January 31, 2011

Tomorrow We Sail

May 7, 1919

Dear Mother,

Have been aboard the Blakeley all day and we will bring our sea bags over tomorrow, when at 2 o'clock she will go into commission.

We leave Sunday or Monday for Newport, R.I., but since I don't know how long I'll be there, write to Postmaster N.Y. til I send you my address -- that is, if we lay in one place a couple of weeks or so, I can get my mail at the Y or somewhere.

You can't know how sorry I am that I missed seeing Bart. I hadn't heard from her in quite a while, or I would have known where she was going to be when I was at home.

Am going to see a musical comedy tonight that has been playing here for quite a while. Ensign Boone, Chief Quartermaster Legwood, and another fellow and I were sitting in the chart room today, talking about everything from baseball to women and shows, and he said it was fine and not to miss it.

Waggie and I were going anyway -- but we had to pay $2.00 each for seats. I didn't get the new suit -- it wouldn't fit me in the shoulders, and I wouldn't buy one that wouldn't fit. I couldn't buy a new suit, for they cost 30 bucks, so will wear my old one a while yet.

Am going to write Bart before the show will stop.

Much love to all of you,
Your son,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, May 9, 1919)

January 30, 2011

Last Splurge

National Catholic War Council
Service Club
May 6, 1919

Dear Mother,

Am in town -- I just got back from Cramps' shipyards where we tested out the tubes before the ship goes off the ways tomorrow morning.

Last night Wagenseller and I gave each other a farewell party since we are to leave without him. They transferred him to the USS Cole.

Am going out to that fellow's house tonight and look at his suit of clothes. I drew 25 bucks this payday; of course, Wagenseller and I spent a good bit last night. We had dinner at Boothby's and went to see a show at the Schubert Theatre that cost $1.75 apiece. It was a darn good show and I'm glad I went. I can buy this suit for 20 dollars, I'm sure, and can borrow a few dollars from John to tide me over. I don't mind borrowing from him because he was overdrawn once and didn't get paid for a month, and we got along all right til he could pay back what he had borrowed.

You had better write all my letters from now on in care of the Postmaster New York - USS Blakeley, and be sure to spell BLAKELEY right. Am sure we will be in Newport in a week or so.

Can't write much today because I am going to be out at that fellow's house at 6:30. Will drop a line tomorrow.

Love from,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, May 6, 1919)

January 29, 2011

IWW's and Bolsheviki's

May 2nd, 1919

Dear Mother,

It rained all day yesterday and we were over at Cramps' shipyard, and had to stay all day over there, and then came back on a trolley in our dungarees. Today is bright and warm, and I only hope the weekend stays like this. I haven't been on liberty since last Monday, but I still have a dollar and a half, so will go out tomorrow night. Of course I was out that afternoon we went down to the river, and the money I got allows me this weekend liberty.

Here are a couple of clippings I tore from the paper. I sent the message that told Col. Clement where to meet his wife. She was on the boat I was, and I asked the quartermaster on the Mercury to tell him to come on deck, and then his wife nearly went nuts when she saw him. He came ashore at the pier with General Muir, but the General was in civilian clothes and didn't look much like a soldier.

The Athletics play their first home game today, but I can't afford to go out and see them, for I'd rather not go than have to stay in over Sunday.

They had a bunch of rioting here by IWWs and Bolsheviki's yesterday, and a couple of companies of Marines were sent out on guard after a couple of policemen had been killed. They wouldn't let any gobs in camp go out on liberty for fear they would get into trouble. Of course, the ones on the ships got liberty.

We haven't more than two more truck loads to take over to the ship, but I have to go over anyway to stand around and try to learn how the put the tubes on. The listening apparatus on the Blakeley will cost almost $10,000 to install.

Got a letter from you yesterday that you wrote last Sunday and gave to Edwin and Abe to mail.


Clipping enclosed with above:

Sees Relatives

Lieutenant Colonel Charles F. Clement, of Sunbury, acting chief of staff, had many duties to occupy him yesterday, but twice he was observed in oblivious contemplation of other things than duty. Once was down the river, when the division emblem was run to the masthead. The other time was at the pier, when he saw Mrs. Charles F. Clement, and his father, who was commander of the 28th Division when it was known as the National Guard of Pennsylvania.

January 28, 2011

Welcome Home

National Catholic War Council
Visitors' House
Philadelphia, Pa.
April 30, 1919

Dear Dad,

Wrote Mother this morning before I went back to the barracks for chow -- when I got there, a messenger was waiting for John and me with a message from the Admiral in charge of the district. It said to send two quartermasters off the Blakeley detail to the City Pier at Race Street. We are to go out on police ships to welcome ships coming in. My first message was from a city official to General Muir, and as the general's wife was aboard, I sent him a message telling him where to meet her. The people we sent the messages for gave me a couple of dollars, and Whiteside got nearly four dollars from the people on the Springfield, the boat he was on.

I read about the new well, and hoped you had some holdings near. It ought to be a good thing if only there is oil under your acreage. I'd like to be there now and get in on a lot of that stuff.

Think I'll drop my insurance down to $5,000 and take out another $50 bond. Of course, I can't get it paid off, but I'll pay the difference when I get discharged, and save whatever I have paid on it.

Am sending my admittance card -- give it to Mother to keep for me as a souvenir.

Love to all of you,

Enclosed was a guest card admitting him to the Boat Springfield to welcome returning troops aboard the USS Mercury, May, 1919.

(Postmarked Philadelphia, April 30, 1919)

January 27, 2011

Loads of Stores

April 30, 1919

Dear Mother,

Loaded stores [Ed. note: ship's supplies] all day yesterday so didn't write you. All that the ship lacks now to make it complete is finishing putting on the listening tubes, and they are working on them now. They are a new kind, and over 150 holes must be drilled in the hull of the ship to put them on.

They took all but one last load of stores on board this morning, but I decided not to go over since I've been working pretty steady for the last week -- that is, making the trip every other day. When we go in commission we will have all our stores aboard, which will leave us more time to gets things fixed up, and be ready to shove off within a week. We go to Newport, R.I. first to get torpedoes, I think.

We had a game of baseball matched with the Marines for tomorrow, but they canceled it for some reason. They have a good team and we wanted to play them.

That poetry was fine. I let Wagenseller and John read it, and they agreed with me. I'll return it since I might lose it if I keep it in my bag.

We are about used to hammocks again, and as the showers, wash, and scrub rooms are so much nicer where we are now, we are satisfied with the change.

I know Mrs. Russell thinks he Navy is ruining me, but it's not at all. I haven't changed a bit. You didn't notice any change when I was at home, did you? I don't think I'm one bit lazier than I used to be, and really believe not much so. Of course I don't work unless I have to, or don't go round hunting, for it's not like the outside -- you get just as much out of the Navy by being a good manager as you do working hard in civilian life.

I do hope Father makes money on his oil land. I don't much blame him for not quitting his law, for I know he likes it, but he should be able to make himself some money on the side.

I'm sure I'll like it at home if I ever get there, but I can't see far enough ahead to see a discharge paper yet. It may be I will get a chance to get out when I'm least expecting it.

