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Letter, February 11, 1919

[Letter on color stationery of the American Y.M.C.A. Received March 6, 1919.]

Sent a box with some books & map in. May send more soon.

Feb 11 1919

Ettelbrück Lux.

Dear father & Mother -

Yesterday I rec. your letter of Jan 20. Am looking for another one in a day or so as you said you would write as soon as you heard from me. And Cecil wrote Jan 22 & said she rec. a letter & card written since I landed in this town & I expect you did too.

There is still no hopes of an early return. So we are prepared to stay now any length of time & may be we will go to Germany soon. I hope so - that is if we have to stay over here. If I can come home instead - well to h- with Germany & send me home. Am quite well satisfied with whate I've seen of this country up until now.

I guess people are getting pretty anxious in some places to see their boys - who have seen front line service - on their way back - so they have to sugar coat the pill by saying it's such an honour to belong in the occupation army and all that.

You hear of all those that never came across wishing they could come. Gad - why don't they let them come - I would willingly let anyone have my position and get all the honour there is to it. Any one over here with us would. We've fought & won - now we feel we deserve the privelege of getting to come home. Too much politics woven around the whole business. You could stand most any thing while the war was on - because you felt as if any hard ship - no matter what - necessary or not so - was helping to gain the one great objective. But now that is past and they are becoming more & more severe. And with the feeling that the great necessity is now missing - it gets so some things are very hard to bear.

And you get the feeling that the end of this kind of life will never come. I know some very encouraging letters are being sent back about how well we like it over here - how we are enjoying ourselves, but that's a joke. We have to do something to keep our minds off of home. It certainly does seem a shame to us - that after what we've endured we have now to be the fall guys for this job.

The president has seen the soldiers in many parts. Mostly of the select men - we have not the honour of having seen or heard him and don't look much like we are going to either.

I am glad to hear the allotements are showing up now. & also glad you wrote to Washington concerning bonds. You may hear from them some time.

Jove - I was sorry to hear Bertha's have had another spell of the flu. Was so in hopes that was getting to be a thing of the past. I do hope they get thru all OK. and Bertha - I suppose is getting stronger now from the effects of the operation. She said in her last letter for me to think of the fattest girl I know & then I would know how big she is. Well I thot of that girl that came up one evening with Maude to see me when I had the sore foot. Gad - I hope she is not that big tho. She's a whopper if she is.

The anti catholic organization you mentioned - and what you said their objective was - is not our order - for surely if it were - some thing would have been said to us. I would not make the assertion that some of our members were not in it - for they may be. I have heard of such an organization - but I thot it was disbanded thru orders from the government just lately. As you know o[u]r president seems very lenient towards them. It is going to come to some crisis soon. I hate to look very far into the future if the people dont soon wake up to the facts of things as they realy are & not as they think they are. I've learned many interesting things over here concerning them. I hope I can soon have the privelege of discussing some of them with you. I have not changed my opinion as regards them - only have become stronger in it. Things we have known only thru reading of them - I've seen to be a fact - and can come nearer appreciating some of the things I've read now that I know they are not exaggerated and are without doubt the truth - pure and simple.

Was glad to know you went to see the big picture. So you have an idea what it was like. I wish I could have seen the picture with you. I could bloody soon tell you if it was any thing like the real thing. It would be great to see it, with out the feeling of danger that goes with a shell bursting too bloody close to you. But - the heavy thundering roar of a barrage & the whine of the shell as it gets so close to you and you have to wonder - then comes the burst - the mourn full wail of those pieces of shell as they go thru the air. I've picked them up right by me - so hot you could not hold it 2 seconds. That's a part the picture leaves out & its the most impressive of all. Well the shells have stopped, but I too am wondering when the time will come when we can stop packing our loads along a weary hike of from 100 to 150 miles. I hear we have another hike ahead of us but don't know just how soon or where to.

I notice an article in the paper saying our only danger now was smothering to death in a feather bed. Well that does not make this floor here any softer & my bones ache every morning when I get up. Also an inspection on a zero morning of a couple hours duration, where men fall out almost frozen - does that appear to you as being considerate of your health. Seems I ought to get used to these things after most 2 years active service - but I still find my self to be quite human in spite of all I've been thru. & long more & more for mothers sympathy & love that I had for 20 years & now for 2 years have been entirely deprived of. So in many ways you may find me changed - but in some respects I am the same as when a boy. With a world of love for my father & mother - I am as ever

Paul B Hendrickson, Hdq. Co. 129 Inf. A.E.F.

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February 1919