November 30, 2010

39 Hours

American Red Cross Rest Station
November 7, 1918

Dear Mother,

Just a note before breakfast so you will hear from me about half as often as I hear from home. Those verses were fine, but you almost make me ashamed of myself for I'm not so bad off -- now that I've got an orderly job I'm not working at all. The worst hardship we have is staying in camp and that's not so bad. The only thing I want now is to see service -- have been talking to a wounded soldier and sailor. The soldier was wounded on the 28th day of July by a big shell and is now invalided home. The sailor was wounded in an air raid in London, and as he wasn't on duty he didn't get his wounded stripe like the soldier did.

We have to be back in camp by 8 o'clock tomorrow, but 39 hours is a long time it seems to us. We slept up here last night free -- they give men in uniform free cots and blankets, and rolls and coffee all night and morning. We went to a movie last night -- some of these days when I'm spending the government's money instead of taking it away from you, I'm going to see "The Passing Show" and Ziegield Follies.

Am going to send Elizabeth and Katheryn two small, ten-inch hats -- blue -- we wear 12-inch ones. They can either wear them with the steel grommet in them or leave it out and make the cap look like a French Blue Devils cap -- you'll see what I mean when they come. I'll send them with the grommet out and you can just slip it in.


(Postmarked New York, New York, November 7, 1918)

November 29, 2010


Pelham Bay
November 6, 1918

My dear Father,

Am in the city on liberty. I got your telegram this afternoon, and when the fellow wrote out the word fifty I could hardly keep from crying to think you had sent so much money when Mother didn't even get a present from me. I will certainly send part of the money back. I had no idea you would send over ten or at the outside fifteen, or I'd have specified what amount. I feel mean -- positively like a "no good" for taking money like a beggar. I'll get paid on the 20th so will send back part if not all. I don't see how a fellow could make a habit of wiring home as some do. Did you think I was shipping? The war situation has practically stopped shipments, but if it doesn't end in two weeks am sure we will start leaving camp again.

Love from your most affectionate son,

(Postmarked New York, New York, Grand Central Station, November 6, 1918)

November 28, 2010

Mail Call Redux

Pelham Bay
November 5, 1918

Dear Mother,

Got four letters from you, including one forwarded from Pedro -- also heard from Donovan, and Katheryn Thomas.

The camp talks nothing but liberty and the end of the war. A fellow who shipped to the receiving ship at N.Y. telephoned that 5 transports which left day before yesterday were back in port today -- called back with all soldiers on board. That looks promising, doesn't it?

The pictures of the Lt. and you and the Bowie girls were kindly received and stuck in my album along with the ones I got the other day. I haven't had a chance to get a picture made. It can't be in my whites for it's not the uniform of the day. If they catch us in whites they make us scrub barracks. I'll have one of these darn poor snapshots made as soon as it clears up again. It's been raining for ten days.

Am going to write Aunt Pat my new address and foot size -- wool socks will be appreciated. I never got a letter with Jesse Parish's address in it. I suppose it was lost. Makes no difference now anyway.I'm too far away. Am writing this between times so it can't be long. I'll write Katheryn a birthday letter tonight although it'll be late -- if it wasn't so far I'd bring her some little thing.



Dear Mother,

Had to wire for money after all my resolutions to the contrary. But my money has run low -- I've been running along trying to make it last til I get paid but it won't work, for they put off our payday again.

I'll have my picture taken when I get father's telegram and my 39 hours liberty. I should have done it when I had cash on hand -- if the government ever pays what they owe me I'll be fixed up.


(Postmarked New York, New York, November 6, 1918)

November 27, 2010


Western Union Telegram, Pelham Naval Station, NY
November 5, 1918




Pelham Bay
November 5, 1918

Dear Father,

Our bunch who passed the examination are leaving today -- certainly wish I could go along.

I wired for money today because we aren't to get paid this time. As I've only drawn $10 since I entered the service, my little stock I had when I left has about dwindled away. I feel almost like a thief to take it but I'll try to send it back when we get our money.


(Postmarked New York, New York, November 6, 1918)

Undated newspaper clipping enclosed with above letter:

Mrs. H.F. Weldon Winner in Golf Putting Tournament

The Golf Clubs Saturday reported Mrs. H.F. Weldon winner in the Golf Club putting tournament which has been played off each week for the past five weeks of the summer, and which has occasioned much interest among club members.

The tournament was for men and women, sixteen couples entering after a first tournament deciding the entries. The second week eight were eliminated, leaving four couples; and the fourth week two were eliminated, leaving two women members of the club, Mesdames H.F. Weldon and Frank Collier, with the putting honors.

In the run-off the past week Mrs. Weldon was winner and is to be presented with a club prize.

November 26, 2010


Pelham Bay
November 4, 1918

Dear Father,

Just got your letter -- also mother's with the pictures -- and they were good.

Our restriction on liberty will be lifted Wednesday afternoon, so I'll get to leave for 40 hours. The treasury is rather low but I ought to get paid tomorrow so won't have to telegraph for financial aid, unless they count Election Day as a holiday and refuse to pay off. They do on the slightest pretext. If I do wire, it will be there before this reaches you.

It has rained mistily all day long but hasn't turned cold again yet. We hear there is another draft going out, but of course that's not official so we can only hope. I did so want to see service before the war was over, but suppose that can't be now that things look so promising. At three o'clock this afternoon all the whistles in camp started blowing -- that was when Austria was to have signed armistice terms. And to cap that, the liberty orders came over and the whole camp was cheering and singing.

Haven't heard from Grace Hapgood, but I'm sure I will as I wrote her my address. Also wrote Ruth Healtam tonight. If you hear of any of our soldier friends going to New York, let me know. I might be able to see them.

If I wire, don't send but just a few dollars, for I'll get paid in two weeks if not this one.

Love to all of you -- hope business keeps growing.

You affectionate son,

November 25, 2010

Mail Call

Pelham Bay
November 3, 1918

Dear Mother,

Got a dozen letters yesterday afternoon -- all mailed to California and forwarded here. I read about half of them yesterday, and saved the rest for this morning.

The weather here is great. It hasn't been too cold except the first morning or two. The sun is shining, and it's just cold enough to make you glad you are wearing thick clothes and at the same time feel full of pep. It's an ideal football day. Hope Donovan makes at least a sub on the team -- I know how it is to wait on the edge of a team while waiting to grow big enough to play.

Still have my job at Headquarters and will keep it. You ought to see me running down fellows yesterday who have to work on the coal pile all the time. They duck out and hide whenever they get a chance -- run to the woods or in the "Y." Yesterday noon 19 of them ducked, so out we went after them -- we got 12 -- see them run, and run grab them, and bring them to Headquarters. I really don't blame them for not wanting to be on the coal pile, but it made a good game while we chased them.

I took a look at styles while I was in New York the last time, and the women are wearing their dresses long again -- no short ones at all could be seen. And they are wearing military coats with putters, very much especially with the younger set. You ought to see the Navy and Marine Corps yeomanettes -- they certainly look nifty.

