Return to previous page

Letter, May 24, 1917

Quincy Ills - % Armory Hall - May 24 - 1917

My dear mother and brother.

I received you good long letter this morning was so glad to hear how you and Ray are getting along. Was also glad to hear that they are improving as well as they are.

I have a little news for you. I have the mumps. Have been on my cot since Saturday night. Have been up about half an hour out of 24 hrs. So you see I am keeping pretty close to my cot. They are much better now, but will have to be quiet for a few days yet, untill I am fully recovered.

I have been writing to daddy a little better the last couple weeks. I have paid Devlin for the last two months. But have not recieved any pay from U.S. yet. We can't find out when we are going to get any, either. So all the money I have had is what was sent to me from Big 4. I still have a little more than $3. And spending such a little bit, that ought to last me a while yet, anyway.

Up until I got mumps I was doing just fine in the band. Was doing better playing than I have ever been able to do. We are rehearsing at least 4 hours a day - not saying anything about what I practiced down in the basement. Generally down there a couple hours a day.

Am playing under Art Kellogg again, they have given him the job of directing the band. 12 of the bunch from Danville have gone back. Some were married and some could not pass examinat[ions].

The new fellows that are enlisting in the band seem to be such nice fellows to. I certainly have had a good time since I've been here, I enjoy the work so much. They are strict, but it makes a man out of you. I honestly believe it is the best thing I ever could have done. I am better able now to take care of my self than any time yet. We sleep on a folding cot, blanket and shelter half and poncho. Of a morning we fold up our bed clothing and lay it out on cot for the day. Getting here early, I have been able to secure best of equipment. All my equipment is new. Have new Kaiki suit, new wool suit, 2 new pairs shoes, (best shoes I have ever owned) 2 new suits underware - 2 new wool shirts - socks - belt, gun belt, over coat (new) - leggings - I may get leather leggings pretty soon. Our new hats have not come yet. And our 45 colts automatics will be issued to us as soon as we get to camp. Camp life is good. The Machine Gun Co. that was at the Armory when we got here, have been in camp for a few weeks[.] You never seen a healthier looking bunch of fellows in your life. We are getting put into shape pretty fast just now. The rest of the head quarters co., out side of the band have their U.S. rifles and they have horses to care for. Our band has been drilling with stretchers the last couple of weeks.

I am sending Ray a picture of myself I happen to have. The pants look so much darke[r] in the picture but when you see the suit on me you can hardly tell the difference in color at all. Must be a little difference in the quality of goods.

Well before many more weeks the whole 5th Regiment will be mobolized in Springfield. I don't know where we will be sent to from there. No body knows what is going on, for the colonel gives out no information at all. So we are not surprised at anything and are all ready to go anyplace. I certainly miss my home and home folks, but this is certainly the only real life I've ever seen. Each fellow gets up and hustles for him self and not a slacker in the bunch.

I forgot to tell you, there is three other fellows in the room with me, has mumps. We sure have some time up here. Have more fun than a little bit. Have to stay on our cots, but we sure can talk. I got a letter from Olan yesterday, they are all well he said. And I get letter from Maude every other day. If I get to go to Springfield I think she will come over there to see me. Olan spoke about trying to get to come over here and see me. So if I go to Springfield it will be much closer for him.

I just now looked at myself in glass - you can hardly see any swelling in my jaws at all, but my beard is a fright. Can't see my face for it.

My only big expense is for stationary & postage. Every body wants me to write and would feel bad if I didn't and no one realizes just what an expense it is, for one person to keep writing all the time. And when the money is coming in so slow too. My watch went on the bad. Broken jewel, will cost me a couple of dollars to get it out of Jewelry shop.

The hardest thing I've got to do since I come here is to lay on this cot when the band starts, just makes me nervous to get down in the hall with the fellows.

Of an evening when they take flag down they play Star Spangled Banner and every soldier has to stand at attention and at salute from beginning to end of the piece. That's law.

Colonel Wood is the head one over all the companies of the 5th Regiment. His Head Quarters is here. Where ever he goes - we go. I was talking with him quite a bit one day. Certainly is a fine old fellow, but everything is law around him. And the Head Quarters company, instead of acting like a bunch of rookies, as they did at first, are beginning to act like soldiers now.

I'm afraid Danville would be rather a lonesome place for me to go, after being with such a wide awake bunch as this. Hoping this letter finds you all better, and write when you can - I am your loving son and brother.

Paul B.

Top of Page

May 1917