Letter, February 24, 1919
[Letter on color stationery
of the American Y.M.C.A. Received March 24, 1919.]
Feb 24 1919
Echternach - Lux
131 Field Hospital
My dear Cecil-
In my last letter I mentioned feeling pretty bum - well I had
102 fever that day so they sent me to this hospital. I rec. your
letter of Jan 31 the same day. The hospital here they tell me has
been a convent, monistary or some such thing - which I have no
doubt it was - and they say it is one of the oldest in Europe -
well I believe that too. for it is the oldest looking place and
seems to be carved from a solid rock - instead of being built by
putting pieces of rock one on the other.
I am either fortunate or unfortunate in getting to see so
many interesting things and having so many interesting
experiences, this one now is not at all the least pleasant. for
these little beds - with their 14 inch spring matresses - clean
white sheets, and all I had to do was swallow pills with plenty
of water and eat my meals when they brot them to me and not
infrequently did they have to waken me for them either; and
sleep. All they wanted of me was my name to begin with and at
certain intervals afterwards they would come for to feel my pulse
& take my temperature. Which I was always willing to give; with a
few exceptions when they wakened me to get it.
I was in that bed 3 days & 3 nites - solid comfort. Nurse
said I was not a patient but a convalescent as my pulse was
always normal and my temperature the same. Well I did get all the
sleep I wanted and now I am in a convalescent ward. Which is a
warmer room - I dont have to wear the white mask over my face and
can wear my clothes and move about as I please. As this was some
kind of an educational place as I have here to fore mentioned,
there are numerous desks & seats sitting about - nice place to
read & write. It is now about bed time but the lights are good
and I have had enough sleep to last me for a week, probly that
explains why I am now writing and not sleepi[n]g.
Cecil - I would like to see you all dressed up and no place
to go. Id do my best to suggest something to fit the occasion. I
sure would try - I know. So you have high heels now. Are they
neater than the others? I believe that is generally the effect
they have on a persons looks - adds class. Well I've seen some of
the Paris class and Luxemburgs Royal class and some more - but
yet I would hate for any one to put any dependence on my
judgement about that - for - when you have on a heavy pair of hob
nails - a rather rough looking uniform & an overseas cap - you
are not an object to attract much attention as you are only an
ordinary soldier and there are many like you. And as you know - a
man never notices beauty and class so much as when he entertains
some notion in his head that there is a chance for him - but us -
there is so decidedly no chance that it makes us home sick every
time we look at a good looking woman.
So that is why my judgement would be at a discount, for
looking at a woman - I associate pictures of home, & friends I
know with it, so close that the unreal becomes so visulized in
that person that the unreal is what I see and I could tell you
nothing directly about the real person. What kind of a loon you
make me out to be by my above statement - I care not - just blame
the army for it.
But - I notice from one little statement you entertain some
dreams too. Probly you will sympathize with me more, because you
are also subject to that weakness - if weakness it is, - than if
you did not do it. I wonder if your dreams seem as real to you as
mine do to me. I wonder if they are at all alike. I have so
little else to do that it is a very easy thing to fall into a
very realistic dream. I have so much to dream of - home - and all
that means - what I want to do - and many other things I might
mention if it would do any good.
I assure you the gum was much appreciated and chewed with
greatest of pleasure and right here in this hospital too. so your
letter was good to the taste as well as to the eyes.
I certainly was glad to hear of your good luck in the short
hand class - I am hoping it comes easier now you are becoming
more acquainted with it.
And now about your picture. a small one would please me more
than any other as they are so much easier to take care of an[d]
keep from getting broken. I carry with me every picture I have
So you have a Jewish friend and he gets peeved. Well of
course you have no idea what peeves him - so I will not ask but
all I need is one guess. Well young men do have some peculiar
notions I dare say, nice fellows, but realy get peeved over
nothing, you might say. It seems to be quite a habit amongst us
and tho I may be changed from 2 years ago - yet I remember
vividly that part of my life.
I must realy close - as much as I hate to do so - and do my
natural duty of going to bed. I sleep in pajamas now - realy a
comfort in itself. Since I've been over here I've slept in every
thing but pajamas until now, by that you will probly be able to
judge to what extent I appreciate my good luck.
With love to all - I am your friend & pal -
Paul B Hendrickson - Hdq. Co. 129 Inf. A.E.F.