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Catalog Number 1996.51.136EM
Object Name Letter
Accession number 1996.51
Description Full transcription of text follows:


Motor Section, Advance PC, GHQ, APO 930, A E F April the sixth, 1919. Dearest of Mothers: Harvey wrote me a letter some time ago, telling me that the pictures taken at Limoges were not. The letter came on the same day that another from one "Tad" Robertson, late pvt. now sgt. 1st cl., U.S.A., arrived, bearing the same cheerful news from Decize. Interesting information, but not very satisfactory, with better results, I hope. Really it begins to appear as though the fates to not intend that my likeness shall be recorded for the benefit of coming generations, but we may the get the best of them yet. Bought another camera - a peach, tres expensive. It's a very trick machine. Only one difficulty with it so far: I haven't as yet figured out how to take pictures that look like anything except an aching void. As a photographer, I make an excellent piano tuner. Enclosed is one picture. Arrived from southern France just two minutes ago. Subject: Henschel, in a horrible mood, three-fourths frozen and the other fourth barely thawed out. 'Twas a darned cold day in December, and I had just returned from an eighty mile run. And so it goes. My job is now reaching the stage where I no longer see it as an horrible night-mare. It is now clearing up a little, and in a few days more, I shall not be rushed quite so much. Right now, there are always about thirty odd Dutchmen waiting in my office (yes, I have one: photo to be shipped following development of two plates, providing they are any good) to find out if they are permitted to drive their motor cars, and to get said motor vehicles registered and licensed. As I mentioned in last week's horrible, that's I. Still, it's a job that can not last for ever, for the supply of privately owned cars is rather limited, and is not increasing. Also, about the other end of the game, things are looking brighter. The number of cars yet to be towed into my park is now no larger than a couple of hundred, and I am expecting that they will be cleaned up some time the last of this week. Item. I am now athletic director, or officer, or something of that sort. Of course, I am no athlete, but that makes no difference. Item. Some enemy of mine has turned over to me the job of producing a theatrical stunt, said stunt to be a regular show, intended to tour France, Germany, and if exceptional (which it will not be) New York. Said show to be produced from talent found in GHQ. Did n't know that the family had a theatrical director in its midst? Neither did I, before two days ago. MORAL: Never let yourself become the end of a buck line. As said above, things are looking brighter. For a time, I had been figuring on the pleasant prospects of remaining in this army until my pay amounted to enough to cover some hundred thousand marks. You see, a lot of my work is done on verbal understand, and a certain


Chief of Staff had given me to understand that I was to undertake the purchase and requisition of a lot of material and labour. Same was duly requisitioned and acquired, and then the C. of S. became scared and refused to admit anything. I started figuring out just how many thousand years at so much per month would get me out, when the C. of S. came through with a written OK, and now I can breath happily again, and merrily go on requisitioning, etc. etc. per usual. Received a letter from Ches Pinet, at Decize, where I used to consume so many pounds of beefsteak and yards of French fried spuds and glasses of red ink. They assured me that their were all cracked beyond hope of repair at my absence from the side of the kitchen stove, and that there was always a bed waiting for me if ever I could manage to pass through Decize, and that the supply of potatoes was once more inexhaustible. Also, that Marie and Louise and little Jean and the Madame were all desolated, because not only was I departed never more to return, but also the faithful "Monsieur Charles" (mentioned before as the one and only Tad) was no longer there, but attending a University. And that the old gentleman no longer took any joy our of his nighty game of billiards, due to the lack of our former jovial companionship. All of which I thought was pretty nice of them. Finally (to end a long narrative about nothing) I sen the petit Jean a can of candy, the Monsieur and Madame my plus bons wishes, Marie and Louise each my love and a gros baiser, and a letter to the whole lot, written in my interesting, but highly unintelligible French. My land lady is sehr froh these days. She has an only son who was severely wounded in 1914, and has since been recuperating in Switzerland. Now then, they have obtained permission from the Americans for him to return to Trier, and representing the American army, I have consequently been the recipient of all sorts of little unnecessary services. My slippers are always in front of the fire, my bath robe is ready warn, there is always hot water at my disposal no matter what unearthly hour I may return to the billet, the fire is always burning warmly in my room, and Frau Sabel insists on making me hot chocolate. She thinks the Americans are some punkins, because they permitted her son to return after the French had assured her that it was quite impossible until after peace was signed. The old lady was quite discouraged when she interviewed the French, for she is an old lady, and the prospects of waiting many more years is quite out of the question for her. Likewise, she is very happy and goes humming around the rooms like a girl of twenty, because each of her married daughters has a new baby. One of them arrived about a month ago; quite remarkable, so she assured me, for "the daughter has been married ten years! Denken Sie!" I gedacht to the best of my ability, but my knowledge of things feminine is not up to understanding the remarkability involved. The Red Cross reclinched its hold on my affections. Four pairs of pajamas, one bath robe - all nice and fuzzy - some sock, handerkerchiefs, toothpaste, Peter's chocolate, cigarettes, and an enormous stack of American magazines! Attended a symphony concert the other night. It was remarkably good, and I enjoyed it immensely, in spite of the telephoniste sitting next to me. As a certain Lt. McDonald would put it, "Them hyphenators sure can' turn out a lot of swell sound when it comes ot the mass movement stuff." By the way, this is unofficial, but some one of these days in a fit of common sense I am going to murder that man.

From the service of James E. (Ned) Henschel, Co. B Reserve Mallet--French Army, American Field Service, Quartermaster Corps, General Hdgts., and Motor Transport Co. 831.
Date April 6, 1919
Year Range from 1919
Year Range to 1919
People Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
Subjects World War I
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