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.

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