Prum, Germany 12/31/1918

Prum

Prum, December 31, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

Just a few minutes ago Miss Schwartz came down to the hospital with the enclosed letter from Uncle August. I was indeed delighted to hear from him so soon and look forward to seeing him day after tomorrow.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve but we have no celebration scheduled so I shall probably go to bed early while you sit up and play cards with the Beethams, if you do as you usually do on New Year’s Eve.

Received the Tribune, concert program and letter from Mother yesterday. A few more packages came but mine hasn’t showed up yet. I have been visiting very regularly at the Schwartz’s and also with some young people who live across the street from them and they certainly have made me feel at home. We have been doing a lot of playing and have had very good times.

I am working this afternoon but we are not busy so I took time to write a note and send this on to you. Will write more later.

Love from

Joe

© Copyright 2014 by Alice Kitchin Enichen, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Prum Germany, 12/26/1918

KitchenFrance

December 26, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

Our Christmas excitement and celebrations are now over so I can settle down and write a letter. We had a very nice Christmas and there was enough going on all day to keep everybody from getting too homesick. At midnight Christmas Eve there was a church service. We didn’t have the choir out but I played the organ. Christmas morning we got up at six and went through the halls of the hospital singing Christmas carols. It was raining on the 24th but during the night it turned cold and when we got up there was an inch or so of snow on the ground, the first of the winter.

We had two morning services at the church, at 8 and 10. The church was decorated with greens and a large tree with the usual ornaments and candles. There were large congregations and the choir did very well for its first appearance.

We got back to the hospital just in time for dinner and we had a very fine one. We got some live pigs and killed them so we had roast fresh pork in addition to stewed chicken, potatoes, peas, bread and butter, mince pie and pudding. The Y.M.C.A. gave us cigarettes again, cookies and chocolate. In the afternoon we had the party which the nurses had prepared for us. They had a tree and had made fudge, cookies and chocolate. The Red Cross had donated stockings filled with nuts, candy, cigarettes, oranges and a handkerchief. The girls bought up a lot of little toys and odds and ends in the stores here and had a fish pond. Sgt. Hill and I played most of the afternoon and later we danced. It was a very fine party and we are deeply indebted to the nurses for all the pleasure we had. It was a busy day and when night came we were tired enough to go to bed early. We thought of home a good deal during the day and knew just about what would be going on at certain times.

Sunday evening after writing to you I went with Mr. Huber, our Y.M.C.A. man and visited at his house. He stays with people named Schwartz and they have a beautiful big home and an American Steinway grand piano. Their daughter has just come back from school in Munich and plays piano. We spent the evening playing and they were very nice to me indeed. I am invited out there this evening again. It is so long since I have been in a real home that I hardly know how to behave anymore. The daughter, Conny, studied English in school so we can understand each other pretty well. I had her write a letter to my Uncle August for me, telling him that I was here and anxious to hear how things were with them. She told him that for the present it would be impossible for me to go to Dusseldorf but I would like to have him visit me here if he could manage to come. He will answer through Miss Schwartz and we will probably hear from him in a few days.

We got some mail the night before Christmas but there was none for me. Only five or six of the men have received their packages. They will be coming along pretty soon I suppose. I am still looking for the package of strings. Our moving around has delayed our mail I suppose.

There can be no doubt but what this was the happiest Christmas the world has spent for some time. The German soldiers are nearly all at home and a good part of the French and English are too. Those of us that are here wish we were home again but on the whole we are pretty well satisfied that we are through with the fighting.

So far there is no indication of our going home very soon. It looks as though we are going to stay here awhile. My regards to everybody as usual.

Love from

Joe

© Copyright 2014 by Alice Kitchin Enichen, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere in France, 12/9/1918

ymcalogo

December 9, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

Our long expected orders to move have come and we are now on the road. We don’t know exactly where we will finish up at but we are not headed homewards and we probably won’t be for several months. I don’t know whether the censorship has been lifted yet or not. I understand that it is supposed to be but we have had no orders to that effect so instead of saying where we are going I will let you use your imagination. I don’t think you will guess wrong.

