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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Letter 9 ~ September 15, 1918

Minnie writes to me from her father's home in Manhattan after visiting me for the first time at Camp Funston. She apologizes to me for complaining that I hadn’t written her and confesses her love for me.

Addressed to Mr. Ward C. Griffing, 25th Company, 164th Depot Brigade, Camp Funston, Kansas
[Manhattan, Kansas]
Sunday evening, [September 15, 1918]

Well I am home [in Manhattan] but not up at Sherman. [Your bother] Willis got along fine [on the return trip from Camp Funston]. He put chains on at Army City. Papa had a [tire] blow out [on his car] at Wild Cat [Creek]. We didn’t know it tho and so we waited – [my brother] John and I – at the oil station at end of Colorado Street [in Manhattan]. When the folks didn’t come, we couldn’t imagine what was the matter so I walked down to Carey’s and John walked on out home. Folks were here when he got here and so they did the milking before coming for me. We are going up [to Sherman] in the morning. Mama is going to leave about four o’clock in the morning. Some drive.

But Ward, I would not have missed seeing you for anything. But the time flew by far too quickly. Boy you looked nice today, but not well and there’s something about your look that wasn’t natural. It just wanted to make me cry all the time. I believe you are melancholy. You seemed to talk about the terrible things and nothing of funny things in camp life. Don’t think that way, boy. Everything is going to be alright. But Oh, it is so hard for you I know.

You read and study your spare time, what little you have. Don’t write to me only when it is most convenient and don’t worry about it because I certainly won’t. I know now how awful busy you are. I’m so ashamed of some of the things I said in those letters you will get tomorrow, but I was so lonesome and didn’t know what I do now. Just look over those words. Don’t read them. I sure appreciate every line I get from you, but you have too many things to think about and so very busy. Don’t worry about writing me regularly.

Your mother and I were so jolted up, we nearly “died a laughing” coming home over the bumps. But [your brother] Willis is sure a good driver. We passed several cars in the ditch. I have never thought so much of anything given to me, Ward, as I do of that picture of you. I’m so proud of it. I just love that expression on your face Ward. And you are just ready to smile.

I’m just crazy to go back up to see you next week. I can’t see enough of you boy. Maybe we can stay longer next time. I don’t know what I will do when you can come home again (in a Sunday or two, I hope). I think it will be the best thing for you.

Ward, I have told you and told you, and have thought how much I love you, but I know now that I never realized how very, very much I do love you, Darling, until lately. I think of you constantly and my heart just aches when I think of you (I guess it’s my heart, I know it just hurts when I take a breath). And dear, I have such nice things to think about when I think of you. I was so proud of you today. You were given leave because you hadn’t smoked. If you had of, maybe we couldn’t have seen you only a few moments. You are such a good fellow. I’m sure you are going to make mighty good. I hope you get in at the College. You probably think I have a spell, but I was never so in earnest in my life, Ward, about you.

How did your pies turn out? I’m so glad your mother took you that blanket. For goodness sake, keep warm and dry and don’t get sick.

If you want anything, please don’t hesitate to tell us. We are all anxious to do something for you. If I could only do something that would make you real happy. Keep awful good care of yourself, Ward, so you won’t be sicker than you just have to be with that vaccination.

Well, I must go to bed. [We have] a twenty mile drive in the morning. With heaps of love to you. I am your true sweetheart, -- Minnie G. Frey

P.S. This is terrible writing for a ten year old but I’m sitting in an awful position. My hand is way up where I can’t see my writing. Not very long and we can be together here at home. Won’t that be grand? Four weeks ago tonight, we were.

  • Willis Goodrich Griffing was my twin brother.
  • Now a vacant hayfield, Army City was a World War I commercial complex established to provide entertainment and other services to troops stationed at Camp Funston. It was created in 1917 and abandoned in 1921 after it burned.
  • John Charles Frey was born 17 November 1900 near Ogden, Riley County, Kansas.
  • 45 year-old George S. Carey had a home on west Poyntz Avenue in Manhattan.

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