December 31, 2010


Philadelphia Navy Yard
January 14, 1919

My dear Mother,

Am not keeping my contract about writing, but the Y is so far, and I've never been over to get a supply of paper until tonight. [Ed. note: this letter was written on letterhead of Army and Navy Young Men's Christian Association, "For the Colors"].

I don't think they will ship me on the destroyer now unless I extend my services -- they don't want any of the men who have less than six months to do. I'll do just as you say about shipping over.

We practiced blinkers this morning for about an hour, but haven't done anything since then but work a little on your handbag, and read some rules of navigation QMs are supposed to know. Of course I won't need it if I get out of the service. They told us today we would be released as soon as peace was formally signed, but you know how indefinite that is. If I was sure I had six months or a year to do, I'd sign over and get it over with.

Haven't heard from you since I left New London, and it seems a much longer time than that.

I'll try to get a letter off every other day from now on. Hope I get some mail tomorrow.

I won't send the belt until I finish the bag. Kiss the girlies for me and lots of love to all of you.

Your Son,

P.S. Excuse writing. The pen had ink on it up close to the point so I have to hold it back farther.

(Postmarked Philadelphia Navy Yard Station, January 15, 1919)

December 30, 2010

The Blakeley Detail

Philadelphia, Pa.
January 13, 1919

Dear Mother,

This is the first letter I've written since the first night I was in town. Haven't been out on liberty since that night, although I've had liberty every night. It's been so cold I didn't have enough energy to go down, for it's about a thirty-minute ride into the main part. They won't let us go over to the Y or recreation center but during certain hours, so I've never been over but once, and then a show was going on and I couldn't write.

I've made a belt for one of the boys -- I suppose it will fall to Donovan as Father and Edwin are more sporty dressers, and the belt isn't at all sporty. All you have to do when it is dirty is take a kiyi brush and soap, and give it a good scrubbing. It's made out of white fish line, but if you want to you can dye it black. It took about 10 hours of knot-tying and still doesn't look very good -- anyway, I made it by myself. I started you a handbag but today I stopped and laughed at the darn thing. I can't imagine your carrying it anywhere. It's made out of the funniest colored cord you ever saw -- you can dye it too, or give it to the girls. I won't finish it until next week anyway.

I was lucky as could be -- got under the best chief in the Blakeley detail (the boat is named Blakeley). All we do in the daytime is go over in an empty barracks, turn on the steam, and practice semaphore and blinker.

The captain of the Blakeley came over today and talked to me about shipping over in the regular Navy, but I told him I wouldn't do it at all if I had to revert back to seaman and begin all over again. He said if I wanted to ship over [Ed. note: this meant re-enlist], he would confirm my rating and let me stay QM2C. All men shipping over get a month's extra pay and a 30-day furlough home. I don't know what to do, whether to come home when my time's up for good, or take the 30 days and ship over. The Navy isn't such a bad place after all, and I hate to come home without making a cruise over to England and France anyway.

All the fellows except Thorn and me have been across since the war started, and are regulars. I am sure you will raise the dickens about me enlisting over -- of course, I don't know yet what I want to do.

Write me at Barracks 307 instead of 297. I never have gotten your candy yet. I expect the fellows at New London ate it after I went away.

Love to all of you,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 15, 1919)

December 29, 2010


Philopatrian Service Club
1411-13 Arch Street
Philadelphia, Pa.
January 8, 1919

Dear Mother,

Got here this afternoon at one o'clock. We stayed over in New York because we knew it would be the last time we would be there in a long time. I went to the Rialto theatre in the afternoon, and to Nora Bayes in the evening, and saw Ladies First -- the best musical comedy I ever saw.

My orders read to go to the USS Dr. Lang, but after we got here we found we have been transferred to the Bradley or something like that, and it isn't completed yet -- will be one of the newest destroyers. We will have to stand by for a while in the Navy Yard at Legget Island until it's completed -- and it's some big place. We get liberty every night, however, so if we want to take it, it won't seem so much like being cooped up.

My address for the present is: Philadelphia Navy Yard, Barracks 297, Philadelphia, Pa.

Love to all,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 8, 1919)

December 28, 2010


New York City
January 7, 1919

Dear Mother,

Arrived here this a.m. by boat and will leave tonight for Philadelphia.

Went to a picture show just now and saw Under the Top -- I didn't like it very well.

The bunch has separated and will meet me this afternoon at the depot. If they aren't there it's their own fault, so I should worry if they get left. I sure hated to leave the bunch at New London, for they were the best bunch of fellows I've run across in the Navy. I have a bunch of addresses so I might be able to see some of them after we all get discharged.

There is no news to tell you much. Just saw an airplane doing stunts over Times Square.

Will write from Philadelphia.


(Postmarked Grand Central Station, New York, New York, January 7, 1919)

December 27, 2010

From The Mohican Hotel

New London, Connecticut
January 6, 1919

Dear Pa and Ma,

Well, we didn't shove off this morning but are getting away tonight at 11:30. We go by boat to New York so we get to sleep all night. From the pier at New York we go to the Pennsylvania Depot, and get a train on to Philadelphia.

Your illustrious son is in charge of the party of twelve, and I have all our records, transportation, and money for meals, etc. It's no good job though, for if anyone gets lost or I lose any of our records, I'm out of luck.

Has snowed all day but isn't very cold. I thought today that if I ran around in the snow with my neck uncovered like we do now, the people would think me crazy.

I dropped Aunt Katy Gault a note today.

Think I'll go down and see a picture show til eleven o'clock, and help pass the time that way.

Love to all of you,

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, Jan. 6, 1919)

December 26, 2010

The Big Apple

American Red Cross Rest Station
Grand Central Station
December 29, 1918

Dear Father and Mother,

Have been down since yesterday at 2:30 and am having a pretty good time, but am trying to be economical so I'll have enough Jack to last the week out.

Had the best luck in the world -- called Ruth up as soon as I got here, and got Chilton Ayres' address. He was staying with his cousin, Mrs. Chas. Stone, in Brooklyn. He came down and we went to a free dance given by the W.C.C.S. in the armory at 34th and Park Avenue. He said I was invited to eat dinner at the Stone's today. Naturally I went and my, what a feed we had -- roast chicken and all the fixings, including good biscuits and homemade jelly. After dinner they brought out a bunch of homemade candy and some mints, and cigarettes.

Their apartment is in a very fashionable part of Brooklyn -- 125 Prospect Park West -- and is furnished beautifully. They have a Franklin Six and after dinner, about 2:30, we got in and they took Chilton and me down to Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and all along the waterfront to see the grand fleet that's lying in the river and harbor.

Chilton's seven days was up today, so he just got on the train to go back to Boston. Before he got one he opened up his lunch they had fixed for him, and gave me a packet full of his homemade candy. I wish he could have had seven days while I have mine. They had written him if he could to bring Julius or me out with him to stay. Do you know Mrs. Stone? She used to be Miss McKay or someone like that.

I can't write because my hands are still cold. Today was sunshiney but it has been snowing in little flurries for a week.

Coming back today we rode through Prospect Park proper, and we saw lots of men and women on their ponies and little saddles, and all of them make work out of riding by jiminy up and down in a fashionable manner everywhere the horse takes a step.

