December 22, 1918 – Letter to Robert’s father:
They are sending me away to Gas School today so I thought I would drop you a line before I go. I will be gone a week so will probably spend Xmas away from Company B.
I went to Commercy yesterday and met a fellow I used to know in St. Cloud. He is in the 12th Vet. Hospital. They are located at Commercy which is our Divisional Hqs. They will leave this week for Germany. They are going to Treves. That makes me think that the 35th will go also, but of course that is only my opinion.
It is not very cold here yet. Not freezing, but is awfully rainy all the time. My feet have been wet for some weeks.
As soon as I come back from school, I am going to get some dental work done. If possible I am going to get a couple new teeth put in.
They allow soldiers to drink over here. They fix the price so the frogs can’t overcharge. There are very few cases of drunkenness because they are only allowed to sell the stuff for two hours a day, and can only sell thin beer or cheap red + white wine. The wine is the kind the French people drink with their meals instead of coffee or tea as we do. The Frog soldiers get two quarts a day issue. It tastes like vinegar to me. The beer is less than 2%. The same as “near” beer in the states.
I got a letter from Al Binet the other day. He is very sorry that he could not get into the army for as he says “sentiment is pretty strong over there.” It should be. The men here have had a hard time of it for their thirty-three dollars while those at home have received big pay and risked nothing. It hardly seems fair even from the money standpoint but then we know that all this will be forgotten in a few months.
An order has come down calling for only ½ day’s drill. I can see no good reason for it. We have been drilling so long and hard since the Armistice was signed until now.
Your letter of Nov. 28th came the other day.
I will not know when I will start home until I get on the boat but no doubt I will be held in the states in some camp for some time.
I am glad that you are back at work again. When prices start to go down I suppose wages will go the same way.
If I get all the decorations I am supposed to get I will resemble a German general when I get back. I have two so far. I do not see Le Croix de Guerre tho. I will not get one of those coveted emblems.
If my request for leave to go to Cambuslang should go through I would have to pay my way so I have given it up as impossible. Especially since we are due for a move soon, either home or to Germany.
I bought one of those 5¢ cans of Pet condensed milk yesterday. It cost 1 franc and 50 centimes or about 30¢ in Amer. money. A 10¢ bar of chocolate cost 2 F 50 or 50¢. And it is not any too sweet either.
Stuff is pretty high for the Yanks. If you kick at the price the French store keeper will raise his hands in amazement and say that Americans have booko francs, and say that it is on “account of the war.” Of course I never buy anything and then kick because I paid so much for it. If it is too high I leave it.
They say that the gov’t is going to give 160 acres of rocks or swamp to men in the A.E.F. What would I do with it? Besides I don’t believe that there is enough to go around for over 2 million men.
The Frogs are making fake German helmets and are selling them to the rubes here for over 1000 F. each.
Love to all, Rob
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.