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Letter, July 22, 1917

[Letter on stationery of the Army and Navy Y.M.C.A.]

Quincy Ills. % 5th Reg. Band July 22 1917

My dear Mother and Father

Will try and write a letter today as I feel 100% better than I did yesterday and the day before. The last few days at the fair were sure a treat but Fri. I felt pretty punk. The horse racing was very good for a county fair. Street car company gave us a special car to go to the grounds on and brought us back each day. We drawed three dollars a day - each person - but as we are a military band we were not allowed to be paid so the money went into the Regimental Fund. It is certainly hot here these days and I noticed it yesterday feeling sick and standing at attention so long. Carpenter - the fellow here that has small pox - he is the only one that has them and I saw him last evening - his face is one solid scab, his arms looks like a turkey egg. And the sole of his feet where it is tough and they could not break thru, they are like a blister and sore as a boil ever could be.

Yesterday was pay day. I was pretty much surprised when my pay was handed out, for we rec. $36, about $4 more than I was expecting. The reason I sent only $25 home is that we don't know what is before us in the next month. May be in Texas by our next pay day. And traveling is more or less expensive. And if we are down there our pay may be on time and it may be a way late. If it does run so very much late I may have to send home for a little, but I wont if I can keep from it. I have been asleep all morning. Well I have taken your advice about the girls. I go and spend the evening with Stella once in a while, but she is the only one. And she wants one of my folders in the black and white. So I told her I would give her one as she hasn't a good picture of me. And say mother, look in the top right hand drawer of my dresser with all the pictures I brot home. I think I left the negative of the one where I and her are together and if so send it to me in a letter, next time you write. It belongs to her. Stella seems to think quite a bit of me. She always has some kind of eats when I go up there and one evening she gave me a nice box of chocolates to take out to camp with me. She says Quincy will certainly be some dead town when we all leave. What young men are left here don't ammount to very much, and in my estimation they don't either. I heard that Fred Petersons name was on the draft list. I only hope it is so, for it will no more than serve him right. One fellow here said he would not go if he was drafted. He surely is not very well acquainted with our government. Certainly was some excitement here Fri. morning when the names first started to be put up.

Well after the 25th no one is allowed away from camp. So before long we may be in Springfield. I am sure if we do get there that Maude will come over and if you can come too I would like to arrange it so you will be [sependdy] for she won't be there all the time and probly Arthurs would run over in the machine if it is not too far or come over on the Interurban if it would be cheaper and come when she wont be there. For that way we would get so much better visit with each other. But I don't even insist on your coming to Springfield, for I don't know how we are going to be located there or anything, will probly be there a couple of weeks tho if we do go there.

I am sorry Lees could not get to see me, that is if they cared very much, but I had so short a time to stay, and at noon the day I found out I could come, And left that night at 10:30 is getting out on pretty short order. would have beaten the mail thru quite a bit if I had written.

Well as for the Avation I have a very small chance of ever getting into that, if I wanted to bad. And I feel that there will be several others of the band have to drop out if I have to go - but even then you can never tell.

And as for pay - the private get $36 and no responsability and a corporal gets $38, just $2 on the month and all the duties of a corporal besides. So I am very well satisfied just as it is. Altho we have one hell of a job out on the battle field, but it will be some time before we will have to see that. I saw some pictures at the theatre last night "Pershing in France" and it showed him arriving there and the reception. I never saw such a demonstration by people in any pictures before. One thing about it tho, in all the scenes, you never seen a man that looked to be under 30 - or 32 unless it was just a boy. Some way or other I have no fear what ever of going over there. Time is too short now to worry over a year or so, therefore It is causing me no worry at all. I am enjoying myself now while I can tho. One thing tho - in real war our job will be one of taking care of wounded instead of being the ones to do the wounding. That is some satisfaction. It looks rather redicalous seeing fellows drilling with guns and right on the same field our band drilling with lit[t]ers.

Some of us play dead or wounded and the others give first aid and learn proper way of handling and carrying on li[t]ters. Makes a pretty drill if done correctly. Rather hard to learn tho.

Well mother you can do as you please about sending volumes. But I'm afraid they will not be read very much if I get them. All the time I feel at all like studying I put it to music and we are sorting our possessions down to rock bottom now and taking no more than we just have to have. And I am afraid that is going to be more than I can handle easily. We may not get to wear our leather putees in mobolization camp and if that is so I am going to send mine home. For I don't want to sell them. It is now dinner time and I will probly write some more later. --------

Well this is this afternoon. and we have just had another big rain - knocking out concert. So I am in Y.M.C.A. tent again our orchestra is over here giving us some music. Quite a few young ladies out here too.

I was reading over the names of the fellows that were drafted that I knew. 3 fellows that worked at Lyons. Had a cantelope for dinner.

One of the girls here is looking at me so much that it is bothering me.

We had a big water melon at our tent last night. Sure was ripe. Will probly get another one this evening.

Say - Guys name was not on the list was it? I could not find it. One of the fellows that got cold feet and left the band on an excuse not ammounting to much - I see is drafted now. Was tickled to hear it too. Well I had better close and write again soon - I am as ever your loving son -

Paul B

P.S. I am afraid this letter will not be interesting - it sounds so disconnected to me as I read over it.

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July 1917