A fellow named Fricker was paid off only a week after he got a new suit, and he wants to sell it for twenty dollars, so if I draw twenty next pay, I am going to buy it if I have to stay broke another two weeks. I have got to have one -- this old one is just about gone. A new one from town costs at least $30, so if I can get this one I'll save, and in the next place I'd never save the $30 to get one, I'm afraid.

White hats [Ed. note: "Dixie cup" hats] are going to be the uniform of the day beginning tomorrow, but I'm all right for mine are still clean from the time you washed them at home. I'd rather wear white hats except they are hard to keep clean.

The only bad feature about sleeping in our new barracks is that we have to rise and shine at 5:45 every morning, and as you know that's pretty early, especially since this new hour went into effect again. I think I'll live, however.

Love from you son,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, April 30, 1919)

January 26, 2011

Up On The Ways

April 28, 1919

Dear Mother,

The ship is "up on the ways" for the last time before being taken over by the government, so we don't have to take stores aboard her today. Therefore nothing to do but lay around at our club.

Went to Wilmington yesterday -- rather Saturday afternoon, and stayed over til last evening about 7:30. I came home early because my hammock is hard to swing in the dark.

There was a gob there off the Montana who had just gotten back from hospital in Russia. He was the electrician in the landing party and was stabbed twice by a Russian before he could shoot him, therefore he rates two wound chevrons, as well as tour overseas ones. Lives in Lebanon, Tennessee, and went to Cumberland University. He said if I knew anyone who was going to Lebanon to school next year, to let him know so he could look them up.

It's warm again -- they talk about Texas changing from warm to cold in a hurry, but it hasn't anything on Pennsylvania.

Got Edwin's letter when I got up this morning and am glad he took the time to write. Will write him in a day or so.

Duncan, the fellow who used to live in Wichita Falls, is leaving today on the Biddle. She just went into commission last week. We went over and went aboard her this morning, and told her crew we'd meet them in Newport, R.I. They were in the same barracks with us for a while. We ought to leave the yard in two weeks for Newport, so may meet them and play them in baseball again.

Hope I have a letter from you when I get back to the barracks. Ought to, since none came Saturday or Sunday.

Give Bart my love; I wish I could be there -- and more love for the rest of you.


(Postmarked Philadelphia, April 28, 1919)

January 25, 2011

New Barracks

April 25, 1919

Dear Mother,

We have moved to another barracks this morning so when you write, put down Barracks No. 366 Blakeley Detail. Excuse writing but my hands are cold, for we had to carry our bags and hammocks about a quarter of a mile, and it's snowing this morning. Looks like it will clear off soon though.

The worst part of changing barracks is now we have to sleep in hammocks instead of our iron bunks, however, we won't be here very long before we go aboard. We get more liberty and have less work here in the yard, so the fellows don't care when we go into commission.

Practically no one is getting out here now. The other morning they called us up and asked for volunteers out of the D.O.W. and Reserve forces to sign up til the president said the national emergency was over -- and not ask to be let out when peace was signed. Did I go up? I did not. That's too indefinite -- it might mean over four years.

Wagenseller and I went to a good show yesterday afternoon. We get the other fellow to muster for us when we want to stay out, and then we muster for them when they want to.

Edwin's poem was so fine. It seems as if all the Weldons are accomplished except the admiral. However, he is young so you may make something out of him yet.

Sara wrote me that she got a letter from you and she was tickled to death. They wrote and told me to come down this Saturday, but I think I'll wait til Sunday morning, for her Aunt Mayme isn't feeling very well, and I hate to impose upon them. They don's seem to mind my coming and always tell me to be sure and come, and I guess they wouldn't invite me all the time if they didn't want me.

Just about the time we started in last night, the cold west wind came up and we almost froze to death running from the main gate to the barracks, and we didn't have our pea coats either.

Got another letter from Di Avis yesterday.

I have been writing to you regularly and I don't know why you haven't gotten them, for I write three or four times a week. If you haven't gotten the money, let me know for I've got the receipt.


(Postmarked Philadelphia, April 25, 1919)

January 24, 2011

Baseball Season

National Catholic War Council Service Club
April 23, 1919

Dear Father,

Today was the opening of the baseball season (naturally you know that), so Whiteside and I went out and saw the Phillies and the New York Giants play -- it was a good game even if the score was large. About the middle of the game Benny Kaufe proceeded to meet a fast one and over right field fence it went, for a home run.

The only punt playing that was pulled off was by Baird of the Phillies. On third he let in two runs by booting the ball around. Am going to see as many teams play as I can, but can only afford to go to see one game of a series, for 85 cents per game soon drains a gob's pocketbook. I told John today that if you were here, you would surely have been there with me.

Am doing rather well on the Blakeley team, especially batting. They asked me where I learned to play, and I told them I inherited it from my "Pa."

The whole camp is getting up a team, and the officer in charge came down the other day and said he wanted to see that white-headed fellow who played first base for the Blakeley. I came over and he said if I was going to be in the yard over a month, he would like for me to come out for the team, but I knew I wouldn't be so didn't go out. He had watched a game we played and evidently thought I could play better than I can.

We took another truck load of stores [Ed. note: Stores are ship's supplies] to Cramps today and thereby missed our noon chow, but luckily I wasn't hungry. I've got a pretty good drag with the cook, so he lets me come in the galley and cooks steak and eggs, so I've been faring better than most. Cooks eat almost as good a feed as officers because they cook themselves just what they feel like eating.

Every day there is a big Victory Loan parade here, with tanks and big guns and stuff on the street all the time. They had one this afternoon but I'd rather see one ball game than 19 parades.

Am going to sleep here at the service club tonight so I won't have to get up early in the morning. They give us beds with sheets and a blanket for 30 cents, so can well afford it.

Tell Ed I said that was a darn good piece of poetry he wrote. Meant to write him, but my business is so rushing this time of the season that I can't do all the things I mean to.

Will write again in a few days.


(Postmarked Philadelphia, April 24, 1919)

January 23, 2011

A Letter From Mary E. Russell

722 East 11th Street
Wilmington, Delaware
April 23, 1919

Dear Mrs. Weldon,

I have no excuse to offer for not having written to you before this, other than that so much of the time I do not feel well. I have had quite a time this past winter. I had the flu in the fall, and since then I have had so much trouble with my throat. Also just at this time in my life I am going through, some say, severe changes, but I hope I will be all right before very long.

We all enjoyed your real home letters, and surely do enjoy having Heywood with us. He is certainly a mighty fine boy, and one you may well be proud of. Only I do hope he will soon be able to get out of the Navy. I think it is all right and was fine for our nice boys to do their part, but now that the war is over I am afraid they will form habits it will be hard to get away from after a while, and Heywood is capable of making good in some line worthwhile.

My married daughter has been home with her dear little girl this week, and I have not been able to do much but love the baby. I am sending you a picture of them. Heywood met them here on Easter, and the baby liked him very much. I will enclose this in Sara's letter. We all liked the pictures of your nice family. We had not seem them before. When those sailors get here they don't know what to do with themselves, but I enjoy it as much as anyone, and will miss them a lot when they leave. If only Delaware and Texas were not so far apart, how niced it would be to get to know you all.