On the way down we passed through Bridgeport and New Haven, Conn. I didn't get to see those towns going up because we went up on a boat.

A fellow in the office says all of our repair class are to go on destroyers as soon as our furloughs are up -- either to Boston, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Key West, or San Francisco.

Have a date tonight to go out and see the three girls from Hughes' hometown in Mississippi with him (Hughes). Am supposed to meet him here at six o'clock.

I never saw so many wounded soldiers in my life. You can't imagine how many they have brought back already. We all rate ace high here in New York, but a man with a gold chevron on his right sleeve is IT, as he should be.

I saw a fellow from the Prairie yesterday, and he said Dick was on furlough, but that he had to be back today, so tomorrow I'm going down to 79th Street to see if I can find him. They changed from the pier at 96th.

Love to all of you. I'm thinking of you always. Hope I have a pile of letters when I get back to New London. I hadn't heard in three days when I left.


(Postmarked Grand Central Station, New York, New York, December 29, 1918)

December 24, 2010

Christmas Break

Dear Readers:

These letters will resume on December 26.

Have happy holidays in the interim,
and please resume my grandfather's adventures then.

December 23, 2010


New London, Connecticut
December 26, 1918

Dear Mother,

My seven days start tomorrow at 12 o'clock, and I think I'll go up to New York and stay a day or so, if I don't stay the whole seven. I told them I'd give up my seven if I could get a long furlough later on, but they said I wouldn't stand any better chance, so I'm going to take it.

We only have one more day of this dizzy repair course. But I like it, for we just stand around and learn how to wire and assemble the different tubes. Today we took apart and put back together a compensator, and it took all day long to do it. Have just finished making the last diagrams in my notebook.

There is a better bunch of fellows here at the Pier than anyplace I've been -- so many of them college fellows. We all gather in one of their rooms at the YMCA, and just sit around til bedtime, and don't go to town at all, even though State Street, which is the main street, is only a block away. I wasn't out even on Christmas Eve, and only for a little bit last night.

Got a box of candy from the Bedford girls today -- divinity, so it's all gone now -- that kind is scarce and the fellows grabbed it up. For the past week some one of the boys has had a package, so we have been stuffed to death. Am enclosing a menu of our Christmas dinner at the Pier. It wasn't as good as the one we had Thanksgiving, but was cooked all O.K.

Haven't heard from Boone yet. I wish he had sent it [Ed. note: Refers to the loan made to Boone] before my furlough. I'll see Ruth Halton I'm sure, although I have heard from her for quite a while.

Maude Thomas sent me a Christmas card and I had neglected to send her one.

Didn't get a letter today -- or one yesterday, but expect one tomorrow afternoon.

It snowed all day today but melted right away. We are right on the shore, so it isn't as cold as Boston or even a few miles inland. They had a ten-inch snow at Norwich, only fifteen miles inland. Also a foot at Boston.

Christmas Day was warm and sunny here -- reminded me of some we've had at home.

Love to all of you -- and a merry and happy New Year.

Your son,

P.S. Got Dad's Christmas telegram and wanted to telegraph back, but was a tightwad so didn't do it. I sure was glad to get it, I can tell you.

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, December 26, 1918)

December 22, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, 1918

We got off this afternoon until Thursday morning at eight -- then Saturday morning we are off for seven days. There is no place like this place for liberty.

Didn't have time to tell you all about my trip to Boston.

After walking most of the morning, Julius took me back to Harvard for lunch. Afterward we took a subway over to Boston and went to a free theatre -- and it was fine. I saw the Japanese fellow who was in Texas a year or two ago -- he talks and writes headlines from the newspaper backwards at the same time, as well as harder concentration tasks.

That night we went home with a woman for supper, and stayed until about 9:30. I caught the 11:30 train back to New London, getting here about 3:00 -- went to bed and slept til seven. I didn't get to bed as early as I expected last night on account of writing up some work we'd gotten the day before, so I think I'll try and get some sleep. It will be the first Christmas Eve I've gone to bed early in several years.

Aunt Hattie sent me a fine linen handkerchief. I haven't written her yet, but will tomorrow.

You may be sure pecans will make her a good present -- at least if she appreciates them like I did the ones you sent me.

It is raining again -- seems like it rains every holiday. Yesterday was like a Texas spring day -- during the two hours we get off for lunch I just stretched out on the dock at the edge of the water, and slept and made out like I was back home.

The boat Mrs. Billingsly's brother sailed on is the Ozaka -- it left just after we did. I helped put provisions on it while I was at Pedro. He has had a wonderful trip I know, but I wouldn't change places with him. He will still be a seaman when he gets back off the boat. We all wanted to get drafted on the Ozaka when she was put in commission though. Everything seems to turn out for the best every time.

Julius is looking fine and really looks good in uniform. I didn't get to see Victor Layton or Chilton Ayres because they had gone to New York.

Am going back into camp tomorrow morning to get my letter from you -- I hate to wait til Thursday morning.

Love to all the Weldons this first Christmas I've been away.


(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, December 24, 1918)

December 21, 2010

Make Merry

New London, Connecticut
December 23, 1918

Western Union Telegram, Wichita Falls, Texas


Dear Mother and Father,

Have just finished eating a bunch of the stuff you sent and maybe you think we didn't enjoy it. Young and Bieger helped me carry the box from the pier to the YMCA, and then we had a feed. We ate half the cake you made, but saved the other to have with some of the canned goods on Christmas Day. You were surely complimented for your cake making. It sure was good, and you needn't worry about its being burnt that little bit on the bottom, for we didn't even scrape it off.

Tell the girls I saved their cards that they wrote "Merry Christmas" on and put them in my album. The box made me feel "homesicker" than I did before, but the eats sure tasted good.

I went to Boston Saturday with Julius and stayed til Sunday night at 11:30. Didn't get up til 4 Saturday afternoon, but Sunday morning we went out walking: saw the Harvard stadium, Lowell's house, the place where Washington took command of his armies, and a bunch of other places. I saw the Old North Church when still over in old Boston.

Have had one day of work in the electrical repair school, and we had to work out experiments with the electrical apparatus just like we used to do in physics, only we make more copious notes on them.

Am sending some more pictures -- which is getting to be a habit -- that I told you about taking. The ones with the big camera are the best we've gotten. You can see by them that I'm not getting very thin in the Navy.

Must write up some notes tonight before corking off. Many thanks and a kiss all round. May this be a merry merry Christmas for all of you.

Your most affectionate son,

(Postmarked from New London, Connecticut)

December 20, 2010

Henry Ford's Eagles

New London
December 16, 1918

Dear Mother,

Just a note before bedtime -- can't write much for I must get back to camp tonight. I gave up my room at the Y today as we are to be shipped in a few days.

Tomorrow is the last day we go out on the sub chaser boats [Ed. note: Gasoline-powered, about 85' in length, resemble PT boats]. Have just been down to the far end of the pier to look at two of Henry Ford's new Eagle boats, and they certainly are beauties -- about 225 feet long, with a high bow and an all-steel, flush deck tapering down to almost the water's edge at the stern. And they are high amidships, which gives them a "bulldog" appearance. Up to the 1st of November there were only three finished and in commission. It would satisfy me if I could only get on board one of them as a listener, although I expect they are madhouses for work, just like a destroyer is. Am going to try and get a picture of them tomorrow if I can find someone with a camera.

