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Letter, November 9, 1917

[Letter on color stationery of the National War Work Council, Army and Navy Young Men's Christian Association]

Do you suppose I will think of anything else to write for a month or more?

Camp Logan Houston Texas, %Hq Co. 129 Inf.

Nov 9 - 1917

My dear mother and father

Well mother I rec. your letter I think it was last night. Well I had a little good luck I took pen back and told fellow I bought it of how it all happened and he said he could get it replaced free of charge for him and give me benefit of it by my being honest enough not to try and make it appear as if it were fault of the pen so he gave me a new one out and out not costing me a cent. I guess it does pay sometimes to be honest and so few soldiers are I guess he thot I was an exception and more than treated me right.

Was to see Ethel last Sunday. I sure can have fine time when I go to her house. I and the picture both arrived same morning only I got there an hour the sooner. Audie told Ethel she had better lock it up or his sister would just about steal it. She is a mighty nice girl I think. Seems more or less on shy order when I am around yet not bashfull by no means. Very much a lady. She seems to think me rather a "puzzle" as she calls it for she don't know how to take me and my northern ways. She thinks I'm kidding her all the time. They are trying at Ethels to teach me to dance. Am learning a little. Am very slow at it. Haven't nerve enough I guess.

Well we use candles to write by now as I am in Signal Platoon of the Hq. Co. 129 Inf. We have our tents all in a row and separate from the rest of Hq. Co. So as yet we have no wiring done and there fore no electric lights. I go to school every after noon and am doing first rate I guess. Am able to rec. about 12 words a minute at 5 letters per word. but it keeps me humping to do it tho and the fellows that have been operators are sure got it on me in this. I am ahead of those that have had no experience, but not far enough that I expect to get anything very good in this outfit. Well you see about our captain. we as a Headquarters Co. in the 5th Inf - Captain and all was transfered over here to 3rd Reg or 129 Inf and the Hq. Co. over here has about 290 men. 2 captains one is adjutant to the colonel and highest ranking captain in Reg. And that is Capt. Meyers. And Captain Alexander is the captain that does all the field work and assigning of the positions and making up of all the different divisions of the New Hq. Co. The other captain has enough office work to keep him busy enough we hardly ever see him at all. So by that you see I am still under the same captain. I was while in the Old 5th Reg. We have both been transfered over here. And that discharge was simply a transfer from State service to Federal Service we can now be sent to any part of the world as here to fore we could not have been, and we had no choice or any possible chance of getting out of the army thru that kind of a discharge. You see on one side we were discharged and on the other side we were drafted back so it did not noticeably effect us in any way.

As for any other chance for sergeancy that I had in 5th Reg. there will be no such good luck again as long as I am in the service. It sure was worth taking the chance on but I had to lose with the rest of the 5th Reg fellows.

I will tell you now that those tickets are good only between Danville & Lyons and from what I hear they are no good there now. So I dont suppose they will be of much service to you or anyone else now.

Well mother I am short on change this month as I bought a little trunk to keep my stuff in, so they would look respectible when I went anyplace. I have a pad lock on it too. Pad lock is very small, sure wish I had the one I used at Lyons he[r]e as it is much stronger.

Gee but I have an awfull cold now. Can hardly breathe thru my nose at all.

I was reduced from band pay middle of last month and should have gotten $18 for the half of the month I was still in band and I only got $15. So you see what I am getting for all my hard work. get a reduction in pay and rank and don't even get what pay I should have coming to me. It is no wonder I want to get away from this Reg. If I only felt I was getting a square deal it would not be quite so bad. but anyone can see that kind of treatment is unreasonable and a fellow cant do himself any good by kicking or I sure would kick some. It certainly does not make a fellow feel like doing a bit more than he just has too when that is the reward for your hard work. Fellows that do the least around here have a way about them that they get the most. That is where I fall down by not being the mixer some fellows are. Well I have written 4 pages and have an examination in morning on our school work I expect I had better go to bed.

Evening Nov. 10

We had rather lengthy inspection this morning and our exam was put off until this afternoon and it took an hour or so. and it is almost evening now. I don't know how I came out in the test but don't care a whole lot. As I don't suppose I would be helped any by a good grade for I think those that are going to be promoted will get it, no matter what the grade is, even if we were told the promotions would be based on our grades. I havent any faith in these fellows over here at all. I was even recommended for corporal and there is a fellow in this regiment that must come before me and many others I suppose will come before they give me anything just because I am from another reg. And I am not the only one for nearly all from the old 5th are getting about the same treatment. So I am not the only one who has room to complain only all the complaining? I do is just in letters home to you.

