My Grandfather’s Words: Tuesday August 20, 1918, and Wednesday August 21, 1918

Tuesday

Weather today is hot and windy. I didn’t get today’s weather written up until the 21st. I had four letters today from Mary Girl, one from Mother, and one from cousin Cecelia Bahl. From Mary’s letters I get that she is as lonely as I am. I expect she’ll be down here soon.

Wednesday

It’s the 21st today. The weather is hot and windy again. For breakfast we had hotcakes, syrup, coffee, grape nuts and milk. At lunch we had bread, roast beef, spuds and gravy, water and pudding. For supper we had bread, stew, water, and apple cobbler.

I was up the usual time for rising, reveille, and breakfast. I had to hustle for some hot cakes. Finally, I took my plate right up to the cook and got four hot cakes right off the griddle.

I worked in the riding barn this A.M. Then I worked in the hay till about 3:30 this afternoon. Then I stayed in the corrals.

I am rather excited tonight. I had a telegram from Mary that she would be here Saturday noon. angel photoI have a reason to be excited. I get to see my honey girl. I guess I will go to town tonight and see if I can rent a room right close-in and handy. There is sure a lot for me to see to. Sometimes I wonder if she had not better have waited until the first of September. I expect I don’t know. I do hope she gets my last letters before she starts out to come here.

My Grandfather’s Words: Monday August 19, 1918

Weather is very hot, very dusty, but a cool breeze blew this evening.

Breakfast was one plum, hotcakes and syrup, and coffee. For lunch we had spuds, beets, beans, bread, water, and pudding. At supper we had lemonade, liver & onions, spuds, tomatoes, bread, and pie.

Up at 6:15 and stood reveille and then breakfast. I walked to Waco last night and went to a large church meeting. I did not enjoy it at all, got there late & left as soon as it was over. They received a young man into the church. I’m afraid the ceremony they went through left me very disgusted. I had taken a packet of tracts and left some at the city center and some at the soldier’s club. I wished afterward that I had stayed at the club instead of going to that church meeting.

I went from that church back downtown & found a fine place to get something to eat, a place on a side street. It was clean & nice. I had a large portion of cornbread dressing, a double order of bread & butter, & a glass of ice tea for 20 cents. I thought that it was the most I had ever got for my money in Texas.

I had four sweet letters from Mary Dear today. All written different days, but they all reached me today. They were indeed welcome. She is well, but lonely as I am lonely. I think – God willing – she will be down here yet. The letters are so dear to me. I can’t express in words what they mean. She is my dear wife, my best beloved on earth. They are her handwriting, here words, her thoughts for me, her love for her husband as unworthy as I am. Surely I have much to be thankful for. And I do thank thee Almighty God. Help me to be more thankful.

And It Rained August 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2017

Hurricane Harvey dumped a lot of water.

I don’t believe anyone really believed it would be that bad. I mean, the weather people exaggerate, right? They get a bit excited and talk about it without stop. I know I feel sometimes as if they have called “wolf” a few too many times.

I take it back. They didn’t exaggerate this time. It was so bad one of our major television stations on Buffalo Bayou had water to the second floor. It didn’t stop raining for four almost five days. At night it would get bad. The wind would kick up and the rain slanted first one way then another. We didn’t have rising water at our house. Our neighborhood was one of the fortunate few that didn’t have rising water even though we are only six blocks from a bayou – six blocks up a hill though. Some water came through one of my windows and warped a bunch of pads of writing paper I had sitting on the floor.  Now, it’s been almost two weeks and there are some parts of Houston still under water. I don’t know what will become of those homes.

You know when you write a character in your story, the best way to show character is to throw that character into adversity and see how the character reacts. I lost a few pads of paper, but it is truly tragic to lose everything. Many Houstonians have stories. The best ones are about the helpers. I’ve always been proud to be a Houstonian, but this tragedy showed this city’s true character, one with a huge heart.

Despite the last terrible two weeks, the organization I am a co-director of is still having what we call our KILLER event.

Houston Writers House is excited to announce: This Friday night will be a murder mystery dinner with actors acting out a play where all of the guests might be suspects.  Also, it’s time to pull out that flapper dress you never thought you would wear again, because the murder takes place in a 1920’s speakeasy. The next day, Saturday, we will have real-life experts impart their special knowledge on aspects of crime scene. So if you love CSI or you are writing a crime novel of any type, you will want to come. To find out more and to sign up here is the link: http://www.houstonwritershouse.net/september-2017

My Grandfather’s Words: Sunday August 18, 1918

The weather seemed extra hot today with not much of a breeze.

