Full transcription of text follows:
Private J.E. Henschel- American Mission- Motor Transport A.E.F. Reserve Mallet- France- December 26/1917- Dear-dear Folks at home-Everything seemed to fit in so as to give me the happiest possible Christmas this year. On Christmas Eve there was delivered to me a book from Mrs. Warner a box containing a little of everything from Lucile Rockwell and a package from Miss Nation and her mother at Paris. Yesterday brought the fruit cake that Mrs. Bellows was so fine as to send - and today came the tobacco from Harvey and Berthold and the toilet roll and knee-letts". Everyone was just too good to me; I hardly know how to tell you
all how grateful I am and how I have enjoyed everything. People certainly are good to me. Had been laid up in my bunk for a few days (nothing serious - a touch of grippe or bronchitis or something of the sort) and on Christmas morning the Doctor pronounced me O.K. and let me up to take part in the "doings". The boys all treated me splendidly while I was under the weather - so that I am now up against is to repay them. We had two celebrations at the "Y" - a "petite fete" for all of the kiddies in the town in the afternoon and a combination convert and song-fest for
the Frenchmen and ourselves in the evening. I want to tell you most about the kiddies' party. We American had decided that in so much as it was almost impossible to send presents home - it would be a good thing if we could do something for those over here who might be a bit "shy" for Christmas cheer. So of course it was done. We had the Y.M.C.A. covered with bells and paper lanterns and other things - and there was an immense tree all decorated in the good old fashioned way. We had an American opera singer - a first-rate violinist - Baldrige drew funny pictures for them - and a
real Santa Claus - heard and all. You should have heard the children when the toys and paper trinkets and bags of candy were distributed. It was worth every centime it cost just to watch them (You must remember this was about all of the Christmas these 150 or 200 children had). I never will forget one little lady of four or thereabouts whom I took as my special charge to make feel at home. It took all of my very limited French to console her when her "petite bateau" was lost, her "jalie puppet" lost an arm - but when finally the party was over - she reached up quite naively and kissed me good.
by before saying good evening and joining her "mama"! Which pleased me immensely. Our party was equally successful. The American lady (Mrs. Owen Johnson - or is it ex-Mrs. O.J?) - Brown fiddled (we all yipped and carried on quite madly - and wore our paper hats and blew whistles quite properly till a very late hour. And the ground was covered with fresh deep snow - a perfect Christmas day. My transferring seems to be indefinitely postponed - if possible at all. The infantry won't have me - and now I am hoping for heavy artillery - but there is just as much possibility that I
will remain in this service. Perhaps that is best anyhow - for there is greater chance of "going up" in this than in any rather - save aviation (That's not a joke). Promotion is probable. By the way - I am now a first class private again. And now to Dad - about the money order. I turned this in to the French postmaster who sent it to Paris for payment. Somewhere en route it is gone, and so has not been cashed (For my benefit I mean). It being too long wait for it - I would suggest that you stop payment or have a duplicate issued if possible - or endeavor to get your money
back. The chances seem to me pretty slim as of course I had to endorse it before sending it to Paris - but there's nothing like trying. If I had it now - the Y.M.C.A. could take care of it - but I haven't and the "Y" was not here then. The data follows later in this letter. I am sorry (more sorry than you think) but there is nothing that I can do here. I must get to my "downy couch" - about the [ms illegible: 2 wd] thing I know of. Once again I want to thank you all for the remembrances from home. If only a letter or so comes through now - I shall be more than content. With love - Ned.
Data on Money Order- Dated- K.C.MO- September 18/1917- Kansas City, Mo. P.O. No #182275- Amount- $50.00 or 257 francs centimes- Endorsed to Joe W. Travis- Receipted- James E. Henschel- Sent through Postmaster of T.M.M, Par B.C.M., Paris. Duplicate applied for at [Kansas City] MO [February] 11, 1918 Would it possible to send me a pair of leather driving gloves? Good ones aren't procurable here. J.E.H.
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||December 26, 1917|
|Year Range from||1917|
|Year Range to||1917|
Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
World War I