The "Y" and the "K of C" are certainly pretty. The insides are furnished with nice stuff and with good taste -- big fireplaces with big, comfortable chairs, and the room where shows are held will hold 2,000. It was packed last night to see Clara Kimball Young -- I've forgotten the title.

Those ducks you said you were cooking! That part I read to the barracks, and they sure yelled -- shoes and books flew toward me. It's a rule that no one can speak of eats while camp is under quarantine -- rather, a rule the gobs made to keep them from getting so hungry.

I'm gaining weight right along now since I got here. I'm not working so much as I did in California, and it's cool and I eat more. We wear a belt all the time, which gives us the right to eat first mess and as much as we want to. I weighed 158 yesterday. Am getting fat. Wish I could be there to eat duck and to go hunting -- but I won't be gone long. Not over a year (as things look now) before I'll get out -- a year and a half at most.

Heard from Aunt Hattie yesterday -- am sure sorry Slaton's wife couldn't find me. I'd have enjoyed her, I'm sure. I didn't earn yet any more liberty to see Mrs. Johnson. Write her, will you? I think she must believe I didn't want to go out. Her address is 249B South Sichel St., Los Angeles.

I also heard from Cora Neville yesterday, and from some fellow in Pedro, and from the Bradford girls in Dallas.

I saw Freddie (Mrs. Bliingsly's brother) once in Goofie Camp and once afterward, but he lived in another part of camp so we never chummed together for that reason. I liked him very well.

Stop staying in the house -- get out and see people more, if for no other reason than to be able to knock your son down to them when he comes home. He'll want to know people if he lives in Wichita. How do you think Navy blue would look in a wine-colored car? I'll see sometime.

Love from your affectionate Son,

(Postmarked New York, New York, November 4, 1918)

November 24, 2010


Pelham Bay
October 29, 1918

Dear Father,

Haven't had my exam over and to tell the truth, I don't care much, as much as I was disappointed in the first place. Over a thousand sailors have shipped to Brist, France, to stand by in a U.S. Naval Station there, to do partial duty and go on ships who lose men in those waters. There is every chance in the world for me to ship, if the rumor that there is one more boat to be outfitted is true. If not -- then we get an exam in another week.

Richards and I have been lucky so far. Before any of us did any work, we were appointed orderlies for the commander of Regiment 7 -- now all the others are on the coal pile and we have a snap. Hope I get to keep it til I'm shipped. If I go in the near future, it'll be quite a record to go over in about two months after I got in, won't it?

You ought to hear the fellows yell as they go out in bunches of 250 -- it's enough to make an Indian run. An unpopular chief petty officer (about like a first sergeant) came around a bunch today, and they made jokes til he was mad enough to die. The reason he's so unpopular is because he works the men so hard on the coal pile.

The weather suddenly turned warm and we haven't needed our sweaters, although we've had to wear them -- since they changed back the old hours, it's dark here by 5:15 or 5:30. Seems funny after long hours of California.

The government owes me $50.00 but we won't draw our pay this next payday, because we haven't been here long enough. I may have to wire for a few dollars if I ship. If I don't, of course I'll not wire -- for I know how things must be at home.

Haven't heard yet -- it's almost time though.

Give my love to all.

Your Son,

(Postmarked New York, New York, October 31, 1918)

November 23, 2010

Grand Central Terminal

October 15, 1918
Saturday, 2:00

My dear Mother,

Have just come to town to get our sea bags. We have had liberty every night except the first now because we haven't had bedding. They only gave us until 8 o'clock tonight to get back in camp with them, so we only have 4 hours in New York.

Sad news -- and by sad news you can be sure I mean it -- I was so disappointed I almost cried -- I failed to pass the first exam for listeners. Of course I have one more chance to make good, but not for a week at least. Only 5 out of our 12 passed the exam here this time, but I've made up my mind I will pass the thing next time. At least I hope so.

Last night Richards took Boone and me out to Mrs. Hurley's again. She had made a big banana cake and we had grape juice -- another good time before we are again restricted liberty. I think today is the last time we will be out for perhaps weeks.

New York is full of sailors who are off on leave from their ships in the harbor. Pelham is still restricted so none of them can come to town. I don't like here nearly so well as San Pedro, although you can learn lots more. If I don't make the listeners am going to try and get in a bot as soon as possible -- however, if I'm at sea by Christmas I'll be doing well, for that will make only 4 months in training.

You can't tell how I miss your letters. I am sure homesick and I haven't been much before. I feel lost among these strangers -- but I'll make it when your letters start coming.

Love to all of you.

Your loving son,

(Postmarked New York, New York, October 25, 1918)

November 22, 2010

New York Liberty

Pelham Bay
October 25, 1918

Dear Father and Mother,

Just got back from all night liberty. The reason we rated it was because they haven't sent our sea bags and hammocks out even yet.

We got out about six o'clock, and a fellow who had known some people in California (who now live in Yonkers, N.Y.) asked Boone and me if we'd like to go out with him. Naturally we had rather do that than hang around New York all night, so we went out. The daughters invited in a couple more girls, so we had quite a nice time -- especially the eats they fed us. On the way out to the station at Pelham, six of us were picked up by a lieutenant colonel in the army in his "Locomobile." Think of a high officer picking up a bunch of gobs -- he told us not to sir him at all, quite a fine fellow -- and carried us to New Rochelle, when we caught a subway to Mt. Vernon and then a streetcar over to Yonkers.

When we left the people's house, Boone and I went uptown and waited on a corner for Richards, but he went to the wrong corner. As we were standing waiting for a car back to 42nd Street, where we were to meet the bunch, a lieutenant in the aviation corps came by in a big roadster, and told us to ride with him as far as Mt. Vernon. We hardly knew what to do or say -- two officers in one night -- but we climbed in.

After talking a while he said, "Where do you get all that 'sir' stuff? I'm in the aviation auxiliary, not the army or navy, and have just gotten back from training in Texas." Of course at that Boone and I both spoke up and told him we were from Texas. He had been at Camp Dick, Dallas, and Kelly Field, and he knew Johnson -- or had known him before he left. He also knew some people Boone did in Dallas, so we had a fine talk on the way to Mt. Vernon.

After hearing where we were from he wouldn't allow us to go to New York or a hotel in Mt. Vernon. We simply had to go home with him -- and we did, although I hated to bother his mother. His father is a rich bird -- I know by the house and the way it's furnished. We slept in a big room with separate beds, and mattresses about a foot thick. This morning we got up and had breakfast with them. His mother and father were certainly fine. They said they wouldn't for the world miss an opportunity to accommodate or befriend a Texan -- as their son had written home how fine Texans had treated him. (Keep on asking the fellows from camp -- you can't know how they appreciate it. I realize now why they are always so eager to come.)

