Letter, August 22, 1917
[Letter on stationery of the Y.M.C.A., Quincy, Ill.]
Quincy Ills %5th Reg. Band Aug. 22 - 1917
Dear Father & Mother.
Well it is Wednesday and we are still here. I sure don't know now when we are going to leave. Some think we never will see France. I expect tho we will go to Texas as soon as they get the camp ready for the soldiers. And of course we don't know how soon that will be. I hope it is soon, for we are told there will be shower baths, electric lights and hydrant water for us there. Will be much nicer than lanterns, will be half way civilized anyway. We may use our tents with solid floors. Or we may have barracks. We will have plenty of open air how ever they make it. I rather want to go now. No chance of getting home oftener and I would as leave be in Texas as here.
I am having a pretty good time tho, going out on my scouting expoditions as I do every day. Sometimes up along the bay and again maybe into some other park or out over the hills in most any direction from here. Generally two of us to together and send messages to each other. Last night I was on a knowl over a half mile from the other fellow. We used our flash lights. Certainly was surprising how plain the lights showed up in the dark. Was really much easier to read than I had expected it would be.
We also get pretty good eats when out in the day time, for we never hesitate in getting into a nice looking orchard. We don't destroy, just take what we want to eat and then leave. Some pleaces they ask us in and give us apples, and sugar pears and such things. I really enjoy that part of it better than playing in the band.
I suppose I will have to go back to the band as soon as they get some one to take my place bugling. I certainly have been learning more about a real soldier here lately than I ever knew before. Range finding and map drawing is what I want to learn next. I know all the bugle calls and all that goes with bugling. A bugler has the easiest of any one in the army but he has to know a great deal to make a good one. You have no drilling to do and not even as much rehearsing as the band for the other morning we all hid away and slept two hours and a half. And in case of war you haven't got the dangerous job the band has. Mostly all signal work, either with the bugle or flags.
And say will you send me my telegraph key. That is the whole instrument. We are going to rig up a wireless apparatus and I want the key, but you will have to send all of it as it is all on one board. I guess if it were tied up and packed in excelsior it would come by parcels post alright. just so it is wrapped well.
And say mother our pay day has not happened yet and I am not here to say when it will. It may go over until next pay day for all we know. It is late now. So if you need any money you had better send me my check book unless you want to wait until our pay does get here. But I would as leave you send it as I am going to need more if it doesn't come pretty soon. I have laundry and razor blades to buy and I hate to break my last dollar bill. for it goes so fast when you once break in on it. Also have to have shoe polish and that won't leave any thing to go to the park on, so I will have to stay at home.
Street car service and shows have been charging since all the soldiers came, so the money goes a little faster if you have any good time at all. I have hardly been leaving camp so as to save. As I have been so busy studying I haven't noticed it as yet.
I may want some of my books on mathematics Numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and first two (No 1 and No 2) on Chemistry (inorganic Chemistry) I find the best way to pass away the time is by studying. And there are a few things I want to review, and will do me a good deal of good. So you can send them any time you can find time to get them wrapped. Parsels post will do for them I should think. I would rather not have them sent all in one package (that is the instrument and the books).
I have just gotten in from dress parade. It is getting a little dark to write. The weather has been a little damp the last few days. rather comfortable tho.
There were two new captains here tonight. I don't know where they are from.
Say will you tell Fleda & Arthurs how I am. Am even too stingy to buy postage stamps, just get what I have to have. I expect they wonder why I have not written. And Guys the same. Well I expect I will write a little more in the morning so I quit for tonight.
Well this is Thur morning, just got in off our hike. We went to sun Set Park and decided we would go across river, so went to boat house and got a boat and went across to sand bar and went in swimming. And coming back the wind was blowing so hard and the waves so high they would flop in the boat. our boat had two sets oars and was about 18 ft. long just a shell. There were 5 buglers in the bunch - we sure have good times on our hikes, so long as the officers dont catch us - that is the reason we hide away as we do, but I guess you would not have that we were hiding away had you seen us over there this morning on the sand bar.
You don't hear any more talk about leaving at all. So I am going to guit figuring on it at all.
I am sending you a Receipt for oat meal cookies. They sure are fine - one of the boys in this tent had some sent to him. so I told him I wanted the receipt. so he sent home for it. The cookies are made into squares about the size of the large crackers you buy. You can try it if you want to, but be sure to save it till I get home.
Say I wish you would send the books first. They won't make a very large package. And there is one that is nothing but a bunch of tables (signs and co signs - tangents & co tangents) call a table of logerithems. I think it is in my desk down stairs and the ones I just named over on the other page I think are up stairs in my desk up there. I am going to try and go ahead with my study as much as possible.
Well I expect I had better close for this time.
I don't know very much of interest to you. I am feeling good, outside of a cold and it is much better than it was a couple of days ago. How are you feeling now, I hope you are all well.
Well close, hoping to hear from you soon I am as ever your loving son