This was Christmas day in this town, especially for me, for I received five letters today. Three from you, one from a fellow at the shop, and one from S.B. The three I got from you was dated Oct. 27th, 31st, and Nov. 5. You see the last was just a month getting here, and say Em they did look good. I sent you a letter last night although there was nothing in it. In all three you spoke of how short all my letters are and how little about myself is in them. Be that as it may Em I send quite a lot of mail, which is doing very good considering the fact that there is absolutly nothing to write about but myself and I say enough about this bloke, don’t worry. The one (letter) from Lil was dated Oct. 30, so you see there is some more mail due me yet. What gets me is this. The letter from Hatch (the fellow at the shop) was dated Nov. 18, and this is only the 5th day of Dec. But you know the Bristol Pat. Lea. Co. has always done a lot of foreign shipping and they follow up the ships leaving port pretty close.
I got some mighty good advice in this letter, and it sure does seem good to have a fellow work mate hand out the goods contained in his letter. Im not sorry for any thing Ive done yet since leaving the U.S. and don’t indent to so you folks back home won’t have to worry on that score. We had a lecture this afternoon and another this evening and I think it was very good stuff. Im feeling tip top, great, grand, and excellent and then some. Put this all together and I want it to mean that Im in the very best of health and spirit.
Im thinking very seriously of having a photo of my self taken and when I do you are to get a grand surprise when I send you the result. These old legs of mine never will get any meat on them anyway, although even these same legs are getting to be normal. Im not a razor face now and I have an awful job to hook my coat collar every night at retreat when I have to get out and swing the old baton in front of the best band in the U.S. Army. This is the only time I wear this coat and it is often enough to put on corsets. Ill have to get a new blowse that’s all. I might just as well have said this in the first place and I wouldn’t have used so much time and paper. But you wanted to have me say some thing about myself, and I guess Im doing it to-night.
Im not doing any drilling yet for we’ve been pretty buisy on paper work ever since we hit here. But when we get our officers who are to train us we will be hard at it and I will probably drop some of this flesh. We are beginning to get our Christmas mail now, and it makes me feel some what home sick to think of spending this day so far away from home. The old boy has some consolation in the saying though there are others.
I just glanced at your letter of the 27th of Oct. which also said Sat. and it makes me think of getting home from work at about one oclock (you know most Saturdays) taking a nap, and then start about four or five oclock preparing for the St. James, Roughan’s or Odd Fellows. It was a great life, I didn’t weaken, and that’s why Im here I guess. Its tough not to have as much sugar as you want but its part of the game you folks have to play. Im glad your over-time work is over, for it will give you a better time to enjoy your self.
I want to thank Pa for the tobacco and pipe, Bert for the nails and you and Lena for the candy cake and other things the package contained. Say give me a smell of those beans you speak of watering that Sat. will you (mm). You said it was kind of warm there, well let me say that it is real cold here. It snowed about an inch the other night and the sun hasnt made any impression on this inch yet. I can see how long an inch of snow would last after a day’s sun back there.
Your letter of the 31st of Oct. starts of with saying your surprised at the short letters Im writing. So am I surprised that I even write, there is so little to say or allowed to say. Ive sent a lot of short ones though and I guess by this time you will have received some of them. Sadie must be getting old from what I gather in your letter. I see your reading books again. Well we all have our bad habits. Dont get lost in that book now when Lena wants you to put that broom in the right corner (Dont get sore now Lena). How is Pa and the ashes. I bet you have some pretty early morning revilles now with Pa on the stove detail. Does he use the gas lamp? Are the kids coasting yet? How’s Magee Napolean and old John. I suppose the grand child (the little darling) is getting to big for the baby carrage now. (Aint it funny?) How is the refinery coming along? Has or is the river frozen over yet? Another sheet.
