1918 April 7

4/7/18 - Sunday

Somewhere else in France [Is-sur-Tille, Burgundy from his orders]

PS Tell Grandma that the sweater is great.

Dearest ones

We have had another wonderful trip through the most lovely country you ever dreamed of – we are justly tired but all in good shape.

These French trains are queer – there are no aisles & to get from one compartment to another you slim out on the running board.

The cars are very short, have 3 ft wheels & the wheel base is about the same as Dad’s Hup. [Hupmobile] 4 compartments to our car. No toilet it was a case of jumping out when the train stopped by the roadside.

There was no heat in them & had the compartment been full we would have had to set up to sleep – as it was we had two full seats to stretch out on and wer very comfy – but rather frigid – we were 60 hours in route & I think we went around in circles – I do know that I got sick of eating cold beans & hardtack with Bully beef for variety so when we struck the town where the American women from N.J gave us coffee & jam sandwiches- it tasted pretty good. We were there twelve minutes & had to get out to make for 1000 others who were behind us.

This is a dandy place & the little village near us is very quaint – it reminds me of Venice – as there is a river dashing through it & the houses are built right in the water – so that the women do their washing right from their backdoor – quite a stunt – they have a wooden paddle & beat the wadding out of whatever they are washing on a stone slab.

Found a letter from Paul [Henderson] when I reached here – he has been sent somewhere to study something & will be gone a month – after which we will get together – which will help . He wrote that his kids had been sick & that he was very lonesome – gosh he has nothing on me – this is a rainy blue Sunday at 3:00 pm and you are all just this minute eating breakfast at 7:55 am.

I keep my big watch set with Chgo time so that I can keep you checked up & to feel that even though everything with me is different from you – even to time – I have one watch that still is the same as yours (when you wind it)

We are very fortunate in being sent to the post – it is a dandy & the fellows here seem bully we are to take up to two weeks course of study & application & we start in tomorrow am – it is very interesting & very important work – when the course is finished I hope to be stationed here permanently.

We are billeted in an old Chateau – with a name a mile long [see Moulin de Rougemont below ]– but it isn’t at all the sort of chateau that you read about in fairy stories – in fact it is owned by a miller now & he and his family live down stairs while fifteen of us live up. Abry & I are bunkers & our room is just like a nice family vault aged 200 & never opened. We console ourselves with the view – which is wonderful – before us is a lovely little river & an old gristmill operated by it – the water roars & boils making an awful fuss. – behind us the country stretches away to hills & from here I can see tow or three buildings that look like old castles – if I every get time I want to look them over – but first I want to go to the village (3 miles) & buy a pair of wooden shoes for baby! As we were marching up from the train I saw a little child her age walking along wearing them – nearly everyone wears them on the street & when they get to where they were going - they leave them on the door step – overshoes.

You should get this letter about Baby’s birthday – bless here dear heart – how I do love hear & you dear & miss you both awfully. I can hardly wait to hear from your – Paul says that mail comes through in about 20 days from the states – so there must be some on the way for me.

We are no longer attached to a company & I am glad of it - they were good boys - but an awful job to look after. Our Capt. Went to the hospital for an operation at the last camp & we brought the Co. on here alone - & those wild Indians were an awful handful after being cooped up so long - they gave us no rest day or night - so now - even though we are busy - it seems like a vacation.

Have met a lot of fellows over here that I knew at home & some of the Wash. Fellows are stationed here. Oh it costs me 1 Franc (20cents) a day for this room & Abry pays 50 Centimes (10cents) of it. - & our mess costs $15 per month!!! & as long as I live in the chateau I get $36 per Mo. From the U.S. - we will probably be moving out of here as soon as there is room for us at the camp - but I hope not. So you see, the wild tales I heard about expenses were bunk - It is impossible to spend a cent here - as we cannot get to town & even if we did there is nothing to buy but light wine (junk) & bum beer

I weighed 145 lbs today and my clothes are becoming uncomfortable - also I haven't worn my glasses since we left America - don't need them & they were a bother - always dirty.

Over here we wear a different kind of a monkey hat. [Sketch of hat >]

It is very classy but don't keep the rain off - or the sun out - the idea is that a chap can put either a gas mask or helmet over them I guess. The helmets are the English model & are heavy as thunder- makes your back ache to wear em – so I hope I never have to – but we all have them anyway. The gas mask is a dandy but awfully uncomfortable – there is a clamp that closes your nose up tight (& you know how I enjoy that) & a tube that you grip in your teeth - & through which you breathe – but it makes you slobber all over yourself – so I never hope to wear that either.

One thing I do wear that is great is bob nailed shoes – they are very heavy 2 ½ lbs each but very comfortable & no one cares how they look so we never clean em.

The mail is going out right now – so bye bye – I love you & baby until my heart sometimes gets sour & these little kidders over hear have a lump in my throat most of the time – thinking about baby. – I miss you both terribly – I do – Jack

The Chateau was Moulin de Rougemont - (Mill of Rougemont)

5 Days for 5 Francs

References & Photographs of Is-sur-Tille

Is-sur-Tille's website: http://www.is-sur-tille.fr/

Article about my visit (in French):

Part1: http://www.is-sur-tille.fr/bulletin/Iscietla_46.pdf

Part2: http://www.is-sur-tille.fr/bulletin/iscietla47.pdf

Blog about 2012 visit: http://leblogdis.blogspot.com/2012/05/ceremonie-du-8-mai.html