June 20, 1918 – Full diary entry:
“Rain but no lightning or thunder.
Maneuvers in A.M.
Wrote to Elinore.”
The Arches area was an excellent foretaste of the country in which the division was to do its first fighting. High pine-clad hills could be seen rambling on both sides from the valleys below. Little villages, a few kilometres between each, were complete with dreariness and women at daily tasks of washing clothes at the municipal troughs.
Up with the early light of a new day, there would be reveille, army bacon for breakfast, and hard maneuvers for the morning. There would be rice for dinner and hikes and drills for the afternoon. Supper over, the men could be seen mingling with the peasant-folk of the villages. Many of them, in their first flush of enthusiasm for the French language, would go armed with grammars and spend the entire evening wrestling with it in presence of the Mere and Pere and, fortune favoring, with what daughterly members there chanced to be.
During these early days the Kansans and Missourians and French peasantry were on a basis of strong friendship. The surroundings were new to the soldiers and the soldiers were new to the peasants. The storekeepers were satisfied with the small overpay the Americans gladly gave them. The soldier was drained of his souvenir supply. This peasantry’s appetite for Things Americain seemed without end.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.