December 4, 2010

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)

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