Breakfast was coffee, bread, fried spuds, cornflakes and milk. Dinner (lunch) was boiled cabbage, potatoes, bread, and cold coffee. Supper was water with coffee and cocoa in it, jam, bread, rice pudding, and potatoes.
Weather was cool in the A.M and hot in the P.M.
Nothing much to record. Usual work in the corrals, I pushed the water cart around in the mess hall. Pretty easy job for me. Top people read orders at Retreat giving all who could be spared a holiday tomorrow – July 4.
I wrote Honey Girl this A.M. and again at noon. One doesn’t have so very much time, what with Reveille, and Retreat.
Ralph Evans borrowed a camera & him & I are going in halves on exposing the film.
From Rebecca: Yes, the above is the correct date for the very next entry I found in the diary. You haven’t missed anything. All this time, the diary has been from memory. I wondered why he never mentioned what he ate, just that he’d eaten. Now, fast forward a month.
Monday: I don’t recall anything that occurred today out of the ordinary routine. I bought this book Saturday evening, but did not start my diary until Tuesday. I will have to fill in the back days from memory.
Tuesday: Weather cooler today, cloudy nearly all day.
Breakfast consisted of coffee, fried potatoes, bread, oatmeal, liver & onions. I did not eat of the oatmeal.
Dinner (lunch) was pretty good. Cocoa, or rather, cold water with enough cocoa in to color it, roast pork, bread, potatoes, peas, a kind of dessert made with the oatmeal left from breakfast with raspberries added to it – tasted pretty good.
Supper was water, cheese, bread, and a kind of stew of liver, onions, & tomatoes.
I had water cart job again today. It is pretty easy on me especially days like this, cool & cloudy. I worked hard yesterday P.M. for awhile. It was 108 here at the barracks. That is getting pretty hot. We were paid this P.M. I got $11.95 my first pay day. Mary Dear received $20.00 in June for May. She will received $30.00 soon for her June allotment. I wrote mother tonight & must write Honey Girl yet.
Had a letter from her today. She is feeling better again. Her tonsils are not so sore. Many of the men went to town tonight to spend their pay – having a good time, they call it. Maybe they do, but for me it is a lonesome town. There are ways that are particular to northern people among the people here, too. One has to get used to them & to their odd speech & ways.
Today, we were taken to the infirmary and given our second shot of anti-toxin. It made me pretty sick. (I did not eat for twenty-four hours.) I was feeling very homesick at the same time.
Good news: I heard from Honey today, the first time since leaving her in Waterloo. I don’t recall ever getting a letter I was happier to get than that one. Dearest wrote me several pages and I almost cried when I read it.
About the first thing we done this A.M. was to get a suit of unionalls apiece. These are a one-piece work outfit. Then, they set us to work at pulling the weeds, the grass, and picking all the trash out of our Company Street. We were told that that was policing up, and we had to do a very thorough job of it. In other words, pull that grass out by the roots. It seems to be against military law to have a weed or a blade of grass grow around the quarters.
The didn’t give us any other exercise or drills the rest of the day.
I have not heard from Dearest since I left her in Waterloo. I write every day. I am so very homesick and lonely that I pray for death many times. It’s as if Satan is tempting me. I think of it as the boil of self-destruction. It hurts.
Sometimes I cry at night when it seems my loneliness is more than I can bear. I pray and cry and then feel comforted somewhat. God keeps me from sinking too deep. Though I get terribly discouraged at times, yet I can thank Him for keeping me thus far. At other times, I think were it not for the thought of my dear wife, I don’t know what would become of me.
Our tent was in a row about 30 to 35 rods long and there were thirty four tents in it. (A rod is a measurement that was commonly used by farmers in those days. A rod is 16.5′.) At the head of the company street was the mess hall and kitchen. It was quite a long building. At one end was the kitchen and a kind of counter where they dished up the food and placed it on each mess plate as we passed by in line. The main part of the building was given up to two long board tables with stationary benches built on each side. It could seat almost the whole company at once.
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.
We 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.
I awoke this morning pretty early. The fellow with the bull horn voice started it again as soon as it was daylight and there was no more sleep for any one.
I washed when I could, which was not for some time as only one person could fit into the washroom at a time. After a while we had our breakfast. About eight thirty we got into a town where the train had to stop. They got us off and marched us about a mile and a half through the town. It did us good, limbering us our muscles and taking the cramp out of our backs.
After we got back to the train it was some little time till we pulled out. I think we were in Arkansas, but not sure. We had our dinner (lunch) in the usual manner. about 4:20 the train pulled into Little Rock, Arkansas. Here it appeared we would stop a while, too. They unloaded us and gave us a sharp walk up from the depot and around the capital. When we re-boarded we had to wait nearly an hour before pulling out again. I should mention that it was at this time I realized that Gilbert was not on the train. I went up and down, going through each train car searching for him. There were two other troop trains, and I thought he might be on one of them. (Mary wrote soon after this to tell me about his furlough)
I was concerned but we had supper soon after leaving Little Rock. So ended another day.
I don’t remember the time I woke up this morning, but I remember I went and had a cold shower just about day break.
The previous evening I had had my arm with the boils on it looked at by a doctor. He told me to go on sick report in the morning. So I went. There were so many there before me. The doctor just put iodine on my arm and bandaged it up again. It must have been nearly 8:30 when I got out. I hustled for the mess hall and arrived just in time. I nearly missed my breakfast. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part A)→
Was pretty nervous and did not know what time they would call us for breakfast. I did not exactly know how the leggings went on, so I inquired and soon found how to adjust them. The call came to get up. I think I was nearly dressed. Gilbert was next to me. I think he was already awake when I reached over and touched him. They called us out for breakfast and lined us up in columns of four to march to the mess hall. After morning mess we were told by the corporal who had us in charge that as far as he knew there would be nothing doing until after noon mess at least. Continue reading My Grandfathers Words: Sunday May 12, 1918→