My Grandfather’s Words: Monday September 23, 1918

The weather is very much cooler than it was a month ago. I drew another blanket Saturday and I need it, too.

Mary sent home for a blanket for me, too. So I guess when that comes I will be pretty well fixed for the cold weather. She is not very well satisfied with her job. I think she will change soon. They keep piling on the work & expecting every minute of her time all day.

I had a letter from Mother today. She has been to Wilcorse, Minnisota. She visited with the Christians there, four families of them, and she liked it very much. She is not certain yet, what to do. If she does buy up there then Ben would have to sell the farm and go to training camp. It is hard. She just doesn’t know what to do. She will have to seek God’s mind on it. After all, that is the only thing to do.

Other than that, I don’t have any other news here.

My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday September 21, 1918

Yes an entire month has gone by and I haven’t been keeping this diary up. And quite a lot of things have happened. I was in the base hospital for six days with enteric dysentery. I was taken over there on Friday the 13th and discharged from there Thursday the 19th. I am still not feeling so well. Mary is working at Watkins at 1401 Austin St. She started there a week ago Thursday the 12th. The folks are very nice, but Mrs. Watkins is so very nervous herself that she gets on Mary’s nerves. I don’t know whether she will stay there very much longer or not.

There are rumors of this outfit leaving here and of the men getting their overseas exams very soon. I guess it might be some more of the stuff they have been spilling around here for six months or more.

I had a letter from cousin Ada Shearer of Emerson, Nebraska last evening. I received one today from Mr. Matthews containing a reference for me & Mary, too. I have two references now regarding my fitness for motor work. I may go over & see the man at the aviation camp soon. I am undecided yet what to do regarding this matter. I am very tired of this work around here and would very much like a change soon.

My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday August 31, 1918

I have not had time to keep my diary up since Mary got here last Saturday. I have stayed with her every evening since. She doesn’t like it very well here. I don’t blame her, because I don’t like it here either. We have a room at 1014 Jefferson St. in town. It isn’t a very clean place thought the lady who rents it is very nice & accommodating. However, the plumbing is in bad shape & need attention. I have taken it for the next week, too, but may have found someplace else by then. I am hoping so anyhow.

I have been taking care of the riding barn in company of Ziegler who is from Lawrie, Iowa. But Tuesday noon they called me in to see the top Sargent. He gave me an order on the Warehouse for a padlock & keys and told me to lock and stand guard over the No.7 corral, which was put in quarantine. I was responsible for said corral and was to let nothing in or out and was to keep the gate locked at all times. I was to let the feeders and cleaners and any who had business there in & out. So now I am corral guard & and cannot get off tomorrow or Monday (Labor Day) all day as I could have otherwise. So Mary wants to come out to me tomorrow. I’ll have to see about it. I guess as some other wives have been here before that maybe I can have mine out to.

My Grandfather’s Words: Friday August 23, 1918

The weather is rather nice today for Texas. Last night I went to town and as it looked like rain, I took my raincoat. It did rain. Actually it poured before I got to Waco. A bunch of us caught a ride on the back of a truck. I was the only one with a raincoat. Just as I got off at thirteenth to look at a room to let, it began raining very hard. I found a room on Jefferson St. Not such a nice looking house, but it had a large, clean-smelling room. Honey Girl will be here tomorrow. I pray she misses no connections and that He will keep her safe in her travels.


My Grandfather’s Words: Thursday August 22, 1918

The weather was hot from morning until early evening, then a nice wind blew in.

I am rather excited and nervous today. I went downtown last night looking for a room and I expect I will go again tonight.

I didn’t find anything that was just what I wanted. One little room was very nice and the people, a Mr. and Mrs. Jackson were very nice, too. (409 N. 15th.) However, they wanted four dollars a week for the room. I thought that was too much. I found another place where they had a large room and a sleeping porch. They wanted $15.00 a month. (711 N. 13th) I wanted to look at some more so I didn’t take either place. I looked at several other rooms. In all I walked about eight miles, I expect, as I walked down and back again.

I worked in the riding barn all day today. Yesterday, Ziegler and I were talking in the oats room, when Sargent Eglestrom and another Sargent came along. “What are you two doing in there?” they wanted to know.

Z told them – “finishing up our barn work. It is the job that we were detailed to do.”

They said, “Come along and we’ll show you some other work to do.”

They pointed out some stalls that hadn’t been in use and said, “Clean these out, clean out the bedding, and generally clean up everything in the riding barn.”

Which was what we had been trying to do.

So we spent until late yesterday evening doing that and then all day today. I haven’t heard yet if this is to be our job every day now or not, but next week we start drilling. I reckon with the hour a day drill that we are charged with we can keep busy doing that and not this.

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


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.


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:

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.

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