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Friday, February 6, 2009

Letter 39 ~ October 6, 1918

Advertisement for the Trench & Camp Newspaper

I write Minnie more news about the quarantine and let her know her daily letters help me keep my sanity.

Addressed to Miss Minnie G. Frey, Stockdale, Kansas

Camp Republican
Sunday P.M. October 6, 1918

Dear Little Girl,

It sure seems good to be able to write with a pen again & I expect you are glad to read it instead of a dirty old pencil letter. I just got a package from Mother containing my pen & leggings.

I just came away from the Canteen where the only phone we can use is placed. I put in a call for you but the place closes up at 3 o’clock & I had to leave without getting connections. The phone in the “Y” can’t be used now because the building is nearly full of cots for Spanish Influenza patients. The Canteen is quarantined also but they let men use the phone. I used to think I had an awful time trying to get you over the phone on other Sunday afternoons before but this takes the cake.

I expect you are at Sunday school about this time. I wish I could walk home with you because it is a very beautiful [day] here at any rate. I expect a rain is gathering tho. I do hope it doesn’t rain & get cold because the men will die like flies because this influenza will turn into pneumonia if a man doesn’t receive good care. This camp I believe holds the record for the least number of cases but there are plenty of them here. If the weather stays favorable, I think it will run its course in about a week tho.

You should see the hill back of camp today. It looks like one great huge patchwork quilt because every man had to take his bed clothes up & spread them out in the sun. I would like to take a picture of it.

I can look into the next tent & see a crap game in progress. I am glad I had a good mother and that a good girl is waiting for me to return for then I can enjoy writing to them much better than to shoot craps. I heard that there was to be a picture show outside of the “Y” last night so I went down hoping to see it, but I suppose they didn’t have it because it would call a crowd & we must by all means avoid crowds. I sure would like to see a good picture show once more. My sakes but wouldn’t I like to hitch up old Bob & rattle around the end of Old Bluemont [Hill] again.

We are scheduled for a parade this afternoon but they called it off. I don’t see how they could be so kind.
I am going to enclose an article I saw in the “Trench & Camp” – a paper gotten out at Camp Funston. Only a soldier can appreciate it fully tho.

Today seems different from any Sunday I have spent here. Not a soul to be seen around the hostess house. For some reason or other, I don’t feel very bad about it. I was afraid I would feel like I did last Sunday but I am beginning to look at things philosophically, I guess. Of course I don’t like it but I try to think of other things instead of sitting around wishing I was where I wasn’t.

You must be making a grand success as a school teacher. I just knew you would. You must not like it so well that you won’t want to go to college tho. The boy in our tent who is married got a pass last night to go to Manhattan. He telegraphed his wife to meet him there. I am sure glad he got it because he was awful homesick. His wife made it worse tho because she would keep begging him to come home instead of writing cheery letters that would brighten him up. I wouldn’t be surprised but what he will be worse than ever after his pass. I am afraid I might be if I were in his place. Every time I get disappointed about a pass I think, “Well when I get one, it will be just that much better.” Of course one can never tell, but I still have hopes of getting a pass before crossing the pond.

I sure would like to be home on your birthday. Say, the news from the front sounds good whether it is true or not. I think we will get a chance at the finish yet tho. Yesterday they issued metal caps to put on the peak of our tents so if it should rain, it would not be quite so bad as it was. Don’t worry a minute about my getting sick because I take as good care of myself as I can & if the men in my tent keep well, I ought to get by alright.

Well kid, keep a stiff upper lip & everything will be just alright. I must get ready to take a bath so Good Bye for this time.
I got two letters from you today & one from mother but I didn’t get any yesterday. Your daily letters are the greatest help to me to keep up my sanity so please keep them up. Well Goodbye Minnie, -- Ward

Source: Trench and Camp Newspaper, 2 October 1918


  1. Is it my imagination or does the caricature in the Trench and Camp ad bear a strange resemblance to Ward?

  2. They certainly have the same ears!! (One particular genetic trait I feel fortunate not to have inherited.)

  3. Lucky you. I, on the other hand (or ear) seem to have inherited my dad's ample sound receptors. It could be worse though. My dad was bald at 25 yrs. of age. I still have all my hair at 60.