Am sure glad you got the kiddies the dolls, even if they did cost something -- if necessary, leave some of the things you are doing for those doggone boys. I know you used to give me more than I deserved.

If I can possibly get an extra hammock before I'm discharged I'm going to send it home, as they make us turn ours in before we go home -- and I would like to have one to keep.

Got Bart's letter today as well as one from you. The main thing I look forward to when I get off the sub chaser is getting my letters from home. You ought to see the fight to get in the mail line -- today was the first day I've ever headed the line.

Love to all,

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, December 16, 1918)

December 19, 2010

In The Red

New London, Connecticut
December 17, 1918

Dear Father,

Got a few snapshots this morning, and to keep from losing them before I get back tonight, I'll send 'em now. Don't let my expressions in these pictures make you think I'm disgusted with the Navy -- there was a cold wind blowing, therefore the frown.

After all my good intentions and resolutions, I have been unable to pay any part of your $50 back, and not only that, but I must ask for more to tide me over. You can't imagine how I hate to have to depend on my father and mother when they have so much to look after already. You know I let Boone and Richards have $26 between them. Well Boone wrote from New Orleans that he would be home about the 19th or 20th, and would mail me a money order. Richards hasn't gotten across the continent yet, so for the last week I've been without any money.

I wouldn't wire you there if it wasn't for the fact that I have some shoes in the shop getting half-soles, and have not been able to get them out. As I leave Friday, I can't afford to leave them here -- shoes cost money. I am now drawing $46.50 per month, and on the 5th of January will have $25.00 coming. On account of them making us buy so many clothes to fill our sea bags, I didn't draw any pay last 5th nor will I on the 20th.

If it wasn't for the fact that our bunch that have gone through school together are being separated Friday, I would have a little from one of them, but can't ask them to trust me to send it to them. If Boone or Richards were here and had it, I could get it in a minute.

Will pay back the ten on the 5th of January, and the other $50 right along now that I get more money. Some of the fellows dropped their insurance to get the extra $6.50 per month -- also their liberty bonds -- but I didn't. By taking $5.00 out of every pay for a bond, I'll soon have enough to pay any little amount I might owe you when I come home.

Got the paper today where it said you were to be the main speaker for Wichita County -- that speaks mighty well for you. You don't know how proud I am of my "father-pal."

Give my love to the buds and kiss the three girls for me [Ed. note: His mother and two sisters].

Your son,

P.S. I was recommended for a destroyer today -- which is an honor -- hope I get on one, for they are the best for a listener. My general average was 3.7.

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, December 17, 1918}

December 18, 2010

School's Out

New London, Connecticut
December 14, 1918

Dear Mother,

Our course is finished -- all we have is one more oral examination and then we will be sent somewhere else. If I'm not recommended for repair school, I'll be away from New London State Pier before the 20th. The best in each squad is sent to repair school for a week more, but am not at all sure I'm the best. Anyway, I now have the two red chevrons, a mariner's wheel embroidered in white silk, and a white silk embroidered eagle on my right sleeve, and from the 20th on will have an increase in pay.

Am enclosing a few more pictures and have more being developed of our crows taken the other day.

Naturally I had to pose for my picture behind the forward gun. In the picture of the crow's nest I am on top of the bridge getting a bearing on a sub with the pelorus scale. I didn't pose for this so didn't get my face in -- wasn't even supposed to be taken with the fellow in the nest. As the days are usually cloudy the pictures are dull, but perhaps we will have a good day sometime.

Got another letter from you today -- also the one from Julius. Hope I'm here and have enough dough to go up to Boston -- rather Cambridge -- to see them next Saturday.

I get a seven-day furlough Christmas or New Year's, wherever I am, but naturally won't come to Texas.

It's foggy today but we didn't have to go out because we had captain's inspection.

Can't tell you about my liberty any more, because I'm always on liberty here -- just at the station in the daytime. Since I've been staying at the Y I haven't gone anywhere much at night -- a bunch of fellows are always up in the room, so we stay in.

That was certainly hard luck to have the deuce sold, but I suppose you can get another -- however, it will take up more of the time you are trying to string out to cover everything.

I can't get the girls caps through the small stores, but they can have my word I'll get them as soon as Boone sends me what he owes me, for they are not to think their Bud will promise anything and not do it.

Hope everybody stays clear of the flu from now on. Be careful, for you can have it twice you know. Am feeling fine -- although I've lost a few pounds since I have been going out on the sub chasers. I think my seasickness is over with.

Your affectionate son,

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, December 14, 1918)

December 17, 2010

The End Is Near

New London, Connecticut
December 10, 1918

Dear Mother,

Didn't hear from you today -- the mail must be held up.

I have only four more days on the sub chasers and then I get my rating. I will be lonesome now, for Rene Richards leaves Saturday for San Francisco to go on board the U.S.S. Ludlow, and as Boone and Priddy are already gone, I won't know anyone I really care to run around with.

I am going to get a quartermaster 2nd class, so I'll be paid $47.50 per month after the next payday -- the 20th. I didn't get any pay the last time, so I hope for some this time. I haven't heard from Boone yet, but he has hardly had time to get home yet -- hope he sends it back soon though.

I was going to Boston this Saturday but am too low to go. I hope I'll be here one more Saturday so I can go up and see Boston. Some of the fellows went up last Saturday and saw a bunch of interesting ships, as well as the Old North Church where Paul Revere hung the lanterns.

Am sending some pictures taken from a sub chaser -- also some of an old mill built in 1650, about four blocks from camp. The pictures that we took the other day, which have some of our class in them, have not been finished yet. Will send them when I get them.

Yesterday it snowed and sleeted all day, so that the deck was slick and wet, but today it was warmer and we got along better. Haven't been seasick in 5 days, so I hope I've gotten over part of it. I was up in the crow's nest for quite a while today, and it didn't bother me at all.

As soon as I get a good payday and have my rating on my arm, I'm going to have a small picture taken showing my blue eagle and chevrons.

Hope to hear from you when I get in again tomorrow.

Love to all,

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, December 12, 1918)

December 16, 2010

Cash Flow

New London, Connecticut
December 10, 1918

Dear Father,

Expected a letter from you today as I haven't heard in a day or so, but none came. I can only get mail once a day because we are out on the boats from 8:30 til 5 every day. It wasn't rough on Friday so no one was seasick, but it was pretty cold. It warmed up to over 30 degrees this afternoon, but was only 10 degrees above zero this morning. I saw in a paper yesterday that the Indian summer had lasted very late this fall, and that it seemed as if it would stay warm til after Christmas -- they certainly are cheerful to call it an Indian summer.

I took a room out in town at the YMCA with another fellow yesterday. It costs $2.50 per week, so don't think I'll keep it over a week or so, but I get to sleep so much longer up there than at camp.

Am looking for a letter from Ewell Boone soon with what he owes me in it. He was discharged on such short notice that he had no time to wire home, so I lent him some to get back from New Orleans to Texas. Of course he has some -- I am sure to get it back because he is absolutely straight. Besides, the folks at Dallas know him so I could get it that way -- by getting his address from there. He gave it to me but I lost it.

I would rather be short for a while than let him go all the way home broke. I know what money means to a gob.