Our mode of travel dosen’t promise to be very comfortable considering the fact that it is the middle of December. Through somebody’s error or neglect we haven’t enough cars so a lot of us instead of being able to ride in nice (?) comfortable (?) box cars have to ride on the top of flat cars between piles of stoves, tents, and lumber, any place where there is room to squeeze in. Another fellow and I were fortunate enough to make a place big enough for two of us and stretched a little canvas across the top so we have a little protection which means a lot in this miserable cold rainy weather.

There has been some hitch in our travel arrangements. We loaded Friday and left that afternoon. We rode a couple of hours, about fifteen miles and we have remained in the same spot for three days with no prospect of getting out. Fortunately we have quite a little food on the train and we have sent after more so we are not likely to starve even though we are marooned in a desert place.

Yesterday we sent up to the town where we used to get our mail and we got quite a little. My share of the lot was a letter from Mother, one from Father and one from Gladys. Gladys’ letter was written on the 14th of Nov. after the war finished. The other two were from the first week of Nov. It is funny how letters get all mixed up in coming over here.

I hope that Father’s hand is well again. My Betsy never balked on me that way. If she did it would lay me up for awhile. Mother’s letter had the list of addresses in. I doubt whether I will ever be able to see any of them now. Several of them are in base hospitals and they will not move up with us. I know only two or three on the list. I understand that aviation units will be among the first to go home so Gordon ought to be home soon.

We are glad to be getting out of this devastated country. I wonder how the people will treat us where we are going. I suppose they will have to be at least decent and they might even be friendly. If Mother wants to send me a letter addressed to Kr. Pr. street I may be able to forward it the remaining short distance.

My strings have not come yet but I look for them to show up sooner or later. The YMCA work must be all off by now and I don’t care so much now that we are likely to be pretty comfortable so I can have time and a place to practice.

I don’t know when this will get off to you. It generally takes a little time to make postal arrangements at a new place so if there is some delay you will understand it.

Love from

Joe

© Copyright 2014 by Alice Kitchin Enichen, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere in France, 12/1/1918

ymcalogo

December 1, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

This is the first of December and it really feels like it. When we got up this morning we found the ground perfectly white with frost and the puddles of water were frozen hard. It is the coldest day we have had but it is only a little below freezing. We would much rather have it this way than rainy and muddy as it has been ever since the middle of August or first of September.

We haven’t a thing to do but sit around and wait for our orders to move and for transportation. In order to keep us from having too much time on our hands we are fixing up this place as though we were going to be here a long time. We have a bath house up now. That fills a long felt want. Where we were before we had a fine bath house but here there was nothing. We have a make shift one up now which is better than none.

I am still in my little dugout. When we first settled here we didn’t expect to be here for over a few days as I didn’t bother fixing my place up. But when it began to look as if we were in for a little stay here I got a little stove and fixed the place up. The Germans left dozens of little stoves around here and the railroad is lined with big hills of coal of all kinds so we are not lacking for stoves and fuel to keep us warm. I found a kerosene lamp so I can read or write letters at night so I don’t have to go to bed at six every night now.

Several of the officers passing by have been curious to know what was down in here and have looked in. They think I have about the best place in camp. It’s nice and home like and I have gotten rather attached to it.

I had a letter from Alice Atkinson this week and also from Mrs. Davis. Alice was still at Dunkirk, Belgium and was expecting to move in another day or two. Mrs. Davis was in Cedar Rapids. Mother probably has heard from her lately and knows more about her than I do. I judge that she is doing very well in Denver. I suppose I will be having some letters from home by the next mail that comes in.

We tried to have something of a celebration on Thanksgiving. The day was not cold.

Love from

Joe

© Copyright 2014 by Alice Kitchin Enichen, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.