The fellow's name is Hut, a nickname I suppose. I just saw that part of it on his cap -- last name Taylor. You might find someone who knew Lt. Taylor. If they did they'd be crazy about him, for he's more like Price than anyone I ever saw. He's a college fellow and about 6 ft. 2 inches tall. Has been waiting for orders to sail for France for his last training. Incidentally, he is going to be married next week.

He drove us back to camp this morning in his car, and when we came up to the gate all the sailors came to salute, and the sentry came to present arms as we climbed out. Boone and I sure strutted around that car and shook hands with him. The sailors' eyes stuck out that we should be able to laugh and joke with an officer, but we passed in with our heads high and let the gobs guess how we rated it.

Took our listener exam yesterday and it was some hard -- I don't know whether I passed or not, but if I don't I'll be so disappointed. I know I won't like the navy for a month. Here's hoping though -- we will know tomorrow. If we don't pass, it's the coal pile for us til we are shipped to sea.

Know we can't get letters for quite a while yet. I'm disappointed when mail is distributed and I don't get any. Be sure and put the Reg. 7, Co. M on the address -- we get them so much quicker.

I wrote Uncle Tom a letter yesterday. When I told him I was thinking of joining the navy, he never objected, so I thought he rated a letter.

If our bags don't come this morning, I'm going to pull off my underwear and go without til I wash mine and dry them over the steam radiator -- all our barracks are fitted with steam heat.

It wasn't nearly so cold this morning as yesterday -- then too, we didn't get up so early so weren't cold like then.

Wish I could hear from home, but will just have to wait til I do. Are there any of our friends in N.Y. now? I'd like to see them if there were.

From your loving son,

(Postmarked New York, New York, October 25, 1918)

November 21, 2010

Pelham Bay Park

October 24, 1918

Dear Mother,

Well, we're here -- got to camp about 8 o'clock yesterday morning frozen stiff, and after another physical exam we were assigned to a regiment and company. We are to stay here until time to start to school at New London, Connecticut, provided we pass the examination today or tomorrow. They say it's pretty hard to pass, but I certainly hope I get in.

Some of the fellows got letters from friends in New London, and they said the first thing that happened after they got there was that they were given an oath of secrecy, and told not to ask for furlough home after they get out of school. No Eastern fellows are allowed to enter the Listeners Class because being close to home, they might give away some secret while with their people. The invention is quite new so they take no chances on fellows telling when they get home, so no furloughs are given.

They advance you fast and give good pay because of the "dangerousness" of the Listener position. If a torpedo explodes anywhere close to a ship's listening room, the listener's eardrums are broken, and in case the ship is sunk, so is the listener -- at that I'd give anything to get in. When you finish you are immediately put on board a destroyer or submarine for active duty.

The camp is so different from the one we came from that we hardly know what to do or say. And so large -- I walked over an hour yesterday in one corner of the camp, and never got off cement roads. Barracks are everywhere. There are about 18,000 men besides the officers. Five Y.M.C.A.'s and four K. of C.'s.

Our sea bags and hammocks didn't get here yesterday so we had nothing to sleep in, but they gave us two mattresses and one blanket apiece. We tried sleeping on two mattresses and covering with the blanket but froze to death, so we used one mattress for cover -- and kept warmer anyway. It was sure funny to see some fellow trying to manipulate his narrow hammock mattress into covering all of him.

We stood in mess line for 30 minutes before we got in the building this a.m., and all our hands were blue. Of course the fellows from N.Y. stand it very well, but the bunch from southern states who have been playing in "sunny California" have a hard time getting used to it. We have met several we knew in Pedro.

Fellows who may become listeners are given no liberty until they get to school, so until we leave for New London we will have to stay in camp. I can't see the idea at all, but I suppose they know what they are doing.

The bunch that left for school yesterday had been here one month, but we think if we can pass we'll get out lots sooner. Hope so, for they have three big coal piles -- in fact one of them alone would cover the main business block in Bowie easily -- and it must be shoveled. We came by one yesterday morning when there were 2,000 men on it, and every one of them were singing the "coal pile song." The song was made up of several different tunes, and words written for it by a sailor, and it's great. Haven't learned it as I don't go to the coal pile yet.

The uniform of the day is blues all the time here, and we haven't any undress blues so have to wear our dress ones. We will get some clothes issued shortly I suppose.

I will get your letters written just to Pelham Boy, but will get them sooner if you put it down like I will at the end of the letter.

The fellows of California are much more congenial than these fellows seem to be. Think I'd rather live in California than any other state except Texas. However am glad to get to see something of the U.S. My trips will be worth far more than one year of college would, I'm sure.

Give my love to the kiddies.

Your affectionate son,

Address: Pelham Bay Park, Barracks 7-M, New York. Am in the 7th Regiment, Company M.

(Postmarked New York, New York, October 24, 1918)

November 20, 2010

The War Relief Club

New York City
Tuesday night, October 22/23, 1918

Dear Mother,

Arrived here at 7:30 and the fellow in charge telephoned to the officer of the deck at Pelham Bay, and asked permission to stay in town today, which was granted. So we had some swell feed -- you see they gave us 75 cents per meal and we got rates because we were in uniform, so we had $21.00 to feed eleven of us, and $1.25 left apiece for breakfast. One fellow went home with friends when he got here. We have to report at 8 o'clock at camp, so will have to get up at 5:30 in order to get our hammocks and sea bags from the baggage master.

The last 100 miles we came right along the banks of the Hudson, and I never saw such beautiful country in my life. Next to New York comes Indiana. I asked a porter if we went anywhere near Troy, and he said no, but we went right through Albany, which is only a little way. If I had known I'd have telegraphed Grace Hapgood to meet me there -- we stayed 30 minutes.

I wrote you a note at Buffalo but didn't have an envelope to mail it.

Saw only a little part of the cities we came through, but what I saw I can't say I particularly admire -- everything so blackened by smoke and no pretty houses like in California. We went down one of the main streets in Syracuse, though -- on the same line the streetcars run -- so saw quite a bit.

Saw West Point and Sing Sing (that's some comparison) on the banks of the Hudson -- and the prettiest residences I've seen were along there too. Saw Lake Michigan while in Chicago, but didn't get to see the training camp.

The Sailors and Soldiers Clubs, the Red Cross, and the Y.M.C.A. are absolutely great up here. No train goes by a stopping place over 5,000 population but what it is met by women with sandwiches, hot coffee, cigarettes, and candy etc. They give you a place to sleep and your eats free -- eats cooked by the women themselves.

Most of the sailors I've seen tonight have a six months service stripe of gold on their sleeves -- it sure looks great -- and they all wear heavy underwear and blue caps.

We came from Chicago with a French sailor who had been wounded twice and had three ships sunk when he was on board. He didn't speak English, but two of our fellows speak excellent French so they translated. He sure looked funny in his uniform, and he wore a flowing mustache. He was decorated for bravery and had been given a furlough in America.

Will write and tell you how I came out with my exam here. Will surely try to pass.