With love to all,
Mary E. Russell

(Photograph enclosed of Mrs. N.W. Swayne and her daughter, Carolyn Hope Swayne.)

[Ed. note: Mary E. Russell was the mother of Sara and Dot].

January 22, 2011

A Letter From Sara Whiteside

722 East 11th Street
Wilmington, Delaware
April 23, 1919

My dear Mrs. Weldon,

Your lovely letter came several days ago, but when one is a "hard-working" girl, time disappears, and no one knows where it has gone. I certainly was happy to hear from you and wrote immediately to Heywood to let him know about it.

I thank you so much for those pictures. They are fine of everyone, but I couldn't see your face very well.

We all think very much of Heywood down here, and I am sure we would feel the same toward the rest of his family. There is no one in this world like his dear Mother and "Dad."

Love to all,

January 21, 2011

Distress Signal

Western Union Telegram
To H.F. Weldon
April 18, 1919


April 22, 1919

Dear Father,

Again my distress signal has been heard and answered, but this time I have the "sponderlicks" to return to you.

Am enclosing a money order made out to Edwin so he can get it for you. I remember once when I paid back some you lent me when I was working with Kimball that you said you hated to cash checks with my name on them.

The weather is fine up here. Of course I'd rather it would be a little warmer but it's not very chilly in the afternoon.

They had some big parade last night in the city, and unveiled a liberty statue on Broad Street. I have gotten out of all the parades and am certainly glad of it, for it's at least four or five miles from this part of town to the center, and the fellows have to march all the way there and back.

Don't think I'll take out a victory bond at all -- even a 50-dollar one -- for I know I'll be out before the 10 months are up that it takes to pay for it.

Just came back from a ship over to Cramps to take some more stores on board the ship -- it's about 15 miles over there from where the stores were, so we had a good time riding on the truck, although it was pretty rough part of the way. The Blakeley's sister ship went into commission this morning but we are still waiting. Don't know why they delay so long, for she has been finished almost a month now.

I surely wish you could get to come up here while I'm still here, for I could get leave to be with you, I'm sure.

Have to go over to the yard post office to get the money order so as it's now eleven o'clock I'll have to hurry.

My love to all of you. I hope you get to feeling better than you have been -- you need a vacation for you haven't had one in a long time. If you could only be in the Navy with me for a couple of months, I know would get to feeling fine.

Your affectionate son,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, April 22, 1919)

January 20, 2011

Waiting To Sail

April 15, 1919

Dear Mother,

Two letters came yesterday -- one written on the 11th and one on the 12th.

The ship is now in commission but we don't go aboard til after payday. Payday comes on Easter Sunday and I surely hope they pay us before rather than after the 20th. If not, they will have a big bunch on hand for Easter dinner.

Boone has never paid me -- of course, he doesn't know my address now, but I'm going to write to him this morning and tell him a thing or two. I can't wait all year on him.

Father and you both need a vacation, and as soon as I get out and get working, I'm going to see that you both go off and stay a while. Peace ought to be signed in a month or so -- hope it is so, anyway.

When I got back I dropped Gretchen Ames a note, and got a long letter back from her.

It has been raining unsteadily for the last two days and turned a little colder.

Our baseball team won again on a wet diamond. We beat the Barney crew 8-3.

Came down to the recreation center last night and saw professional vaudeville. They put on pretty good stuff here on Tuesday nights.

Am going swimming with the bunch in a few minutes, after taking a good shower. I brought clean underwear in my pocket so I can change when I bathe.

Got a letter from Ethel Mae Gilliland the other day. She is more than pleased with Henrietta.

Whenever it's warm we take long walks around the yard, "inspecting" the battle wagons, subs, etc. Two more battleships, the Alabama and another one came in from Cuba the day before yesterday. Weldon Younce is on the Minnesota, and she may come back in here, so I may see him. It left on the 12th of March when I was at home, but I could have seen him before that if I had known. I like to meet fellows I have known before, whether I was intimate with them or not.

I hope Father gets to feeling better as spring comes -- if he doesn't get the hay fever, he will, I'm sure.

Saw a man crushed between two streetcars the other night, but he was conscious when they carried him away, so don't know whether he died or not.

Your affectionate son,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, April 16, 1919)

January 19, 2011


April 14, 1919

Dear Mother,

Haven't heard in two days from you but suppose I will by this afternoon's mail.

We had bag inspection just a little while ago and my bag had all it was supposed to have in it. It should have, for I've drawn enough at the small stores to more than keep it filled.

Have been playing basketball a great deal lately, and we have a pretty good team on the Blakeley. Have played the crews of the Jacob James, the Breckenridge, the Biddle twice, and Sunday morning we played the pick of the 7th Battalion. We haven't lost a game yet. As soon as we get aboard, we get suits and baseball shoes, as well as playing gear, from the ship. Am playing very well and am pretty sure of making the team when the athletic officer makes the final selection.

Whiteside and I went to a dance and free supper at the Historical Society Saturday night and had a good time. The people who were there were of the very best families and all had to be invited to attend.

The society building itself is a gray stone building on the corner of 13th and Locust Streets, and is beautifully furnished inside. Uniforms were the fellow's pass, and we were met by doormen in dress suits who took our coats and hats. The men and women were in full dress. Dinner was a continuous service affair, served in the larger dining room, consisting of sandwiches of all kinds, salad, ice cream and cake, and coffee or lemonade. The dancing floor was just off from the dining room and dancing went on from 7:45 to 11.

My idea of why we haven't put the Blakeley in commission yet is because the skipper wants to keep out of the big review in New York on the 16th of this month. Now that we can't go to Cuba, I don't care when we go aboard. It won't be long, however, because the ship has been accepted by the government already, just waits for the captain to say the word.

I found a note in my pea coat pocket to Katherine that I had forgotten to put in a letter I promised to. Tell I am sorry I neglected it, and will write her sometime.

Love to all,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, April 15, 1919)

January 18, 2011

Spring In The City

April 8, 1919

Dear Mother,

Got two letters from you yesterday -- both written on the 4th, and before you got a letter telling you I was all right again.

The Blakeley made her speed run yesterday and made over 36 knots without pushing her. That's about 40 miles per, and after she gets run for a while, they are sure of 40 knots. We are supposed to go aboard Friday, but they have had such hard luck so far that I doubt it seriously. Really would rather wait til after the weekend.

We went out to Fairmount Park (the largest park in the country) Sunday, and got a canoe and made a pilgrimage down the Schuylkill River. It is some pretty park and has mansions all over it. You've heard of the Strawberry Mansion. We had ice cream and cake there when we came in off the river. There are canoe and boat clubs all along the banks of the river, and we saw a pretty race between 3 eight-oared racing shell teams -- also a good canoe race. The park is so large that it has its own trolley system and we rode over part of it on the car.

The weather is still war and I suppose spring is here to stay now.

