November 30, 1918 – Letter to Robert’s mother:
Your letter of Nov. 7 came today. I was very glad to get it. Altho you were disappointed about the peace rumors you only had to wait a few days until it was true. We knew it was coming soon but did not hardly expect it quite so soon. The Boshie airplanes have been dropping literature over our lines asking why we are still fighting when they (the Germans) want peace.
There are a couple of kids (soldiers) outside chasing another soldier with big sticks. They are trying to make him sign the armistice. I wish they would be quieter.
Yes, Mother I am glad that my baby is a boy. I am going to raise him to be a good man. You are his grandmother and I want you to love him.
Don’t worry about me getting spoiled when I get home. People will have forgotten all about the war in a few weeks.
I have not had the “Flu” but have had a cold. I hope all of you escaped it.
Just now I am in a little town near St. Mihiel. You can find it on the map.
I would like to see you on guard over a lot of Hun prisoners. With a gun over your shoulder. They are good prisoners tho. They know that they are better off than if they were fighting.
Yesterday we spent all day cleaning up our area. I think that will be all we will have to do in the line of labor. Of course we will not all come home at once but I see in the paper that fighting divisions are to do home first. That includes us. We are a long way from the coast. I hope we don’t have to walk there.
I wrote to Mr. Nielsen the other day about a job. Of course I can’t expect him to hold me a place when I don’t know when I am coming back. Perhaps Dad + I could start out later selling Monarchs. Wouldn’t that be fun? But I think they better call them “Presidents.” “Monarchs” are out of date.
We have a new bunch of officers now (since the drive). Also a lot of new men. We have a very good company, but not like the old one.
I often wonder if the house looks the same at 1898. Have they built the church yet across the alley?
Well Mother there is no more news. I hope you will be able to write oftener. Thanks to you + Ruth for the soft sweater.
Your loving and obedient son, Rob
Merry Christmas to all, Rob
That second paragraph is easily the strangest thing Robert has ever written (well, the strangest since “Sgt. Haley shot Slim Jim,” anyway).
Here’s the church Robert was asking about, right in their backyard.
Interestingly, the church’s website mentions a later construction date: “Since its cornerstone was laid in 1925, St. Mary’s has viewed the building as a gift from God, given in their care, for the neighborhood community.”
But as least as early as 1915, construction was being planned, as seen in the June 23, 1915 issue of Paint, Oil and Drug Review:
Finally, Monarchs were the flagship product line of the Malleable Iron Range Company, mentioned a few days ago. Robert’s father sold Monarchs for years and Robert did after the war. Here’s the Monarch product line as of around 1930:
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.