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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Letter 58 ~ October 18, 1918

Recruits at Camp Funston Train with the Bayonet

I write Minnie about the specialized trench warfare training we've been taking.

Addressed to Miss Minnie G. Frey, Manhattan, Kansas

Smoky Hill Flats
October 18, 1918

My Dear Little Girl,

Well I can get a letter thru now so I will try my best with what I can borrow. I didn’t expect to get any mail or expect to write do I didn’t bring any paper but I borrowed a little. I got 2 letters from you & 3 from Mama today. Some were written last week. It seemed like home to hear so much news at once.

Gee, but it is cold tonight. But we could be worse off. Tomorrow we put on a battle – an attack on a system of trenches. We will use live ammunition & live grenades. The lookout here is much more interesting than back at D.2. I wish I could send you a picture of me in my steel helmet, gas mask, & rifle & bayonet. We are beginning to think ourselves real soldiers. When we came out here, we supposed we would only be here a week, but they say we will be here another week anyhow. We thot D.2. was bad but it seems like home now & we will be glad to get back there because here we are fed from a field kitchen & we only brot over our absolute necessities & we can’t buy anything. It is sloppy & nasty now since the rain & those old trenches are a fright. Before we leave, we will spend a whole night in the trenches. This is tame tho, of course, to what it will be later. French & English officers are here instructing us.

I have seen so much to write about since I left home that it is hard to pick out what to write about. I sure would like to get to see you. My, but wouldn’t we talk. I have so much to tell you that I can’t write. You said awhile ago that you were gaining weight. I am glad to hear it. My, I would like to see you. Maybe you have changed. It seems so long since I have seen you. I have never had a chance to get weighed but I expect I have gained a little too.

Say Minnie, those bottles of grains are at home. You ask the folks for them. I sure wish I could help you fix them up because they aren’t labeled & you can’t tell them apart. I know of a good way to fix them up for an exhibit but I can’t describe it on what paper I have. Ask [my brother] Willis to tell you the different varieties; he knows as well as I do & he will be glad to help you.

Minnie, I can’t advise you about your going to college. If I were you I wouldn’t try & decide for quite awhile yet. There is lots of time between now & spring & many things are bound to happen.
I have been so irregular myself that I would advise anyone to try & keep as near regular as he could but with you it might be a good thing to go on to school just to keep busy. Don’t work too hard tho. You can tell better next spring what you want to do. As for me, I don’t plan even a day ahead -- not even an hour anymore.

Dear heart, we surely will get to live near each other again as we used to. If I were to be home again, you can count on it that I wouldn’t restrict myself to one or two nights without to go & see Minnie.

Say kid, couldn’t you have some snapshots taken & send me some? When I get back “home” to D.2., I am going to try & get hold of a Kodak somewhere & send you some snapshots. It is hard to get films developed there at camp. I am well so don’t worry if you don’t hear from me very often now because I haven’t any writing material but I will get some as soon as I can. I haven’t heard much news lately but I suppose the war is still on. I expect to get back to D.2. by a week from next Sunday & maybe I can get a pass then if the quarantine’s off. We will be assigned barracks tonight or tomorrow maybe. -- Ward

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