February 10, 1919 – Letter to Robert’s mother:
There is very little news but as there is a bunch of Texas cowboys telling stories about wild horses + Mexicans so i beat it over here to the Y. One will tell a most thrilling tale and by the time he is through another will be ready with a “that reminds me.” I can’t decide which is the biggest prevaricator. We have men in this company from every trade and walk of life, but the men from the smooth part of Texas are the biggest liars in the outfit, moon shiners and coal miners included.
We are drilling about one hour + a half a day now, getting ready for the big competitive drill which is to come off Wednesday. B Co. will represent the 140 Reg. against the other three Regiments and Engineers of the 35th Division. We have gone so far as to have all our hair cut alike, clothes pressed, belts washed + shoes shined. It will be a big day and I hope the weather will be nice. We are very anxious to be the best Company in the division.
Robert jr. has two teeth and before he was four months old. Elinore wrote that she got the little sweater you knitted. Those little things are so thoughtful of you, and make Elinore love you.
I have not heard anything new about going home. Some say we will leave one week from today and others say not until March first. Both are sure that they have the straight dope. Whether they get it from the washerwoman who does Gen. Pershing’s laundry or from some other round about source makes no difference, it is always “inside information.” But strange to say seldom isn’t true.
We succeeded in buying a cord of wood today from a “Frog.” It cost about 3.50. We all chipped + got it for our billet.
It is getting just as bad here in the Y as it was in the billet – it is worse I thought the story tellers were the limit but there is a bunch here playing the piano and trying to sing “Little Brown Church in the Wildwood” and “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder,” so I guess I better go to bed.
Your loving son
P.S. A soldier in uniform who has fought over here wears gold braid on his left sleeve. That is the way you can tell them from those who did not cross.
The tone of these letters has really changed dramatically. Of course, the end of the war would have had a huge impact on Robert’s outlook. But more than that, he’s just so much more relaxed and funny than at any point since this whole thing began. It’s nice to see.
“The Church in the Wildwood“ was written in 1857 and completely forgotten by 1868. It was rediscovered in the 1910s. More recently, it has been recorded by the Statler Brothers, Alabama, and Dolly Parton, among others.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.