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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Letter 56 ~ October 14, 1918

Minnie writes me about spending time alone at home with [her sister] Bertha, working on a school project with Stella Munger, and seeks my advice about attending KSAC next year.

Addressed to Mr. Ward C. Griffing, 25th Company, 164th Depot Brigade, Camp Funston, Kansas

Manhattan, Kansas
October 14, 1918

My Dearest Boy:

Your mother called this afternoon. She said she had a letter from you. You were well, but working hard. I’ll bet you are tired these evenings after drilling so hard all day. But it’s sure fine weather.

It seems so funny to be home this time of year during the week. We did a big wash this morning. It sure was a big one. We didn’t get thru till this afternoon. [My sister] Bertha and I were left alone here this afternoon. It seemed nice. We haven’t been together alone at home for so long.

Supper time –

Stella [Munger] and I are going to get a couple of boxes and fix up our museums this week. We’re going to put shelves in the boxes and paint the outside. Stella can do the carpenter work -- I don’t know the first thing about it, and I’ll do the painting. I like to do that. I asked you in one of my letters about those seeds you once said I could have, but you’ve never said anything about it. I guess you haven’t thought about it when you’ve written. I don’t see how you could remember anything I say. I say so much, it’s so removed from your interests right now.

War news don’t sound as well now. I guess the peace talk was mostly “piffle” anyway. But just the same, the Germans are turning yellow and the Yanks aren’t going to let up either till we have a real victory.

I put some “mange cure” on my head this morning to get rid of the dandruff. It’s certainly the most terrible smelling stuff I’ve ever been around. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this letter would have that odor. I don’t see how it could help but have.

The other day, [one of my students named] Philip Chalmers brought a folded piece of paper up and handed to me. I asked him what it was. He said, “Oh, it's some of my writing. I wish you would read it.” I read it. It was some poetry he had written entitled, “My Mother’s Bargains.” It was pretty good. I asked him if he had any more and he said, “No, this is the first I’ve tried.” Maybe I have a young poet in my school.

Bertha bet me a box of candy and a dollar that you would get to come home before you go across [to Europe]. I sure hope I lose my dollar and candy. Ward, if you don’t get a chance to get me something, don’t let it bother you at all. It certainly would be fine and just like you, boy, to think of things like that when you are kept so busy with such a big work.

Your mother had quite a bit to say, but Mama was talking to her and the wind was blowing so hard she couldn’t hear near all. Mama asked me awhile ago to call her and see what all she had to say. The wind has gone down now, but I thought I would rather wait till morning. I want to talk to her then and see what news she has heard from you. Ward, I think you have the grandest mother ever. I always have thought lots of her, but I’ve been with her so much more since you went away. I’ve been over there every weekend but one since school began. I sure do love her. She couldn’t very well help but be so good when she has a son like you, boy. She knows I think lots of you and she is just so good to me. I sure hope I’m worth it.

Bertha and I are thinking of having Ida, Kate, Stella, Brownie, Tina, and Ethel [Arnold] here for dinner some day this week. The afternoons are so short that we wouldn’t get much of a visit if they came over three or four o’clock – that’s the time we usually get together.

Ward, I can’t decide whether to go to college next spring or not. In a way I want to, from first of March till the first of September will be a long lonesome time if I stay at home all that time. Then I’d like to get that much college in. You know my school lets out just in time for spring term and then again I don’t know if it would be wise. It would probably get me all mixed up for the rest of my college. Then if the war should be over next year and they do away with the S.A.T.C., they may change back to the two semester system in which case I’d be in an awful mess. Then again, if I would go next spring, go to summer school, take heavy correspondence work, I could make up a semester and it would probably be the best thing in the world for me if I would just be kept awful busy with school work next summer. I wish you would tell me what you would advise me to do. You are the only one I know that knows about college work that would be interested enough to advise. It’s quite aways off but yet I’d rather like to know what I was going to do. One reason I objected to having this week off [is that] I thought it would keep me from going [to college next spring]. It won’t tho. I can take one week Xmas vacation.

Well, Papa will soon be ready to take the milk so I had better get this off. Last evening I had to address it when Papa was honking out here in front. I just about didn’t get it sent. Keep well and in good spirits, my boy, -- Minnie

  • The National Defense Act of 1916 passed by Congress established ROTC, then called the Student Army Training Corps (SATC), renamed ROTC in 1920. By 1917 the Corps had grown so large that they hired their first full time secretary, Mrs. S. P. Winters. There were 431 officers and 1703 enlisted men from KSAC that served overseas in WWI; 48 never returned. The SATC Program initiated at Kansas State University in Spring 1918 was quickly demobilized after the signing of the Armistice in 1918 but reappeared on campus at the beginning of the spring 1919 semester. The entire school was closed for a time in 1919 due to an influenza outbreak on campus which later spread to the 257 cadets; four died as a result of the epidemic.

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