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Catalog Number 1938.100.39
Object Name Letter
Accession number 1938.100
Description Full transcription of text follows:


St. Louis, Mo. December 22, 1920 My Dear Mrs. Moore:- A letter, written by Miss Mohler, in your name, reached me in late September, bringing me news of your dear son's death. It was, indeed, a great shock to me and filled my heart with deep sorrow. Even before my letter of last summer was written, he was gone from this life, and yet I cannot now think of his eager, happy smile and laugh as no longer. I think of him at Christmas time especially and shall always feel him near at that season, for it was that wonderful Christmas work in France which brought close together. If I could sit and talk with you, I would tell you of how he used to call to me from one end of the long, cold, cheerless hall and go into room after room with Red Cross supplies for the bed patients. "Hello, Miss McGee," he would cry. "Is your nose cold today?" or, "Wait till I put this paper (or book) under my pillow where nobody'll snitch it, and I'll be along to give you a lift with that basket." Always cheery, always ready to help (and there was so much there for such a spirit to do). Perhaps he told you about our fine Christmas tree, nearly twenty-two feet high and how he helped with its decoration. He said as we drew near its finish, "Now, if we only had some snow- oh, wait a minute", and off he flew to the store room, returning with a roll of surgical cotton begged from the supply keeper. "You'll never reach, Red", said a buddy standing near. "I'll bet I do- where do you get that stuff- never reach it?" and off he went again to bring back this time a long ladder, carried it up the broad stairs and placed it across the railing of the balcony which ran around the second


floor of our hospital overlooking the lobby below, and to which the top of the tree reached. The iron railing made a good, safe support for the ladder. I can see him now as he lay on his stomach crawling out along the flat ladder to the tip-top of the tree to put into position the big silver star made by one of his buddies in bed. Then he took tiny little dabs of the cotton, and whistling or humming a merry tune, and occasionally for the fun of it, "The Star-Spangled Banner", he let the little white puffs fall lazily from his hand to the green branches below- just here, there, anywhere they would. I remember so well looking up at him at that moment from the floor below, his long slender legs in their olive drab stretched along the ladder, his strong young body reaching first one side and then the other to scatter the cotton, his bright, happy face laughing down into mine, as he cried, "Look, Miss Mac, look at the snowing sergeant- tell me we aren't going to have some American snow on our tree on Christmas morning!" I well recall my thought at the moment "O, brave and blessed boy, how I wish your mother could see my ‘snowing sergeant' this minute!" Well, that night, Christmas Eve of 1918, he, another Red Cross worker and I went through two large hospitals pinning hundreds of socks, filled with gifts and provided by the Red Cross, on the beds of the sleeping men. How he would tip-toe to a bed, only to find the soldier wide-awake and boy-like curious- "Go to sleep, you mutt, don't you know this is Santa Claus and you've no business to be awake?" And thus, my dear Mrs. Moore, I could write on and on and on- I could tell you about how appreciative he was when I made him a very patriotic "housewife", of red and white and blue flannel covered with khaki, with needles, pins and thread, to replace the one stolen from him. He was grateful for every little kindness or attention, he wanted my approval on every little purchase he made in the village, he was kind, willing and generous, cheerful at all times. You people on this side


could not realize what a power for good was the man or boy perpetually cheerful and bright. "Bill" was always with influence with the others for that very wonderful reason. He was, too, always ready to help with anything, always ready to do for the nurses or the Red Cross workers. When, late Christmas day, after he, Sergeant Edwards and I had finished waiting on the scores and scores of other men at our excellent Christmas dinner, we three found a quiet corner in the diet kitchen to eat our own, it was "Sergeant Bill" who saw that I had everything on my plate that he could find. Such a day, such a day, and how happy we were, "the next thing to being at home", as many of the boys said, after that dinner and celebration. I shall never forget him. He is one my dearest memories of France and the war. His cards from Germany after the armistice were always welcome because they told me he was safe. At one time I wanted to go into Germany and work, but almost every card would say for me not to try it. I was old enough to be his mother and I loved him like one. And this Christmas, I am thinking of him again, and reviewing those days in France. For that reason, I thought I would send you a letter and have a little Christmas talk with you, writing it on the typewriter that you may read it much more easily than my writing. I want to send you a Christmas greeting of love and hope to help you to be proud of, not sad for, the son which God gave you and in the glory of his young man hood took home again when his work here was done. "There was a star one time of old, That Peace and Joy on earth foretold. May that same star shine from above On you with sympathy and love, And bring with sweet and mystic power A solace at this Christmas hour." Look at the Christmas star, dear Mrs. Moore, and let its message shine into your mother-heart- wish Peace because your boy lived so valiantly and gave his life for others, after Christ's own example- with Joy because God lent to you such a son. With love from "Bill's" Red Cross friend, and always your sincerely,

From the service of Eleanor McGee, American Red Cross nurse at Base Hospital # 23 "The Nouvel" located in Vittel, Vosges, France from 1918-1919 (?).
Date December 22, 1920
Year Range from 1920
Year Range to 1920
People McGee, Eleanor
Subjects World War I
Letters (Home)
War casualties
Christmas trees