We never miss a day going swimming in the Y natatorium and it's surely fine. It's the first time I've gotten to swim all winter long.

If I've got enough money Easter Sunday I am going with Wagenseller to Atlantic City. The fare will be reduced on the holiday I'm sure.

We went up to the store room and made a few more hard swabs, and came over and played basketball. Went to a dance at the recreation center last night, and had just as good a time as if I was ashore.

I hear we are going to New London for a couple of weeks to put on listening tubes. I hope we wait til summer, for they say it's a fine place then. They have several big summer hotels there on the Thames, and I know it's the coldest place on earth in the winter, so it ought to be cool in the summer.

They won't let anyone here talk to them about getting out. Maybe I'll have better luck when I get aboard the ship. I hope so anyway, although it will be hard to come back to Texas right in the hottest weather. I'll get out any time I can though.

We got some fishing lines out of the ship's stores the other day, and we are going down to the river and try to catch something this afternoon. Will dig worms out behind the barracks at noon.

This weather makes me want to go camping, too, an that's the first thing I'm going to do when I get back.

I did a big washing last night before I went to the dance, and hung 'em out to dry. Now I've got to go back and roll 'em up.

Love from your son,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, April 8, 1919)

January 17, 2011

On The Town

Club House for Enlisted Men
of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps
Northwest Corner of Broad and Spruce Streets
April 6, 1919

Dear Mother,

Am in town and have just gotten up from my peaceful slumbers at the service club, where I slept for the paltry sum of 30 cents. John had to go over to Cramps' shipyard and go aboard the Blakeley last night, so Wagenseller (another quartermaster) and I went to the Globe theatre. It's like a Keith's vaudeville house only has a good bill every week.

It certainly is a great day here. Not quite as warm as it was while I was at home, but the sun is shining and there is no wind. It has rained a couple of nights lately but it's not like when it rains at home, for we don't have to go anywhere it's muddy in camps, and when on liberty we never see anything but paved streets, so it really makes no difference if it does rain.

I went on liberty Friday night for the first time in about 10 days. It sounds funny that a fellow would stay in when he has money to go out, but it's lots of trouble to dress up. We have to be in on weekdays by seven the next morning, so I always come back the same night and that makes me sleepy the next day. Besides we have shows at the recreation center every night, and can go to the camp cafeteria and get eats any time we want to, so why bother to go to the city?

I suppose Katherine is entirely well by now. Will enclose her a note in your letter.

We go into commission this week sometime but will stay in the river here for a couple of weeks getting stores aboard. Then I don't know where we go.

Just pick up a little book that tells about Philadelphia. I went on one of these hikes so will send the book along. Where the cross is on the map of the city is where I live when on League Island.

Wagenseller and I went down to his old ship, the Felix Tausig, which had just docked a day or so ago, with a soldier from France. He knows all the officers well and we sat in their cabins and talked to them as if they were just plain gobs. They all laughed and told jokes with us. It seems that they all like Waggie as well as each other, for they told me about going ashore with him. It's the first time I ever saw officers all like a gob so well. We ate dinner last night at officers' mess with them -- so you know we had a good chow. Wagenseller lives in Decatur, Ill., and was on the Tausig over a year. He is a first class quartermaster and is going to be with us on the Blakeley.

I got a letter from you the other day written on the 5th of March -- before I went home. It hadn't been forwarded from anywhere so I suppose it had just laid around at the camp post office all this time.

Am sorry to hear that the Texas company has to be dropped from the firm's business list, but it's bound to be for the best. I'd rather do without their money than to be under any orders about my actions.

You know Clyde Haney who used to work in Brad Stagg's tailor shop -- well, I met him up here in the yard about a week ago, and since then have seen him several times. He is in the Marines.

I hope Alice and Larry make good in Wichita -- send me their address so I can drop them a line.

I left the barracks before mail line yesterday, so I suppose I'll get a letter from you when I go in tonight.

Love to all of you,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, April 6, 1919)

January 16, 2011


March 31, 1919

Dear Mother,

Just got pardoned so am now out of the sick bay. Had to argue with the doctor, but I didn't have any fever and as I told him I was needed badly, he let me out without holding me til he was sure I wouldn't get sick again.

Am feeling all O.K. now and rather enjoyed lying in bed for a while.

Got a letter from Grace H. who is spending her mid-term vacation in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with some girlfriends. Another letter from you came, written on the T, and you said you hadn't heard yet -- you should have, I'm sure.

I hated to leave Edwin on the corner like that, but I know he didn't really want to go. Say who is the man? I know he is a barber, but have forgotten his name.

It's been as cold as the dickens up here -- wind all the time. I surely hope it warms up a bit in the next few days for it's decidedly unpleasant.

Don't think I'll go to Wilmington this week, even if I didn't get to go last weekend. John is going down so I am not going to impose on them by going down, as a cousin of Dot's is to be there too.

The pictures were fine and I'm going to take them with me the next time I drop down. They can't have them though 'cause I want them.

The Blakeley makes her trial trip Friday and I certainly hope she doesn't strip her turbines again, for I want to get aboard and get settled, so I can try and get out.

Love to all the kiddies and more to you and Father.

Your affectionate son,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Penn., April 1, 1919)

January 15, 2011

Influenza Again

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 29, 1919

Dear Mother,

Another letter came from you today, and you hadn't yet heard from me, but by now you have at least two letters I'm sure.

Don't know whether I ever told you how fine the lunch was or not, but it was "Jake and a half" -- I can tell you. Made fast friends with an aviator lieutenant by giving him a chicken sandwich and a piece of cake. And it saved me lots of money because I didn't have to buy any meals on the train.

Haven't been on liberty since Wednesday and am not going out this weekend. Why? 'Cause I can't. You think I'm broke, don't you? Wrong! I'm not -- but the old admiral is now spending his time cheering up the hospital patients. Yep! Got the flu again, but ain't sick a bit. Fever stays just about a hundred, just enough to keep me here. On the sly I believe they want to keep my learning young countenance here for the sick fellows to laugh at. I came down Thursday morning to get a little medicine, and the darn fools threw me in bed, and I'm not up yet. If they had just let me alone I'd have forgotten I felt bad in a day or so. Here I've wasted three whole days merely lying in bed and reading.

They are having big storms up here -- cold, and the wind has been blowing a gale for about 30 hours.

Am glad to hear Father is feeling better than he was when I was there.

Don't know when I'll get out now that I can't find a relief. If I could get someone to take my place on the ship, I'd probably have a chance to get out, but I can't find anyone. I really want out now. Maybe I wouldn't if I hadn't gotten the furlough.

Excuse writing but am writing in bed and in a hurry too, as the lights go out at nine in here.

Love to all,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Penn., March 31, 1919)

January 14, 2011

Signal Halyards

March 26, 1919

Dear Mother,

No letter from you in two days, but I shouldn't say a word about it for I haven't written but twice myself.

Just got back from Cramps shipyard, where we have been putting up our signal halyards, and my standpipe climbing has made it easier for me to get to the top of sixty-foot mast as I reeve a line through a block. The first forty-five feet have spikes to climb, but from there on is only a straight pole to the yardarm about twelve feet above. However I got by very well and didn't fail, and now it's all done.