Love to all,

P.S. I've walked up 5th Avenue so am now a city man.

November 19, 2010

Postcards From The Train

Postcard from Los Angeles, October 18, 1918

8:30 pm -- Leave L.A. at 9 o'clock for N.Y. City -- Pelham Bay Park -- can't come by Texas -- go by way of Santa Fe to Chicago, and then over. There are 12 of us, and all are in the Red Cross Canteen at the station, where they gave us lunch tonight. Will write every day wherever I am.


Postcard from Ashforks, October 18, 1918

Needles -- on the line between California and New Mexico. Have just finished a fine meal and still have 15 minutes to stay. There are over 20 sailors on the train so you may be sure we will have lots of fun.

Love, H.W.W.

October 19, 1918, Friday afternoon
Somewhere in Arizona

Dear Mother,

Just set our watches up one hours -- rather those who own one did, so we will get supper earlier than we thought. When I wrote from Needles I said it was on the line between California and N.M. Just wanted to let you know I'm not that ignorant -- just didn't want to erase it or scratch it out.

We ate lunch at Kingman and I don't know where we'll eat supper -- but it's 4:25 so will soon find out. The train switches off just before we get to Texas and we go on up through Colorado, and up to Kansas City, so won't get to see you at all. We lay over several hours in Chicago before leaving for N.Y.

Can't write on account of the movement of the train -- I meant to telegraph Aunt Hattie but we don't go by Maricopa.

This part of the trip is somewhat monotonous because I've been over it, but wait til I get past Colorado -- I'll stick my head out of the window. Am certainly glad I went to California instead of Great Lakes. I've now seen the Pacific and will cross over a bunch of states going across the continent. This trip alone is worth the enlistment. Can't write so will close.

Love, Heywood

Postcard from Albuquerque, October 19, 1918

Just eaten breakfast at Albuquerque -- it's cold as can be. We all have our pea coats on. The Red Cross gave us some handkerchiefs and postcards. They are fine, those Red Crossers.


Postcard from Newton, Kansas, October 20, 1918

Stopover here for a few minutes. Ate breakfast at Hutchinson, Kansas. The Red Cross are still furnishing us with eats and cards.

Love, Heywood

Postcard from Trinidad, Colorado, October 20, 1918

We ate supper in Trinidad. We don't go through Denver or I'd have telegraphed the Walkers -- have their address. It's now almost dark and pretty cold already. Will write tomorrow.


Postcard from Kansas City, no date

Have had 2 1/2 hrs leave in Kansas City. Just got back to the station. Leave in 15 minutes. Having a grand time. Get to N.Y. Tuesday at 3:30. Will write.


Postcard from Chicago, Illinois, October 21, 1918
To Katherine Weldon

Leave for N.Y. at 2:30 -- weather cloudy and cold. How are you getting along in school? Write your big brother sometime. I'll send you my address.

Bud (Heywood)

P.S. You notice I scratched out something on my card -- I thought we left right away, but we lay over for 4 hours. We sure are lucky on this trip.

Postcard from Elkhart, Indiana, October 22, 1918

Have just eaten supper here and are again on our way to N.Y. The country is certainly beautiful up here. In Kansas frost was on the ground, but now everything's green again. Get to Buffalo for breakfast.

Love, H.W.W.

Postcard from Buffalo, New York, October 22, 1918

Dear Mother,

We have two hours here in Buffalo before we again change trains for the city -- our pea coats couldn't be done without for it's really cool. We are at a Red Cross Sailor's and Soldier's Club, where they feed you for very little money. Will write all about my trip when I get time. Must hurry if I want to eat with the rest. We get to N.Y. at about 7:30, then must go to camp at night.

Love, Heywood

November 18, 2010


San Pedro, California
October 17, 1918

Dear Mother,

Things happen in a hurry here. Day before yesterday I was in a seaman company on mess duty, and today I'm a Port Guard. I was drafted in early yesterday morning and went on duty immediately -- will be on duty until Friday morning at 8 a.m. Then off until Monday morning. Fire drill -- will have to finish later.

Well, wouldn't that jar you -- after fire drill I was called on the quarterdeck and my bayonet taken away, and was told I was in a draft of Listeners leaving for N.Y. City -- Pelham Bay Park -- at 5 o'clock this p.m. Had no idea I would be called today -- things certainly do happen swiftly. Ewell Boone is going too, so I know we will have a fine trip on the way up or over. Don't know which way we go -- whether by Texas or Colorado or Frisco -- by the time you get there you will know however. I'll telegraph if I am going through Texas, not if I can't.

Must hurry, there is lots to do before 5 -- it's 12:05 now.

Got a letter from Aunt Katie Gault today.

Have had my two stripes instead of one put on my blues, so feel stuck up.

Love to all of you,

P.S. Will tell you what I would have had to do if I'd stayed in Port Guards in next letter.

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, October 18, 1918)

November 17, 2010

Mess Duty

San Pedro, California
October 15, 1918

My dear Father,

Got your letter this morning written on the 11th, and one yesterday with the telegram in it, written on the 9th. Am certainly glad to hear of your appointment.

We have been on mess two days now, but as our company was divided and put in some others today, we may not have to work any more there. We also have one more point toward their raising the quarantine. San Francisco has raised theirs, and as several fellows were recently drafted and sent there, we think this station will soon be out. But rumors are thick as can be and no one really knows anything about it.

When I'm on mess I get homesick every time, for then I get to sympathizing with myself and think how I'd like to run in to Wichita -- but to tell the truth I don't need sympathy, for I don't even earn the $1.10 per day I get -- let alone the patriotic part of it -- and we are treated all right -- a place to sleep and pretty good eats. So I should feel fine.

Must go back to work at 3:30. Mess has the longest working hours of anything -- on at 5:45 til 10 o'clock -- off til 3:30, then on again until about 7 p.m., but I'll live over it I'm sure.

Am glad Elizabeth is feeling all right -- schools are out indefinitely here too, but it's all for the best.

Love to all of you.

From your affectionate son,

P.S. Excuse hurried writing with pencil.

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, October 16, 1918)

November 16, 2010

Monotony Part II

San Pedro, California
October 14, 1918

4 Hours Later:

Got three letters from you and one from Father this morning, and the note from Katherine with the chain -- it's the very thing, and you mustn't send the other for I'll not take everything the family has. Got the sweater also -- rather the package. I haven't had time to open it for have been working in mess. We are now off from 1:30 until 3:30, when we go on til 6 o'clock.

Amy Forrest's married life didn't last very long -- naturally I am very sorry to hear of her death, but I won't write. I don't think it's my place.

I'm feeling fine -- never felt better than I now do, so you mustn't worry about me. Just keep the other two boys from being bumped off in football.

Tell the girls I'll write them in a day or two.


P.S. Excuse writing -- I am scribbling on my legs.

