February 8, 1919 – Letter to Robert’s father:
Owing to the rather cold weather I have neglected my letter writing during the past week but that is a very good reason. I have managed to sleep warm. I have an old iron bed and two bed ticks on it, with five blankets to cover with. They are issuing wood again so we can have a fire.
I eat about two mess pans full of french fried potatoes between meals and am getting fat + lazy. I weigh 162. That isn’t so bad is it. But I don’t show it much. We get the “pomme de tares” (spuds) from the frogs and the grease from the kitchen.
We have been busy with cooperative drills this week and B Company has been successful so far. We are the crack company of the 140th and had we not been ordered to move we would have beat the whole division.
Colonel Maize spoke to the “non-coms” yesterday and told us that the people in the states had forgotten that there had been a war and were busy making money as usual, also that there were very few jobs and many to fill them, so we were better off in the Army than we would be at home.
The gov’t is very anxious to have us keep our war risk insurance. I suppose I will keep it if I can get the kind of policy that I want.
We are due to leave this town Wednesday now. It was Sunday before. I expect that they will keep putting it back a few days all the time until it will be summer when we get home.
Elinore had to get the doctor for baby, he had a cold she said. I am awfully afraid of the influenza. Of course there is very little of it here in the Army. We have had only one death in B Co. I am very glad that all of you have escaped it. I hope you can all stay well.
Well, Dad, I can’t think of any more news. We will not drill any more they say.
Love to all, your loving son,
Well, that was quite a sales job from Colonel Maize! Lt. Col. Sidney D. Maize commanded the 140th from January 3 to February 18, the first of four commanders the 140th would have between January 3 and May 14.
Colonel Maize was at the center of a mildly scandalous San Francisco news story in 1924, in which he was arrested for drunk driving with “a young widow and friend of the family.”
This same page of the San Francisco Examiner, by the way, includes a recurring feature called “The Inquiring Reporter” in which the newspaper asked five citizens the question of the day. Today’s question was “Should ‘jay-walkers’ be given jail sentences?” The five people asked said that jay-walkers were “as great a menace as the careless or intoxicated driver,” “a public nuisance,” engaging in “gay and careless habits,” “among the mental delinquent,” and “one of the city’s greatest menaces.”
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.