Letter, February 20, 1919
[Letter on plain stationery. Received March 10, 1919.]
Feb. 20 - 1919
My dear Cecil -
That date nearly knocks me cold and nothing in sight
concerning our coming home. Weather is warmer here now and seems
quite like spring. But I am not so lucky. Have had a bad cold &
settled on my lungs. Cough very hard at times now my lungs are
sore and pain terribly at times right under my shoulder blades. I
go to the doctor regular and am confined to quarters- but little
can be done as they have nothing to give you for any thing like
this. Outside of castor oil - their supply is very limited.
Frost groing out of the ground makes it very muddy & wet. So
many civilians here are dying. There is an average of more than
one death a day here and there can hardly be three thousand
people in this town. All Catholics and you should see the
ceremony they go thru. Every one of the processions come past our
home, some times they have their band out & playing a funeral
dirge. the little fellows dressed in robes & carrying gilt
crosses on poles & sprinkling the way followed by the priests &
bishop in their robes of state & the mourners - all in black -
with black veils covering the faces of the women & reaching
nearly to the bottom of their dresses - men dress in black & wear
silk plug hats & full dress suits. Its quite impressive. People
wear black then for one year and they stick rigidly to that
custom. They don't dance either for that length of time. Majority
of the people here are now wearing black, the women wear it in
such a becoming manner they could not look better.
Cecil - have you the "Hawaiian Moonlight" waltz. Its a long
time out, but have you it. We play it here on the piano
occasionaly. One little strain more than any other appeals to me
as being the most patheticaly weird of any Ive heard. Its sweet
and dreamy too.
Some thing about it grips me as no other strain
ever has. I know not why but it is fascinating for me by some
reason or other. if you ever play it think of me connected with
it in this manner if you care to. I want you to get it if you
have it not already.
I have not rec. a letter from you Cecil since yours of Jan
22 - of which I've already answered.
We were very much dissapointed in the last few days, as we
were promised this leave to southern France and now they send the
leave bunch and not a word is said to us. So our opinion of some
people would not bear writing at least to a modest girl.
Well Cecil I can hardly tell you just how I feel, should you
happen to wonder. I can get over my feeling so bum and be O.K.
physicaly, but lonesome. I have no words to express just how
lonesome I am over here with all my comrads and civilian whom I
cannot talk to. And you know what a feeling the spring of the
year puts into a person, you want company and you can imagine how
badly we feel it being two years away from home and now not even
a stranger to turn to for company, for they talk such an
impossible language. I at one time consoled my self with the thot
that it could not last forever, but I'm now beginning to wonder
if I was not a bit mistaken. Some time when I tell you some of
the things we are forced to bear - you will not wonder we look
forward in such a hop[e]less manner.
Write as often as you can, for a word from over there is
better than medicine - with love -
Paul B Hendrickson Hdq. Co. 129 Inf. A.E.F.