February 14, 1919 – Letter to Robert’s father:
Same old place
Your letter of Jan. 26th written at Spring Valley came yesterday. You tell me not to worry about my future. I don’t worry about it but you know that I am bound to think about things. During the last year vast responsibilities have been put on my shoulders and I am 7,000 miles away. Is it strange then that I should wonder how things will turn out?
But it is not worry. I am just as confident in my ability today as I was a year ago when I got married.
I do not know what I want to do for a living when I get back but I guess something will turn up. I know I won’t start anything I don’t like.
What I do want to do is take about a months vacation if you + Mother will let Elinore + I have the little cottage when I get back (if it isn’t next winter). I have not had a good rest for a long time. I know Elinore will like it out there where she can have the cottage to take care of all herself. I know she is a good housekeeper so Mother won’t have to worry about the care of the house while she is there.
The whole platoon got a half hour’s extra drill after supper tonight because someone laughed in ranks today. We had a lot of fun out of it + the “top sergeant” said it was the best drill B Co. ever did.
All week the 140th has been putting on parades with the band. There have been a lot of big C.O.s to inspect us, and they took movies of us for the ones that were too lazy I mean busy to review us. The Supply Co. turned in a lot of horses + wagons to the 33rd division and they say Gen. Pershing and the Prince of Wales are to inspect and review us some day soon.
The snow is all gone now and the sun is real warm but the nights are still cold.
I wrote Helen a letter last night but the spring fever is getting me and I usually go to bed pretty early so don’t write as much as I used to.
I thought that [something] would carry me while I was in the army. I was surprised that you had to pay my dues. I think they should have sent me my card long ago without a cent from either you or me just as other lodges do. I know they are pretty hard up though there is no excuse for it in [something] Park. And I am not so sure that I want to pay money to Olivet either at any time. I know lots of places where the money would to a thousand times more good. I thank you though for paying both those bills for me in my absence.
I have not heard any more definite news about going home, but I guess we are going home sometime soon. You can keep on writing for a while. Any mail that comes to France will be held at the port for me. I’ll let you know when to stop.
The French are moving up artillery + tanks now just because they would be out of a job if they were not in the army. I’d like to see France + Germany fight to a finish and then have the US whip them both just to give them their fill of it. I suppose since Spring is near, they think the huns are apt to start in again.
Well Dad I can hear an old American locomotive whistling over across the river. I wish it was the one that is to pull the 35th to Brest.
I am glad to know that all of you have escaped the “flu.” That shows strong constitutions.
Love to all, your obedient son,
Never heard of “Spring Valley” before. There’s a Spring Valley in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota, about 50 and 100 miles from St. Paul, respectively. After a little research, I found a really weird coincidence. Here are the puzzle pieces:
- Robert says his father was in Spring Valley. Not sure which one he means.
- Writing about his Masonic Lodge, he says “no excuse for it in [something starting with M] Park. Here’s the word:
Googling around, I found a reference to a “Masonic Park,” which is in… Spring Valley, Minnesota. Weird, right? But the word above does not look like “Masonic.”
But right after that, I found the answer: Minnesota’s oldest Masonic Lodge, Triune Temple, located in the Merriam Park neighborhood of St. Paul. This also filled in the blank for the other word (”Triune”) that I couldn’t identify before.
Not sure what I like more – the fun of trying to figure out mysteries like this or the satisfaction of actually solving them.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.