Archive Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 1996.51.136DA
Object Name Letter
Accession number 1996.51
Description Full transcription of text follows:

jhenschel_0075_0001

September 2nd, 1918 Mother Mine: Just a short love-note before I go to bed. I've been feeling rather blue all day, and a sure cure for the blues is a letter home, or one from home. I have n't had a letter from home for quite a while - hence this. There is n't much for feeling out of sorts, for the course of events has been remarkably smooth for the past week, considering the substitute "top" the company has had to put up with. The one thing that has kept right up to snuff has been the work; everything else may go wrong, plenty of work always manages to come along. That is, the rest of the company have had all that they could wish for, but my job has been a delightfully lazy one. most of the rolling has taken place as day-light convoys, which makes me glad, but tonight I rather think that the boys will be pretty late getting home. Night convoys lately have been bad medicine. News. All well and happy. Yesterday a couple of Frenchmen walking down the road cast eyes on our Lyster water bag. (All of the drinking water is kept in a large canvas bag and chemically treated to purify it. Hence Lyster). It looked pretty good to them, although just what use a non-water-consuming critter would have for a Lyster bag is beyond me. "Souvenir boche" a knife, and the bag tumbles unceremoniously to the ground. Maybe they really rate the bag received a hasty rescueing and the Poilus an American cussing, and today the bad has a new home, beyond the reach, I hope, of those in search of German trinkets. of the American Mission The commanding surgeon paid us a visit, unannounced, today and gave me much joy by praising our kitchen and mess arrangements in general. I'm quite proud of the place myself - it's strangely clean and well arranged - but most of the credit by right belongs to the exertions of our company punishment detail of three. It keeps me busy thinking up work for them, so the kitchen received most unusual attention these days Coburn returns in a day or two, and by the occurrence I lose my temporary job as "top". Yesterday I made out the company payrolls, along with one "Wee" Williamson. Only two names were omitted from the final draft, so it can be considered a success too. The men all signed them last night and the probability is that numerous francs will arrive shortly. The Y.M.C.A. found a complete set of chocolate, jam and the essentials to the well being of an army, so everyone who can scrape together loose odds and ends is purchasing extensively. I acquired some chocolate, cigarettes, two cigars, and a can of peach marmalade (Peach nothing; it was orange). This last went deliciously with some toasted bread and a cup of coffee. The Y.M.C.A. store is a life saver, literally. We are located in a town where such a thing as a store will not be fore some time, and without the privilege of buying at the "Y" the tres bons conducteurs of this outfit would be hard put. Of one thing perhaps more than a lot of others I have become thoroughly convinced during the past year - that an American minus the opportunity to spend would be lost. Why the boys will buy anything for sale, whether they have any use for it or not. I guess that we are pretty

jhenschel_0075_0002

much the same in that respect. Even the lieutenant Joe. He has about nine pairs of kicks, and then spends lots of centimes for a pretty red pair of high boots. C'est la vie. Also I might make confessions, but I won't. Some one of these days I intend to make up a packet of souvenirs, mail it home, and call souvenir-cherching off for the rest of the guerre. This business of collecting a great pile of junk, only to throw it away a month or so later is all right I suppose, but I'm going to quit. In this letter I am enclosing a sample of what is to me the most interesting thing of this sort that I have run across. It8s a bit of a mail sack, but if it is examined closely, one will notice that it is made of paper. The German's much be rather hard up for textile materials of all sorts, for one finds a great number of articles made of paper that would not otherwise be so. For instance, rapes on gun carriages, made of twisted paper, towels, made of woven paper thread, much like this piece, hats, sand bags, and so on. Ersatz stuff may serve in a pinch, but it is not nearly as serviceable as the genuine article. Also I am enclosing some German field post cards and papers. I found one german newspaper that had two and a half inches of news and the rest of the sheet (it was very small) was all advertisements. I'm going to bed. I'm continually dozing off while writing, and the letter certainly shows it. Goodnight, and all the love in the world to you and Dad. My thoughts are always at home.

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 September 2, 1918
Year Range from 1918
Year Range to 1918
People Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
Subjects Letters (Home)
World War I
Military life
Water
Kitchens
Food
Souvenirs
Newspapers