Haven't been able to get the little girls caps yet. If I can't get them in a week or so from the small stores [Ed. note: A store for retail clothing and toiletries sales], I'll buy them for cash uptown, but can't do that until last because the government sells them to us at about half what they cost at a store.

Am writing this before chow so I could get right to bed -- I've been losing sleep pretty regularly lately because I've been on watch, but all my watches are now over til my course is finished.

We took some more pictures today, and I got some of them so will send you some in a day or so. They were taken with a small Kodak so may not be very good.

Am expecting a letter tomorrow.

Love from,

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, December 10, 1918)

December 15, 2010

Birthday Boy

New London
December 7, 1918

Dear Mother,

Well, the old gentleman is nineteen years old today -- this last year has certainly slipped by before I knew it, and the time will go quickly, I hope, til I'm discharged. I didn't mind staying in while the war lasted -- but now that it's over, I'd like to put on a stiff collar and a pair of straight trousers again. If I had it to do over again though, I'd enlist, for the last 4 months haven't been so bad.

Had I not passed the last listeners exam before I left Pelham, I would have been drafted to fill out the crew of the George Washington, the boat the president sailed on. One crew had already come from New York but they needed more -- and our barracks was sent. Would rather be here, though.

Was sick again yesterday -- in fact the skipper on the boat was too. It was rough and cold. I can't tell you how the fellows suffered, but we stayed out on deck all day because we were too sick to go below where the engine fumes were thick. Six hours on deck without warming made us so cold we could hardly walk when we got ashore. We asked to be brought in, for it was so rough we couldn't do any reading with the instruments -- but they said they had orders to keep us out til 4:30. We did come in at 3 because the ensign got sick, but as a result of the exposure, Rothrock, a fellow from Tennessee, went to the hospital with pneumonia. I hope they take heed and watch out for us more in the future.

We hear a rumor that we are to be rated earlier than the 21st, and I only hope it's true -- we must go out on the sub chasers until we get our ratings.

My two other exam papers were graded yesterday, and I made another 4.0 or perfect paper, and the other one was a 3.8 or 95, which is the best work made on theory in the division of about 50. They will catch up when we average up our readings, for some can "center" sound better than I can. Anyway the squad leader told me today I was sure of second, and if I keep my average above 3.7 I could be recommended for first. Second is equal to sergeant in Army so I'll be satisfied with it -- in fact would have been satisfied with 3rd class.

Am in town -- but must go back and stand another watch from 12 to 4 tonight. Then I'm off again til 4 o'clock Monday morning, when I stand another 4 hours, which will be my last watch while I'm here.

Don't worry about not sending me a box on my birthday, for I know you are having your hands full nursing. Hope your throat is better now. As soon as you get Donovan straightened out, take a rest and let Christmas take care of itself.

From your devoted son,

P.S. The reason I'm not going to buy a blanket is because I may get shipped south when I finish here. I cover with my pea coat and keep warm, so don't worry.

December 14, 2010

Graveyard Watch

New London, Connecticut
December 6, 1918

Dear Mother,

Am still on graveyard watch so continue now.

Haven't gotten seasick since the first day out. We struck the worst part of the year to go through the school, for we haven't had a day that the waves haven't broken across the deck, thereby getting our feet wet. But it won't last over two weeks longer at the outside, for then we will be through.

Ewell Boone from Dallas is leaving for home today to finish high school -- in fact, there are three out of our barracks going, and all of them happen to be from Texas. Can't say when we will get to come home, those of us who have no good excuse. They are sending lots of fellows who get ratings to Miami, Florida and to San Francisco. Hope I go to Florida for then I will be near enough to go home when I get a furlough. Might be able to get one here, but am not going to put in for it -- would cost too much to go to Texas and back.

Two o'clock -- I've just come back from making another round, and I went out on the roof. The snow is almost two inches deep already -- expect we are in for a larger one than the little we got the other day. I hope so, for it's not nearly so cold when it's snowing as when the wind is blowing, and we won't notice the snow while out on the boats. This climate is always damp, it seems, and they say that's the reason it seems so cold when the thermometer isn't down as low as some places.

Am enclosing the pictures I got from a fellow the other day. They aren't as good as I expected them to be -- but another fellow climbed up in the crow's nest and took some today, so if I can get films from him I'll send you some of these pictures.

I hear from Grace Hapgood quite often -- am sorry I didn't get to see her while I was in New York. She leaves for home about the 17th. In her last letter she said something about Bryant Edwards being run over by a truck, but didn't know whether it killed him or not.

Haven't heard from Julius since I got his letter asking me to meet him in New York.

Rene Richards and I saw Charlie Chaplin in Shoulder Arms tonight. I had a chance to see it twice before but wouldn't do it because there was more to do -- here it's different.

The night before that I took a shower and swim at the Y. Will go up again tomorrow night.

Did Robert Thomas join the Army? If so, what branch?

This is an uninteresting letter I know, but I had to make up for the days I didn't write.

Love to all of the kiddies and you and Father. I'm certainly glad the rest are up and here's hoping you don't take the flu.

Your Son,

(No postmark)

December 13, 2010


New London, Connecticut
December 6, 1918

Dear Mother,

Am on a four-hour watch -- the graveyard watch at that, from 12 to 4 a.m. Am supposed to look after the five instruction rooms in this end of the building. Have a Colt pistol "on my hip" and it's certainly better than having to carry a Springfield. This isn't really hard because I keep a fire going in the main office and stay in here -- just going out in the hall once in a while. Am supposed to unlock and go in every room at least once an hour to see that everything is untouched.

Just looked out a window and it's snowing -- don't know when it started. Sometime after ten, for I was up then. The snow we had the other day melted, and things warmed up somewhat, but the weather forecast says fair and colder today, so I dread to go out.

We go out now on the sub chasers every day for about two weeks, when we will get our rating. The rating I'll get with either be quartermaster 2nd or 3rd class -- 3rd is the same as corporal in the Army and 2nd as sergeant. Quartermaster in the Navy is not like the Army. The chevrons and eagle are worn on the right arm and only those of the fighting forces wear them. All the rest -- like yeomen, machinist mates, radio operator, and the like wear their chevrons on the left arm. In other words, quartermaster is not in the line. The fellows who correspond to Army quartermasters are called store keepers.

You know the examination on the K tube I dreaded? Well, your son made a 4.0 or 100% paper, and was complimented by the ensign in charge of the division -- made the only correct paper on the K tube. I have absorbed more knowledge in the ten weeks I've been here than I would have gotten in a physics class at school in two months. Of course it is only that part which has to do with listening devices -- would have sent my paper home, but they burned them as they contained information which isn't given out.

To show you how sensitive some of the instruments are (there are about 18), we could hear the sound of pebbles being washed up on the beach by the waves and rolling back down -- and we were two miles from shore. Doesn't that sound "fishy" -- but it's the truth nevertheless.

I sent Grandma and Aunt Hattie the pictures I meant to send long ago.

You asked where we wear our stripes. There are three white stripes around the edge of our middy collar, and three around each cuff. When I went in, I wore one around each cuff for apprentice seaman. Then I wore two, and now that I'm in the listeners wear three for 1st class seaman, although I don't get paid but for 2nd. When I get my rating I'll either be making $42.50 or $46.50 according to what I get on my exam. That isn't much, but it is quite an increase over the $32.60 pay I started in as. If I get 2nd class quartermaster, I'll have a higher rating than Julius will when he gets out of Harvard, and he won't be a line officer either. He will get radio operator 3rd.

