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)

No comments:

Post a Comment