suppose you would be considered normal if you
did not pull a few foolish stunts in your life time. That is one
way we all have of learning tho. And some good lessons we learn
too in this way. I've done some very foolish things. No use to
feel bad or grieve over any of them for its over now. And cannot
be helped by feeling bad about it. But I have learned and my
experiences increase from day to day. I may not be a university
graduate, but there are things that you need not go to school to
learn - and the Army for one thing has been a great teacher. Makes
you look below the surface of things. And gives you a new code of
standards to follow. The soldier over here is a rather funny
fellow or may seem so to you. but never the less he is earnest.
Has more faith in the bible, not as a book to make flowery
speaches from - but he comes nearer practicing what he finds
there. His ideals are the really deep things in life, he tries to
live up to those standards because, he hates to see the faults in
others so. And he does not want any one to find them in him. I
believe this is because of the very close association of the
soldiers. They live closer than any family. together day in and
day out, for months at a time, treated alike in most every
respect, meet each other on equal terms, share with each other and
try to make your self as agreeable as possible, for you hate a
disagreeable person so. There is much to learn if you only try.
Selfreliance is one thing they find getting stronger in them. I
find that my greatest help. You have confidence that you are able
to do things, a representative of one of the greatest nations on
earth. you stand in awe of nothing but God. I once thot to travel
over here you would have to be a very educated person to get any
real enjoyment out of it. But not so with us now. We care a snap
what people think of us. If We want anything, we go after it and
don't hesitate either. Because we don't know their language
doesn't stop us. We act as independent over here as if we owned
the place and the natives were foreigners, but no one acts over
bearing. The people treat us with respect for many reasons. We are
easy spenders with plenty compared to some or majority of the
natives. We treat the people with such respect, and that is so
different from the spirit of the German soldiers who have been
moving thru here before us. And the American is such a jolly good
fellow - in danger as well as otherwise. and I dont know of a home
here that is not open to any one of us, especially if we can speak
their language, and they try to pick up phrases of ours and seem
very pleased if they speak it correctly enough to make you
Well little girl, I have not the good luck to be started home
on receiving your letter and not even the luck to have any idea
when we will be sent. So don't you stop writing until you see me
come stepping in your front door. Mail will be taken care of so we
will get it the first opportunity. It will wait for us in New York
should be sail soon. But we wont sail soon. With love to all - I
remain your old Pal -
Paul Hendrickson - Hdq. Co. 129 Inf. A.E.F.