1918 May 4 to father
Continuation of his May 1st letter to his father
Had to stop writing and go to work the other night, so will try to finish up this time. I am Officer of the Day which means that I am on duty all night and dard the luck, I am as sleepy as the duce right now.
Don’t remember whether or not I told you about our daily life, but there is little else I can tell you so here goes: At 5:30 the band marches around the camp playing something with lots of Pep in it this sort of half wakes us sometimes, then at 5:45 the bugler gets busy and by the time he gets through you are awake and wishing that you had the fire lit without having to crawl out of you nice warm blanket to light it; after getting the fire nicely smoking and putting a can of shaving water on to cook, you slide into your clothes, meantime making all the noise possible, to be sure that you neighbor, who does not have to get up so early as you do, is disturbed just enough to make him start cussing you for seventeen different kinds of everything that is not nice; when you have dressed and shaved, you go out, always slamming the door as a parting shot at friend neighbor who get even with you by coming home late at night and insisting on talking to you through the partition which is make of 1x6 pine and which has shrunk so that the boards are ½ inch apart, which makes for good ventilation. Nest you go to the mess hall and eat mush, meat, French fired spuds, toast, jam and coffee,; then you light a cigarette and know the mess saying that the mess officer is a lemon and that to charge one Franc fifty centimes for a meal like that is highway robbery; Thin it is seven O’clock and you start walking about two miles through the nud to work; speaking about mud, I know it like a book, know it in every mood, previous, past and future conditions; the parts of France I have seen have every known variety and without seven pounds of it clinging to each foot and plastered on me in various other places, I feel strange; just as if I had left a package on the train or something like that; well, then you work until noon and then the whistle blown you go to noon mess and put away: meat, spuds, vegetables, salad, bread, butter, jam, coffee and pie: then we light up and censor mail for an hour before going back to work. Our noon mess is served in a different place from breakfast, which saves us a long hike: We quit work at about 5;00 P.M. and walk back up the hill to our quarters where we clean up for supper ( -3- ) which consists of: bully soup, fresh meat, spuds, vegetables, fresh ones at that) break, butter, jam, coffee or cocoa, desert. You can have as many helpings as you want and the three meals cost Six Francs a day about $1.12 at the present rate of exchange. Can you feed like that anywhere in the States for a like amount? The food is the best I ever ate.
After dinner if you do not have any work to do, you go to the Y.M.C.A. and see a show or hear a concert or perhaps it is a fight or wrestling bout, anyway it is something to do to divert your mind. Last week one night we had Ella Wheeler Wilcox, she talked to us for an hour; the same night there was a Band Concert and our band is a dandy! Also MicMillan the violinist played, he is the best I have ever heard; He has given concerts at Orchestra hall several times. Next week Elsie Janis is coming.
Besides the Y.M.C.A we have a club that is a dandy; it was designed and built by the Non Coms. Of an Eng.Reg. that was stationed here; the men built the furniture also and it is very attractive; The walls are made of mud and straw, the roof is thatched and the floor is gravel; there is a Piano, Billiard table, writing desks magazines galore and a canteen where we can buy candy cigars and ll kinds of stuff; the frame is of logs and the fireplace is heavy stones: NO DUES.
You simply have to put yourself to a great deal of trouble to spend any money, and we are always too tired at night to bother about it; everything is much cheaper here that in the States well known brands of tobacco, cigars and cigarettes are from three to six cents less over here; Chesterfield cigarettes three Pkg. for a Franc is a good example.
Must get on the job; You two chaps must write me all about yourselves; I don’t know you address Bill, in the letter you sent me in the States you said that it was enclosed but it wasn’t. I want to how you are doing in you new work, all about the kids, etc. I suppose that Daddy’s business is getting better now, I saw a French Musher the other day. He and his woman were squatting by the roadside putting on a T.T. cover and making a good job of it alone.
Go out and see Vogie and the Baby as often as you can, they will always be glad to see both of you, GOSH! But I would like to get some word from home. Mas last word was before the 10th of Mardch and I get damn lonesome. Love to all, Jack
Have so little time to write that one letter must do for all, send it to Vogie and Aunt Mary when you are through.