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, October 15, 1918)

Monotony Part I

San Pedro, California
October 14, 1918

My dear Mother,

We go on mess duty for a week in Goofie Camp. There aren't enough Goofs left to run the camp so they now feed part of our ship's companies in Detention mess hall. Think of going on for a week. I thought a day at a time was bad enough.

As I didn't get a letter Saturday am sure the morning mail will bring one -- I couldn't get mail on Sunday either.

Went on another trip in a steam launch yesterday -- out to the lighthouse and then back down the harbor, past Pedro to the Standard Oil pier, and then back to camp. We got out of camp anyway -- and looked on several civilians, which is a decided help as it breaks the monotony of looking on whites and blues all the time.

It sprinkled a little this morning, but although it's still foggy it's stopped raining.

Haven't time but for just a note this morning but will finish later today sometime.

Your loving son,

November 15, 2010

Still Waiting

San Pedro, California
October 12, 1918

Dear Mother,

Saturday night again and we are still confined in camp. Our bunch sure struck it unlucky -- just two liberties and then quarantine -- and all the eastern camps are in the same condition so they are sending very few men. It's bound to break sometime though, so we'll go then.

The officers are trying to make it as easy as possible on us, for we didn't have Saturday morning parade, although we had to get into spotless and neckerchiefs, and have roll call.

Hope you get the shoes O.K. for Donovan. I forgot until too late to insure them. Just happened to think that they were insured when they came out here. Hope Donovan gets more action and learns more about sports.

How's Elizabeth now? I suppose when this letter gets there she will have started back to school. The schools in Los Angeles are closed on account of the epidemic of influenza -- also motion picture shows and the like. The fellows certainly miss the "Y" and K of C -- they pass out paper or I don't know what we'd do. They have put up a bunch of volleyball and basketball courts. I always though volleyball was a girls' game, but when played by fellows who used to have teams like basketball teams, it is just about as strenuous.

Our company started to have its picture made, but it's hard enough to get them together officially, let alone when no one is in authority, so they just put it off and we didn't get it taken. I'd have like to have had one. A photographer comes out to camp twice a week and takes pictures. I'm going to wait and get a good one in L.A.

Will send another copy of The Reservist home. My friend Lee Cross made the letters of the heading this time.

Didn't get a letter from anyone today, but then I'm lucky in being able to get one practically every day -- some fellows don't get them but once a week, although they will stand in line every day and be disappointed every time.

Would sure like to be able to walk in home tonight. If they send me through Texas as I go east, you must certainly meet me. I'll try to find out the way we go and see if they won't let me off for a day or so, although I doubt it.

Had a trip out on the bay in a 40-foot steam launch today -- quite a fast boat even if it's small.

Tell Edwin and Donovan "the Boss" said to keep that new car shined up til I can come home and decorate it with Navy blue. Tell the girls to act nice, and you'd better have Donovan take a bath, and make Edwin clean up the yard after he gets through helping you. Report to me when they get through and I'll have something else for them to do. Tell my pa to write me.

Love to all of my family.

From son,

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, October 14, 1918)

November 14, 2010

Football Shoes

San Pedro, California
October 10, 1918

Dear Mother,

I wrote you this a.m. and this afternoon. My football shoes came to me. They had been lying in the P.O. for a while. I opened them and got the toothpaste. I just felt like there was something in besides the shoes -- and the paste will most surely come in luck for I was low again.

Am sending the shoes back to Donovan. I sure wanted to try out here, but as there isn't any team, I can't. Got your letter with the clippings also this afternoon.

I haven't smoked for two weeks -- when I began taking medicine smokes tasted bad, so I haven't started again.


(Postmarked San Pedro, California, October 11, 1918)

November 13, 2010

No News

San Pedro, California
October 10, 1918

Dear Mother,

Am still resting in peace and watching the army officers, who come over from Ft. McArthur, training the fellows from the sub base in infantry drill.

The reason why my writing is so poor is because both the "Y" and K of C are closed until the quarantine is lifted, so that by avoiding gatherings they may keep the sickness from spreading. Am now writing on a box and as my "desk" is lower than the chair I'm sitting in, it's quite a job.

We saw a very tame football game yesterday between the Polytechnic High School from L.A. and about the third team from the sub base. The Subs won, naturally, about 30-0, even if they did not use their smartest men.

You didn't send my football shoes, did you? I have never gotten them and couldn't use them if I had them here -- could only ship them back, so be sure and keep them for Donovan. The Naval Reserve won't have a team and they won't let us try for the Base Team.

You can't imagine how we hate to sit here and do nothing. But they have many more sailors than ships now, so suppose we'll just have to stand it. They don't train us in seamanship drill. I don't know a bit more about handling a boat than I did when I left -- and all I knew then was to grab an oar and pull. However, I know infantry drill quite a bit, and would make a good corporal in the army if all of them give out and the army needs more.

Sorry Wichita Falls H.S. didn't win from Henrietta the other day. I suppose it's like the team that was here yesterday -- nothing but kids -- the rest have gone to war. Edwin is pretty good and since most of the big boys have gone, it ought to make him that much better player. He'll hold his own I'm sure.

I don't know when I'll leave for N.Y. -- hope in the near future for I'd like to make the trip before it gets cold.

Am sure I'll get a letter in the morning mail, for I very seldom miss a day and I surely look forward to them.

Love to all of you.

From you Son,

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, October 10, 1918)

November 12, 2010


San Pedro, California
October 8, 1918

Dear Mother,

Feeling better this morning, and they have let me put on my clothes and sit out in the sun for a while.

The coast defense guns about a quarter of a mile out on the breakwater have been practicing again this morning, and every time they shot it makes my empty stomach wobble -- but in about 30 minutes I get my first meal in three days, so I'll certainly appreciate it. The gunners started again just now, so I had to run and watch where the splashes hit around the moving target.

I got two letters from you yesterday and one this morning, also the magazine. Although they have lots of books and papers here, they are all old ones. Now over at "the ship" -- at the Y.M.C.A. -- they are newer. I haven't finished reading the Field and Stream and will make it last until tomorrow night, when I'm supposed to get out.

Heard from Kathryn Thomas yesterday.

Am glad Roy was buried as Lt. Lilbard instead of just a private -- I didn't think he'd been commissioned.

What color is the new car -- and what size? You didn't say. It was quite a shock just to hear it was a new one, but tell me all about it.

There is nothing to tell for there isn't anything happening in isolation camp -- longer letter next time.


November 11, 2010

Influenza Redux

San Pedro, California
October 6, 1918

Dear Mother,

Have advanced since yesterday morning -- although right now I feel better than I have in the past four days. Yesterday afternoon your son got sicker than nine hundred dollars, so they grabbed me and to the hospital I went. They have fed me up with medicine in the shape of pills and capsules. They're strong pills -- and they feed large meals consisting of a bowl of condensed milk and a cup of coffee. They said if my fever is down tomorrow -- by Tuesday -- I can get a real meal.

