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Monday, January 12, 2009

Letter 8 ~ September 11, 1918

Minnie chides me for failing to write more often. She describes her school activities, mentions who is going to the State Fair in Topeka, and miscellaneous other news. Says she hopes to come to Camp Funston on Sunday to see me.

Addressed to Mr. Ward C. Griffing, 25th Company, 164th Depot Brigade, Camp Funston, Kansas
[Sherman, Kansas]
Wednesday evening, [September 11, 1918]

Dear Boy:

Here it is Wednesday evening again and not a sign of a letter from you. I suppose you think you are paying me back for not writing sometime when I have been away, but I never went that long. And besides, you were at home, and I am away farther from home than you are. I can’t even talk to home folks and am among absolute strangers. I’ll keep on writing, but you’ll pay for this silence, don’t you forget. I couldn’t hardly stay in the school room this morning when I saw the mail man coming up the road. I just knew he had a letter for me.

The folks are attending the Topeka Fair today. They sure have a pretty day for it. I wish I could have gone. Mrs. Parkerson and I are still alone. Mr. Parkerson will come tomorrow evening, I guess.

Only two more days, then I get to come home. What if it would rain? It won’t tho – it just can’t.

I talked to Stella [Munger] over the phone for a few minutes Sunday. She said she had so much to say when she saw me again.

Mr. [Mincher] Condray – Dorothy’s father – stopped in this morning right after I got to school to see how Dorothy was getting along and to tell me she liked school and I don’t know how much more. I don’t like his little personal visits very well. He comes early before any of the children and never wants to leave. He isn’t a very nice man even if he is married. He didn’t find any fault tho. I’m glad of that.

Well, how do you like camp life by this time, Ward? I hope you like it as well as I do my school. You’ll be happy most of the time if you do. My, I’m in a hurry for the war to be over. I’ve had enough of it already and you’ve hardly been in it yet.

Thursday evening 5:50, [September 12, 1918]

Dear Boy:

Postman didn’t stop at school house, but I just knew I would get a letter today or never. So I hurried home and here was a note from you. I think they must be giving you intense training. What did you mean when you said, “Sherman said it correctly”? I believe you must be crazy. They must be working you too hard, I guess.

I will bring your comfort kit next Sunday. I bought it in Topeka and thought I would get to give it to you [last] Sunday, but didn’t.

Why Ward, next Sunday can’t be the last time I can see you. It just must not be.

I shouldn’t think you would mind chewing dust. I saw you rolling mud balls in your mouth not many Sundays ago. Which is worse? I sure hope you will get promoted. That’s my only hope for you now. I hope your Colonel is “Dippy” when he tells you things like that.

Mr. Parkerson just came home. I hear him talking downstairs.

[Bertha’s husband] Charlie is on his way to Washington [D.C.] today.

Mama didn’t send me your address. I don’t know why. You said you were hard up for paper. Well, what did you send one sheet with just a little written on it for? You might as well have written all over it on both sides. And then you want me to write and I know if you read all I write in my long letters (it would certainly make me feel fine if I thought you didn’t, even if I did say it would be alright) you would have time to write to me. Next time you get a long letter from me, lay it aside and write to me instead of reading it. It would make me lots happier if you would. And I would know you were sacrificing some of your leisure (if that’s what it is) for me.

I know, darling boy that you are awful busy and I believe every word you say. I will try to write big letters often and not say ugly things about your not writing. But it is awful hard sometimes and a big disappointment because I thought you would get to. But I better get use to be disappointed – that seems to be what most of my life is going to be made up of anyway. Well that’s enough of that kind of talk. I had better put down my pen when I get to thinking on that line.

School [is] going fine. One of the [Krause] twins ran into a boy today at school and hurt his arm very much. He staid till school was out but I sure felt sorry for him. He was just white, it made him so sick. And I can’t stand to see a big boy cry. I know they are hurt pretty bad or they wouldn’t. It was swollen quite badly. It may have been broken. I wouldn’t know.

Call for supper –

After supper this evening, we went over to Art Chalmer’s [who married] Mrs. Parkerson’s daughter [Lena]. They are going to the Fair tomorrow. We persuaded Mrs. Parkerson to go along. I told her she wouldn’t need to stay on my account because the folks were coming for me tomorrow evening.

You hadn’t better forget you are Ward Griffing. What would I do for a Ward if you did that? And don’t forget that you are to be the same Ward that you have been even if you do have to wear the uniform. If you come back home alright – of course you will – won’t we be proud some day that you wore that uniform? I know I will be. Every morning when we give the flag salute up at the school, I always think of you, what that flag means to you, and what you are willing to sacrifice for it.

You were not feeling well the last time I saw you. Did you get to feeling better? I expect you are so busy now; you don’t know how you feel. I must go to bed. Good night and a kiss, -- Minnie


When I have time, all I think about is my getting a chance to see you next Sunday. But my! I won’t hardly get to see you. Probably get to say, “how do you do” and “good bye.” I wish we could be together all Saturday afternoon and evening, then all day Sunday until I have to come to my school in the evening. Maybe we can when you can leave camp. Don’t you forget anything. I want you to tell me everything when I see you.

We have a slow mail carrier on the route now while the other one is taking his vacation. He doesn’t wait for the freight and so the news is three days old before I get it. I don’t like it very well.

I hear the coyotes yelling tonight. I heard them the other night in the night and they sure were close. They sounded louder than I’ve ever heard them before.

Eben and Lucretia are both in College this fall. They were at home Sunday. I hope you and I will be in College next fall, or what would be almost as good would be for me to be in college and the war over and I looking for you home just anytime. Oh, Ward, I wish that time would hurry and come. Don’t you, boy? You will finish college when the war is over, won’t you Ward?

I have my papers graded and my work gone over so I can go to bed early tonight. I never go very late – between nine thirty and ten. I wonder what you are doing now?

Goodnight, dear Boy, -- Minnie G. Frey

Write! Write! A long letter, just half as long as mine and they will be big ones.

  • Eben Ellsworth Scholer was the 18 year-old son of Fred and Henrietta Scholer of Milo, Salt Creek Township, Lincoln County, Kansas. Eben’s older brother Charles married Bertha Frey, Minnie’s older sister in 1916. According to his draft registration card, Eben was tall and of medium build, with brown eyes and dark hair. At the time of his registration in September 1918, Eben was a student at KSAC. In the 1930 Census, Eben and Forence Thomas – his wife of four years and a native of Missouri – were living at 105 East 41st Street, in Kansas City, MO. Eben was employed as a civil engineer for an oil company.
  • Lucretia Scholer was the 22 year-old sister of Eben. In the 1930 Census, Lucretia Scholer was single and working as a “Home Bureau Agent” at Bethel College in Newton, Harvey County, Kansas.
  • Mr. Mincher Condray was a 36 year-old farmer whose parents came to Kansas from Indiana. He was born November 1, 1883 in Stockdale, Kansas. His wife was 28 year-old Tilley Hohman. They were married on June 3, 1911, and by 1918 they had three children. These were 6 year-old Dorothy R., 3 year-old Arthur B., and an infant named John.

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