For breakfast we had cornflakes, spuds, bread, and coffee. At lunch we had chicken and dressing, baked sweet potatoes, water, and cake. Supper was cocoa, cake, salad, and bread.

Usual time for reveille, on Sunday we are usually up at 7:00, but on account of the inspections that we are to have today, we had to be up at the weekday hour. Ziegler and I were on the riding barn detail. We cleaned that barn about as quickly as it was ever cleaned before. We had to be in uniform by 9:30 as we were to be called out for inspection.

We were called out and held in line for about half an hour. We were then permitted to fall out and get in the shade. Ziegler and I slipped out to get a drink of water. We just got back in time for the assembling and line-up again. Then we stood for some time before the officers who were doing the receiving were ready to start their stunt. It was 10:45 before we were dismissed and then we had to remain in barracks until they had inspected them.

They soon came through. Ralph, Ziegler, Boki, and I went down under the trees and had a Bible class. I enjoyed it. I think the boys did, too.

I looked for a letter from Mary today, but none came. Am worried a bit for fear she is not well or something. It is three days now since I heard from her. The last time I heard she was not very well for she had a bit of blood poisoning on her hand. God grant that she is all right. I expect to go to town tonight. I have a pass. I want to go to some church meeting maybe.

My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday August 17, 1918

The weather is hot and windy again. Very dusty in the corrals.

For breakfast there were eggs, spuds, oatmeal, two plums, and coffee. At lunch we ate oxtail stew, spuds, gravy, bread, and water. At supper there was macaroni, bread, peach sauce, and cocoa.

Usual rising hour, 6:15. It was still quite dark. The nights are growing longer & I notice it very much. It wasn’t so long ago that I could sit out on the warehouse platform and write until 9 o’clock, but now it is too dark at 8:30.

I moved over to #6 barrack. I’m rather glad as it is so much cleaner. Ralph has his bunk right next to mine there, too. It is nice to be in the same barrack with a friend.

I have not heard from Mary since Wednesday. I had two letters then. One mailed the 10th, and one mailed the 12th. I am worried about her as she was not well at all. Some kind of a poisoning on her face. I am hoping to hear tomorrow. If I don’t I will be on needles and pins. God is able to keep her, too — I know.

My how nice it would be if He called us up to be with Him soon. He shall come & will not tarry. Either He will surely come quickly or create an end to our terrible separation. Please God may it be over soon.

The evening is quiet for once. The mosquitoes are so bad I have had to come inside to finish writing.

My Grandfather’s Words: Friday August 16, 1918

The weather is hot.

I don’t remember what I ate on this day. I did not write this on Friday but on Saturday evening. So I’m writing what I remember. Usual routine. Some inspector is to be coming tomorrow. There is a lot of extra work cleaning up around and getting ready for him. boat

I had a long talk with a young fellow here yesterday (Friday) evening. His name is Buchman. He is a corporal. He works in the office as a stenographer. Our talk finally turned to things of God. I shared my testimony. He doesn’t believe the Word of God is infallible & of course many things that I said were not accepted by him.

One sometimes wonders at the many ideas of God, and all the things people think a Christian is. Some professing to know Christ are here smoking their cigarettes and joining in with the raucous laughter as filthy stories are told, just as those who make no profession whatsoever. There are some who say they are Christians and they act no differently than the non-believer. One wonders just how real it all is sometimes. I feel certain many are just hiding behind their church creed and are using their profession of Christ for whatever reason, though it isn’t real.

This young man is one of the most sincere boys in the barracks. I’ve noticed he is very much troubled lately from the things he has let drop. I think he is in soul trouble. I can pray that he gets saved.

My Grandfather’s Words: Thursday August 10, 1918

The weather was hot and windy again.

At breakfast we had hot cakes & syrup, coffee, and prunes. For lunch we had corned beef & cabbage, spuds, and bread. At supper there was liver & onions, peas, bread, peach cobbler, and cocoa.

