First letter home

March 5, 1918 – Letter to Robert’s sister Ruth (on YMCA “With The Colors” letterhead):

Camp Dodge Iowa

Dear Ruth,

You won’t know your brother when you drive the Lizzie down here. All dressed up in khaki.

This is the way I feel like a board. We haven’t got guns yet but will soon. There will be a knife on the end of it 18 inches long. Not short ones like they use at schools. And these are sharp, too.

The weather has been real [illegible] here until today. It got cold + foggy. But we must drill anyway. The big excitement here is when the mail comes. You ought to see that bunch. If I don’t get any I feel bum all day, and so do the other fellows.

You might make some candy once in a while if you feel like it. Don’t send much at a time tho.

How do you like my little wife, Ruth? Isn’t she a dear girl? When you are at home make a chum of her. She must be lonesome. You know how you would feel under the same circumstances. Go to the movies.

I was going to write to Helen tonight too but the lights go out at 9 so will have to let it go till tomorrow. Give her my love.

Your loving brother,



I couldn’t love this self-portrait any more. Ruth was five years younger than Robert and would have been 17 when he wrote her this letter.

“Lizzie” or “Tin Lizzie” was a nickname for the Ford Model T.

I can’t figure out that word in the third paragraph. “scrumer”?  OK, probably “summer.” Thanks Jeff Staley!


Where was Robert today? See the timeline.

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