The ship is a beauty -- long and low, and all the compartments are fixed up "Jake and a half." I went to Mr. DeTreville with my affidavit to get out, and he said they had "received orders not to let any more out, and especially quartermasters and listeners," so I'd have to stay a while. After him telling me that, I wanted out bad, but I don't know how to go about it since he has temporarily turned me down.

On account of having to repair the turbines we may miss our trip to Cuba in the bargain. However, I'll just make the best of it and talk to him again as soon as the ship goes into commission.

The weather has been fine since I've been back, but it's still too cold not to go on liberty without a pea coat. Will be glad when we can wear white hats instead of that pancake.

Got six letters from Grace Hapgood that had been delayed since January.

Am going to turn in early tonight for the unusual exercise made me pretty tired.

Will write as soon as I hear.

Love to all,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Penn., March 27, 1919)

January 13, 2011

Second Furlough

Western Union Telegram
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 8, 1919
6:30 a.m.

Leave this morning on furlough. Get there Monday on MK&T. Heywood.

League Island
March 24, 1919

Dear Mother,

A fine son you have -- not to write until now. To tell the truth, I did write Friday but never finished it, and besides I've had to work every day. Saturday morning I had to stand inspection until 10:30, and then come back to the barracks and have bag inspection. [Ed. note: Bag inspection was also called "Junk on a Bunk," an inspection of clothing laid out on the bed or floor.] Went on liberty at two o'clock and went to Wilmington on the three o'clock train. Had a good time and ate good eats, but after being at home, it doesn't seem as nice a place as usual.

The trip back wasn't so bad -- there were four soldiers, three marines, and three sailors on the Pullman, so we got quite well acquainted.

After we left Ft. Worth we didn't have to change except at St. Louis -- didn't get to see Williams because I lost his address.

Got here Wednesday night all O.K., and stayed all night at a service club and reported in early Thursday a.m.

The Chief just came in and said he would get me out of going to the working parties every morning, and go back to practicing signals like I used to. I hope so, for I got my hands blistered Friday afternoon marking points on 2" x 4" lumber for stakes to make a boardwalk.

We were supposed to go aboard the ship tomorrow, but on her trial trip they stripped the starboard turbine, and now it will take til about the 15th of April before she goes in. I am going to talk to Commander DeTreville as soon as I can see him, but he hasn't been in camp since I've been back. After being at home, I want to get out but I don't know when I'll get to.

Got to stay in Dallas from 9:30 - 1:30 -- not very long, but got to see them anyway.

Will write again tomorrow and will try to keep up my end of the writing. Have only gotten one letter from you, though, since I got back. Love to all of you. Tell Ed and the rest to write.


(Postmarked Philadelphia, Penn., March 224, 1919)

January 12, 2011

A Letter From Dorothea Russell

Ed. note: This is a letter to my great-grandmother from Mrs. M. Russell, who had hosted my grandfather in her home.

Dorothea G. Russell
722 East 11th Street
Wilmington, Delaware
March 4, 1919

Dear Mrs. Weldon,

Perhaps you are wondering what strange personage is now writing to you, but allow me, in order to save you from any bewilderment, to introduce myself to you as "Weldon's" adopted sister, "Dot." Just plain "Dot."

Mother received your letter, and you really do not know how much she appreciated it. She has not been feeling at all well, and that is why she has not answered. She is going to do so soon.

Now to the important factor -- your son. It is almost useless for me to try and tell you how much we enjoy having him with us, and you need not instruct us to put our arms around him, for we just could not do otherwise. We all really love him. I have accepted him as a brother, and he really seems like one to me. Of course, I have to advise him as to what I think best (being one year and a half his senior, I think I know a lot more), and he does what I tell him, and very willingly. We have lots of fun here, and the Sundays that he is not here, I miss him a good deal.

He and Sara are very much in love with each other, and I like to kid them, for I have been in love so many time myself, that it seems funny to me now, and I can see the laughable side, while they still take it all very seriously. However, if Weldon were ever to describe me, I feel sure he would tell you that nothing ever does worry me very much. He also teases me for my independent way, which he thinks funny.

There, I have wandered off on the "ego" side of it, and I really did not intend to. Please pardon it, but speaking of "Weldon" reminds me of so many things.

Please write to us, for we surely did enjoy your letter, and even if Texas is rather a long walk from here, a letter and an occasional glimpse of your son, seems to bring us closer together.

Please give my love to all of your other children, about whom I have heard a great deal.

Most Sincerely,
Dorothea G. Russell

(Postmarked Wilmington, Delaware, March 5, 1919)

January 11, 2011

The Country

League Island
February 24, 1919

My dear, dear Mother,

Your long letter came yesterday and you can never know how I appreciated the things you said. Not many mothers have the same faith in their sons you seem to have in me. I have re-read it at least twice already. The verses were splendid and I liked the ones about Dad best of them all.

Why will Father send more money than I asked for? It makes me feel bad enough to have to wire for ten, let alone get twice the amount I had to ask for. I don't know where my money goes. I drew twenty about the fifth, but I owed seven or eight, and bought some socks on the outside for a couple of dollars more. Then this pay they didn't pay me for some reason, but I ought to get about twenty-five, less $6.75 for a pair of shoes I must draw this week, so I'll have plenty again. I don't go on liberty but a very few times a week although I can go out every night.

I had not had any too much money for a while, so I went out and bought myself a feed. Then yesterday John and I went out on the trolley to try and get out in the country. Up here they don't run inter-urbans -- just plain trolleys that don't cost much to go on. We went to Chester, Delaware City, Darby, and John's hometown, Newcastle, for about fifty cents. Got out in the country (if you can call it that, with houses all around), and walked for a couple of hours.

If I can ever get a cent-a-mile slip, I am going to Washington, but it costs three times as much when you don't have the cent-a-mile rate. Am going to talk to the skipper about it in a day or two. Got the dollar bill and it made me feel bad to think I had telegraphed for money after you had put that in. I didn't go down to Sara's this weekend, but I have a date with her for the big Harlan dance given every year in Wilmington, so will go down Wednesday afternoon if I can get out of the Yard.

This morning is just like a warm spring day. Duncan came back from Bonham, Texas, and he says it's colder there than here. He got several dollars, and they gave him cent-a-mile slips for doing it, so he came out ahead.

The Northland, a big British transport, came in Friday and Whiteside went out on the City Police tug, and semaphored greetings to returning officers from their mothers.

I thought you knew Sara's last name. It's Whiteside -- you hear me talk about John Whiteside all the time.

Am putting in a couple of very poor pictures we took on a dull day. I had a small picture taken of me when I was downtown the other night, so will send you a couple. I didn't like those doggone ones I had taken in New York.

A two-striper [Ed. note: A lieutenant, grade O-3] just came down and I talked to him about getting out, and he said turn it in, so I will get a typewriter and make out a formal request, and turn it in with the affidavit.