My fever was 103 degrees yesterday and only 101 today, so I'll soon be O.K. It's influenza, but not Spanish influenza. There are very few Californians sick, but lots of Arizona and Texas fellows are afflicted by the climactic conditions. In fact, the fellow who is in the tent with me is from Temple, Texas.

Will write again in the morning.

Love from

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, October 7, 1918)

November 10, 2010


San Pedro, California
October 5, 1918

Dear Mother,

Had intended writing again but not only is camp under quarantine, but they have closed the Y.M.C.A. and K. of C. -- so we couldn't get paper yesterday -- but today the K of C fellow handed out some paper through the window.

Am still sick -- seems like everything they give me makes me worse. The bad part of it is I'm not very sick -- just a lingering kind that worries. I ate today for the first time in a long time again. But the doc said this morning I ought to feel all right by Monday. I haven't influenza but just a sore throat and dizziness. If you were scared I wouldn't even tell you I was feeling bad.

I'm only going to let this be a short note. I got your letter written on the 30th this afternoon.

Will you send my sweater and things before I go to N.Y.? Have you got one of those old silver chains that used to be on the girls' silver lockets? We have to carry our keys around our necks -- also our identification tag -- and as our collars are low, string looks bad, and they won't let us leave the station like that. I can buy one here if you haven't one, but if it's not in use I'd sure like to have it.

Will write tomorrow.

Love to all of you.

Your loving son,

(Postmarked Long Beach, California, October 6, 1918)

November 9, 2010


Same Day
October 4, 1918

My dear Mother and Father,

Two letters in one day look foolish, but I wanted to tell you that I have passed the Listener's exam and will leave for Pelham Bay, N.Y. in two or three weeks if everything goes O.K. I took the first exam last Tuesday, and went up today to see if I passed. I had, so they gave those of us who got by the first the finals -- Boone (a fellow I knew in Dallas) and I passed. There were about 50 or sixty started, and only 3 passed the finals, so you can see how hard it was.

A Listener is one who has an instrument on his head like a wireless man, and another instrument for hearing the approaching submarines -- you have to know wireless, too. It pays pretty good money after you take 3 months training, and I figure I can get active just as quickly that way as by waiting for a draft. There are several fellows who waited and have been here 6 and 7 months. To pass, you have to be almost absolutely perfect in both hearing and seeing. My left ear is slightly better than my right, but my percentage is nearly 100%.

In sight, they have a circle with the 360 degrees marked off on it, and we sat about 30 ft. back, and he turned an arrow to a space and we had to see it in a second. The dial looked like this [sketch]. Next they put us in front of a cloth screen with numbers on it -- he got behind it so we couldn't see him. He then rattled behind certain numbers, and we had to know which one, although the numbers were only 1 foot apart. The screen looked like this [sketch]. He then got off and whispered some words, and we wrote them down. They tested our memories by giving us a string of ten numbers, like 7-9-3-1-2-4-5-9-1-8, and made us wait a while before we wrote them down. All this was the first exam.

The second was only one thing, but that was sure hard, for they all but we three failed in a minute. You know what one of those things the doctor sticks in both his ears, and has rubber tubes attached with a stethoscope or something on the end? We had one with only the ear pieces and a continuous tube -- like this [sketch]. He puts it in your ears, and then takes a toothpick and scratches all the way from A to B. If on the left you raise your left hand, and on the right your right hand, and if the middle, both hands. If one ear is much better than the other, all the sound will go to it and you raise the wrong hand. Of course when he got within a quarter of an inch to the center, I made a few mistakes, as did the others, but the main idea is I passed.

They asked all men who were not going in for other ratings to try, for it is as Listeners were hard to get. A funny thing -- more Texans than about all of the others put together passed. All three today were Texans, the average about 5 out of a hundred passing, and 2 or 3 of those all Texans.

Will write when I know when I leave -- won't be for two weeks anyway, I don't think, so you can keep on writing.


P.S. My rating automatically changed when I passed, so I'm now Seaman 2nd Class instead of Apprentice Seaman.

(Postmarked Los Angeles, California, October 4, 1918)

Sick List

San Pedro, California
October 3, 1918

My dear Mother,

The reason I didn't write yesterday is because I was on mess duty and that doesn't leave any too much time for anything else.

I worked all day yesterday, and this morning I got so dizzy I went to the doctor, and he put me on the sick list. The sick list is for those who aren't sick enough to go to the hospital, but while on the sick list we aren't allowed to do anything but just lay around. I haven't much fever so think I'll be all right in a day or so.

Be sure and tell me how Julius gets along. I had influenza in Detention and it surely makes anyone sick for a while.

Today is cloudy and early this morning it was foggy, but the fog has lifted.

We haven't been given liberty yet, but as there is a big naval ball to begin this Saturday night, we have hope. There were 96 recruits who came from the east, and over half of them had influenza, so they are quarantined in Los Angeles. That may have something to do with keeping us in.

I got the album and spend half my time looking at the pictures. I didn't know my own mother was a part, but those verses are great. I have put them in the album -- why shouldn't I want them there?

The new rifle range is up and the fellows are banging away, and as it's right in camp it makes the dickens of a noise. I'm going to try and make a marksman when our time comes to shoot.

There is really nothing to write about, but will keep on sending my letters every day or so.


(Postmarked San Pedro, California, October 4, 1918)

November 8, 2010


San Pedro, California
October 1, 1918

Dear Mother,

Company W is lucky this morning -- we're supposed to scrub decks but instead they detailed another company, and we were allowed to go to a talk for the 4th Liberty Loan. All our company took at least $50.00 worth a piece, at $5.09 per month. I had mine made out so when it's paid out it will go to you, and you can keep it -- although it can't be cashed in as long as I'm in the service. I don't know why but they can't be.

We are sure now of our job of guarding Exposition Park. Four companies are going and there will be sham battles, and one company will be artillery, so there will be as much noise as possible I suppose.

Otis Sheffield got a telegram yesterday saying Roy had died -- Mrs. L certainly has been unfortunate. It doesn't seem right for Roy to go and let some certain Bowie slackers live.

The quarantine isn't raised yet, but it's not so bad, except exactly when the fellows need cigarettes and matches and candy. The canteen closed for an inventory and things are in pretty bad shape, however it will open today I think.

Back again -- Company W was called on the quarterdeck for about 30 minutes' work and we are off until 1:20 again. Am glad I went. I had time to get my fountain pen and don't have to use the stick pens the "Y" furnishes.

We drill this afternoon. I don't mind it at all, for we don't drill for several hours like the army. We usually stay on the parade grounds about two hours, and half of that time is spent in rest so we don't suffer any. One thing the whole bunch likes to do is bayonet drill -- we get to fix bayonets and charge, yelling as loud as we can, and punch them in the ground (we haven't any sacks stuffed with hay). They teach offensive and defensive work with bayonets exactly like the army does. I suppose they think we might have to land sometime and fight.

