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Monday, February 9, 2009

Letter 45 ~ October 9, 1918

Minnie writes to tell me she hopes I don’t get the flu. She also tells me of her plans to go home to Manhattan the following weekend to see her sister Bertha before she leaves to join her husband in Washington D.C.

Addressed to Mr. Ward C. Griffing, 25th Company, 164th Depot Brigade, Camp Funston, Kansas
Sherman, Kansas
Wednesday Evening, October 9, 1918

My Dear Ward:

I am sure happy I got a nice long letter and a card from you today. The card was sent yesterday and I got it today. I wonder why it is that sometimes I don’t get your letters till five days after you write them and this one only took two days? I’m glad you are feeling so well. Clint Scott wrote home last week that he was feeling fine. Then they had a letter from him a few days afterwards saying he was in the hospital. He’s there now but he’s getting well.

After what you had told me about your barracks, boy, I sure had to laugh when I read that article. I had told Mrs. Parkerson what you had said about them. Then I read that article to her tonight. She just laughed and laughed. She told me I wanted to keep that.

What in the world did I write that makes you think I’m making such a “grand success teaching?” I am getting along fine, but why shouldn’t I in this school? It’s mostly keeping on the good side of the parents.

Ward, your [post] card was certainly comforting. “Don’t worry about my getting sick, over fifty cases went out of this company today.” It would be strange, wouldn’t it, if I should worry?

Parkerson’s are going to Manhattan tomorrow if it doesn’t rain. I wish I could go along. But I’ll get to go Friday. A week from Saturday is teacher’s meeting in Riley. I’ll go to that, and then I’ll go home from there. This weekend is going to be the last for me to see [my sister] Bertha for a long time. I hate for it to come for that reason.

Did the wind blow your tent over the other night, or didn’t it blow hard over there?

Hope I hear from you tomorrow saying you are all right. That is sure good news to hear. Good night, darling. – Minnie Grace Frey


  1. If Minnie knew how serious the influenza pandemic truly was she would be very worried.

    Family legend: My grandparents lived in rural Montana in 1918 and despite the few opportunities for people to congregate, the illness struck.

    My grandfather was a sheep rancher and he heard that if he drank a bottle of whiskey, he wouldn't get sick. He started feeling bad one night and took the advice and drank a bottle of whiskey. The next morning he felt somewhat the worse for wear, but didn't have the flu. No one ever saw him drink again.

  2. Great story about your gramps, David. Ward had the best of intentions, but I don't see how his mother or his sweetheart could have found his words very comforting at times. -- wg