March 5, 1919 – Letter to Robert’s father:
I can’t understand why you are not getting my letters. I have written to some of you at least twice each week.
This will be the last letter you will get from me from this town. I will leave here in two days for Le Mans or some camp near there, perhaps in pup tents.
I wish that you had taken some other line ten years ago. I think you have been with the M.I.R. Co. long enough to get a pension. You have been on the road for them nearly 20 years now haven’t you? I do not think the Range business will be very good for a few years do you? That is why it seems strange to me that those old range men are giving up old lines and risking a failure with a new one.
If Cook has a good line and Nisbett a poor line go in partnership with both of them. You ought to make expense money that way at least.
I do not know what division Gilbert is in but I do not think he has been ordered home yet, since he just got over here. But he may be since they favor the ones that saw no action while the “Missouri River Rats” will be kept here as long as possible. It’s just my luck to be one of them.
You asked me for cutlery manufacturers names. The only industry in Pont-sur-Meuse is the Y.M.C.A. and a vin rouge joint. Besides the Frogs do not know how to make anything but trouble. French knives costing $2 with a wood handle and one blade won’t cut butter. The blade would either break or bend if the butter was at all hard.
I have written to a French boy at Grenoble for the name of the knife co. there. Of course all they have made there is shells for some years but they are a big company and will no doubt be on the market soon. I shall also write Uncle George West or Robt. Gartshore soon. If I go through England I will keep my eyes open and send the address on to you for Mr. Thompson.
We drill one hour each day now and sleep the rest of the time. They issue cigarettes and chocolate creams also. Pretty swell. You see we are now in the S.O.S. which means Source of Supplies. All noncombatant outfits and Military Police are in the S.O.S. all the time and got those luxuries all the time, while we got nothing and did “the part that counts.” We are in the S.O.S. now because we are ordered home.
Eight sergeants drilled against eight corpls today and the judges said that we beat them.
We are to have eggs for breakfast. They cost about 120 a dozen over here and we bought 40 dozen with company money.
The Y Man is packing up his stuff tonight and everything is ready for our departure.
Your loving son
Sounds like Robert’s father, John, was dissatisfied with his own job and looking for another range manufacturer to sell for – or another product line entirely.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.