Hope I get another letter from you this morning. I can't tell you how much I thank you and Father for helping me out when I am broke. Boone hasn't sent any money yet, but he may do so.

Love to all of you,
Your most loving son,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Penn., February 25, 1919)

January 10, 2011


February 19, 1919

Dear Mother,

Just got back from the Recreation Center where I saw some good professional vaudeville put on by the Jewish Welfare League. They get Keith's best, and have them come out and entertain. The Y has only amateur musicals and the like, and they are very poorly attended.

Am at a standstill with my affidavit. Nothing can be done for a while, but the first time they will let me see the skipper of the Blakeley, I'll talk to him about it.

There was a big draft yesterday for Hamburg, Germany, and I was on the list until they found out I was standing by for the Blakeley, and they took my name off. Am glad I didn't get to go, for it would have meant at least six months across. The fellows are going to take over a bunch of German vessels.

The ink ran out in the pen so I had to fill it with a different color.

No letter came today, so I suppose you sold thrift stamps like you thought you would.

There is a rumor out that on account of changing paymasters, we won't receive our pay this payday and will have to wait til the 5th of next month. If they do, I am going to have to wire for a few dollars again. I don't mind being broke for a few days, but when it comes to two or three weeks, it's pretty bad.

Have never seen Ray, although I went up to his hotel one night but he wasn't there. I am going up again after payday.

Won't write much this time as it's time to "retire."

Your loving son,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Penn., February 20, 1919)

January 9, 2011

News From The Island

League Island
February 13, 1919

Dear Mother,

The box came yesterday and contained just exactly the things I needed. My shaving cream was just about gone, as well as my toothpaste, so am sure glad you thought of them. As for talcum powder, I have about a half of a can left from the other you sent, but now I won't need any for many months to come.

We took a couple of pictures today but are going to wait til sometime when we are dressed up before we finish out the roll and have it developed.

I went out to a little supper and card party at Germantown, a suburb of Philly, last night with a fellow I have known in Connecticut. They were either distant relations or friends of his; I've forgotten which. Anyway, we had a pretty good time and good eats. However card parties aren't exactly in my line, so I don't think I'll go back, although I did get an invitation.

John has a date tonight but I wouldn't make one, so he went alone. We met some girls and their mothers at a party given here in camp for us, and they invited us out. We went out there a couple of times, but I don't enjoy running around with people I hardly know.

Am not quite broke yet -- still have 75 cents, but I don't think that will bet me by a weekend of liberty, so will have to stay in. Out of next payday must come a dozen handkerchiefs and a half dozen pairs of socks. I've put it off for two or three weeks already, but I get tired of washing my four handkerchiefs every few days. I lose them as fast as I draw them almost, and I never darn socks -- if they get a hole in them, I just wear them til they get too "holey" and then throw them away. It's hard enough keeping buttons on your clothes, let alone darning.

Freddie Hendricks came over today and told me his mother had been killed, and wanted some money, but I only had a dollar to let him have, but I sure wish I had had more. Naturally I didn't ask particulars about how she came to get killed, because he was all up in the air -- don't know whether he got enough money to get home or not. Hope he did, for it would be awful if he didn't and had to wait several days to have it sent to him.

Haven't gotten a letter for two days so I guess I'll get one tomorrow -- we get mail at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., and besides chow time those are the most important times of the day.

Will mail this in the morning so it will leave the Yard at eight o'clock.

Thank you again for the Kodak and things.

Your loving son,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Penn., February 14, 1919)

January 8, 2011

All Grown Up

League Island
February 11, 1919

Dear Mother,

Started a letter yesterday but didn't get to finish it, so will start again.

We went to Wilmington Saturday but couldn't go down until about five o'clock in the afternoon on account of the parade. We had intended going down in the morning. We had a fine time, I can tell you -- John's aunt is certainly a fine woman. They treat me exactly like "home folks" so I almost feel at home -- go out in the kitchen and watch her cook. Doggone if I didn't dry dishes for her Saturday night, so you know I evidently do like to hang around. John and I eat enough on weekends to last all week. You ought to drop her a line -- maybe it will show her that I appreciate everything she has done -- I can't tell them how I enjoy myself even if I had rather stay there than anywhere except home. Her address is Mrs. M. Russell, 722 East 11th Street, Wilmington, Delaware.

As I was going into mess hall the other day, I noticed a fellow behind me who looked familiar, but it was a little dark and I couldn't place him. He looked at me and asked if I wasn't from Pedro, and did I know a fellow named Hendricks. I said I knew a Freddie Hendricks from Wichita Falls, and he said, "Well, that's me." And sure enough it was. He had been taken off "The Ship" about two weeks before. I don't know what he is going to do now.

I can't tell whether I will go on the Blakeley or not -- anyway, if Father will do it, have him send an affidavit saying he wants to send me to school (not that I am going back), and that I need preparation to enter next fall. Have it sworn to by a notary public. They may hold me for four years anyway. The only reason I want out is because you want me to get out. I hate to come home without going anywhere. I've always been afraid that you and Father would be disappointed in your son, but some way I just can't make up my mind to come home without being able to say I've been somewhere and had a little experience.

When I get to thinking about it, I surely feel bad. Some of my ancestors must have been roamers or something like that, for I can't get settle down [Ed. note: His ancestors came to Texas via the Netherlands, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky, among other places]. The only thing is that I would have to wait three more years before I could get a home of my own. I've grown up quite a good deal since I've been away -- more so than in the last several years.

I'm not nuts about Sara like I have been over some silly kids, but I really mean to marry her sometime. Naturally she is just a kid herself yet, so a few years won't make any difference. I know darn well I'm serious even if you won't think so. I've been with every kind of girl since I've been in -- more girls than I've gone with in all my life. I've really seen and understood more things than I could ever have done on the outside. A fellow grows up more in the outfit even if he doesn't run through a few months of service without trying to advance any.

The Chief said this morning that he could get me transferred to a Navy quartermasters if I wanted to go on with my cruise -- and I do want to -- however, you send the affidavit if you want to, and I'll see what I can do. If I ship over I'll be 22 when I come out. Did Father get a start that young, or no? No, he didn't, and I could start just as well then.

The Chief said for us to get a little practice so I will have to stop.

We sure did not have a long way to march Saturday -- all the way into Philadelphia from the Island -- but I caught a ride back. An officer tried to stop the auto when he saw I had a gun and bayonet, but the man just laughed at him and kept going. We were not supposed to ride back at all.

Just got your letter written on the 6th this a.m. -- of course, it makes me want to come home more than ever, but I don't know what to do.

Will wait for a letter from you.

Haven't gotten the verses at all -- evidently something went wrong with the letter. I got a letter from Father this morning, written on the 16th of December, so you see how easy it is to get lost. Send me another copy of them if you will.

My love to all of you -- I hope you do what you want about the house.

Your Son,

(No postmark, U.S.S. Blakeley, Barracks 297, League Island, Pennsylvania)

January 7, 2011

Lazy Days

League Island
February 2, 1919

Dear Mother,

You letter and the one you wrote to Connecticut came yesterday. I am more than glad to get the stamps, too. Will use one in writing you this morning. Am certainly sorry those brainless Post Office gobs could not have forwarded my mail.

