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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Letter 108 ~ December 4, 1918

Minnie tells me she was embarrassed that her papa was unable to say grace when called upon by my mother at the family Thanksgiving dinner gathering.

Addressed to Pvt. Ward C. Griffing, Co E 20th Infantry, Camp Funston, Kansas

Stockdale, Kansas
December 4, 1918

Dearest Boy,

My, everything seems to be going just so smooth and nice. This has been the best week of school I believe I have ever had. Hasn’t today been just great? It was so warm and nice and this afternoon we didn’t have to have a fire at all. There was a honey-bee between the curtain and one of the windows all afternoon. It kept buzzing all the time. It seemed like spring. I wish it was time for spring. I just dread to think of winter.

We are well started on our Xmas program. I’m sure anxious to see what success it will be. Am afraid tho. The flu seems so much worse all around. We may not be able to have a [box] social. By Xmas we will have all our three weeks made up. If the children continue to work the way they have been, then maybe I will get Thursday and Friday off after Xmas day. I hope I do.

I would sure like to go up to Camp Funston Saturday [for the Divisional Parade]. The more I read about it, the more I want to go. But I guess I’d better teach instead and then anyway, my soldier boy didn’t invite me up.

Ward, I never will forget how embarrassed and what agony I was in the other evening when your mother called on Papa to ask the blessing. Ward Griffing, if there had been a hole for me to crawl into I would gladly have disappeared from this earth forever. I thought I had been in some very embarrassing situations in my life, but nothing has ever come up to that. Oh, if your mother had only called on Mama or any of the rest of the family almost, it would have been alright. But Papa never has done that. We always tried to get him to [say grace] at home. We told him it was absolutely ridiculous for anyone who professed to be a Christian not to, but he never would. Now he feels so ashamed, I believe he will [in the future]. Maybe some good will come of it. I would rather it would have happened anywhere on earth almost than at your home – and [with] Clause and Ruth there too. Glory, boy it is awful. And I tell you it kinda hurts to know your father has been laughed at, even if he does have his faults.

Isn’t Ruth a nice girl? I don’t know her, but she looks and seems like she would just be awfully nice if one was well acquainted with her – and jolly too.

I finished my book last night. I was sorry when it ended. I liked it fine and it would have gone on a little farther. Have you ever read it? (The Reclaiming) I don’t suppose you have unless at the “Y” at [Camp] Funston. It was just put out in October. Next week is the end of another month. I don’t like that I always have to put all the grades in the Register, make out report cards, and fill out the Monthly report to send in.

Ward, do you know how old children have to be before they are compelled to attend school? Dorothy [Condray] hasn’t been to school since a week before Thanksgiving. Her father called tonight and said he wasn’t going to send her for awhile yet. He’s afraid of the ‘flu.’ She’s seven years old and I thought they had to attend when they are seven. Mrs. Parkerson said I ought to report her but I’m not real sure. Maybe I’ve something around here that would tell me this.

I have another fine trade last for you Ward. Just the kind you would like to get, or at least I think you would. I can’t write it tho, there’s too much to it that I’d have to tell. I’ll bet this Christmas will seem rather lonesome. [My sister] Bertha won’t be at home for the first time, and she’s just great to have around then. I wish you could spend Xmas with me, at least part of it.

I see there has been one transport of men landed and two more on the way. I just wonder if there are any boys we know amongst them. I guess they are mostly wounded soldiers tho. That makes me think, have they heard anymore from Lester Foltz [not sure that’s the way to spell his name but you know who I mean] or have you heard. I hope he will be found alive. It seems worse to hear about them being missing now since the war is over than it did before.

Well, I must write home. Goodnight darling. Yours, -- Minnie

  • Corporal Lester Lawrence Foltz was the 24 year-old son of Cyrus Foltz and Hattie Whitney of Zeandale, Riley County, Kansas. In 1910, he lived with his 36 year-old sister Mildred, who was married to Perle Kimball of Ogden Township, Riley County, Kansas. Lester worked on a farm in Wakarusa, Shawnee County, Kansas just prior to the war when he enlisted in 1917. While serving in Company K, 140th Infantry, 35th Division, Lester was killed in action on 30 September 1918 following heavy shelling in the area between the town of Exermont and the Montrebeau Woods in the Meuse Argonne Offensive. He lies buried in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France along with over 14,000 other WWI American soldiers.

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