Have to wash a couple of hats and a suit of whites today, so think I'll do it at noon so they will dry before night. We haven't any special wash days -- just have to keep clean. I send part of my stuff to the laundry when I haven't much time. You can get one suit cleaned and pressed, and ten other pieces washed for 40 cents -- about two hours work if we did it ourselves.

Love to all of you,

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, October 2, 1918)

November 7, 2010

On The Waterfront

San Pedro, California
September 30, 1918

Dear Father,

A letter from both you and mother this morning, so am doubly lucky.

We have been out on the bay all morning in twelve oared boats taking seamanship drill -- pretty hard rowing the heavy boats, too, not like a light row boat. While we were out we saw a submarine come slowly out of the water -- and when we came back, we stopped for a few minutes at the new destroyer that's lying at the pier. It has eight torpedo tubes and four guns, and believe me, it certainly looks business-like.

Quite an honor to be selected for a speaker for Texas, I'll say. When do you start out to make speeches?

Am glad Edwin has made the football team. The sub base here has a good one, but the Reserve Force team (the one I was going out for) seems to have broken up, although they have between 4 and 5 thousand men to choose from. So I guess I'll have to give up hopes of playing. The men from "the Ship" aren't allowed to try for the Sub team.

Got a letter from Miss Jettie this morning and she says Jack Younger is somewhere in California, I expect San Francisco.

We can't tell how long we are quarantined for, but hope it's not through this week. Everything is guesswork, for the officers surely don't give out anything.

Hope you make a success of your speeches, as I'm sure you will.

Love from

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, October 1, 1918)

November 6, 2010

Q and A

San Pedro, California
September 28, 1918

Dear Mother,

Didn't get our liberty this weekend -- the camp is in quarantine and we can't tell when we get out. But such is war.

It's been hotter today than any day since I've been in camp, and they wouldn't let us go swimming so the showers were crowded. I didn't get to cool off but will get a bath tonight.

Am certainly sorry to hear about Alice -- I can hardly believe it of her. She always seemed so straightforward and aboveboard around everybody. I heard from her the other day but haven't answered -- will do so tonight, I think.

Question #1. Do you want a wrist watch? Ans: As this is war and watches have risen all out of proportion to their original value, and as I can get along without one -- I say no ma'am.

Question #2. Do you want your old watch? Ans: Pockets few -- also small -- no ma'am.

Question #3. Do you want an Endors Razor? Ans: The one I have is perfect and so far hasn't had much heavy work to do, so I say -- no ma'am.

Question #4. What about your weight now? Ans: When I left Dallas I weighed 140 stripped -- now weigh 145 stripped. By careful study you can see I'm gaining.

Question #5. What about your money? Ans: It's still mine -- that is, part of it -- I've still enough to run me for a while -- over 30 Bones. Thank you.

Question #6. How much do you get a month? Ans: Pay of apprentice seaman is $32.60 per month. Insurance: $6.50. Hospital Fund: $.50 (total minus $7). $32.60 - $7.00 = $25.60 per month. But as they hold out $35.00 before we get paid at all, I won't get a payday for a while.

Note: The editor of the Weldon Pub. Co. will be glad to answer any perplexing problems which may arise -- if he doesn't forget it.

I thought that I would look up Mabel Johnson today if we had gotten out -- I suppose she thinks I'm not going to take advantage of her offer of hospitality, but I've written her explaining it.

We were moved out of our barracks today and onto "the ship." Have I explained what "the ship" is? It's a long building built of concrete and all the fellows who sleep there are on cots. These are about the dimensions: 1200 ft. long, 600 ft. Sub Base, 600 ft. Ship, 200 ft. wide. The inside is marked off by lines indicating the different parts of a real ship, and the rules governing the different decks are observed on the good ship "Concrete." There is an officer of the deck who has a tall desk like on board ship, and he must be consulted in all matters of importance. The officer's class are sometimes trained for deck officers there, and they rate as much saluting when behind the desk as a Gold Braid would -- it looks funny to one friend coming to attention and saluting another when both are wearing the apprentice seaman uniform.

Well, wouldn't that jack you. I left just now to get a light for my cigarette and some bird took my chair, so will have to finish standing up. The "Y" is crowded so I can't get another.

Gordon and I had a feed last night. His mother sent him a package and I went over to his barracks. We ate sausages and crackers. Then he opened a can of pineapple and we cut some cake, and ate til our "stummicks" stuck out. He's a darn good fellow -- don't you think?

Would write more but don't care to stand at a low table to perform.

Love from your son,

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, September 30, 1918)

November 5, 2010

Rainy San Pedro Day

San Pedro, California
September 27, 1918

Dear Mother,

Have just been to the P.O. and got your letter written on Monday, and as I got five at one time the other day, I suppose I've gotten them all.

Am in good company. By that I mean we get out of special detail work (like shoveling dirt) oftener than all the others put together. That's because we can drill pretty well and have lots of pep, so the officer in charge says. We have the honor of guarding Exposition Park for a week -- on 24 hrs. (guarding only 8 of the 24 however), then on liberty 24 hrs. Certainly hope nothing comes up to keep us from going.

While we were in Goofie, Gordon Standifer ran around with me a good deal. In fact he does yet, but he's in a different company now. From the first a fellow named Lee Cross and I have stayed together in all formations and hung around each other's tents. He's about thirty-three years old and is a commercial artist. I saw several of his paintings in an art studio in Los Angeles and they certainly are good.

The YMCA is the only thing -- entertainments all the times, and good ones at that. After the people from L.A., who were giving the entertainment last night -- we had a movie, Jack Pickford in Tom Sawyer. It's several months old but I'd never seen it, and it sure was fine. The reason the fellows enjoy the moving pictures so much is because they know the kind of pictures to get here. We never have any "sob stuff." Had a western play the time before this.

They feed us lots better here than in Detention. You can go back as many times as you want to and have your plate refilled -- and they give you sugar in your coffee and oatmeal. I ate three bowls of breakfast food this morning -- wouldn't have it but two or three times a week, so we all take advantage of it.

I sent you two papers printed here -- both old ones, but one had my name in it as an arrival in camp. I'd like you to keep that one.

Well? Of course, I'm as frisky as a stick horse. Never felt better. If the rain stops I'm going over and take a dip this afternoon -- that sure makes me feel fine.

Will continue with every day or so -- be sure and send my albums.

Your Loving Son,

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, September 27, 1918)

November 4, 2010

Update at Eight Bells

San Pedro, California
September 25, 1918

My dear Mother,

Our mail service has taken another crazy spell -- I got four letters from you yesterday and one today -- also heard from Aunt Maude and Bart Graham today.

We have from four o'clock today until 9:30 tonight liberty, but I'm not going to take it -- it's only for a short while anyway.

We had a good entertainment last night by the Garrett Club from Los Angeles, and although it was somewhat classical (which doesn't go over very well usually) everyone enjoyed it. Monday night the YMCA gave a movie show at eight bells. They have a show about twice a week and have a big hall and good machine. Of course there are plenty of sailors to operate it.

