1918 March 26
Post date: Mar 31, 2013 11:13:49 PM
[He arrived in Bordeau on the ship US Henry R. Mallory]
March 26th, 1918
After [ censored ] more or less pleasant days we have at last sighted France. & she is indeed beautiful – never before have I realized how much I love good old Terra Firma& I can scarcely wait to set foot on something that will stay “just.”
Before I go on I must explain that my letter will be censored – hence it will not have the naturalness that it would have if it were not necessary for me to sift everything before writing.
Our ship was very comfortable – but she rolled horribly & may on board were sick – strange to say I didn’t miss a meal – in fact could have an extra one or two a day – so the fat must be gathering – anyway my clothes are tight.
We have nice crowd of fellows on board – but we love each other now- two weeks on ship board shows up the bad spots & we all have em – of course we had plenty of work to do & we all turned in early. Every day we would gather in the music room and sing & sometimes at night have a movie show – good ones too.
This is the hardest job of letter writing that I ever tackled – I am chock full of news & interesting things but will have to save them till we lick the Kaiser – am keeping a sort of memo book that will help me remember things when I get back – meantime must stick to interesting things.
From the ship we can see tiny farms– wonderfully cultivated – everything is green & the trees are all in leaf – it made me awfully homesick for you & Hinsdale when I saw the little red roofed houses, set in their tiny gardens – through the glasses we could see a woman ploughing in the field using a cow instead of a horse: It looks like late May here & is quite warm.
Am anxious to get in touch with Paul [Henderson] – but haven’t the slightest idea where he is or how to locate him – when we get ashore will find out.
Several days later –
Here we are in camp& before I forget it – I wanted to tell you that I am as fat as a pig & feeling fine & nearly out of socks – How are you doing with the socks?
Everyone is vastly interesting & my French is quite wonderful – Went to town yesterday to get your cable off I was amazed to hear myself ordering meals & buying stuff in French - & understanding enough of it to get around in good shape.
This country is wonderful & the people charming – the city which I visited was very quaint- & the buildings although a century old are solid, clean & very attractive – the poorest houses are build of stone or concrete and have tile roofs, but the front doors make a hit with me – everyone is scrubbed to a polish & the brass knockers& knobs shine like gold.
The country is lovely – flowers in bloom cherry blossoms out & the grass and leaves fully developed & a wonderful green – Although France is in the same latitude as Labrador– it is as warm as Summer here thanks to the Gulf Stream.
Located Paul [Henderson] yesterday but could not get in touch with him on the phone – however. I left a message for him - & tomorrow will send a note by a man who is going there.
Am anxious to learn when you get the first $50 allotment & the Ins policies – don’t fail to let me know.
Haven’t learned much about mail service but am awfully anxious to hear from you. Don’t worry if you do not hear from me regularly – one of the officers who has been here some time just told me that there were frequent delays in the mails – so let me know what date you receive this letter. My duties are many & not he least of them is censoring mail – I have been at it three hours today & more coming all the time – Censored several going to Aurora.
There are al lot of German prisoners here – working around the camp doing all kinds of things – they are a husky looking lot but I would much prefer to see one on the end of a bayonette than to see him stick his head over my partition as he did this a.m. – he was a wild looking mut doing plumbing and when I awoke & saw him starring at me I thought I had em. He wanted to apologise for the noise he had been making – but he nearly lost his eye instead. Don’t worry if you don’t hear regularly– I will write at every opportunity.
Your mail will not be censored I hear & you can send baby’s pictures and yours as often as you like & Lord I will be glad to see them.
There is much noise and confusion around me so I will stop for now. I miss you all so much & have to keep pretty busy so as not to be too much thinking. My big watch is set for Aurora time & it tells me at a glance what you are doing. – right not it is 12 minutes after 10 am in Aurora and 5:15 p.m. here – doesn’t it seem queer?
Bye bye dearest – I love you & miss you & baby so much. I do Jack
John G. Stevenson
1st Lient. Ord R. C.
Co B. 1stProv. Ord Depot B’n
A.E.F. via New York.