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Letter, March 31, 1919

[Letter on color stationery of the American Y.M.C.A. Received April 23, 1919.]

Mar. 31 1919

Ettelbruck Lux.

My dear Cecil -

Today I rec. your letter of Mar 6. and the picture. Have been looking for it for a few days and I am not dissapointed upon seeing it, for it is even better than I expected - are you realy that good looking? if so I wish to come home more than ever - Now you may think me kidding but I am not.

I am lonesome since coming back from Nice. That was most too good to be true. We were expecting to go some place - a leave area - to play for a week or so but I see plans are changed and another band instead of us are going. Well - we cannot complain for we are the only band in this Division fortunate enough to get a leave. We feel lucky in this respect. But we may go some place yet - if we stay on this side of the water long enough. While I would enjoy playing at some leave area - yet I would hate to stay over here a minute longer than our schedule to do it.

Cecil - I am spending morning, noon & nite practicing on my trumpet. I have a nice little room to go into to practice and our music is so hard that I have to do something like that if I ever expect to play it. And when you wish to do anything very much - you will willingly go to no end of trouble to accomplish what you undertake.

I enjoy that practice more than anything I can do - and when I sit in at rehearsal each day and notice how much easier it becomes and how much I can play more than the day before - it gives me a feeling of joy - or pride.

I feel as if my efforts are more than rewarded. French music is very different in arrangement than our own and I spend hours practicing on certain peculiar & very diffacult strains, that realy sound more like a lip & finger exercise than music. But when all taken together the band sounds so full & like a great pipe organ.

Today we rec. a whole shipment of standard music from the states. american arrangements we went over two this fore noon and I was surprised how much easier it seemed to me to play our music after such hard practicing on the French arrangements.

Now dont get the idea I am becoming a great musician, for all I am doing is practice work, and 2nd cornet parts in a band arrangement is nothing but a diffacult kind of harmony with an occasional strain of lead. Nothing like solo work and I am sorry for I am not improving myself much along the line I wish to. If I can strike it lucky enough to play 1st cornet I may get what I wish - but as yet I could not handle it at all, for as I said I have to practice all day to come any ways near playing my own part. Some way I seem to be more interested in my work than I was. I suppose it is because I find it to be more profitable & absorbing passtime of a higher nature than anything else obtainable here. I used to benifit much from my association with Elmer Taylor, but he is going to run for some office as soon as he can get home - and he is so interested in that, he never thinks or talks of any thing else, so I find very little help in a conversation on his possibilities of being elected or some other thing concerning himself only. But he has helped me so much in a number of ways & more than he will ever realize, that it is easy to over look these little items and to show my appreciation more - I do all I can to become interested in his affairs as he always has me to criticize his letters and considers my ideas for their full valus as he knows I am an unprejudiced judge and thru me has a chance to see how his work will take or appear to other people. But too much is enough and I find it more interesting to study music. for here I can see my own improvement.

I am so glad to hear you are getting along as well as you say with your school.

It seems you have to go along for quite a while and must make your self work, just a continual dig and dig - for what little you seem to accomplish, its all up hill and you feel there is so much to learn & you know such a little, you become very easy discouraged - and its just at this time a person is most likely to give up the opportunity of a life time, just for lack of the right kind of encouragement. But once past this stage you can see where you are wiser for your work and can depend on your self more & more and you appreciate this so much, that your one desire is to learn more & apply what you know and then it is that work becomes a pleasure and you wish for more time for study and try to find more time for it instead of dreading your lessons & school periods.

It is nice for you - hearing some one interested enough in you to give you the benefit of these little chances for advancement even tho it is for a short period - it gives you an idea of the work and you can tell more just what part of your studies to put the most attention to - so as to accomplish the most in a short length of time.

If in any way I have been a help to you I am sure I appreciate the fact. For I know how grateful I feel to anyone who has helped me and if I can be of as much assistance to anyone else, it gives me more pleasure than anything I know of. I dont mean my letters in just that way, but if from my experience you can save your self any trouble, then I am glad I wrote it.

Well this is April 1 - nothing unusual has happened yet. And I realy don't believe there will be any thing unusual pulled as army life as we are living it - will not permit of very much.

You say you can never think of any thing to cheer me up - well just a letter from you telling just how you are and the most natural things you can think of to write about is just what I enjoy hearing.

Cecil - I thank you many times for that picture. I care not if it is the best one of you - for it pleases me & that is quite enough. I fear I will hardly know my little pal when I get back - but we can become acquainted again very easily can we not? as ever yours - hoping to see you soon -

Paul Hendrickson - Hdq. co. 129. Inf. A.E.F.

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March 1919