Hope Father makes a world of money, for he certainly deserves it -- he has worked long enough to have some.

The weather has turned colder -- the thermometer is around 25 degrees now. I slept in this morning til 9 o'clock and thereby missed chow. However they said it was not good anyways, so I'll wait til noon. Haven't gotten your box yet but am sure they won't lose that. Have you gotten the little bundle I sent you for the girls? I haven't gotten the new thread for you bag, but will do so this week. I got a letter from Boone in Dallas yesterday, and he said he would send me the $13 in the near future. Unless I'm absolutely broke I'll send it right on home.

We don't do one solitary thing -- I am getting so lazy I'm afraid I'll never be of any use to anyone after I get out. We can sleep as late as we want to, and nothing to do til bedtime, when we have to do the hard work of sleeping. When we get on the ship, we will only have to stand 4 on and 8 off for two days -- then off altogether for 3 days, so that will be almost as easy.

If I had had the Kodak the other day when the Haverford, and English transport, came in with American soldiers, I could have gotten a fairly good picture of her as she passed up the river.

We (our quartermaster bunch) are to go over to the Blakeley about the 15th, and take a look at the signal apparatus, searchlights, etc. -- so we will know all about them when we go on board. Everything is the very latest type, and she is supposed to make over 40 knots per hour, which is nearly 50 miles an hour. She will be some destroyer. I am surely glad I am going to get to help put her in commission.

I saw Betsy Ross's home when I was out the other day -- also the grave of Benjamin Franklin. Am going to Valley Forge if I have time. I don't go to town over once or twice a week. It's not so bad to stay in when you know you can go out whenever you want to.

We get mail only once on Sunday, so I hope your letter gets here early so I'll get it today instead of Monday.

Why doesn't father drop me a note once in a while? I know he is busy, but you make him take time to write a note anyway.

Love from,

P.S. The song books I sent along are the ones we sing from at the Recreation Center. The popular ones are Jada, I Ain't Got Weary Yet, and a parody on Smiles.

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Penn., February 3, 1919)

January 6, 2011

Letter from Lou Goetting

Ed. Note: This is a letter written to my great-grandmother from a young Army man she had hosted in her home. His obituary is at the bottom of this post.

Love Field
Dallas, Texas
January 31, 1919

Dear Mrs. Weldon,

Just a line here tonight for I am really tired, but wish to send you these pictures. I'm afraid it was a little late in the day to take them, otherwise they would have come out clearer. The one of the loaded truck was taken on the same film but in the forenoon. Don't think they are half bad though, do you? Am sending films also in case you want any more prints. [Ed. note: Enclosed in this letter were eight negatives which were damaged and in such poor condition they could not be printed. They appeared to be of Mrs. Weldon and her family with this serviceman.]

Dropped Miss Neville a note the other day. Am wondering if she is going to object.

We are kept very busy now. We have to do all sorts of work on the post from morning until retreat. Sure get tired at the end of the day.

Was on the flying list today but didn't get up. Hope for better luck tomorrow.

Received some time ago your kind letter. Jesse and I phoned Miss Walker some days ago. Had a very pleasant chat and we are to visit her as soon as we can get off. Yes, we will keep you posted of what we are doing.

Sure hope you and all the rest are in the best of health. We are fine, only sometimes disgusted with things on the post here.

Please remember me kindly to all.

Lou Goetting

The New York Times, October 4, 1962 Obituaries

Saddle River, NJ, Oct 3

Louis C. Goetting, Jr., head of a certified public accounting firm bearing his name at 19 Rector Street, New York, died yesterday at Harkness Pavilion of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He was 68 years old and lived at 24 Chestnut Ridge Road.

Mr. Goetting had been associated for 40 years with the company his father founded. He was also the vice president of the Manifold Supplies Company of Brooklyn and secretary of the Textile Cutting Corporation, Bomont, Inc., the Moller Products Corporation, Moller Products of Canada and Slit and Edge, Ltd of Canada.

He was assistant secretary and treasurer of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and assistant treasurer of the Manhattan Rifle and Revolver Association, and the Pan-American section of the International Committee for Bird Preservation.

Mr. Goetting was a member of the Downtown Athletic Club, the Camp Fire Club of America, and the Bay Head Yacht Club.

As a pilot in World War I, he held the rank of second Lieutenant.

Surviving are his widow, the former Marguerite Kennedy; two sons, Louis C. 3d of Ridgewood and Jerome K. of Saddle River, and three grandsons.

January 5, 2011

Nothing To Do

Navy Yard
January 29, 1919

Dear Mother,

Nothing else to do this afternoon except sleep, so I am taking advantage of it and writing a few letters I owe.

We had an exam this afternoon by Chief Legerwood and considering that I'm not rated a Signals Quartermaster, I did very well. He said I could even change my rate from Listener to Signals (which is an advance) in a short while if I practiced.

Can you still spare the Kodak? If so, I can get some good pictures with it when we go into commission -- and can you still get pound paper like you used to get in Bowie? I can't get any here, and don't want to pay for a fancy box of stationery.

I didn't get to bed early like I wanted to last night. I let them talk me into going up to the Recreation Center to see professional vaudeville. Am glad I went though, for it was a good as Majestic dope.

Weather still continues to be moderate and it looks like we won't have any winter at all. The thermometer hasn't been below 40 for over a week.

There is absolutely no news, for I don't go outside the Yard much. Went over to the Kenawba this morning with Johnson Whiteside -- he was on that ship in the war zone for 15 months.

Now I think I will be sent on the Blakeley even if I don't ship over, which I won't do. I won't go across, but may put into southern waters some before I get my discharge. This Navy life isn't half bad, though.

My love to all of you,
Your son,

(No postmarked envelope.)

January 4, 2011

A Short Trip

Navy Yard
January 27, 1919

Dear Mother,

Well we went to Wilmington after all, and I'm certainly glad I did. Had a wonderful time and Whiteside's people are certainly nice -- and you ought to see his sister. She is just about your height and pretty -- oh, my! How should you like to have a daughter-in-law?

We aren't going down next Saturday on account of lowness of funds, but after the 5th we will go down again. It only costs about 45 cents to go down on a trolley, and last time we ate and slept at John's aunt's. She is about 60 and looks like Grandma, but is a regular sport.

If I shipped over [Ed note: Ship over = re-enlist] I would have to ship for 4 years. I've decided I can't stay that long, for there isn't enough money in it. I must pay you what I ow you as soon as possible, and I don't seem to be making much headway in the outfit. Besides, I want to start in and save some for myself. If I could get $150 a month for a year, I could save over 500 beans. That would be a start anyway. May need it -- can't ever tell!

After tomorrow I'll know whether or not I'll get on the Blakeley. The Lt. Commander is coming down and I'll talk to him. If I get off the detail, I'll try and get a discharge. I don't know what excuse I'd put up -- better just tell them I have a good job waiting for me, and that they don't need my services any longer -- which is true. The main thing is getting off the destroyer detail.

