My Grandfather’s Words: Sunday July 7, 1918

Weather hot & clear.

Breakfast was spuds, coffee, bread, cornflakes, and 1/2 cantelope. Dinner (lunch) was boiled beef, dressing, root beer, spuds, eggplant, jam & bread. Supper was lemonade, bread, a kind of cake, oranges & bananas mixed in a kind of sauce, and fried spuds.

Up this A.M. at 6:20. Reveille sounded before I had time to bathe. I took a cold shower right after reveille, got into my uniform, had breakfast, read my Bible a little, and then shaved before I got my G. I. clothing arranged for inspection. Afterward, I started a letter to Mary girl. I did not finish it before inspections. Inspections finished about 11:00. I finished my letter to dearest and enclosed 4 postcards of the Remount.

Ralph came to my bunk house to say that Stokes was ready to take our pictures. Mess call blew before we got to the picture taking tho. After mess, had six exposures made of Ralph & I in different places around the Remount.

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Digital-commonwealth picture of the Y.M.C.A

Then up to the Y for Bible class. Mr. Cook of the Y had insisted we come up there. We have been having a little class by our selves here in the Remount. We had our class at the Y and it was not so very satisfactory.

I was appointed to lead a class next Sunday Evening. I don’t feel able to handle this & am not sure it is where God would have me.

Somerville, Ralph, Rohi, Baxter & myself went from here to the class. I wrote a letter to E.G. Matthews & to mother after the class. I read a while & had to hustle back for mess at five. Mess over & am now out on the warehouse platform writing. I will read a while & write to Mary before I go to bed. Went to bed at 10.

My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday July 6, 1918

543-taken-at-camp-macarthur-waco-texas-durWeather: Hot as usual.

Breakfast: Grapenuts, milk, fried spuds, bread, coffee. For dinner (lunch) we had boiled ham, cabbage, spuds, bread, water. Supper was sliced ham, cabbage, boiled spuds, bread, pudding, peaches, water, raisin pie.

Usual routine, up at six bathed & dressed by 6:20. Revielle, breakfast, finished a letter to honey-girl, then to work at 7:20. Worked till 11:15, came in, found a package in my mailbox from sweetheart, no letters. Shaved before dinner, then to work again at one. Worked till four, then quit for the day. Had a bath, changed into my uniform & was ready for supper.

Went to see the canteen sergeant about a job as short order cook. Some of the boy’s said it paid $10.00 a month extra. Told the sergeant I could hold it down. He wanted to know where I had cooked before. I told him “to home”. I told him I had “batched a year on a farm.” He didn’t say much, said that he wanted a cook’s helper, that he was not sure about the extra pay. They had promised extra pay, but he was not sure about it yet. It was not a satisfactory visit.

Went to library. Drew out two books. American short stories & Life of Franklin to read.

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Mess call at six. Ate supper, washed out some clothes, then read awhile. Ralph E. and J. Bohi came along. They were going to the Y to weigh themselves. They urged me to go along. I went & was weighed at 155 1/2. I’m getting used to the grub and the climate. Back to barracks. Read awhile, then to bed about 10:40.

My Grandfather’s Words: Friday July 5, 1918

Weather: Hot. Fair.

Breakfast was meat loaf, bread, fried spuds, and juice. For dinner we had beans, tomatoes, water, bread, beef, and onions. For supper we had bread, water, and cornstarch pudding.

A usual day…up at 6, a cold shower & dressed by 6:30. Reveille & breakfast & work as usual. Two letters at noon. One from Mary Dear & one from Mother. Mary will have her tonsils taken out tomorrow at 1:10. I am worrying, more or less. Yet I know she is in God’s hand. He will take care of her. Mother & the boys are well. They expected to stay home on the 4th, but they may go to Marshall, she thought.

Ben never writes to me. I guess he does not care for my telling him of the Lord Jesus. I surely wish he were saved or that I could make him see his need of a Savior.

I don’t know much else to write tonight. Just finished a letter to Mary so will go to my bunk. 9:45 P.M.

My Grandfather’s Words: Wednesday July 3, 1918

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.

hollopeter-back-of-army-horse-corrals-2I 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.

My Grandfather’s Words: Monday July 1st, and Tuesday July 2, 1918

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.

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This was purchased in Waco, TX

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.

My Grandfather’s Words: Friday May 17, 1918

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.grandpa-and-grandma2

My Grandfather’s Words: Thursday May 16, 1918

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.

hollopeter-army-horse-corrals-1I 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.

The heat bothers me a great deal, too.

Altogether, I am in a rather poor state.

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

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.

At the other end of company street there was the company bath house, a frame building with board floors and open drains behind it to carry out the waste. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Wednesday May 15, 1918 Part B

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.

"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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