Love from your son,

(No postmark)

December 12, 2010


New London, Connecticut
December 4, 1918

Dear Mother,

Just finished two examinations which took all morning. I got 3.8 on the first -- which is 95 (the Navy grades on a scale where 4 = 100%) and 90 on the other, which is considered good. I had the best log book of the whole 1st Division -- took pains, and as there were lots of drawings I made them better than most. We have two more examinations today, and one I especially dread -- the one with the K-tube. Am enclosing the exam -- on the theory of sound -- first part. The part that has the markings of the theory of sound and the listening devices together they won't let go out. Of course, this is just what anyone learns in physics. I can get the mechanical tubes and devices very well, but am having a harder time with the electrical ones. The K tube is an electric device.

It's almost chow time so this can only be a note. Got two dandy pairs of socks from Aunt Hattie yesterday afternoon.

Mrs. Weldon, I don't want you to get the impression that your son is whiling away his idle hours all the time -- have only been to town one night in the last several. However, after today's examinations we won't have to study as hard -- it will be more practical work. Here's hoping I get by in that as well as I have in the theory.

By the time this reaches you I will have had a birthday. Will send you some pictures we took when we were out in the sound the other day if they are good.


Enclosed examination paper:

Theory of Sound

1. (a) A region of rarefaction is one in which the particles are further apart than average. (b) A region of condensation is one in which the particles are closer together than average. (c) Frequency or pitch is the number of vibrations per second of the source of the sound. Pitch that you hear in the stethoscopes may not be the cause as that given off by the submarine because of reflection of sound. Loudness is the sensation experienced due to the violence of disturbance in the medium. Wave length is the distance between two corresponding parts of a sound wave. Rhythm is the periodic variation of the body in vibration. Quality is that characteristic of a sound by which sounds of the same intensity can be distinguished from one another.

2. Phase is the part of a sound wave at a given point at a given instant of time. Phase difference is the distance between corresponding parts of a sound wave. Phase is one principle of the listening tubes -- for instance -- in the MB tube, when the sound wave strikes all the disc receivers at the same time, the sound will not be in phase, because they do not meet at the central intersection of the air passage. Consequently there is a phase difference and the sound is partially destroyed.

3. The ratio of the velocity of sound in water and in air is .23. Velocity of sound in water is 4530' per second at 32 degrees F and air is 1090' per second at 32 degrees F. By dividing the velocity in the water by the velocity in the air, we get .23 or the working ratio between the two.

4. Frequency of sound vibration determines to a large extent the speed of the submarine. A propeller that makes many revolutions when frequency is great naturally makes the pitch higher.

5. (a) Loudness is due directly to intensity. Loudness is merely the sensation in the ears -- while intensity denotes a violence of disturbance, whether heard or not. (b) By rhythm we can tell a submarine from any other boat or water noise -- in fact we can tell any two sounds from one another with the aid of quality. A submarine has an extremely even rhythm due to its motors.

6. As a submarine approaches from a great range, the pitch decreases and the intensity increases. When at distance only the rhythm may be detected and the submarine has a very high pitch, but as it comes closer the knocks and squeaks of the engines are plainly heard, and the pitch is noticeably lower and the intensity is much greater.

(Postmarked U.S. Receiving Barracks, Connecticut, December 4, 1918)

December 11, 2010

The Sovereign

New London
November 30, 1918

Dear Mother and Father,

Got the first letters to New London. Have gotten quite a few forwarded to me.

Am at the YMCA in town -- am going to stay in tonight so I can sleep after 6 o'clock tomorrow. It's worth 50 cents to get to sleep late one morning a week.

Have been out on a boat for two days now, and the first day I was one sick bird. The sea was rough and the waves broke over the deck all day. You know my failing about riding on trains -- well, when a little 110-foot converted yacht gets to pitching around it's all off -- rather all out, for I fed the fish. But I was no exception for everyone on the boat was affected.

Today when we went out it was even rougher than ever but I felt fine all the time. The waves were running high enough to cover the deck -- sometimes the water was running from the fan to stern a foot deep, and we were out on the deck without tubes [Ed. note - tubes were flotation devices]. We had just gotten them overboard and were standing by waiting for the "movie makers" or the submarine we were to practice on, when we got an SOS call from the Sovereign, which was about 3 miles away.

She was on fire and they called us to come to them to get the men if they had to abandon ship, so the captain came on bridge and told us about it. He said to get our tubes in and lashed fast as soon as possible, so we had to get down from the dryer places we'd picked and get wet up to our knees, which was no joke. We got our devices and were on our way over to the Sovereign, when we passed a destroyer that had gotten the message too. We went on and when we got to her, the men who could get to the fire were fighting it, and the others were standing by the life rafts and boats. By shutting up everything but the compartments forward, which were afire, they managed to control it until they got into the mouth of the Thames River, where the water was quieter, and then put it out. It burnt the wheelhouse, quarterdeck, and bridge completely away, as well as the inside of the galley, where it started. The Sovereign is a long, slim, twin-screw racing yacht transformed into a sub chaser, and it rolls even more than the Parthenia (the boat we were on). We came in with her so didn't have to stay out as long as otherwise.

I didn't enjoy myself when I was sick the other day, but surely did today. It's great fun to get on top of a high wave and be able to look all over everywhere, and then go "hell bent for election" down again. Am glad I was initiated in rough weather -- maybe I'll get used to it sooner.

Can't enjoy oneself in New London -- am going to take a walk again tomorrow. Told you I went across the river to Groton and saw old Fort Griswold, didn't I? The old house where Washington had his headquarters when in this country is still standing, and is used by the county historical society. It's made of light colored brick, and to tell the truth is one of the prettiest houses here regardless of age.

Appreciate the clippings you send. Am glad the girlies are all O.K. again. So, it's snowing in Texas! These birds here would hardly believe when I told them.

It has been warmer here in the last two days -- rained Thursday night.

Love to you all.

Your loving son,

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, December 1, 1918)

December 10, 2010

Listeners School

New London, Connecticut
November 27, 1918

Dear Mother,

Have received a bunch of letters from home that were forwarded from Pelham Bay, but haven't had time to answer -- and that's no lie, for this school is surely hard and I've a long way to go if I make the course. We muster at 8:30 and have lectures til 12 o'clock, 1 hour and 15 minutes for chow -- lectures til 5 o'clock, and we are off for the day. As we have to take notes on all lectures, you can see that they have to be transcribed in a large notebook and ink, and drawings put in. For the last two days I've started in again at 6 and worked til 9 or perhaps taps, and still have lots to do -- it's hard to keep from walking uptown when most of them go, but I gotta stay if I want to do any good at all.

There is a mixture of physics, geometry (with metric), and horse sense, as well as being able to concentrate while listening to submarines so as to cut out all other water noises. Am due to go out on a sub chaser tomorrow but hope they will let us stay on Thanksgiving Day. I listened on instruments on shore to submerged subs, and you would surely be surprised how far you can tell the difference between one and another boat -- can even hear the knocking of the engines and count the propeller revolutions. I heard one very distinctly several miles away. Are supposed to be able to hear one between 30 and 50 miles with some of the instruments, but those are under ideal conditions.

