Dear Mom and Dad:
Got a V-Mail and the bundle of papers you sent this morning. Fact is
we've been having mail call about everyday, now. I enjoyed the papers even
though they were old.
It is as rainy as ever if not more so. The last couple of days it has
snowed some. Two nights ago the area in which we were bivouaced was flooded.
Luckily my bed partner and I saw it coming in the evening, and moved on
a little ridge in the dary. It was pouring rain at the time and we were
pretty wet but slept in luxury compared to the rest.
We have given up the idea of sleeping in hills for protection from
shrapnel instead we have built a wall of sod around our tent. We found
some dry straw in a barn so had a good sleep last night.
We had those beautiful moonlight nights about two weeks ago. Many times
I've stood motionless on guard because of it.
There was an interesting thing that happened while we were up at the
front. The Germans gave a talk in English over loud speakers in our lines.
They asked among other things, "How would you like to be home in your living
room listening to the radio?" Then they played some American music. Telling
us to come over and surrender was the LAST STRAW! Right now my hands are
too cold to go on writing. That long period when you never got a letter is
when we we're doing so much moving.
In the hospital because of my feet (frozen). The doctor says I go back
to duty tomorrow though I don't see how I can make it. I can't walk a step
today. Life has been pretty rough lately, but I sure hated to leave the
company now that I've gone this far.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I wondered what you were doing. It was
nothing special for us, though we did get one warm meal. Today we had
turkey here in the hospital.
Perhaps you wondered about my birthday. It was the most miserable day
I ever spent. The day before waded a stream to the waist and then without
blankets laid down fort har snowed about 4 inches and the night. The next
morning we cleaned a timber out and were held up at the edge that day and
another miserable night. It rained that night and was a little warmer, but
my feelings were gone anyway. At noon we broke out of there, but I won't
tell anymore as it is a long story from there till the present position.
The last two days three packages have come for me and sure am happy
about it. Two were from you. One with the Bible, billfold and candles, the
other with the candy. Don't know which I like best. The candy, for the
moment, was delicious and ate it all right away. The billfold is very nice
and takes care of the pictures I've received. I've been carrying an old
Bible I'd found. The one you sent is much better and I gave the other away.
The change in ink that you probably notice is the difference between
German and American ink. The "Heinie" ink is so light you can hardly see it.
The last three weeks I have been just sick enough with a cold so I
couldn't get medical attention. Gradually became worse until I had chills
and fever and headache all the time. Still (like a fool) I didn't see the
medics till one day and night we walked in the rain. During the night then
a time which I can't explain, I felt so sick, got lost, and after a time
found a building which was a farm house and barn. This brings me to what I
wanted to tell about. The people who lived there--Alsaciaus--realized I
was sick and treated me as if I were their son. They seemed to be pretty
well off and had plenty of food. They spoke German and some French which
isn't hard to catch onto. After a couple of days, I felt well enough to be
up so started finding the company again, which didn't take long. Found
I was reported "missing." Since then we have been lucky enough to stay in
one building and have gotten a good rest and feel as good as ever.
This building is a deluxe pig house and must have been run by the
government as there is room in it for at least 100 brood sows. Four of us
sleep in one pen.
An hour later--
Got a bundle of mail I never dreamed of--9 letters and a Dow City paper.
Two were from you and Lewis' girlfriend's mother sent him a fruit cake that
we both ate.
This is my second day in the hospital which is quite away to the rear and
it seems almost too quiet and comfortable. I'm afraid they're going to
spoil me for the front, here. Have a small wound, nothing serious, but
very sore right now. Last night they took an x-ray and then took out two
small pieces of shrapnel.
After getting hit I got a letter from you telling of Vernon Cross
I considered myself very lucky to be alive. A mortar shell landed
beside me, tearing up my pack and putting, a hole through a steel shovel
that was on the pack. Some of your letters get through pretty fast and
They say there is too much air mail for the planes to carry so they just
take what they can and put the rest on ships, air mail or otherwise.
By the way, I get a purple heart, now.