Ed. note: A letter to my grandfather from a Navy friend.
November 4, 1919
Gen. Signor H.W. Weldon
1901 Elizabeth Ave.
Wichita Falls, Texas,
My dear Texas:
Today is a holiday for all the Romans, but it's only Tuesday, November 4th for me, perche io molto a fare prima de la mia partenza da Romas per l"America!
Yours of October 15th arrived some ten minutes ago and I'm going to swipe a little time from our noble organization and answer it while my morale is high. You've doubtless heard of the famous place said to be paved with good intentions. I'm afraid I've recently contributed enough to lay an entire boulevard.
For the first time in my eventful young life I've been obliged to stay in bed for a week or so . . . la grippe and general cussedness . . . and I've developed such a nasty disposition that the angels in heaven couldn't please me, and the devil himself wouldn't live with me. We had just decided on an elegant first class funeral in Venice (you know how fascinating a Venetian funeral is), with heaps of yellow mums, etc. but the gondoliers have gone on strike and we had to postpone it. I had by that time become very tired of the four walls of my room and determined to recover.
We have had nothing but rain for the past twenty days. Anyone might think this was where Mr. Noah launched the Ark. On account of the victory celebration we're having a special dispensation of sunshine today.
Rome becomes dearer to me every day and I know I shall miss the fascinating life here. Like all superstitious and weak-minded pagans, I shall doubtless throw a coin in the Tiber and another in the Trevi fountain to be certain of returning sometime, somehow, somewhere.
The Venice canteen is the only canteen operating in Italy now and that will close December 31st. They had a big dance Halloween but I could not get up for the gala occasion. Miss Keene and Billie Williams are still there but Miss Williams expects to return to the States sometime in December.
You accounts of university games, club life, and the tired businessman seem like fairy tales to me but I shall doubtless find them true on my return. I have a wild desire to go to California and get the frost thawed out of my system, but if my intentions hold good and the Fates are willing, I may do some reconstruction work in the government hospitals when I return. Life is never prosaic to me but somehow the idea of one day after another, one tea after another, or even a moderately thrilling business adventure does not appeal to me as it once did. Perhaps it is an indication of approaching decrepitude. Chi lo sa?
Have just had the temerity to pose for the cameraman in my official uniform. The result is a fairly good likeness of a Ford, 1913 model. In fact, I have been so unpleasantly disillusioned that I am seriously considering going home in a barrel. Moreover a barrel would doubtless be convenient for the prospects are that I may have to swim, fly or walk. All sailings are indefinitely postponed on account of the longshoreman's strike.
Thanks for the Pope's blessing and your hopes for a voyage sans mal de mer. November 15th is the eventful day of departure and I shall hie me to Spain and Monte Carlo and stay there until I can get passage on some homebound steamer. I shall certainly endeavor to move heaven, earth, and the waters under the earth in order to celebrate Christmas in the Stati Uniti and . . . failing in that, perhaps I can play roulette at the casino until I make a fortune, or more likely, lose all the soldi I have. It would doubtless be thrilling to make a fortune at Monte Carlo, but I hope you will use your influence with the strikers so my little bark will reach New York before December 25th.
Until then tanti saluti adn (as we say here in Italy)
4 Francesco Crisopi
c/o C.H. Roy
215 Linwood Ave.
Kansas City, Missouri