Slept about half the night last night -- cold -- gosh, I thought morning would never come. I see I'm going to have to buy two more blankets. When the decks were swabbed down yesterday, the water froze and stayed on all day, and now that they have been wet again there is thicker ice -- it's been freezing every night I've been here, but usually melted in the daytime. The temperature is much lower here than in New York. Saw where the average through yesterday was 33 degrees but here it never got to 30 degrees all day. Back from breakfast and just saw a Boston American which gave New London's weather, and the average temperature was 24. It got down to 17 degrees -- of course it gets that cold at home, but darned if I'm used to this weather now.

Haven't been able to get the girls' caps. You know they won't let anyone send official clothing home if they can help it, so I'll get them as soon as they will issue them to me. I haven't sent grandma or Aunt Hattie's pictures to them yet -- just can't find the time to wrap them.

Am going to put on winter underwear in a little while. It's lots more trouble than summer ones though. I saw in the paper about a week ago that J.D. Worley, formerly a Bowie-ite, was wounded in France.

I can't put in for a discharge like Father suggested unless I have an excuse, and I have none, so will just have to wait. About 5 out of our 25 who came from Pelham were notified that they were the first to get out in a week or so. They either had dependents or wanted to go back to college.

Have got to muster in 25 minutes, and as I have to polish my shoes I'll stop. Got a letter from Julius, and he is in New York on an 8-day furlough. He thought I was still at Pelham Bay -- now I won't be able to see him. When can I ever go to New York? He would just be coming back. Chilton is with him -- I've never gotten Chilton's letter.

From Your Loving Son,

(Postmarked 2nd Battalion, State Pier, New London, Connecticut, no date)

December 9, 2010

Pie a la Mode

New London, Connecticut
November 28 - Thanksgiving

Dear Mother and Father,

In all seriousness you son says that he is a sick boy -- but he is glad to be able to say it, for he has already loosened about half of his thirteen buttons on his trousers and let his money belt out a notch. Will have to let it out more in a few minutes when the eats in my neck packs down in my stomach.

We had some feed today -- was the first time I ever saw sailors refuse food because they had too much. I had three bricks of ice cream, as well as two oranges, and three bananas, which I made a banana split with. I also took my piece of pie and put a brick of ice cream on top and made "pie a la mode," and had a piece of cake, which I ate with my other brick of ice cream. They broke away from the rules and gave us all the turkey or stuff we asked for, and even had sailors acting as waiters to see that everybody got everything he wanted. Cigars and cigarettes were handed out in mess line, and those who didn't smoke gave them to those who did. There was a menu at every plate -- I sent you mine.

Got three more letters from you today -- hope Katherine has entirely recovered.

Can't realize Paddy is dead. Didn't seem so close to Roy L. did, but I've played football and ran track with Pat, you know.

We go out about 15 miles on the sub chasers tomorrow for our first sea training on listening to submarines. Four subs go out and stay all day to give us practice.

Got a letter from Aunt Pat today, and she says she is sending two pair of wool sox for me and will send more if I have to stay in service. The sox will be appreciated as I only have one wool pair. Part of the bay had a thin coating of ice this morning, but it has warmed up and that has melted now.

Went to the Thanksgiving Day dance given by the 142nd company of Marines at the Armory. There are Marines and soldiers both in camp -- seems funny to eat between the birds in khaki when not used to seeing it in camp.

Haven't met any girls in New London. The people pay absolutely no attention to men in uniform -- no invitations to their dances or even to their homes, and not one ever asks a sailor to ride. I thought I'd like the town because it is smaller but the people ruin it all.

Have taken the splints off my thumb but can't lift anything with the son of a gun -- am gradually getting it so it will move right.

All the fellows that are to get out in the near future are fellows going back to school -- they even cut out the dependents list.

Don't you do anything so rash and expensive as to send me anything for Christmas -- I'm ashamed to write because I haven't sent any of Father's $50 back, but I'm afraid I'll be busted again if I don't get my pay for a long time as I did before. I am not going to spend the $20 like I started to. Count the extension of my loan as my Christmas present, and I'll know you have not only have given me a present, but have helped me out as well.

After working as you have done with the sick ones, don't fix up a box at all for Christmas. Take all the rest you can.

Your devoted son,

P.S. Rene Richards (a fellow I run with) addressed the envelope so you wouldn't know who sent the letter.

December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Day Menu Card
State Pier
New London, Connecticut

The American Navy

May it ever sail on a sea of glory, be wafted by the winds of prosperity, guided by the compass of justice, and anchor in the harbor of victory.



Ripe Olives
Sweet Pickles
Celery en Branche


Consomme Royal with Wafers


Roast Young Turkey
Giblet Gravy
Oyster Dressing
Cranberry Sauce


Mashed Potatoes
Creamed Cauliflower


Mince Pie
Silver Cake
Neapolitan Ice Cream


Malaga Grapes
Assorted Fruits

American Cheese
Soda Crackers
Mixed Nuts
Cafe Noir

December 7, 2010


New London, Conn.
November 21, 1918

Dear Mother,

At camp -- ate our noon chow here and they feed us equally as good as Pelham. We are just laying around doing nothing til next Monday when our class starts. Have seen several fellows I met at New York, but Boone and the bunch from Pedro are out on boats today, but will be in at 5 o'clock. After our first week we get 3 days land work and 3 days sea work til we get accustomed to telling the different ships by their sounds.

This is some good station -- 1200 men and between 750 and 1000 officers, besides several hundred Marines who do the guarding. There are 500 yeomanettes here, and it's the funniest thing to see officers and gobs alike dancing with the girls at lunchtime in the "Y" or K of C. It's a funny Navy where girls and gobs are in the same camp -- eat and dance together on off hours. Of course they eat in a separate part of the chow halls -- but I'm not used to it.

There are more officers here than I ever saw -- every other person you meet is one, and the gobs very seldom salute them for everybody plays together at off times. They give listeners the privilege of having every night liberty and all weekends. Most of the fellows have rooms out in New London where they can sleep til 7:30 instead of 5:30. It costs them $3.00 per week though and I can't afford it, so I will have to sleep here til I get paid. They say they will give us our money tomorrow and I sincerely hope so. I gave $2.50 to United War Work in New York. Didn't really want to but they almost forced us to do it. My pea coat cost me $15 so I want my pay. Of course I have several dollars left of Father's money.

The difference in the weather is very noticeable here. It's much colder for we are right on a pier on the waterfront -- and we were protected a good deal in Pelham Bay by the many barracks.

This is a larger sub base than Pedro was, so I hope to be able to go on a sub and submerge while I'm training.

One thing I hate is that we can't wear our "pancakes" on liberty. [Ed. note - a Donald Duck-style, framed hat without a brim]. We have to wear white hats until they change the rules again, which I hope is soon.

Met a Wichita boy here whose name is Duncan. He says his father has several oil rigs in the Burk-Burnett field. He lives on 17th on the car line.

Don't address my mail to Listeners School -- they won't let it get through for some reason. Just address it to General Delivery at New London. I'll be going uptown every day or so and can get it then. We are in town -- only about 1/4 mile to the post office, so instead of waiting in a long line here at camp, I'll go and get it there.