I just now rec. a box of candy from Leah Longstreth - a sister of Oral Longstreth. I have been writing to her once in a while along.

Well I guess tomorrow will be spent in camp as I still feel sort of bummy and dont care about going out much and it seems like I am spending a little too much money here lately anyway.

Well I am going to send you some pictures of me in this letter. Seems like every body wants one of each on horse and prints are 4 cents each. sure count up fast. So quite a bit of my money go in pictures. Sure would have a camera if it were not so expensive. In a way they are worth the money for I have some pictures I would not take anything for it seems to me. In the picture of me on the horse "side view of horse" with leather puttees and way I am sitting would pass as an officer very easy and look more like a real soldier than half the Lieutenants in this outfit. Was surebusy about that time. Was working hardest of any time since I've been in the army.

Well my moustache is getting a little more pronounced now. can be seen a little father but yet not enough to see in a picture. My picture now compared to the one taken last fall where I am with Maude and Marie at the Spring up the railroad. There is all kinds of difference. I have the one I spoke of here with me and was looking at them both and just noting the difference in the expression on the face and general apperance. I don't notice myself changing because it is very gradual yet when I think back there has been a wonderul ammount of change in my disposition and I am not here to say if it is for better or for worse & I don't believe I could be more cranky than I was at home. It makes me almost laugh now to think of some of the things I used to growl and complain about when at home and think it awfull and here put up with things 5 times worse and don't think of complaining at all. It really is as I said before, I do more complaining home to you in letters than I do here. I may think a great deal here but never say much. I hardly ever think of how much nicer it is at home than here for if I did I soon would be like a fellow over here in Co. M. wants to go home so bad he has nearly gone nuts. Have him in the hospital now I think, sure does not pay to get homesick in this business. And I don't think I ever will for we in this line of work have so much to study and learn our minds are almost continualy on the subject and very little time we have to brood over our "calamity" as some fellows express it - for instance the drafted men that are being shipped in here. Some have pretty swelled heads for they maybe held a pretty well up position before coming in here and want to be treated as such. kind o' want to run over you once in a while but they are pretty much at a dissadvantage here for most of these fellows down here have seen a few years of Army life down here and such fellows as this drafted bunch don't figure much to them and they have a way of letting the drafted fellows find it out very quick.

Well I wrote Olan a letter some time ago, not very long either and may send him a set of 4 pictures like these if you think he would care enough for them to really want them.

Fellows have all gone to bed so I guess I might as well go myself pretty soon for if I dont quit writing some time I am going to have to send you this letter in a box instead of an envelope. I am afraid you won't get a chance to read this more than twice until time to write me again.

Well I just noticed what you said about Longstreth and the band. Longstreth wants very much to get out of the band and come over here with me in the Signal Platoon as he would like it much better. Altho at present he is staying with the band and I guess is doing very well. He is not very much more in for the band than I am. I sure have no business in one when I have a chance at this line of work. Altho the fellows here in this band want me to sit in with them and keep in practice and would be glad to get me in the band perminent if possible. But it is not possible, for I don't have any time what ever to devote to that kind of work at all, only wish I had more time to learn about this what I want to know.

The Old fifth band still goes by that name and is now with the division of Machine gun battalions. They have a very uncertain job and have nothing to rely on as they are subject to be broken up at any time. Art Kellogg was over here yesterday morning and is going to get out of the army he tells me on account of rupture I think he said. He won't let them operate on him here in the army and they won't keep him like he is, so I guess he will get out. I would rather by far stay in the army than be one of Uncle Sam's discards. Yet they all say he is lucky getting out of this. I don't believe I would consider it such. I don't want out unless we all get out together and there was some talk of that being the case a few days ago but hear nothing of it now.

I certainly was glad to hear about Cecil being interested in her work at Emerys. I knew it was the only thing for the girl to do but it never did me any good to suggest it to Sr Rife altho when I spoke to Cecil about it at one time she said she wished she could get out and do something like that. She just lacked experience and that is the most wonderfull thing I get down here. I would not take anything for the experiences I have had since April 12 1917. It sure changes a fellow in a way and yet I expect I am pretty much the same fellow I always was.

I am surprised at the ammount of stuff I have written and the little ammount I have really said. But news is scarce and a letter devoted entirely to news would nessessaryly have to be short, but wind jamming does not need anything but plenty of paper a good pen full of ink and some body like me ahold of the pen and enough time to write and I have not in the last hour & a quarter so much as stopped to look up and the pen point is getting so hot am afraid of taking temper out of it only I guess ink serves as a lubercant for it. Well so long for this time hoping to hear from you soon - I am your loving son

Paul B.

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November 1917