The usual routine, up at 6:15 etc. Ralph and I walked to town this evening. I questioned a couple of places about rooms to let for light housekeeping. I also saw Dr. Rowe who was going to look around and see what the outlook for nurses was here. He could give me very little information however. There is a scarcity of nurses here, it is true. I do think that Mary would have very little trouble finding work.

This one thing in our lives before God bothers me. It seems wrong to do what we think we would have to do now. So I am unsettled yet. I can only look to Him and ask Him to make things clear to Mary Dear and me. What should we do? In the meantime we will have to be content to see and talk with each other through the medium of letters. It may be this separation is for us to learn a lesson from. We are sure that God has a reason for taking us apart like this. We are trying to learn the lesson. Pray God though that our lesson is soon learned & that we may be together again. It is hard to be away from each other as we are, but He knows too.

Soon God will bring us together again.

My Grandfather’s Words: Wednesday August 14, 1918

It’s hot and windy today.

For breakfast we had hot cakes and syrup, coffee, and an apple. For lunch we had roast beef, spuds, water, and pudding. For supper we had beef stew, rice, tea, and bread.

Up at usual time, regular routine. Was a pretty windy day in the corrals. Zeigler and I were assigned to help clean the riding barn this morning. We were told that that would be all we would have to do till noon. Then we were told about ten o’clock to come to the corrals when we were done. We finished about ten thirty. We went out about ten forty. I wish the sergeants would keep their word when they tell us something. I guess they have to do it tho. The higher officers are riding them all the time. It is getting harder right along. They made us take our clothes down from the walls of the barracks & make shelves to lay our clothes on.

The top said tonight that we had to soldier as much as we could even if we were a battalion.

I had a dear letter from Honey Girl today again. She is well & was at home. The letter was written Sunday night. She had been to the church meeting in the morning. She said they had had a good meeting. I sure wish I could have been with her. She wore her wedding gown. I can see her in it when I close my eyes. I answered her letter tonight & must now go to bed. It is about 10:30. I will take a bath and then go to bed.

My Grandfather’s Words: Tuesday August 13, 1918

The weather is very windy and dusty.

Breakfast was spuds, scrambled eggs, half a grapefruit, and coffee. At lunch we had wieners, spuds, peas, bread, water, and pudding. For supper we had mutton stew, tomatoes, water, and peach pie.

Up at the usual time, usual routine. Worked distributing hay this morning, and was on the cleaning force this evening. It has been an awfully dusty day with a strong south wind. The clouds rolled in this afternoon and a few drops of rain fell.

G. Demara told me this morning his sergeant had seen an order in the office to the effect that all the civilians would be fired by the first of September. They will be bringing in a bunch of negras to do what we do now, shovel manure. We will have to drill. It seems to be pretty well understood that there is to be some changes here soon.

Daniels was made a sergeant & so was Maritog and Long. They aren’t bad fellows. I’m glad they got their promotions. It may be they will make some more later on. One never knows just what is going to happen here. Am so tired that I will have to go to bed, I guess.

My Grandfather’s Words: Monday August 12, 1918

The weather was hot and windy all day. Towards the evening the dust blew all around.

At breakfast we had hot cakes & syrup, coffee, and an orange. For lunch we had pork and beans, spuds, pickles, bread, and water. At supper we had meat in hot sauce, tea, bread, and apple cobbler.

Up at usual hour, reveille, and then police up. Worked in corrals from nine to seven. It was so dusty, and the wind blew a gale all day. It grew until it became a regular dust storm.

There was nothing said about my being late yesterday. They may over look it this time.

I had a dear letter from Mary today. She was at Oliver’s. They were thrashing. She says the oats were turning out good. Mary helped dig out some potatoes I had planted in the spring. My God! It seems more like three years instead of just three months and three days since I left.

I have been so homesick today. It seems as if some time I might go mad. It does no good to get homesick either, but I can’t help it. Terrible thoughts come into me sometimes, thoughts that, as a Christian, I must not harbor. Yet they persist in coming. I know God has saved some and that He will keep me as He has in the past. I must endure this awful life if it is His will.

I don’t know whether Mary will come down or not yet. I could not find suitable rooms yesterday. I have had no chance to see the doctor since I talked to him. There is another vital reason that work may not be best for her to come. Regarding that, I wrote to Mary Dear at length yesterday morning. I have written  her tonight, too. I must now read awhile and go to bed.

"Have something to say and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style." (Matthew Arnold)

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