Your letter of the 3rd of Nov. It was in answer to my letter of the 15th of Oct. We were in [England – Reference cut out by Censor] then and it was imposible for me to say much. Tell that sister of ours to cut out getting those colds, and if she does get them to shake them as soon as possible. Some of the boys over here have got colds and it was only the other day that I had to take the band over to another town to play a dirg to a double funeral. Two fellows from the Machine Gun Co. this Regiment died of neumonia. It was some job I tell you to lead a band to funeral time for about two miles. It was a very impresive cerimony and one that I will not soon forget. To think these two fellows and there are more just like them every day, who died off before they even see the trenches. Same old story, take care of ones-self.
Im glad you receive the state money regularly for I know that it will come in very handy. I am glad to feel well asured that you will continue my insurance policy and I think Ive written of this matter before. I got a letter from Lil today stating that you invited her over but she stated that she had a previous engagement. Im glad to hear that Madge and the rest are feeling good. Im sorry Tom dosent write and on the strength of your plea for a letter to Madge she is going to get another one.
You talk about sugar being scarce. Let me impart some thing to you. No matter how much money your worth here, you can’t bye a loaf of bread, a spoon full of milk, an egg, any meat or any thing of this sort. You turn 26 thousand troops loose in a town and they soon eat the population out of house and home. Be that as it may we are getting plenty to eat and it isn’t so bad either. You say it took my last letter three weeks and two days to get here. I think that’s doing very well for I havent got a letter from you yet that hasnt taken at least a month to get here from the date it was mailed. Although we get a little sugar in our coffee we get very little milk, so it must be that we are getting more sugar than you folks at home. Thus endeth the answer to your three letters. Lets hope that there a dozen more to answer the next mail day, (Christmas in other words)
Well here Ive still got two more pages to fill and Im pretty near done, but this old pen is in such good condition and I so kiddish after getting so much mail that I just going to show you how much I appreciate it. And we sure do appreciate news from home. Look Em if you could see the faces on these boys when after the mail has all been gone through, they find none for them. You would think a letter ment a million francs to them. Ive experienced it more than once, but it was the fault of the mail man and no one else. I guess now that you folks back home there know that Im getting your love and mail I will have no trouble in getting letters very regularly from you.
One of the boys from Old K of the dear old Eight, who was discharged the last minute for disability sent me a package in which was some Bull Durham tobacco, tooth paste and brush and some Baker’s Chocolats. Im eating this candy now as I write to you and between the good news that Im sending home for Im sure you will enjoy this letter (if it reaches you) and this real Am. chocolate, Im spending a very pleasant evening.
I want to say right here that the way you are addressing these letters are O.K. Make the 103rd and Infantry very plain and I cant miss them. I see your letters carry three cent stamp, and that reminds me of a piece I saw in an ancient paper stating that this would be the case after Nov. 1st. That is something else we’ve got on you. Our stamp is Soldiers Mail.
When I get this letter written (and it seems I can write forever tonight) Ive got to answer two others. Yes I can honestly say that yours are the first I consider and answer, for I guess Im a Home Gaurd yet. How about it? In the letter I got from the shop the fellow says they have taken up a collection in the shop and, some where between 85 South St and the (Same place) there is a package that will keep me in smokes for a long while to come.
So you see Em although we are here we are finding out who are there. In this kitchen that we make our office and home there is a stone sink only about two inches deep and about three feet square. (It would be worth some dough back there in the states.) Well anyway, what Im getting to is this, where the waist water runs down is near the window and we had a freeze up this morning. We had paper burning, axes flying hot water, and pokers. After a while it started to run. But, on the floor. Nuf ced. Bum plumbers. Don’t misunderstand me now it wasn’t a running water pipe for we have to lug all our water from the fountain. We will have to carry it out now. Will write very soon.
P.S. Im afraid if I write any more the censor will can the whole buisiness as a tough job but I promise to write again tomorrow night, and that should finish this letter. Give my best regards to all and tell Madge to expect a few lines from me. Say Em lets quit. All right done.
© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.