My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part B)

The Wait was Over

The officers finally came and passed up one line and down another until they had looked over us all. There were three train loads of men drawn up there. It took some time to inspect everyone.

Then, they started line by line down to the boarding tracks where the trains were waiting. We were quickly loaded on and one after another the trains pulled away from the station.

Just before we marched to the train corporal told us we were going to Waco, TX. I had never heard of that place before. I did not know what part of Texas it was. Some of the boys had some guides and maps. We all soon discovered where Waco was located. I read my Bible to drown my homesickness.

Eating in Transit

Along about 4:20 some soldiers came through the car and called for cooks. They said if there were no cooks in the car we would not eat. A couple of the men went forward to act as cooks so we could have something to eat after all. They took everything out of one of the baggage cars and rigged up a kind of cook-stove in the car. In this way they cooked a meal for all the men in transit.

The baggage – or cook car as it is now – is in the middle of the string of train cars. The cooked food was carried by the KPs both forwards and back through the cars. Every man had his mess kit. AS the KPs walked through they ladled onto each man’s plate his portion. The KPs were chosen from among the men, a bunch to serve one day, and then a fresh detail the next. This first evening our supper was pretty late and pretty badly cooked, too. I still had some oranges that Honey Girl had put in my bag. I was glad to eat one of them.

Our car was a chair car. As soon as supper was over I began to arrange a place to sleep. I laid my chair back as far as it would go and spread my blankets over it. I spent a rather uncomfortable night. For with the jolting of the car and the bumpy condition of my improvised bed, I could not sleep very well.

Finally however, I dozed off, but was awakened by one man on the car who had a voice like a bull’s bellow. He would yell at every town the train passed through. Toward morning he got tired and gave it up as a bad job, but he started again as soon as it was light enough to see.

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