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Letter, July 28, 1917

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

Quincy Ills - %5th Reg Band July 28 1917

Dear Father and Mother -

Well I received the letter and neg. today and the picture yesterday. Was sorry I did not get it the day before but I guess it will be alright as it is and many thanks for trouble and expense.

Am sure sorry to hear that you haven't much hopes of seeing me in Springfield. Did you tell Bertha? Maybe they would come. But I won't insist for I may not have much chance to entertain you and you might feel it to be quite a bit of expense for no more visit than we would probly get.

And as for the book case. Arrange the junk in the drawers of my desk and put all the rest of my stuff in the bookcase in the desk in my room. and then you can make use of all the bookcase. Watch my accident policy and make sure you know exactly where it is all the time.

I have two of them - one is no good because I have transfered to a better one and the good one is in the envelope and reads for sickness $40, accident $40, death $400. The old one is for $30, $30, $300 instead of the larger sum. Do whatever you may please with the old one.

We are still having some hot weather. Inspection was much easier on me this morning as I am feeling well again. Was just the sore throat and swollen tonsils with me. No, I guess I am not immune to small pox, but the one fellow is all that has had them yet. No one seems to be sick. I was working one day in the kitchen and washed up the dishes brought back from the fellow that has them.

The camp is not quaranteened. But I guess small pox is no worse than some of the other things that may come up before we get out.

It surely wont be very much longer until we will be sent to France. We are all pretty anxious to go. I expect our writing will be awfully slim when we get over there.

And as for the piece of music you spoke of, I have never had that one. Cecil has it so I never got one for myself.

Maybe you think I was not surprised when you told me about George. I have no sympathy for him if he is caught. especially after what he said to me about enlisting. Spoke so disrespectful of the soldiers that evening we had the little talk when I come home. I always thot him to be some what queer but did think he had horse sense anyway.

He had a very good chance to keep out of this war on account of his age, but this is liable to go hard with him if ever found out. and you can't keep a thing covered up always. And they tell me that Danville is exempted from first draft. But I don't suppose it will be very long until the second call will be made. It will be sooner or later and with me I am glad I moved when I did and I don't believe I will ever be sorry I did. It is hard to leave a nice quiet little home like we had, but there is some things that are harder to do than that.

We now have about 11 fellows in the band. all have gone home for about the length of stay that I got. will be getting in here this evening and tomorrow. Band looks so funny going out on dress parade with such a little hand full of men. Sounds like an orchestra instead of a band. We have not been rehearsing to ammount to much in the morning, and have been getting all afternoon off. pretty good isn't it.

I was glad to hear that Ray was improving even as much as he seems to be. I hope nothing more happens now for work should be an easy thing to get with so many going to war. We got what is called our squad bag. Heavy canvas bag sewed so it is box shaped and about 20 in X 20 X 34 in. large enough to contain 16 wool suits, like the one I wore home.

I let Longstreth wear my leather putees home and his sister sent me a nice white silk handkercheif for doing it. I told him to write and tell her how well pleased I was with the gift and to thank her for me. The boy sure was glad to get to go home for a few days.

I am sending you an enlargement of the little picture. It is not very good. I guess I will send Cecil one of the little ones when she comes home - would you? Tell me when they get back so I can write to her.

I saw the moving pictures of our band and F co. and Mach. Gun Co at the theatre yesterday afternoon. Showed us marching at head of parade. Sure is a swell picture, every one is right in line and working and the other companys are stepping off like clock work.

I will try and see if I can't get some good pictures of myself some time so you can send Uncle Alvin's one. I would write myself but it is all I can do to write home as often as I should do.

I guess the only reason I write is because I can't talk to you and there is something I want to know or tell about so I just have to write.

Wind is blowing real good now and maybe you don't think it feels good. We did not have to stand at attention only a few minutes this morning. Last Saturday we had to play so much. This time we did not have to play at all.

I hear now we may be in Quincy a couple more weeks before we go to Springfield. Of course they may send us direct to Texas, but I don't believe they will.

They are hurrying up the rest of our equipment as much as possible. I suppose by the time we move we will have our guns more to hang on us and carry.

Quite a few fellows in Quincy are enlisting since they have found they are called on the first draft call.

If I would be transfered out of this band I could be transfered into the Regular Army band. You have to stay there for three years war or no war. But it will be about as bad as that I expect for the ones who are in for the period of the war only. For we are not on a breakfast job. What makes it hard on U.S. is going across the water to fight. And it sure is some cost for the government.

We have started a little reform work in our tent. Everyone that curses or makes a vulgar remark that would not be tolerated before ladys are fined one cent for each word money to go into our squad fund. One fellow has 10 (cents) against him already. 30 (cents) in all. Funny part is, I have no mark as yet against me. So I guess I can cut it out if I feel like it is worth the time spent in doing so. but at that I have to watch my talk awfully close, maybe I can get myself out of the habit. I hope so at least. Well I guess I had better close for this once time. I must write to Arthurs too if I can find time. But you can let them read this letter and Guys too for I have told about all I know. (and have only written 6 pages)

Hoping to get another letter from you soon

I am as ever your loving son in service for U.S.A.

Paul B.

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July 1917