Am going to sleep tonight early as I was up late getting back to the Yard from Wilmington. I've been in one more state anyway.

The weather has certainly been great the last two weeks, and I hope it stays so.

Got your letter this morning.

Lt. Ray was out to see me yesterday when I wasn't here. He left me a note with his address on it, so after payday I'll look him up. It's a week off and I guess he will wonder why I don't come up sooner, but I don't want to go out til I have a little money anyway.

No, I don't shoot craps -- I play penny ante once in a while, but couldn't win or lose enough to make any difference one way or another.

Give my love to all the rest.


(Postmarked Philadelphia, Penn., January 28, 1919)

January 3, 2011


League Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia
January 23, 1919

Dear Mother,

No letter today -- don't know what is the matter with the Post Office people here, for am sure you are writing oftener than I hear.

Am enclosing two small (regulation) flat "bonnets" to the two girls -- all I could get without paying $2.50 a piece. The belt is in the package too -- am sorry I haven't your handbag ready, but I haven't gotten the new cord yet. Of course I'll get soft silk cord of some kind -- a bag made out of fishing twine wouldn't look very good.

It's raining steadily this evening -- quite unpleasant although it's warm enough.

Got out my Kodak book today and spent about an hour looking at it. I have two or three old letters from you. I had burned the others. Wish I had kept them to read when I can't hear from you.

Am certainly glad that all the kids made such good grades in school. They are certainly beating my record.

Haven't gotten the snapshots we took just before we left New London -- have written Hughes to send them though.

My love to all,
Your loving son,

P.S. One of the caps hasn't a band on it -- as soon as I can get a hold of one I'll send it. If you don't like the band, take it off the other one and let them wear them plain. If you will wash the uppers to make them soft, the hat will lay over like the girls like to wear them better.

(No postmarked envelope -- letter enclosed in package)

January 2, 2011

Mo' Money Blues

League Island Navy Yard
January 22, 1919

Dear Mother and Father,

Am sorry you didn't hear from me -- I've written you twice (you have those by now I'm sure) and should have sent more. Haven't made but one liberty and that was last night. I drew only $5.00 and will have to lay low like I have been doing, for I needed face soap, scrubbing soap, and toothpaste, which I got the first thing. I'll draw $22.00 next payday less whatever a suit of dungarees. It's a suit of overalls with the trousers built like ordinary civilian pants instead of having a bib and suspenders like overalls [Ed. note: This is a blue chambray shirt and bell-bottom jeans]. That will be about $3.85.

Am invited to go to Wilmington Saturday for a birthday party and to stay over Sunday, by a fellow named Whiteside, a quartermaster. Don't know whether I'll go or not for it will cost me $1.00 for the round trip -- may though, for I don't know whether I'll get to go to Washington or not, and would at least like to go over to Wilmington, Delaware.

Another thing -- I ruined your bag I started -- broke one of the rings. However, next payday I'm going to get another set of rings and make you one. Will send the belt on as I can't send the bag for a while.

The last few days have been warm and it's still pleasant, although the sky is overcast and it's a little foggy.

I haven't gotten a letter forwarded from New London, and have only gotten a few from you. Haven't heard from Lt. Ray but have his address, so will look him up in about a week if he doesn't find me. I may wait til after the 5th of Feb., which is payday, so I won't be absolutely busted.

I had some stamps you sent me somewhere in my sea bag but couldn't find them, so three letters I'd written you remained unmailed til yesterday. I tore up one I'd written you, though, as I'm writing a new one. Got a letter from Rene Richards and he told me he couldn't pay me til later -- but since I can't even pay my own father and mother what I owe them, I haven't the heart to get mad at him. He's like I am -- will pay when he can. He has an allotment too, so that is against him. However, I guess he will cancel his insurance and that will let him have $6.50 per month more, so he ought to send it to me in a little while.

Hope to hear from you today. Will have to stop for the ink is running out and I'm at the barracks writing with Whiteside's pen.

Love to all,

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Penn., January 22, 1919)

January 1, 2011

League Island

Philadelphia Naval Yard
League Island
January 15, 1919

Dear Mother and Father,

Have been looking forward to a letter from you ever since I've been here, but none have come. There is some ignoramus in the post office, for I sent my address to New London.

Didn't do a thing all day. I have fallen into luck ever since I've been in the outfit. As long as I'm here I won't have to do a thing but send and receive blinker and semaphore -- and when we do, we just lay down on a bunk and take it easy -- that's when we are receiving.

Haven't been to town since the first night. To tell the truth, I have been badly bent, and today all but three cents went up in smoke for cigarettes. But my friend Duncan (a Wichita Falls boy) has enough to keep us in smokes until Tuesday, which is payday. I don't draw much, for my Liberty Bond and insurance come out, as well as 40 cents for the hospital fund -- altogether about $12 out, but will be more than enough til next payday, when perhaps I can at least start to pay what I owe father.

Has the influenza gotten worse there? Haven't heard of any for a long time in this part of the country.

The Blakeley goes into commission about the 25th of March, and in about a month goes to China to the Asiatic Fleet for a while. I won't go of course, for I haven't at least a year to do -- the amount necessary to go. They might not come back before 12 months, so they don't want to take any fellows who would have served their time before then.

It warmed up yesterday and the ice melted off the water, but there are still chunks all over the bay -- looks like ice in an ice cream freezer when the freezer is half full of water.

I did a washing the other day that looked almost like a family washing. Three suits of winter underwear, 1 of summer, 8 handkerchiefs, 6 pairs of sox, and a sweater. I put on summer underwear the other day and haven't taken them off, but think I'll change back tomorrow.

I played basketball tonight at the YMCA -- they have a big gymnasium and showers and swimming pool. I took a swim last night after a good shower. Will go in again tomorrow night.

They are giving a dance at the recreation center tonight. I think there is one at the K of C too, so I'll go up after I finish this. It's about 9 o'clock but they allow the lights to stay on til 10:30 here, and we can get in when we want to. No regulations since we aren't in the training camp part of the Yard. All the fellows but a few are regular Navy men waiting for new ships.

Don't know whether I'll get to Washington or not, but hope I do while I'm where I can.

Have no place to put the Kodak if I had it; my sea bag is absolutely full, and I have to pack things tight to get them in at all.

How is the oil well coming you are interested in? Is quail hunting as good as other years? I surely would like to get somewhere where I could see some woods and country. Ever since I've been on the east coast, I've been stationed right on the water, and it would take a long time to get out of town. Newark and Trenton have villages so thick between them they might almost be connected as one, although several miles apart.

The right address is this: League Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Barracks 307, U.S.S. Blakeley Detail. So write it here -- the ones you wrote to 207 and addressed the other way will get here too, though I will watch out for them in 297.

My love to all of you -- your loving son,

P.S. Haven't heard from Boone or Richards. If you would ever see little Rene Richards, though, you wouldn't doubt him in the least. I can see Boone in Dallas if he doesn't pay me before I get out. I'll never ask Rene, for it though.

(Postmarked Philadelphia, Pa., January 17, 1919)