Love from your son,

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, November 21, 1918)

December 6, 2010

New London

New London, Conn.
November 21, 1918

My dear Mother and Father,

At last I'm in the old town of New London -- and you never saw a more beautiful or quaint place. All the buildings and houses are old and trees are everywhere. The town is laid out in every direction -- no two streets run the same way. We haven't been out to the station yet, but if it's at all a good one, right here is where I want to stay. The population is just 25,000 and I'll bet we have a wonderful time.

We came up from New York by boat last night -- left Pelham Bay about 2:30 and went down to the dock in a big Navy truck. There were 25 of us, and as we went down Broadway we yelled and sang like a bunch of football players gone nuts -- but the people yelled right back so we couldn't get in bad. We have a fine stateroom (Bender and I), and slept like logs. Bender is a fellow who has seen 18 months sea duty on a minesweeper and a fine fellow.

This morning after eating breakfast we walked for about an hour and saw a good part of town. It's hilly all over and when snow comes, I'm expecting to get in the sledding that I failed to get when "little" in Texas. I'll act like Virginia Neville did her first winter in the snow. There are monuments all over and the buildings are dated from 1830 on up. They say New London is one of the oldest places in New England. We are just 100 miles from Boston and 57 from Providence, so I'm surely going to go there if I have money enough, for that will let me see two more states. When I'm in Boston Julius and Chilton might be able to come up from Cambridge, and I would like nothing better.

Got a letter from Miss Jettie yesterday -- also Kathryn Thomas. Give Miss Jettie my love when you see her.

Will write again when I get to the station and tell you more.

Love to all of you,

Address until I write differently:
Submarine Listeners School
New London, Connecticut, and I suppose you already know my name.

(Postmarked New London, Conn., November 21, 1918)

December 5, 2010


Pelham Bay
November 18, 1918

Dear Mother,

Have been back from liberty since this morning. It rained all day Sunday so we didn't stay outdoors -- however, I went up to Central Park and went through the two big Natural Art Exhibit buildings there, and believe me they were wonderful. I spent three hours in them and then just ran through. Certainly wished for you folks and wanted you to be able to see some of the things I am and those I will see.

Went to the American Theatre last night. It's on the marquee circuit. The Winter Garden and Follies were closed, but I think I'll take your advice and go once anyway. Am sure I'd regret it afterwards if I saved a few dollars and missed things I may not ever get to see again.

A fellow who sleeps in the next hammock to mine lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and lives with his uncle, a Mr. Turney who is an attorney there. The boy's name is Bassett. He lost his brother about October 19 on a destroyer. He had just finished his six weeks' listeners course at New London, and was on his first trip over when the boat was torpedoed and of course he went down.

My thumb is getting along O.K. Won't be long before it's all right and I don't think it will be stiff at all. One of the fellows in our barracks had harder luck than I did -- he cut his finger off at the first knuckle with a butcher cleaver the other day.

The United War Work is certainly going strong in New York -- if any people ever had money taken from them, it's the New Yorkers. Every subway train is supplied with at least one person who makes her (or his) business to collect all she can.

Just came back from chow and I sure did eat a bunch of stuff -- I'll bet I have the bellyache tonight, for I had this on my platter when I sat down to eat:

Sausage Dogs (7 links)
Two potatoes
Four pieces boiled ham
An onion
Pickled beets
A tablespoon of jelly
A bowl of coffee
Three bananas
Fives pieces bread

And if that's not enough for an ordinary human, I don't know much. Of course, I couldn't eat quite all of it, but still I about busted. The Pedro food wasn't as good as this nor did we have as much.

Have never gotten Chilton's letter -- hope to though.

It's still raining here and was dark at 5 o'clock.

The only reason I haven't sent the girls their caps is because my accounts are being gone over preparatory to my shipping to New London, so I can't draw anything. However, as soon as things are straightened out I'll ship 'em on.

All kinds of stunts were pulled off for the benefit of the United War Work. One fellow dived two stories onto a slanting board -- didn't hurt the poor fish at all, and they collected quite a bit of dough from the crowd.

Tell Father I saw the same dog that spun a hoop on his tail, and the three jugglers we saw at the Plaza doing stunts on the streets of New York. I recognized the dog before it did its stunt. Don't laugh -- you can recognize dogs!

While I was eating tonight I thought how much I'd give to be able to go out in the country, and cook and eat those dogs and onions. It sure is bad to be cooped up where you can't see any country.

Got the newspaper you sent and enjoyed reading it -- haven't finished though. Will keep it til I've read it all.

Give my love to all the kiddies, and love to you and F.

Your Son,

(Postmarked New London, Connecticut, November 23, 1918)

December 4, 2010


American Red Cross Rest Station
Grand Central Terminal
New York

November 16, On Liberty

My dear Mother and Father,

Am sending the pictures I promised. Will send Aunt Hattie and the folks at Dallas one.

Got your letter today telling of Edwin's good work in football. He must be great and I wish I could see him play.

The pictures didn't make me any "beautifuller" than what I am, but at any rate I did as you asked and got 'em took.


Hard Luck

Pelham Bay
November 15, 1918

Dear Mother,

Just two letters in the last five days -- that is all O.K. for anyone busy in war work like you should devote most of your spare time to it. However, I did miss them for I didn't know what had happened -- and so the Browns have heroes in the family? Ethan Simplace of all men to be a fighter -- but you can't tell what war will make out of fellows.

Have he and Grace happened to meet Ruth in N.Y.? She comes to N.Y. every weekend almost. If I'm in this part of the country at Christmas I hope to see Grace Hapgood.

What would you say if I told you your illustrious son had been fighting, not for Uncle Sam but for himself? Don't think I started anything, but during the course of an argument a fellow said bad things about you, Father, and Texas, and things about me which weren't exactly complimentary to say the least. I gave him a chance to retract his statements and told him if he were a man he would. When he refused there was only one thing to do -- and I did it.

He is just about my size -- only outweighs me by 3 pounds (I weigh 162), so we were about evenly matched until I sprained my right forefinger. Even then I was more than holding my own when I hit him on the side of the head and broke my left thumb just in front of the third joint. Naturally the fight had to be continued as I couldn't close either hand. However I gave him a black eye and he was bleeding at nose and mouth. Of course there are bruises on your son, but they don't show thank goodness. One good thing -- the whole barracks is on my side and he has only about four or five friends. I went down and had a Doc set the thumb, and although it's sore as the dickens, it will be out of splints in a week or two. Sorry I shocked you so, and also sorry you have such a son -- but done things can't be helped.

I get liberty from tomorrow at 1 p.m. (Sat.) to 8 a.m. Monday if everything goes O.K. Was going with a special train of sailors from here to watch Pelham Bay play Newport football. They play in the Yale Bowl at New Haven, and the round trip would only cost $3.25, eats included. On account of my thumb I'm afraid I better not take a change on it hurt over again, so won't go.

The photos haven't been sent out to camp yet. I'll see what the delay is when I get to N.Y. Saturday afternoon.

