My Grandfather’s Words: Wednesday May 15, 1918 Part A


We woke up in TX this A.M. We had crossed the state line sometime in the night. Yesterday, it was trees with little clearings here and there. Today, there are wide stretches of flat plains land and some of it seems very sandy. The farm buildings look different, too. They are built on posts about two feet off the ground. One I saw had a wide hallway through the middle almost like a porch through he midst of the house. Along about the middle of the A.M. we passed through an oil district, derricks in all directions, some being close together and others a bit farther apart. It took us a while to pass through this oil country. It was much different than the country we saw before. Everything seemed to have the touch of oil that made it rather dull looking. Much of the ground was torn up as if they had been prospecting, holes sunk everywhere.

Someone passed the word about eleven that we would be in Waco about two or three P.M. They handed out sandwiches about one o’clock. That was our (lunch). I forgot to mention that I was one of the K.Ps this A.M. and last evening.

We got into Waco about two o’clock and were switched around in the yards for a while, and then hauled out to the camp. It was about three miles from town. I was hot. We were de-trained to stand around in the sun until we were finally marched away. The road was white crushed stone. It reflected the sun back into our eyes. I sweat and sweat and struggled on. Our bags were heavy and kept getting heavier. They let us rest every half mile or so. We traveled about a mile and a half. It seemed like three miles.

wwii french leather ammo pouch on whiteWe arrived at the headquarters of the recruit camp. Here, we stood in the sun for a time. Most of us put our bags down and sat on them. They called the roll and we were marched away to the row of tents we were to be assigned to. They held us in the Company Street a while and were then called out nine to a tent. They appointed one man to be in charge of each tent. A man named Bradford was appointed as corporal over the men I was with. We opened our tents. My! how hot it seemed! The first thing I did was to get a drink of water. I almost gagged at the first mouth full. The water from the taps was tepid and remained so even after running it for a while. We had to drink it as it was.

The next thing I done was to start a letter to my wife to tell her I was alright, but very lonesome. I wanted to give her my address. A bulletin board informed me it was 21st St., Co. 7 Division, Recruit Camp. I hadn’t finished it before we were called out and lined up two by two to get cots from a truck load sent from the Quarter Master’s Company. I got my cot and hurried back to the tent to post the letter and then make myself as comfortable as possible. I lay down for a rest and almost went to sleep in spite of the heat.

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