Bart says Ted has been in France quite a while now and is now in action.

A fellow in the sub base yesterday was killed by an elevator, and the are to bury him with a military funeral tomorrow.

Today we get off to see swimming races between the men and relay teams. Have been in several times and although I like fresh water best, I like salt water better every time I go.

The West Zula sailed today with several of the fellows who came out of Goofie with me. They were drafted in although several hundred had already volunteered -- I sure wish I could have gone on it. It was a big steel camouflage steamer bound for N.Y.C.

Got the pictures -- the first I've had since I've been away, and you can't know how glad I was to get them. I haven't gotten my albums yet.

If you haven't already sent my football shoes, don't do it until I write you again -- I may not be able to use them.

I'd rather have my sweater -- it will be much warmer. The Bedford girls sent me one but I can't wear it much. But it will soon be cooler and then I will write for mine, for it's much nicer than the one they sent me -- although I appreciate them taking that much trouble making it.

Am going to have a picture made Saturday when I go into L.A. so will send you some within a short time.

Love to all of you,

P.S. Thanks for the stamps. They surely do come in handy. I'll tell you something else you can send -- my shaving brush, or rather Father's. I forgot it. I hate to always be asking for something.

Your Son,

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, September 26, 1918)

November 3, 2010

First Liberty

San Pedro, California
September 23, 1918

My dear Father,

Haven't had but one or two letters from you -- but I must have neglected you too.

At last we got out of Goofie Camp and on our first liberty after being held six days over time while barracks were being erected. I went to Los Angeles (round trip 35 cents) Saturday afternoon, and we stayed until Sunday til 8 p.m. as to get back to camp by 9:30 when our liberty was up.

The first thing Gordon Standifer and I did was go to a cafe and order a square meal -- although we get enough here it's not like you get when you order exactly what you want.

Gordon, two other Dallas boys, and I went to the Hippodrome Saturday night, and slept until 9 o'clock Sunday -- the latest I've slept in a month. In the afternoon we went to Venice -- Culver City and Ocean Park -- all in automobiles for nothing. Nearly every automobile out here has a sign

Soldiers and Sailors
Salute & Ride

and they are all more than glad to pick us up. In fact, several took us on rides before they finally let us out. Ono our way to Venice we saw (in Hollywood) the home of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks -- and several movie studios, including Charlie Chaplin's. The homes are certainly beautiful in Hollywood.

In our company in Detention was a millionaire, Kidd, and as we passed his house he yelled at us, so we went in and ate fruit, and then went down into his pool and billiard room. Had quite a nice time -- met his father and mother, and were invited back again.

One of the cars we rode in was owned by a young married couple. The woman was very active in society (so Victor Sweet, told us), and she asked us especially to call them up and let them introduce us to some nice people. I think I will, although I hate to go around with highbrows, but they didn't seem stuck up even if they did own a house that looked like a courthouse.

Am in a company where life is in the barracks instead of a tent. We practiced tying knots for about an hour, and then went swimming. This afternoon we drilled for two hours and were dismissed. I know you thought I'd get tired of Navy life, but I don't think so -- at least not yet.

Love to all of you,
Your loving son,

(Postmarked Los Angeles, California, September 24, 1918)

November 2, 2010

Sports Buzz

San Pedro, California
September 19, 1918

Dear Mother,

Waited several days before I got a letter but I got your card from Jacksboro a while ago.

We aren't out of Goofie Camp yet -- and no telling when we will be -- however, not later than Saturday, for 1500 new fellows come in next week. The reason we aren't out is because we only have 225 fellows in camp; the others have gone over to the main camp.

Be sure and tell me if anyone I know joins during the period of enlistment, for several might come to San Pedro. I got the letter from Julius, but he didn't send his address, so when I write I'll send it to his mother and let her forward it.

We certainly have had to work hard this week -- this is our third day on guard (our Co. D) and we carry a gun eight hours a day -- from 10 til 12 in the morning, 2 til 4 in the afternoon, and 4 til 8 a.m. Get up at 3 o'clock, so for the last two nights I've only gotten a little sleep.

I cut my thumb with a razor blade yesterday but it feels fine today after the doctor fixed it up.

If the boys aren't using my football shoes or if they aren't sold, I wish you'd send them out here, but if they're in use, don't send them.

The submarine base has some baseball team -- almost all of the fellow are big leaguers who have recently enlisted. Babe Ruth (Father will know who he is) will be out here soon. The Subs beat all the good teams out in this part of the country -- but football and baseball are played at the same time out here. A new Goofie who just came in was on the California State Champion football team last year.

The commander of our company just came around and said unless something happened we would get out today, but I won't believe it til they order us to put on our blues, so I won't be disappointed if we don't get out.

I made out $10,000 insurance to you yesterday.

I washed yesterday so all my clothes are clean, including the whites I have on.

Will write as soon as I get back from liberty.

Your loving Son,

(Postmarked San Pedro, California, September 20, 1918)

November 1, 2010

Star Struck

San Pedro, California
September 14, 1918

My dear Mother,

At last I heard from you and you certainly should have heard from me before now, for I've written very often. Also got a letter from Maude Thomas, and in the afternoon yesterday I got the comfort kit the Montague County Chapter of the Red Cross sent me. You can bet I appreciate it.

I saw Otis Sheffield the other day when I went over to "the ship" as messenger. He is a yeoman and is stationed here for good. I think he said he could get me in too, but I want to go to sea so I told him nothing doing. Lots of the fellows are giving up good places as petty officers because if they take them, they would have to stay at the station.

They had the first Annual Ball at "the ship" the other night, and all the Goofies certainly looked sadly across the 100 ft. that separated them from the celebration. Included among the guests were Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Fatty Arbuckle, and Charlie Chaplin. I got to see all of them as they came in. You know Los Angeles has all the movie stars we used to see on the screen.

Was orderly to the Commanding Officer yesterday, and as orderlies are picked by being military looking and being clean, with shoes shined, I was proud to be taken.

We don't go out today -- are supposed now to go out Monday. One hundred and sixty-six go out.

When we woke up this morning it was misting, and we had to stand in mess line for 20 minutes and thereby ruined one white suit. It has cleared off somewhat now, so we may have sunny weather the rest of the day.

This is the morning we have inspection and everybody has to have spotless whites on, but we are off duty after 12 o'clock. I'm writing this before we go out to muster at 8, so will have to close and get on spotless.

I got a letter from Aunt Hattie yesterday explaining why they never got to see me. She says she may come to California.

(4 hours later) Well, inspection is over and we've just had mess, and visitors are beginning to come into camp from L.A. and "the ship."

Have just been invited to partake of some eats this afternoon -- a fellow from San Francisco got a package so we'll have something besides regulation food.

Went to the post office today although I knew I shouldn't get two letters in two days.

Give my love to all of the family.

Your Son,

(Postmarked Los Angeles, California, September 16, 1918)