Seems like bad luck always comes together. Someone came in our barracks and stole 9 pea coats worth $24.00 each. They had only gone up from $19 to $24 a day or so before. You know mine was taken -- naturally I had to buy another. I got it cheaper by getting one from a fellow who was broke. I paid $15 -- of course if I got it from the government I wouldn't have to pay cash, but they would have taken the 24 bones out of my pay.

It seems like hard luck, but then when I think that I have a father, mother, brothers, and sisters who are all well and healthy, I'm ashamed of myself for saying I'm a bad luck guy. Some of the fellows whose pea coats were taken are absolutely without funds, friends, or parents.

A fellow in an airplane did stunts over the camp this morning and dropped a letter to one of the sailors.

Will write again tomorrow.

Love from your son,

(Postmarked New York, New York, November 15, 1918)

December 3, 2010

I Passed !

Pelham Bay
November 13, 1918

Dear Mother,

Got your first letter in several days this a.m. I couldn't understand why you didn't write. Yes, I got the pecans and they were fine -- almost all gone now for the fellows liked them so well. Most of the New Yorkers had never seen any. Have been getting all your letters I think. I had my picture made and they are due to arrive in camp today, so I'll send them home as soon as possible.

I passed the listener's exam and will leave for New London, Connecticut in the next draft -- all the fellows are gone now who came with me. All but three are to New London, and three are at 69th St. New York standing by to go to sea. Got by exam this time on the last test -- was all in before. I hope and believe I'll make the school, but of course there is always a chance to fail. Really don't think I'll be here more than a week.

Am glad you have gotten more nice cadets in house for I'm sure they appreciate it.

Now about that Xmas present -- don't do it! We didn't give any last year and I'm certain I can't send any this. You must not send me anything, for I know how things are and Uncle Sam is treating me all right.

Don't think the fellows in the Navy will get out in less than a year anyway. Some of the fellows who go to sea now are going to work just as hard as if they had been on a boat when the war was going on -- and they won't get as much encouragement as they would have in war times.

Have only the one blue suit, and the regulations say we must have two, so will have to get one. I think I'll put a few dollars to it and get one to fit me, instead of having one thrown at me like they do when they issue it. Even if they issue one they take it out of our pay -- it's not like soldiers' clothes. They didn't pay me Tuesday because my accounts are already transferred to New London. Seems like they are trying to make a beggar out of the "Skunky" doesn't it?

Will write Aunt Hattie about the sox today. I haven't any wool ones at all.

Will have to stop and go to chow -- that's why my writing is so poor. I'm trying to get through and eat too. Am still O.D. and not working all that hard.

Love from you loving son,

P.S. Sent a copy of Broadsides home. Don't you think it's a pretty good magazine? Didn't get Chilton's letter -- suppose it'll come in a day or so. HWW

P.P.S. If I hadn't passed the exam I'd have shipped out this week. Am sending a drawing I did while at the desk today. HWW

(Postmarked New York, New York, November 13, 1918)

December 2, 2010

Stranger Than Fiction

Pelham Bay
November 8, 1918

Dear Mother,

Back home again -- a little tired, but happy and still frisky. Had another one of my experiences last night. A well-dressed man came up amid the crowd and began talking to me. That looked funny and I thought maybe he was trying to spring some skin game on me. He was about 48 years old; he used very good English so I did my best to make him think he didn't have anything on me. After talking a while he asked me if I knew New York, and I told him I didn't, so he offered to show me some of the principal buildings close in. I didn't have anything else to do so I went with him.

He pointed out all kinds of things of interest, and then about 12 o'clock pm we went to the Waldorf Astoria (I never thought I'd get there) and took in everything. There were all kinds of foreign gentlemen all covered with gold, and in the ballroom they were giving a dance in celebration of the peace news -- just that alone was worth seeing. He knew the manager quite well, and he let us go anywhere we wished. I strolled around like I was a guest and took it all in at the same time.

After we came out he asked me over to his bachelor apartments to sleep for the night. Naturally I refused, and then he said, "Son, I've been trusting you. I've talked to several sailors today and of all of them, you show better breeding and cleaner thinking -- maybe you think I didn't." Well I up and thanked him, and he told me just to have confidence in him. He told me he was a government "secret service man" and showed me his badge and papers.

I wasn't going home with him even if he did talk and act like a gentleman. But after getting good proof he was honest, I went with him. Boy, you ought to see his apartment. It's some furnished and he goes in for art and paintings quite a bit. He doesn't paint, but has several grand oil paintings as well as a bunch of watercolors.

He had autographed photos of Caruso and the mayor, and several people I never heard of -- he must have had quite a lot more money and influence than a common official. He has a nephew in the Navy in the Irish Sea. His name is William A. McLaughlin. I promised him I'd come back in the near future, and he said he'd fix up something worthwhile. Don't know whether I will take him up on it or not, but I passed one evening with him.

Got several letters this morning from Grace Hapgood and Father. Tell Father I'll tear up his check -- I just got it this morning. We get paid Tuesday so they say. This is some dizzy camp, let me tell you.

I had more newspaper clippings I meant to send you, but some bird got them. If I find them I'll put them in.

Love to all of you,

(Postmarked Pelham, New York)

December 1, 2010

The War Is Over

American Red Cross Relief Station
Grand Central Terminal
4 p.m. November 7

Dear Father and Mother,

New York has gone mad -- absolutely crazy -- we got complimentary tickets to the Strand, and when we came out the streets were in an uproar. It has started before we went in, but I couldn't imagine anything like it. Now there isn't a streetcar running for blocks each way from Times Square. The streets are covered with streamers and pamphlets and sheet music -- anything at all to throw from the skyscrapers. Traffic is jammed -- it took us an hour to get the ten blocks from the corner of 47th and Broadway to here, and there are more flags than I ever saw. Everybody has a flag and a whistle or tin pan -- something to make noise with. Men and women alike are losing their hats and don't seem to care at all. We were kissed by young girls and old women and men nearly shake the hands off every man in uniform. A funny thing is that so many of the older men and women are crying, although they are laughing at the same time.

One of the biggest demonstrations is right under a life-size dummy of the Kaiser hanging by its neck, with a sign "Bad Bill has gone to hell." Funny they should take on so over a simple sign like that.

I wish I could describe the things I see but I can't -- to tell the truth, I guess I'm somewhat excited myself.

The only things that get through the crowd are ambulances, and there is always an ambulance to be heard. I'll bet there will be many a hurt person tonight.

Armstrong (one of the fellows from California) has a date tonight to dine with Theda and Lara Bara -- they are to send their car down to get him. Some class isn't it? The fellows left in our bunch are a good lot. There are three of us together tonight. The fellows who haven't seen service and are in uniform are sure a glum lot -- we certainly will be ashamed to come home and say we stayed in training camp all during the war.

Can't sit still long enough to write much. I'm glad I didn't pass the listeners exam, for if I had I wouldn't be in New York on the day the war practically stopped. I don't know whether people down there got the news early enough today to celebrate or not, but N.Y. started at one o'clock when the first extra came out. We'd heard rumors that it was over at 10 in the morning though!

Had my picture made this morning -- wouldn't have been in a hurry to do it if I'd known what was coming.

Hope I get to see sea duty before I go home.

Will write from camp tomorrow -- wish I didn't have to report in tomorrow morning though.

Love to all of you,

(Postmarked New York, New York, November 9, 1918, 6 p.m.)